These are the areas of Baltimore that we visit the most, but we can help you buy or sell a home anywhere in the city. You can also find a beautiful color-coded map of every neighborhood on the LiveBaltimore website.
AROUND THE HARBOR (counterclockwise)
Canton . 21224
Most of the dining and nightlife surrounds the O’Donnell Square park, but also spreads south to Boston St along the water. There are over 50 restaurants and bars, most within walking distance of each other. In late 2013, Canton Crossing brought more of a suburban shopping experience on the southeast side, with a Target, Harris Teeter grocery, Old Navy, DSW, Red Robin, and a big parking lot out front.
Canton’s housing is mostly smaller rowhomes built in the early 1900s, though renovations and rehabs since the late 1990s have brought modern amenities to plenty of them.
Street parking is tough, and there are no large public garages.
It’s a good location for commuters to the northeast areas along I-95N, and it’s convenient for employees of either Johns Hopkins Hospital’s main campus or its Bayview site. However, southbound commuters have to deal with a hefty toll through the Fort McHenry Tunnel. And if your work is in the middle of downtown, it’s going to feel like a much longer drive than two miles, thanks to all the intersections and traffic lights.
Fells Point . 21231
For many visitors who know the city, Fells Point is their vision of ideal Baltimore living, with cobblestone roads, old wharves, local businesses, legendary bars, and quaint brick rowhomes. Yet, it’s an easy walk to the proudly commercial Harbor East development.
Fells Point isn’t ideal for commuters. All of Baltimore’s highways are many stoplights away. The free Charm City Circulator bus travels through the area, but the route is for the Johns Hopkins East campus, and doesn’t reach the central business area.
Visitor street parking here is painful, but thankfully there are newer garages on 803 S. Caroline St and 1530 Thames St, plus the parking lots on S. Wolfe St. Like most Baltimore areas, the condos here have private garages for their residences.
Harbor East . 21202
Condos available now (Most residences here are condominiums)
This is Baltimore’s newest, most upscale district, packed with high-end hotels, boutique retail, premium dining, a popular grocery store and a movie theater that serves liquor. Harbor East is sleek, modern, dense, and highly planned. In the coming years, this upscale area will expand further with the growth of Harbor Point, a similar waterfront development to the southeast.
The area offers several visitor parking garages (at least $11 for 2-hrs) in between its shops and hotels, and valet is an option at many of the restaurants.
Inner Harbor / Central Business District . 21201, 21202
Condos available now (Most residences here are condominiums)
Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is our main tourist destination, our central business district, and the hub of most of the city’s expanding urban development. You’ve seen the list of attractions on any visitor site: the National Aquarium, the stadiums of the Orioles (Camden Yards) and the Ravens (M&T Bank), the Baltimore Convention Center, Maryland Science Center, Port Discovery Children’s Museum, etc. Pratt Street provides two mall-like shopping centers (the Gallery and Harborplace), but both are sparse compared to suburban malls, and nearby Harbor East offers more upscale retail.
Much of Pratt and Lombard Street was developed in the late-70s through mid-80s, and that era’s heavy beige and gray concrete style is still here. This is a business area, so it doesn’t have the blocks of brick rowhomes that are common in the surrounding neighborhoods. If you’re buying in the Inner Harbor, a condominium is your main option. However, areas like Federal Hill and Ridgely’s Delight are within easy walking distance and are full of rowhomes.
Visitor parking here is what you’d expect in any city center; limited spots on the street and many expensive garages. The free Charm City Circulator runs through the entire area, and uses the same bus stops as the regional MTA paid buses. I-83N, I-295, and I-95 are accessible, though they’re usually several stoplights from any residence.
Otterbein . 21201, 21202
Federal Hill + Harborview . 21230
The area gets its name from Federal Hill Park, which rises above all the local homes and looks out on the Inner Harbor. Most of those Baltimore skyline photos you see were taken at the hilltop.
Realtors often group the “South Baltimore” (or “SoBo”) neighborhood in with Federal Hill. New restaurants and apartments in SoBo are blurring the boundaries between the two, since either one is just a walk down Charles or Light St.
Federal Hill is one of Baltimore’s big nightlife destinations, especially in the areas that surround the old Cross Street Market. Residents here need to be prepared for rowdy weekends throughout the year.
There are three Zipcar locations, and two Charm City Circulator north-south routes. Parking is a real challenge here, for residents and pedestrians alike. As of Nov 2013, metered spots are in effect 7 days a week, at $1.50/hr 10am-5pm, and $2/hr 5pm-9pm, with a 3hr max. The city also offers residential permits.
The neighborhood itself has no significant condo presence yet, but the Harborview development next to it does. Harborview’s condos are often closer to Federal Hill Park than many of Federal Hill’s own rowhomes.
Harborview is an upscale planned waterfront community, built atop the old shipyard of Bethlehem Steel.
The site spreads around the edges of Federal Hill and Locust Point, and offers easy walking to both. Like Locust Point, the onramps to the I-295S and I-95S highways are a couple minutes away, so it’s a great choice for commuters south of Baltimore (Annapolis, BWI, Columbia, Ft. Meade, etc.)
While parking can be painful in nearby Federal Hill, Harborview offers very generous visitor privileges at its condominium lots, plus coin-metered street parking on Key Highway, and a paid lot on Harborview Drive.
The Charm Circulator Circulator bus also provides Harborview with two northbound stops and one southbound stop, plus the water taxi to Harbor East.
Locust Point . 21230
Locust Point feels like its own small town. The fire station, schools, and parks are along its main street, Fort Avenue, which leads to historic Fort McHenry. It’s a peninsula with no through roads, so traffic is mostly local and light. It also now offers a stretch of suburbia in the McHenry Row development, with regional chain restaurants and bars, a Harris Teeter restaurant, and public parking. It’s also now the headquarters of local sportswear maker UnderArmour.
Despite all the residential growth, this is still one of Baltimore’s heavy industrial areas, and big equipment looks ugly and makes noise. The entire neighborhood is encircled by a CSX freight railroad; extremely long trains use it to turn around. Huge concrete and gravel parking lots for daily workers sit along the neighborhood’s waterfront and parkside .
This area is a great choice for commuters south of Baltimore (Annapolis, BWI, Columbia, Ft. Meade, etc.) The onramps to the I-295S and I-95S highways are a couple minutes away. I-95N is just as close, but you’ll have to pay the toll to drive through the Fort McHenry Tunnel.
The free Charm City Circulator offers stops all along Locust Point, connecting it back to the Inner Harbor. The CCC’s Tide Point water taxi also stops next to the Under Armour Headquarters and takes riders to Maritime Park, near the junction of Harbor East and Fells Point.
Parking is often easier here than in any of the other communities that line the harbor. More townhouses are home to families instead of roommates, so there are fewer cars per house. New houses typically have their own garages, so they’re not using spots on the street. And those huge company parking lots are often open on evenings and weekends to anyone.
NORTH OF THE HARBOR
Mount Vernon . 21201, 21202
Through the 1800s and early 1900s, Mount Vernon was the focus of Baltimore’s wealth, and the landscaped blocks near its Washington Monument are a beautifully preserved reminder of that era’s City Beautiful movement. Even the smaller townhomes have beautifully ornate exteriors of brick and stone. However, many of these were sectioned into multi-unit rentals decades ago.
Mount Vernon is home to some of our best cultural and learning institutions, including the Walters Art Museum, Joseph Meyeroff Symphony Hall, Lyric Opera House, Peabody Conservatory, Baltimore School for the Performing Arts, and flagship branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library. The Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is at its edge, near Station North.The neighborhood has become the center of Baltimore’s LGBT-friendly nightlife and community activities.
Mount Vernon is close to the onramp for I-83N, for easy travel to Hampden, Towson, 695, etc. It’s also a quick walk to Penn Station, an option for DC commuters who don’t want to drive.
As an alternative to I-83, the Light Rail runs on Howard Street, the neighborhood’s western edge. Mt. Vernon is hilly, and some inclines between major streets are steep. The area often hosts Summer festivals that close the roads. Street parking is always a challenge, especially on weekends.
Station North . 21202
Homes available now (no condos yet)
The Station North Arts and Entertainment District area gets its (relatively new) name from its closeness to Penn Station, at the junction of Charles Street and I-83. In the past fifteen years, its grown from an area with many vacancies and few attractions to a healthy destination for living and socializing. Much of Station North retail runs along Charles Street, with portions on North Avenue near the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). The name “Arts and Entertainment District” isn’t a marketing gimmick; it’s a state designation which allows tax credits and building rehabilitation credits for artists who live and work in the area.
The neighborhood is close to the onramp for I-83, for easy travel to Hampden, Towson, 695, etc. The MARC train from Penn Station is available for DC commuters who don’t want to drive. Johns Hopkins University and the Charles Village neighborhood are a bit further up Charles St.
Street parking for visitors is still easy to find, since the area isn’t as dense with retail and housing as others here.
The neighborhood itself has no condos yet. However, its ornate three-story early 20th century rowhomes were originally upscale residences, and are available for less than smaller homes in other Baltimore areas.
Charles Village . 21218
Hampden . 21211
Hampden is Baltimore’s focal point for hipster, alternative, and artisanal style, though the Station North area around MICA is giving it some competition. “The Avenue” (36th street) has grown into a retail destination for discerning foodies and vintage shoppers as well as artists and music lovers. The neighborhood’s industrial border near Clipper Park Road recently gained well-regarded restaurants and its first pro-managed apartment complex.
Hampden’s appeal is the culture, not its architecture or amenities. Hampden has no condominiums or new townhome development. Both its housing stock and retail stores are mostly simple, narrow 20th-century working-class rowhomes or shops. Owners and developers here tend to reuse old buildings largely as-is, instead of extensively renovating, or constructing something new.
The area is directly off Route 83N’s Falls Road exit. Despite its thriving shopping scene, the neighborhood has no paid parking lots or garages. Street parking on the Avenue (36th St) is 2 hours max, at 50 cents/hour. Parking on side streets is typically free. A few spots closer to the Avenue are coin-operated.