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15 Things to Know About Living in Baltimore

Moving to Baltimore? Located along Chesapeake Bay, Charm City offers a growing job market, affordable housing, mouthwatering seafood, and more. Check out these 15 things to know about living in Baltimore!

An Affordable East Coast City with a Growing Job Market

At 20% less expensive than the state average, Baltimore’s cost of living makes this Maryland city an amazing place to live on the East Coast. Baltimore’s affordability extends to its housing market, as well. Though renters in Baltimore pay an average of $974, Baltimoreans looking to buy a house will find the city’s median home price to be $153,000—which is 17% lower than the national average. And with more than 250 residential areas great for either renting or buying a home, you can save even more by living in one of the many affordable neighborhoods in Baltimore, like Mount Washington or Locust Point! Plus, Charm City has a lower unemployment rate than other East Coast cities like Philadelphia and Hartford—and a growing job market. Looking for jobs in Baltimore? Residents can work at the headquarters of Under Armour, Whiting-Turner Contracting, T. Rowe Price, and LifeBridge Health, and find even more job opportunities in Baltimore’s major industries, which include manufacturing, education, construction, financial services, and more.

Home to Top Hospitals in the Nation

Not only does Baltimore offer a strong job market, but Charm City also ranks in America’s top 20 metros for best healthcare. As the best hospital in Maryland and the fourth-best in the nation, The Johns Hopkins Hospital offers top-notch patient care for adults and pediatric patients. Located in Downtown Baltimore, the University of Maryland Medical Center is a quality teaching hospital that provides standout patient care and consistently ranks among the best hospitals in Baltimore and Maryland. Or MedStar Union Memorial Hospital specializes in sports medicine and diabetes care. Searching for a hospital outside of the Baltimore metro? Townson is home to the esteemed Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC). Charm City also includes stellar children’s healthcare facilities like Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Herman & Walter Samuelson Children’s Hospital at Sinai, University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, and Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital.

Charm City Is an Independent City

Baltimore city skyline

Photo via @armenyl

Charm City is one of 41 cities in the country to be considered an independent city! In fact, Baltimore is the largest independent city in the U.S.! Because B-more doesn’t belong to any county or territory, it has the ability to set its own government systems and administration. Due to its status as an independent city, Baltimore residents often refer to this East Coast city as “Smalltimore” because the area offers a tight-knit community with big-city amenities and a free-spirited feel.

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Pursue a Degree at Top-Rated Schools

students walking on college campus

Photo via @loyolamaryland

Moving to Baltimore to further your education? Charm City is home to 13 diverse private and public colleges, with a few ranking among the best national universities. Johns Hopkins University—the nation’s first research university—is a fantastic private university with programs from composition and dance to adolescent health or chemical and biomolecular engineering. University of Maryland Baltimore, a major academic health center, has six nationally-ranked professional schools and offers a variety of student organizations. There’s also Loyola University Maryland, a private liberal arts school that’s received many accolades for its academic excellence, belief in the education of the whole person, and strong campus community. Or earn a degree in accounting, digital communication, psychology, and more at the University of Baltimore.

Getting Around Baltimore Is Easy

Whether you want to travel by land, air, or water in the Baltimore area, this city’s transportation has you covered! The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) has Local Bus, MARC, Light RailLink, Metro SubwayLink, and Commuter Bus services that run through the entire city for all your travel needs. Another great transportation option in Baltimore is the Charm City Circulator, with free shuttles downtown that connect you to other MTA stations. For commutes to work or weekend getaways, Baltimoreans can easily depart from Penn Station or Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Or if you’re spending the day in Inner Harbor and want an easy way to travel around the city, hop on the Baltimore Water Taxi!

History Runs Deep Here

Giant yellow train in museum. Photo by Instagram user @borailroad

Photo via @borailroad

Baltimore is well-known for its role in American history. It’s where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write “The Star-Spangled Banner” after a battle at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. The city of Baltimore also made history with notable people like Thurgood Marshall, Jackson & Mitchell Families, and Earl “Papa Bear” Banks. While not a Baltimore native, Edgar Allan Poe laid roots in his Baltimore residence, The Edgar Allan Poe House & Museum. Baltimore is also a major player in other historical events, including the establishment of the world’s first umbrella factory, the home of the world’s first dental college, and the starting point of the B&O Railroad, whose museum tells about the first common carrier railroad in the nation!

Great Location on the East Coast

One of the best things about living in Baltimore is its central location on the East Coast, so traveling to other East Coast cities for work or a day trip is a breeze. In fact, some residents choose to live in Baltimore and commute to Washington, DC because of DC’s high cost of living! Head to Philadelphia—which is less than two hours away by both train and car—to catch a Philadelphia Flyers game or take a haunted tour of Eastern State Penitentiary. Road trip with friends for a fun-filled weekend walking around Times Square in New York City, which is less than four hours away by train and car. Ride the train into Washington, DC to visit the Smithsonian. Or visit Maryland’s capital city, Annapolis, to explore the city’s most haunted sites with a nighttime Walking Ghost Tour or fish at Thomas Point Park.

Explore All Things Inner Harbor

Once a busy U.S. seaport for the canning and steel industry, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor has become a one-stop-shop for all things shopping, food, and fun! Try one of the many water activities like kayaking, paddle boating, or sailing down the Patapsco River. Take a family trip to the National Aquarium—one of the top things to do in Baltimore with kids—and see over 20,000 different species of marine mammals, fish, amphibians, and more. Spend the day learning about all things science, including a visit to the Davis Planetarium, watching an Imax film, or seeing exhibits about Dinosaur Mysteries or Life Beyond Earth at the Maryland Science Center. Spend the day letting the kiddos captain a boat, shop for groceries, or climb to new heights on the Skyclimber at the Port Discovery Children’s Museum. Or hop aboard ships like the USS Constellation and USS Torsk to see artifacts, tour operation stations, and learn how the crew lived with Historic Ships in Baltimore.

Baltimore Sports Fans Don’t Mess Around

Baltimore Ravens football player getting touchdown. Photo by Instagram user @ravens

Photo via @ravens

Often referred to as Birdland, Baltimore shows its sports spirit loud and proud—on game days, you’ll find the streets flooded with purple and black as fans flock to M&T Bank Stadium to watch the Baltimore Ravens (NFL) work toward another Super Bowl Championship. Catch the Baltimore Orioles (MLB) stealing bases at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. In the mood for soccer? Attend a Baltimore Blast (MASL) game at SECU Arena. Go see why lacrosse is a major sport in Maryland, and become a fan of the nation’s top collegiate teams—like Baltimore’s own Retrievers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Or root for girl power while the Baltimore Nighthawks (NFA) play some tackle football!

Check Out the Local Arts & Culture Scene

Guy standing under light art installation. Photo by Instagram user @jeffreytime_

Photo via @jeffreytime_

Experience all of the amazing museums, theaters, and galleries in Baltimore! Explore over 95,000 works of art, from Native American and African art to Contemporary pieces, at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Immerse yourself in original art from everyday people who love to create at the American Visionary Art Museum. Let the sweet, melodic sounds of the internationally-recognized Baltimore Symphony Orchestra fill your ears during one of their performances at Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Visit Baltimore Clayworks to see rotating pottery, sculptures, and ceramic exhibits from both international and local artists. Or travel back in time to learn about the people and businesses who transformed the city of Baltimore from a trading post to a research hub at the Baltimore Museum of Industry.

Be Part of B’More’s Festival Fun

People watching festival performer on stage. Photo by Instagram user @artscapebmore

Photo via @artscapebmore

Looking for fun things to do in Baltimore with friends or family? Check out all of the festivals and events in Baltimore! Attend the largest free arts festival in the Baltimore area, Artscape. Put on your cat-eye glasses, beehive wig, and colorful attire to listen to live music and fill up on great food at HONfest. Try seafood favorites like crab, oysters, fish, and more from local restaurants and seafood trucks at one of the top things to do in Baltimore, Chesapeake Seafood Festival. Watch films of any genre at the five-day Maryland Film Festival. Participate in more than 50 events around the city like the High Heel Race, Block Party, and Kickball Tournament during the week-long Baltimore Pride. Or celebrate one of the largest African American festivals on the East Coast with African cuisines, live performances from national and local artists, and seminars at AFRAM.

Nab Some of that Blue Crab

Table full of steamed crabs from Jimmy's Famous Seafood. Photo by Instagram user @jimmysseafood

Photo via @jimmysseafood

Located along Chesapeake Bay, the state of Maryland reigns as the top place for producing blue crabs (known as Maryland Crab). When you’re chowing down on the state crustacean, don’t forget to ask for Old Bay Seasoning, Baltimore’s signature spice! Grab a mallet and crack open Snow Crab Legs or enjoy a bowl of Maryland Crab Soup at Locust Point Steamers. Share Crab Cakes, Fried Crabby Mac, or Crab Toast with the whole table at Jimmy’s Famous Seafood. Enjoy waterfront views from the outdoor deck while feasting on Chesapeake Crab Balls, a Crab Grilled Cheese Sandwich, or Jumbo Lump Crab Imperial from Nick’s Fish House. Head to “Baltimore’s favorite neighborhood pub” to get a bowl of Mom’s Crab Soup, Junior Crab Cake Sandwich, or The “Original Crab Cake Platter” at Koco Pub. Or get elbow-deep in Old Bay and butter when ordering the Broiled Seafood Platter, Captain’s Signature Crab Cake, or Pineapple Blue Crab Fried Rice at Captain James Seafood Palace.

Take Your Taste Buds on a Journey

While blue crab is a Baltimore-area staple, there are plenty of other amazing foods to explore! Devour classic breakfast favorites like Sausage Gravy & Brioche, Avocado Toast, or Pigs in a Blanket paired with a Bacon Milk Shake at the eccentric Papermoon Diner—or brunch all day with dishes like Fried Oysters and Grits, Breakfast Burrito, or Gravy Train paired with a Lavender Vanilla Latte at Spoons. Enjoy Maryland and New England classics like Fried Long Island Sound Oysters, Maryland Crab Soup with Short Ribs, or North Atlantic Monkfish from Thames Street Oyster House. Savor Mexican staples with dishes like Totopos with Salsa or a Huitlacoche Taco Kit at Clavel, named one of the best restaurants in Baltimore. Book a private dining party at Woodberry Kitchen. Shop from April to December for food and unique collectibles at the Baltimore Farmers Market and Bazaar. Or enjoy a gyro and piece of Baklava from Mt. Olympus, glazed donut from Buttercup Bakery, or find your new favorite food at any of the other 45+ vendors in Lexington Market.

Hit Up the Local Nightlife

Two girls cheersing drinks at bar. Photo by Instagram user @powerplantlive

Photo via @powerplantlive

Whether you’re looking to have a relaxing night with friends or let your hair down on the dance floor, you’ll never have trouble finding things to do in Baltimore at night! For an endless night of fun, head over to Baltimore’s “premier dining and entertainment destination” for events, drink specials, and dancing at Power Plant Live! Sit in on open mic night every Tuesday or listen to local Baltimore musicians perform at The Depot. Saddle up to the bar for music and drinks like Poe’s Old Fashioned, Mimosa Margarita, or Orange Crush at The Horse You Came In On Saloon, the oldest saloon in America. Enjoy a little magic with your cocktail, and order the Hypnotizing Martini while watching a comedy magic show at Illusions Bar & Theater. For swanky cocktails and beers like Fool’s Gold, Sand Dollar, or Fiji Mermaid visit The Elk Room. Or knock back brews like the Zombie Dust, Southern Belle, or Funky Boss at Max’s Taphouse.

Visit Baltimore Breweries

outdoor patio with live music

Photo via @volosports

Baltimore has a long, storied history with local breweries and beer. When the city’s first brewery opened in 1748, neighborhood bars became gathering places that served humble Baltimore beer for industrial workers. Now, many of the breweries in Baltimore create high-quality pours for Charm City residents and visitors alike. Visit DiamondBack Brewing Company with friends and try the Locust Point Lager, Maple Thief, or Green Machine. Head over to Mobtown Brewing Company to taste a variety of draft beers like The Doctor Says I’m Hazy, Forklift Wizards, I Play One On TV, and more. Pair appetizers like the Sweet Potato Fries and Grilled Sausage Board with European-style Ales like the British Pale Ale, Baltimore Pils, or Guilly Light at Guilford Hall Brewery. Check out Checkerspot Brewing Co for a variety of locally-brewed beers like Sip Happens, Hillbilly Gold, or Fancy Pants. And don’t forget to drive through Brewer’s Hill, the birthplace of the Natty Boh!


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Baltimore, MD: 15 Things to Know

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