Before we get any further, let’s face facts. Baltimore is a city with some less than desirable statistics. As Home Snacks reports, crime, unemployment, and poverty all stand well above the national average, while the public school system is markedly below the median for test scores and graduation rates. Bad news out of the way, let’s consider the perks of living in Maryland’s biggest city- elegant architecture, friendly, diverse communities, a vibrant nightlife, and some of the best crab cakes you’ll eat anywhere in the world. Choose your neighborhood wisely, and you can benefit from the best the city has to offer with almost none of its downsides. To help out, we’ve compiled a list of the 20 very best places to live in Baltimore.
For families looking for a peaceful, safe place to raise their kids, Kernewood makes a great choice. Small enough to offer a friendly, small-town vibe, but with all the amenities and recreational facilities you’ll ever need within striking distance, it’s the kind of place that more than justifies the $429,107 median home price (and one that offers a great return on investment with a $130,028-median income).
Strength may come in numbers, but the small community of Windhurst is proof that great living comes with tiny populations. High property prices come with the territory, but if you can stretch to the $536,909 it takes to buy a home in this exclusive little neighborhood, you can expect the giant median income of $195,228, a great little clutch of shops and dining options, one of the lowest crime rates you’ll find in Baltimore, and some first-rate public and private schools. Poverty and unemployment rates are, as you’d expect, low to non-existent.
18. South Baltimore
Thanks to a median income of $103,784 (almost twice the national average), the cost of living in South Baltimore is surprisingly affordable, even considering the relatively high average home price of $264,319. Other than excellent affordability, residents can expect a remarkably diverse, strong community, a rich sense of history, a great nightlife, and some great shopping and dining opportunities.
Super-friendly neighbors, a surfeit of great wining and dining options, a great location next to route 95, affordable housing, superb walkability, two very attractive public parks, a mammoth shopping plaza, a low violent crime rate, a clutch of good schools, a plethora of outstanding job opportunities, and the very attractive median income of $109,784… if any or all of that sounds your kind of thing, you may want to start saving towards the $321,724 it takes to buy a property in the superbly desirable neighborhood of Canton
16. Roland Park
A move into Roland Park may come with a mortgage of over $430k, but residents are unlikely to have too many complaints about the cost of living. Most homeowners are netting the very enviable net income of $108,831, which, given the wide variety of shops, restaurants, and bars ready and willing to take their money, is no bad thing. An excellent selection of public and private schools, a library, several trails and parks, and a peaceful, friendly vibe complete the lineup of attractive features.
15. Inner Harbor
If you want a piece of the good life, be prepared to dig deep. The average home in the exclusive neighborhood of Inner Harbor comes in at a whopping $423,527, a figure nearly $240,00 more than the national average. Before you right the area off as overpriced, you might want to take a look at the handsome range of perks that come with the price tag. Sweet talk your bank manager into that sizable mortgage, and you can expect a median income of $99,443, a superb array of amenities and attractions, a safe, friendly vibe, and easy access to the best the wider city has to offer.
Before we go any further, let’s address the elephant in the room- or rather, Blythewood’s whopping $958,300 median home value. It’s a high price for sure, but there’s a reason Only In Your State ranks this highly exclusive neighborhood as the number one best place to live in Baltimore. While we don’t necessarily go along with their ranking, there’s no question it’s a great spot to live, with safe, clean streets, a surfeit of things to do and see, lots of lovely, well-maintained green spaces, and the kind of job market that supports the frankly staggering median income of $211,042.
13. Mid-Town Belvedere
Thanks to its close location to the university, Mid-Town Belvedere has the kind of buzzy, vibrant atmosphere that comes from being home to hordes of college-aged students. It's not all freshers and fraternities though – many working professionals choose to make the neighborhood their home, guided no doubt by the affordable property prices (expect to pay in the region of $177,078 for a good-sized home), low crime rate, easy commuting access to the wider Baltimore area, and outstanding selection of entertainment and recreational options.
Make Homeland your next home and you’re guaranteed one of the best standards of living in Baltimore…. or you are if the reports of current residents are to be believed. “Low crime and old historic homes with trees galore and lakes. Ponds. Wildlife. Just 1/2 mile from county line Towson. Young professional families. Close to excellent multiple private schools,” says one such resident on Niche, while another offers the enthusiastic comment "Homeland is a truly beautiful neighborhood and, for me, tops the “holy trinity” of neighborhoods in North Baltimore (Homeland, Roland Park, and Guilford). There is very little crime, especially compared to the rest of Baltimore. The duck ponds in the heart of Homeland set it apart from other neighborhoods. Insofar as public schooling, look no further than Roland Park Elementary/Middle School for elementary and middle school or Baltimore Polytechnic Institute for high school.” Considering the outstandingly high median income of $148,182, the fabulous range of indoor and outdoor entertainment options, and the abundance of great schools, it’s easy to understand the enthusiasm.
11. Upper Fells Point
The median property value in Upper Fells might be $100,000 more than the national average, but given the highly desirable status of this little neighborhood, $292,364 seems a relatively small price to pay for the privilege of living here. Thanks to its strong job market, most households are netting the distinctly above average median income of $92,601…. a figure that no doubt comes in handy considering the excellent array of shops, restaurants, and bars that populate the area. Crime is relatively low by Baltimore standards, while the friendly, diverse community is sure to give a warm welcome to those that join their ranks.
$119,499… that’s the kind of income you can expect if you join the 10,445 Baltimore residents that have already made the neighborhood of Riverside their home. Other than the hefty disposable income, expect to enjoy safe, clean streets, an abundance of local events and amenities, a strong job market, a good selection of local schools (Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Baltimore School for the Arts being two of the top-ranking for test scores and graduation rates), friendly, educated neighbors, and all the thrills and spills of the city within just a short commute. As you’d expect, high property values come with the territory (don’t expect much change from $327,853 for a single-family home), but with so many desirable qualities on offer, it’s a price few will quibble over.
Move to Pikesville and you’ll find yourself in a suburb bursting with positive attributes, from excellent schools and a low crime rate to a first-class range of wining, dining, and shopping opportunities. 33,426 residents have already chosen to make Pikesville their home, and with most of those earning $81,170 per household, it’s easy to see why.
The sizeable suburb of Towson makes for one seriously attractive destination. Along with an outstandingly low crime rate, residents can expect to enjoy the kind of job market that yields a $82,062 median income, a bountiful supply of first-class schools, stunning green spaces, and a winning combination of big-city thrills and small-town values that’s can’t help but appeal.
7. Locust Point
A house in Locust Point may cost you a hefty $310,086, but just as considerable as the property value is the median income, with most households netting the envy-inducing salary of $118,827. Along with a huge paycheck, residents of this exclusive little neighborhood can expect to enjoy a first-rate selection of shops, local businesses, eateries, and recreational venues (not to mention a huge multi-complex park), safe, clean streets, and a wholesome, friendly vibe that’s impossible not to love.
No, housing in Guildford doesn’t come cheap, but if you can stretch to the $796,171 median home value, you’re in for some good times ahead. Residents of this hugely attractive neighborhood can expect one of the lowest crime rates in the city, a jaw-dropping median income of $186,879, a charming, quirky center, an old-world charm, and a population that may retire to bed by 10pm, but will be sure to tip their hat and wish you a good day before they do.
5. Downtown West
If you can afford the $294,563 it takes to buy a property in the exclusive neighborhood of Downtown West, you’re in for a treat. Crime by Baltimore standards is desirable low, while the median household income of $70,909 smacks of a job market that’s positively flourishing. Local schools such as Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and Baltimore Schools for the Arts offer a first-class standard of education to the kids of the area, while the superb array of recreational and leisure opportunities guarantees plenty of entertainment for old and young alike.
4. Butcher’s Hill
Served by a good clutch of schools, a friendly community, a decently low crime rate, and the kind of job market that provides a healthy median income of $78,907, it’s little wonder the neighborhood of Butcher’s Hill is so popular among Baltimore’s residents. The superb array of indoor and outdoor entertainment options probably doesn’t hurt matters, either.
3. Federal Hill
Regardless of where you live in Baltimore, you’re almost certainly going to face a crime rate that’s less than desirable. That said, there are certain neighborhoods where safety is less of a concern than others. Of those, Federal Hill is one of the best. With streets that are (almost) free of either violent or property crime, and a school system that’s well above average, it’s a magnet to those with young children. Its median income of $108,033, outstanding job opportunities, outgoing, welcoming community, and the plethora of things to do and see, meanwhile, are as attractive to single millennials as they are to retirees and families.
2. Wyman Park
The average home in Wyman Park may come it at a hefty $259,628, but its 2,016 residents are unlikely to regret the investment when they consider the great quality of life they’ve bought into. Join their number and you can expect the robust median income of $93,255, a good handful of well-performing schools, a stellar array of shops, bars and restaurants, and easy access to all the best that Baltimore has to offer. As an added advantage, the crime rate is one of the lowest in the metropolitan, with zero assaults, murders, and rapes per the latest reports, and just 695.8 thefts per 100k people (compared to a national average of 2,0428).
With a population of just 4,872, Downtown may not be the largest neighborhood in Baltimore, but there’s little doubting it’s one of the best. The average property comes in at the supremely affordable price of $105,901, making it a great option for first-time buyers on a budget. The list of attractions, meanwhile, is nothing short of superb, with a great range of job opportunities, a median income of $66,284, an educated, welcoming community, and more restaurants, shops, bars, and quirky little local businesses than you’ll know what to do with.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson