Great city for ages 18-30. Get out while you can.
For starters Baltimore is a great independent city filled with rich history, great sports teams (present/ past), a variety of cultural foods and local delicacies all wrapped up in a place jokingly referred to as “Smalltimore”. The Under Armour headquarters is based out of here, not to forgot about the growing tech sector, the expanding neighborhoods of Harbor East and South Point, the excellent array of hospitals (John’s Hopkin’s, Mercy, and the University of Maryland healthcare systems) and colleges within the city with so much more; however, like every city there is pockets of good and bad, but with this city there are a lot more bad things than good.?
Crime, corruption, pollution/ trash on the roads, jay walkers who will willingly walk in the middle of traffic during a rush hour, a majority populous who only votes for democratic candidates who mostly are unqualified (the city doesn’t even have a Office of Ethics until 2019), and some of the worst infrastructure I've seen.
Traffic is horrendous and over the years they have implemented traffic monitors who ignore the light patterns and tell you to drive; but, it doesn't work. You're also pan handled and extorted by 'legalized' window washers who forceful fashion mug you and attempt to destroy your property if you don't pay them (and it is only getting worse). During the years of the Indy car races the roads in the summer time were even worse as repaving happened every year and traffic jams were a constant thing. In 2019 potholes have went unmanaged and you're more likely to damage your car than to get home safely. The bus system is average and there are plenty of routes if you’re living in the city, as for metro lines they’re very limited (I’ve never used the subway and most people I know don’t). The is a light-rail system that will take you from the county south (Anne Arundel) throughout the city to the north-west area of Reisterstown to the county of Baltimore. Speaking of safety, crime is on the rise and has never been worse.
Since I can remember I've always heard about a murder, a robbery, a stolen car, etcetera in the news - so much so when I left Baltimore and went to other cities, I thought it was 'odd' to not hear about stories my local news channels cover daily. I've seen people shot, mugged, property just damaged because it was there, drugs, break-in's, copper stolen out of light poles just so a junkie can get a fix, car’s jacked (while parked or while being drove), random fighting and a lot more. It is overwhelming, and though people ask if Baltimore is like the HBO "the wire" I sometimes smile and say no... it's much worse. It’s not like this everywhere, as I mentioned before, and there is plenty good things too.
Some spots have been gentrified over the years but there are far more depilated properties once you head north and west. There are great markets spread out throughout the city with one of the largest places smack-dab in the middle of the city. You can find all types of fresh seafood, goods, and even have services performed for reasonable prices. Shopping elsewhere has been more about going out to the county as Towson Town Mall, Arundel Mills, and White Marsh Mall’s have severed the area for decades. There is an array of retailers such as Brooks Brothers, J.Crew, and other haberdasheries if you’re looking for tailored goods - hat’s on the belfry is a great hat shop for all sex’s in Fell’s Point. Target is located on the East side of the city in the expanding Canton neighborhood, and more shops have been added over the last 4 years. There are great corner store markets, and some shoppers enjoy organic options offered from Whole Food’s in Harbor East. There is a lot more than I’ve named and there is something for everyone out there. If shopping isn’t your thing, there are plenty of neighborhood bars, seafood eateries, brunch spots, and high end dining options. If you’re looking for family friendly spots there are plenty scattered throughout the Inner Harbor and the residing neighborhoods. Not only is there great shopping there is world-class entertainment venues and more parks than most cities I’ve visited.
As for the entertainment side, the famous historic Hippodrome is a great spot to check out broadway plays, or prepare for a night out at the Royal Farm’s area and see big name artists as they play in a remodeled arena; but, there is so much more! You can visit Ram’s Head Live! And see many bands year round in a much smaller area than DC’s 9:30 Club with unrestricted views of your favorite musicians or enjoy a concert overlooking the harbor at the MECU (formerly Pier 6) pavilion. Aforementioned sports in this city are played as some of the best examples of stadiums in the US. The Orioles at Camden Yards is consistently rated as one of the best stadiums to visit and the Baltimore Raven’s M&T Bank is a gem in itself. If you’re not about loud music and sports there is a multitude of museums and art exhibits - the Walter’s has one of the largest free collections I’ve ever seen. Or if you’re into street art, Graffiti Lane is a cool spot to see.
My last comments are based on age, as I feel like Baltimore is a great city to live in your 18-30 year’s as the night life and partying is affordable and plentiful and great for connecting, but, I wouldn’t raise a family here - there has been too many stories about how a mother with a baby in her hand has been robbed that make me feel uncomfortable about the city. If you have to work in the city may I suggest checking out the county.
There is so much more to say and I know I am missing a lot, just keep in mind with all the good of charm city there is a lot more bad that comes with it.
William | Baltimore, MD