What Are The 7 Best Neighborhoods In Baltimore, MD?

Kirbee Anderson
by Kirbee Anderson

Recent years have brought a few dings to Baltimore’s reputation, and behind those headlines is a city home to over 600,000 people who have surprisingly positive things to say about their current home. This article looks beyond the headlines to dive into some of the most popular neighborhoods in Charm City.

In a city with over 200 neighborhoods, choosing where to settle can be a monumental task. Baltimore offers everything from downtown condos in former factories in Canton to suburban-like single-family homes in the private school hotspot of Roland Park.

Because the value of a neighborhood varies in the eye of the beholder, let’s take a look at some of the Baltimore neighborhoods recommended for families, for young professionals, those drawn to Johns Hopkins Hospital, and more. After all, the best neighborhood is the one that is the best fit for you.

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Why Do People Like Living in Baltimore?

Baltimore’s reputation has taken some hits in recent years. The death of Freddie Gray in police custody, disparaging comments by a former president, and high rankings on national crime lists paint an unfortunate picture for those unfamiliar with the city. Like all cities, Baltimore has significant room for improvement.

The Baltimore Sun published a collection of Baltimorean opinions about the city. Resident after resident attributed their love of the city to the variety of neighborhoods. Some described the neighborhoods as cities within the city and others lauded the diversity of the neighborhoods for forming a unique, quirky whole that is Baltimore.

People stay in Baltimore for the fantastic seafood from the Chesapeake Bay, its access to Washington DC, and all of the city’s cultural offerings. Baltimore is one of the oldest cities in the United States and is filled with a rich history that is on display in the city’s many museums. Residents can take advantage of the many theaters, professional sporting events, and even the symphony.

Baltimore’s Cost of Living

Baltimore’s cost of living does exceed the national average, but not by the huge margins customary in many of the largest cities. The overall cost of living in Baltimore is 17 percent more than the national average. As with most places, housing costs are responsible for the higher cost of living. Baltimore’s housing costs are 47 percent more than the national average.

Buyers looking to purchase a home should prepare for the median home value of $440,000 for a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home. The median rent for a 2-bedroom rental is $1,755 per month.

While this is certainly a significant chunk of change, workers who need to be within commuting distance of Washington, D.C. will find the cost of living to be more manageable in Baltimore than in some of the other bedroom communities. Even better, the commuter train between the two cities only takes about 45 minutes.

7 Best Neighborhoods in Baltimore

Baltimore is filled with many unique neighborhoods, and each one can bring a different type of lifestyle to those who live there. Let’s take a look at some of the best neighborhoods in Baltimore.

1. Best Neighborhood for History Buffs – Fell’s Point

For future Baltimoreans wanting to immerse themselves in history, look no further than Fell’s Point. The neighborhood is one of the oldest in Baltimore. It was once a shipbuilding port for the city, and the bones of the neighborhood remain centuries later.

You will find waterfront restaurants and boutiques in repurposed buildings in this neighborhood. There are over 300 buildings on the National Register in this neighborhood. Many streets are still the original 1736 stone bricks and are the same streets walked by Edgar Allan Poe and Frederick Douglass.

Fell’s Point offers multiple festivals throughout the year, including the Old Tyme Christmas Festival in December.

Because the neighborhood retains its colonial style, there are few detached single-family housing options. Instead, the area provides a dense, urban lifestyle. Most homes for sale are townhouses or condos, but feature fabulous historic exteriors. Most residents rent in this neighborhood, and it generally calls to young professionals who want to be near coffee shops and bars.

  • Walk Score: 96
  • Bike Score: 85
  • Transit Score: 67

2. Best Neighborhood for Families – Chinquapin Park

Chinquapin Park holds a Five Star Family Neighborhood rating, is loaded with green space, and affordable single-family detached home. It is also one of the safest neighborhoods in Baltimore. All of these things together make for a fantastic neighborhood for families with children.

Baltimore created a Five Star Family Neighborhood designation for neighborhoods to signify that they have many traits commonly desired by families with young children. To qualify, a neighborhood must rate highly within the following categories:

  • Active Parents’ Groups
  • Properties have substantial yards or nearby green space
  • The median home price is below $300,000
  • The area has a high walk score
  • A high percentage of households have a child 9 years old or younger in the home
  • The zoned schools are diverse and high-performing

Eighty-seven percent of families own their own home in Chinquapin Park. The median home purchase price is only $150,000.

Chinquapin Run bounds the neighborhood on the east with a 76-acre stream corridor with ample space to enjoy the outdoors.

  • Walk Score: 75
  • Bike Score: 37
  • Transit Score: 46

4. Best Neighborhood for Working at Johns Hopkins Hospital – Butcher’s Hill

Johns Hopkins Hospital is a world-renowned medical facility, and anyone who wants to live nearby would do well to take a look at Butcher’s Hill.

Butcher’s Hill, named because butchers historically lived above their shops in this area, is adjacent to the hospital and enjoys great proximity to other desirable parts of town. Canton and Fell’s Park are both nearby with all their shops and dining. Residents can also enjoy the outdoors at the large Patterson Park on the east side of the neighborhood.

Living next to the park is a real draw as Patterson Park has a boat lake, ice skating rink, and swimming pool. Various community organizations arrange festivals in the park, and you will frequently see food trucks there throughout the year.

Butcher’s Hill has income diversity thanks to houses in a variety of sizes and styles. The medium home purchase price is $263,000, and about half of residents own their homes while the other half rents.

  • Walk Score: 87
  • Bike Score: 70
  • Transit Score: 63

5. Best Neighborhood for Schools and Gardeners – Roland Park

While Roland Park was the first planned suburban community in the United States, it remains within the limits of Baltimore. Roland Park is a large, quiet neighborhood with housing ranging from apartments and townhomes to colonial and Tudor-style homes.

The neighborhood’s zoned public schools and proximity to several elite private schools make it a desirable location for families that want to choose a location based on school access. With this school access comes higher home prices; the median purchase price in Roland Park is $460,000. Fifty-four percent of residents own their own homes.

Roland Park is served by Hampden Elementary and Middle School and Medfield Heights Elementary School.

Nearby private schools are Bryn Mawr, which is just north of Roland Park, Roland Park Country School, the Gilman School, and the Friends’ School. Bryn Mawr is regularly ranked as the top private school in the Greater Baltimore Area.

Other than schools, topography and landscaping are major draws to Roland Park. Originally designed by the Olmsted Brothers, the neighborhood encompasses the area’s hills and vegetation to create a garden community with big lots and old trees. For those who are drawn to homes with beautiful landscaping and that want space to apply their own green thumb, Roland Park is a perfect fit.

  • Walk Score: 67
  • Bike Score: 72
  • Transit Score: 44

6. Best Neighborhood for Newcomers and Young People – Canton

Many lists rank Canton as the most popular or trendy neighborhood in all of Baltimore. Many newcomers settle in Canton almost by default thanks to its reputation of being a good place to live and work with lots to do a lot of hustle and bustle that is perfect for engaging with a new city.

Canton really does have something for everyone. It is a water-front neighborhood known for shopping, dining, and nightlight that still manages to earn the city’s kid-friendly designation.

In Canton, young families aren’t resigned to minivans in the suburbs; instead, they have access to many festivals and community events in the two public parks in the neighborhood. There are summer concerts and fitness classes in the park, and generally just a lot of opportunities to be out and about in the community.

Unlike other neighborhoods that have limited housing types, Canton really has a little of everything – one of the great appeals of the neighborhood. You will find both traditional Baltimore row houses and new-build townhomes. Apartments and waterfront condos are also available.

About 61 percent of Canton residents own their homes, and the median home purchase price is $322,000.

  • Walk Score: 87
  • Bike Score: 83
  • Transit Score: 54

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Takeaways When Choosing a Baltimore Neighborhood

With much emphasis on the crime rate in the city, remember that some areas are safer than others and much can be done to mitigate the risk of being a victim. All types of crime contribute to the crime rankings, including non-violent crimes like property theft or car break-ins. Much can be done to mitigate car break-ins in particular, like never leaving keys or valuables in a car.

Regardless of which city or neighborhood you choose, always practice good personal safety. Be aware of your surroundings and be on the lookout for situations that seem unsafe or that just don’t feel right. But also remember that there is more to Baltimore than crime rankings.

The city offers a long history from which we can learn, and the city’s historic buildings are accessible and part of the community. Baltimore’s neighborhoods offer a variety of community experiences, giving households the opportunity to find the right fit, whether that is a hip downtown area or a tree-lined suburban feel.

Kirbee Anderson
Kirbee Anderson

Kirbee is a licensed attorney and real estate broker, but DIY projects of all kinds call to her. Kirbee loves being at home with her husband, daughter, and dog and investing her time and energy into projects to make their home a unique and comfortable place for all of them. Her favorite projects include gardening, building new items, and creating solutions to manage clutter.

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