Relocating to Baltimore? As the largest city in Maryland, Charm City offers a thriving job market, rich history, and lively music scene. As with any city, however, there are a few things to consider before planning your move. Discover the pros and cons of living in Baltimore!

Pros of Living in Baltimore

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Looking for affordable housing, a thriving art and music scene, or fresh-caught seafood? Charm City has what you’re looking for! Here are the pros of living in Baltimore.

Pro: Charm City Is Affordable

Though slightly higher than the national average, the general cost of living in Baltimore is still 17% lower than the Maryland average, meaning residents can stretch their budgets more here, than other areas of the state. For example, the general cost of living in Baltimore is 62% lower than nearby Washington, DC, one of the nation’s most expensive places to live, and is roughly on par with Philadelphia. Home prices in Baltimore are also significantly cheaper than the state average, but even if you don’t plan to buy a home, the median monthly rent is also lower than the state’s median. As is the case in most major cities, there is a high population of renters in Baltimore, with around half the population opting to rent, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities for rentable properties!

Pro: A Healthy Job Market

Affordability is further boosted by the active job market in Baltimore. The unemployment rate has steadily decreased since 2020 and is currently comparable to the state and national averages. There is a variety of industries to choose from in Baltimore and surrounding areas too. Find a job that utilizes skills in marketing, merchandising, and more while working for the popular athletic apparel company, Under Armour, which is headquartered in Baltimore. The Science + Technology Park at Johns Hopkins offers research and laboratory positions, retail and office space, and even a K-8 public school. With Baltimore ranking among the top metros for healthcare in the nation, take up a career within the Johns Hopkins Health System, one of the largest employers in the city, or other institutions like the Baltimore VA Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center. Major financial companies like Morgan Stanley, Franklin Templeton, and T. Rowe Price Group also have offices in Baltimore, providing employment opportunities in the financial service sector. Additionally, many people seeking jobs in the federal government choose to live in Baltimore for its affordability and convenient commute to Washington, DC via the train at Penn Station.

Pro: Impressive Colleges & Universities

If you’re looking to advance your career or expand your knowledge, there are several high-ranking colleges in Baltimore to pursue a degree. Study public health, economics, biomedical engineering, and much more at one of the top 10 best national universities, Johns Hopkins University. Join the programs available at the schools of medicine, dentistry, nursing, social work, law, or pharmacy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Morgan State University provides opportunities to start a career in business administration, psychology, architecture, broadcast journalism, animation, and many other programs. Earn a degree in art therapy, criminology, digital media arts, education, international studies, or modern foreign languages at Notre Dame of Maryland University. Or pursue your passion for political science, history, applied mathematics, literature, or philosophy at Loyola University Maryland, one of the top private colleges in Maryland.

Pro: Baltimore Is Steeped in History

Living in Baltimore, residents are given a fantastic opportunity to immerse themselves in U.S. history. Charm City is where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the Star-Spangled Banner after he witnessed the battle at Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. You can also learn about the renowned poet’s literary legacy at the Edgar Allen Poe House & Museum. As a historical hub for innovation and transportation, Baltimore helped shape the nation’s railways, which you can explore at the B&O Railroad Museum. For naval history buffs, Baltimore’s Inner Harbor district is home to historic ships like the USS Constellation and USS Torsk. Additionally, the largest city in Maryland is home to numerous museums dedicated to important historical figures native to Baltimore, including the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Museum and the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum.

Pro: Baltimore Has a Creative Soul

If you’re a creative spirit, you’ll be right at home in Baltimore! Immerse yourself in the city’s deep connection to jazz music at the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute & Cultural Center and learn about the life and contributions of iconic jazz pioneers like Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Eubie Blake, and Chick Webb. Experience Charm City’s theatrical scene with tickets to Broadway shows like Disney’s The Lion King, Some Like It Hot, and Chicago at the Hippodrome Theatre, part of the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center. Explore powerful visual art exhibitions like Martha Jackson Jarvis: What the Trees Have Seen, Joyce J. Scott: Walk a Mile in My Dreams, and Illustrating Agency at the Baltimore Museum of Art, which now has the most extensive collection of Matisse paintings in the world! Explore The American Visionary Art Museum to discover works by professional and self-taught artists that challenge the visitors to rethink the definition of fine art. Plus, there are plenty of Baltimore festivals to check out. Enjoy regional beers, great goods, and live bluegrass music amid the backdrop of Druid Hill Park during the Charm City Bluegrass Festival. Catch some summer sun while seeing fantastic comedians, writers, DJs, dance groups, and more at America’s largest free arts festival, Artscape. Plus, you can celebrate LGBTQ+ pride and progress with a parade, glow party, high-heel race, and much more at Baltimore Pride.

Pro: Family-Friendly Entertainment

For family-friendly things to do in Baltimore, flock to M&T Bank Stadium to watch the two-time Super Bowl-winning team, the Baltimore Ravens (NFL), which was named after city resident Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem, The Raven! Witness the Baltimore Orioles (MLB) in action on the diamond at their home arena, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, or visit the birthplace of a Baltimore sports legend at the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum. Get up close to thousands of aquatic and exotic animals, including Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, electric eels, and Johnston’s crocodiles at the National Aquarium. Discover the wonders of nature in interactive exhibits like Dinosaur Mysteries, Life Beyond Earth, and SciLab, or explore the solar system and beyond in the planetarium at Maryland Science Center. And let the kids choose their own adventures with programs like The Music in Me, Discovery Tales, and Teddy Talks at the Port Discovery Children’s Museum.

Pro: Delicious Cuisine from the Bay

In the mood for fresh-caught Baltimore seafood? The city has a wealth of award-winning restaurants, many of which feature Maryland blue crab, oysters, lobster, and fish of all kinds, and it’s also home to the world-famous seasoning, OLD BAY! Start with an appetizer of Calamari on the rooftop deck before moving onto Nubs Famous Crab Cakes or a Blackened Mahi Sandwich served at one of Maryland’s best crab houses, L.P. Steamers. Try the Fish Tacos, Golden West B.A.L.T. Sandwich, or the Green Chile Burger at the vegan-friendly restaurant, Golden West Cafe. Reserve a table to experience the upscale prix fixe menu with French cuisine like Veloute de Tomate, Poitrine de Poulet Grille, and Creme Caramel a la Myrtille at Petit Louis Bistro. Enjoy the cozy atmosphere while sharing the Tavern Board charcuterie before moving on to entrees like the Tavern Burger and Cape May Scallops at Woodberry Kitchen. Enjoy fireside seating as you dig into handhelds like the Brewer’s Cheeseburger, Hot Roast Beef Sandwich, or Buffalo Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich at The Brewer’s Art. Or visit the neighborhood of Brewers Hill to try innovative Baltimore craft beers like the Spared No Expense Red Ale, Coast Starlight IPA, or Lowered Expectations Stout at Mobtown Brewing Company.

Cons of Living in Baltimore

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Along with the great aspects of living in Baltimore, there are a few drawbacks to consider before relocating to Charm City.

Con: High Crime Rates

Typical of large metro areas, it’s important to address the reality of Baltimore’s high crime rate, which is reflective of issues relating to poverty, segregation, and homelessness. However, these issues are not universal throughout the city; some safe neighborhoods in Baltimore don’t experience the same levels of crime like Tuscany-Canterbury, Wyman Park, Canton, and Federal Hill. Additionally, the city has undergone efforts to address criminal activity and promote a safe atmosphere. This is demonstrated by the Safe Streets program from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, which mobilizes partner programs and community members to help reduce gun violence. Indeed, a combined effort between the state and federal government, law enforcement, and community partners succeeded in reducing the number of homicides in 2023 by 20%.

Con: Humid Summers

The difference in Baltimore’s climate between seasons can be quite drastic. The summers experience an average high temperature of 86 degrees. While it’s not as extreme as other parts of the country, combined with the high humidity between June and September and above-average precipitation, it can be overpowering to those who aren’t used to it. Don’t worry! There are plenty of ways to combat the summer heat and still find fun things to do in Baltimore. Many choose to stay in the air conditioning during the peak temperatures or set up sprinklers in their yards, but there are also public pools in Baltimore like the Druid Hill Park Swimming Pool or Cherry Hill Splash Park. For an opportunity to enjoy the scenic beauty of native and exotic plants in temperature-controlled environments, check out The Rawlings Conservatory & Botanic Gardens. Or wander through the exhibits while partaking in zoo experiences like penguin encounters, hand-feeding otters, or watching a rhino training session at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

Con: High Traffic & Long Commute Times

Though the pandemic in 2020 did decrease commute times across the nation, the years since have seen a steady return to pre-pandemic levels. Baltimore is no exception when it comes to lengthy commute times. The average one-way commute in Charm City is 30.7 minutes, which is around four minutes higher than the national average. Longer commutes are standard for large metropolitan areas, but that doesn’t make it easier for residents who don’t own a personal vehicle, especially those who live further away from downtown. There are many options for public transit in Baltimore, however! Buses and light rails run by the Maryland Transit Administration connect travelers to different areas of the city, in addition to bus services like the Charm City Circulator and trains that stop through Penn Station. For short-range trips for business or pleasure, residents can take advantage of the scooters and bikes made available to the public via the Bikemore Shared Mobility program, an initiative to make Baltimore more friendly to those without personal vehicles. If you’re looking to travel further, the Baltimore-Washington International Airport provides domestic and international flights and is accessible via public transit.


Moving to Baltimore? Life Storage offers storage units throughout Charm City to make your move easier. Rent month-to-month self storage in Baltimore today!

This post was originally published on 11/28/2019 and last updated on 03/18/2024 with new information.

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