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Thread: Baltimore, MD

  1. #1
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    Baltimore, MD

    I want to leave Boston because of the ridiculous cost of living here and to be closer to some friends in Washington, D.C. -- however, I don't want to live in D.C. because it's overpriced as well...

    What are people's thoughts on Baltimore? Pros and Cons? I know the obvious -- less educated, more crime....but I'd like some opinions from people who really know the city.....also what areas are good places to purchase a new townhouse or home...?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by narrator
    I want to leave Boston because of the ridiculous cost of living here and to be closer to some friends in Washington, D.C. -- however, I don't want to live in D.C. because it's overpriced as well...

    What are people's thoughts on Baltimore? Pros and Cons? I know the obvious -- less educated, more crime....but I'd like some opinions from people who really know the city.....also what areas are good places to purchase a new townhouse or home...?

    As a transplant Baltimorean of 7 years, I can definitely help you out. Depending upon your situation, a new townhouse in Baltimore may be just as overpriced as Beantown or DC. Most of the new townhouse construction is concentrated near the Inner Harbor. However, you may be able to purchase a townhome in a transitional and rehab it to your liking for a lot less money. This is what the Mrs. ...Star and I are doing. Like a lot of cities, you really can't judge Baltimore on neighborhoods alone. There's a lot of pockets and enclaves that will really suprise some people. As a confession, I like Washington more than I like Baltimore. However, Baltimore has less expensive housing options and better food(think cheaper) in my opinion. Besides, the attractions of DC are only a 45min. car or train ride away. Hopefully, some Baltimore area Cyburbians will chime in as well.
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally posted by the north omaha star
    As a transplant Baltimorean of 7 years, I can definitely help you out. Depending upon your situation, a new townhouse in Baltimore may be just as overpriced as Beantown or DC. Most of the new townhouse construction is concentrated near the Inner Harbor. However, you may be able to purchase a townhome in a transitional and rehab it to your liking for a lot less money. This is what the Mrs. ...Star and I are doing. Like a lot of cities, you really can't judge Baltimore on neighborhoods alone. There's a lot of pockets and enclaves that will really suprise some people. As a confession, I like Washington more than I like Baltimore. However, Baltimore has less expensive housing options and better food(think cheaper) in my opinion. Besides, the attractions of DC are only a 45min. car or train ride away. Hopefully, some Baltimore area Cyburbians will chime in as well.

    Thanks for the input....and yes by "new" townhome or house I meant rehabbing or purchasing a recently renovated...

    any more input?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian the north omaha star's avatar
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    You should check out the City's website at www.ci.baltimore.md.us. Check this website out. www.livebaltimore.com. LiveBaltimore is a non-profit that promotes City living. I used work with the Exec. Dir. at another non-profit.
    I am recognizing that the voice inside my head
    is urging me to be myself but never follow someone else
    Because opinions are like voices we all have a different kind". --Q-Tip

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by narrator
    I want to leave Boston because of the ridiculous cost of living here and to be closer to some friends in Washington, D.C. -- however, I don't want to live in D.C. because it's overpriced as well...

    What are people's thoughts on Baltimore? Pros and Cons? I know the obvious -- less educated, more crime....but I'd like some opinions from people who really know the city.....also what areas are good places to purchase a new townhouse or home...?
    I've lived in Baltimore most of my life. Though the cost of living is quite low, so is the quality of life. In fact, the city is quite lifeless. Beyond the Inner Harbor, which has increasingly become just another mall, there's no there there. Most people are forced to commute to the suburbs for everything. Until a few months ago, my parents couldn't find a quality grocery store near the neighborhood. The city is very dry when it comes to jobs as well as entertainment opps. In a city of 650,000 people you should not be able to count the no. of movie theaters on one hand. Besides that crime is rampant and the taxes are insane for such a low quality lifestyle. I could say so much more, but the night is young. Yet rapidly aging.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    I'll start right out by saying that I don't have a (short--from your posts you sound youngish) lifetime's experience with Baltimore. I don't live there, though I'm working and saving up to move there, or close to it. My perspective on it comes from the time I spent exploring the city while going to college down 'round there, and from people who live there who I know. But even from that little bit, I can say that not for everybody is it the dreary hole it sounds like it was for you. And it is slowly--emphasis on slowly, but then all big changes take time--getting better.

    You say your parents couldn't find a "quality grocery store near the neighborhood" until "a few months ago." That means that they can find one now. And a few more are in the works, in Waverly and I think Highlandtown. Also, did most of your neighbors really have to go to the suburbs for everything ? I've seen just enough of the city to know that that would be true of some neighborhoods, but certainly not all.

    Jobs in Baltimore, in almost any category, are tighter than the D.C. area, I'll grant you that, although it sounds like narrator can afford to commute to the suburbs or D.C. if he (or she?) can't find a job in the city itself.

    If you, or narrator, or anyone else, needs different entertainment outside of home and hood every night of the week, than yes, Baltimore is definitely dry. But there is quite a bit going on, especially if you like smaller pubs/bars, or are willing to give local bands a listen, or venture somewhere other than downtown. You have to look a little harder than in D.C. to find it, that's all. And for variety, D.C. isn't far away, and there's even a little bit to be found in some of the suburbs.

    Crime is just about as rampant and taxes are just about as high in D.C. What's more, most (not all, but most) murders in Baltimore are tied to the drug trade, and while the murder rate has picked up a bit (after dropping for a few years), almost all other crimes are still steadily decreasing. I wish I could say anything positive about the tax situation, but beyond the fact that Baltimore taxes (and prices for most things) are still lower than Boston's, or NY or DC, I really can't.

    There's more "there" there than in any of the region's suburbs (including the D.C. region), even beyond the Inner Harbor. The shopping venues at the Harbor are by themselves no better than a large mall. But since when is "just another mall" is in the midst of a substantial city's downtown, within walking distance of a major aquarium, two sports stadia, and an arena, among other things.

    Narrator, the best advice I have is to come down to Baltimore and see it for yourself. Maybe spend a few weekends, when you can, with those friends in DC and drive up and explore. Before you do, keep talking to people from (or transplanted to) the area, find out what several different people think of life there; different people have different needs and experiences, so don't depend on just one or two (or three) individual perspectives. Search job listings in your field, and home/apartment listings. The sites north omaha star gave you are good ones (though LiveBaltimore does sugarcoat a few neighborhoods, like Reservoir Hill, a bit.) The Baltimore Sun (www.baltimoresun.com ) has both, but by no means does it list all there is. Then come down and see the place for yourself--a quick drive-through or a trip to the Harbor won't cut it. Actually get out and walk around some of the (safer) neighborhoods, maybe visit some of the businesses in your field. See if there are any jobs and/or homes available that are to your liking, before making any decisions.

    Good luck, and I hope you find something/place that fits you.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 30 Oct 2004 at 4:37 PM.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for your input B'lieve. Location isn't much of a factor as I'm in consulting...I can live anywhere...I know Baltimore sounds like an odd choice...but I'd like to help an improving city, be close to friends in D.C. and save some money...although I love Boston my quality of life is effected by the harsh winters and over priced housing...i'm out soon..

  8. #8

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    I don't have much firsthand knowledge of Baltimore, but I understand that city leaders are promoting the city to would-be home buyers in DC who are looking for a more affordable urban lifestyle. Commuting from Baltimore to DC is certainly plausible, especially if you can do it by train. I have know a couple of people who moved up to Baltimore and work in the DC area -- so it's not unheard of. Probably be preferable to live and work in Baltimore though. Hard to say how long the housing boom can continue in DC, but if it does that may indirectly help promote the revitalization of Baltimore. It's less clear whether the return of baseball to DC will have a negative impact on Baltimore.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    You're welcome.

    A friend of mine lives in Baltimore and commutes to work in DC, by light rail-MARC train-DC Metrorail, and the same in reverse order on the way home. He says it takes just about as long as driving, but it's less stressful. I haven't asked whether the cost of fares is balanced by savings on gas and parking, but I wouldn't be surprised if that were true.

    As for the baseball teams, I could never abandon the Orioles for any team, especially one from DC. That said, if the O's want to maintain revenue and keep more than just their hard-core fans, all they have to do is field a better team. Other things, like the Port, are far more critical to the city and region than a baseball team. I don't think DC baseball is something worth worrying too much about.

    Best of luck with your search, narrator.

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