The Best Places to Live in Maryland (A 2019 Guide)

The Best places to live in Maryland.

Maryland is one of the few states that only has one major city, Baltimore. This makes determining the best places to live in Maryland challenging. With that said, the state is filled with lovely little towns scattered across a stunning and diverse landscape decorated with rolling hills, pine-covered mountains, sand dunes, and beaches. If you need some more coaxing, we wrote an entire article covering some of the amazing aspects of the state, here.

To kick things off, we’re going to start with the most obvious location on our list of best places to live in Maryland… Baltimore. But, don’t let that stop you from reading on if you’re a small town boy or girl, we think we’ve got some options further down on this list you will be quite fond of (oh, and by way of introduction, we’re Bellhops—movers in Maryland and throughout the country).

1. Baltimore, the “Charm City” that’s finally beginning to live up to its name.

We’re in the midst of an interesting time here in the United States. As large popular cities like San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles are becoming extremely overcrowded young creatives, entrepreneurs and remote workers are saying “forget it” and moving to far less popular yet underrated locations like Chattanooga, Richmond and Pittsburgh.

We would feel comfortable throwing Baltimore on this list, too. While the city is by no means small at 600,000 residents, it’s safe to say it is a less popular choice when compared to other East Coast cities like Washington D.C., New York City, Boston, and Philly. Not to mention, it’s in the midst of a reinvention.

In an article published in The Smithsonian, “How Baltimore Quietly Became the East Coast’s Next Cool City,” travel and leisure writer David Amsden revisits the place he was born and raised after being away for nearly two decades.

What he experiences is a mixture of old and new, some he recognizes, most he doesn’t. And, millennials seem to agree with him (granted we hate being called that). From 2000 – 2010, the number of degree-holding young professionals in Baltimore increased by 92%.

Instead of joining the rat race in larger cities and living paycheck to paycheck, young people are heading to Baltimore where their money can go quite a bit further.

Sean Wen, a twenty-five-year-old professional who previously worked at Goldman Sachs in Texas, shared with The Christian Science Monitor his reasoning for making a jump to Charm City, “A lot of my decision to come here had to do with being in a city where I knew I could make some positive impact.”

Sean, along with hundreds of other millennials are joining a program called Venture for America that links recent graduates and young professionals with jobs at startups in locations like Baltimore, Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Kansas City. Bellhops actually services many of the cities on the list of places Venture for America works out of, so if you land a gig in one of these locations, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Anyway, who is Baltimore really for?

Baltimore is for the young professional looking to make change happen. It’s for movers and shakers. We highly recommend Baltimore for those interested in living close to (but not actually living in) major East Coast cities. Baltimore is a 30-minute drive to Washington D.C., it’s a one hour drive from Philadelphia, and it’s a two-hour drive from New York City. We’ve written about and explored quite a few places here at Bellhops, and we have yet to see a large (but very liveable city) that close to some of the biggest players in the United States. And, if you like crab cakes, well that’s another sell on Baltimore… or Maryland for that matter. But more on that here in a moment.

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2. Get a little funky in Takoma Park.

Takoma Park, Maryland is a stone’s throw from Washington D.C. In fact, it’s so close that sometimes folks find themselves making cultural comparisons between the two. Don’t. They’re nothing alike, and this is what makes Takoma Park the perfect place for you and those you love to call home.

It’s left. Far left. Wayyyy left. So, if you’re a die-hard Republican, pack your bags and head further south. But, if living in a very free-spirited liberal place is your jam then you will love Takoma Park.

For one, life in Takoma Park is Earthy-crunchy, it’s 20,000 residents are nature lovers and solar power advocates that are extremely passionate about creating a municipality that is a “nuclear-free zone.” Some would describe it as being a hippie haven, full of hot yoga studios, vintage clothing shops, vinyl record stores, and more vegetarian restaurants than you can shake a stick at.

So, who is Takoma Park for?

This is an easy answer, so we’ll keep it short. Takoma Park is for earthy crunchy free-spirited folks looking to live in a smaller town within close proximity to a larger city. It’s for vegetarians. It’s for yoga practitioners. It’s for nature lovers.  If none of these resonate with you, get the heck out of dodge.

3. Thurmont, small but oh so mighty.

At a population of just over 6,000 people, it’s natural to wonder why on Earth Thurmont ended up on our list of best places to live in Maryland.

Well, a few reasons. For one, Thurmont’s average income sets at right around $68,000. Yes, you read that correctly.

And, to add to this, the average house costs only $229,000. And, while this small town is certainly not for everyone, if you’re a lover of the outdoors then you couldn’t ask for a better place to call home.

Thurmont is located smack dab in the middle of two stunning state parks and is known locally as the “Gateway to the Mountains.” One of the parks it is adjacent to is Cunningham Falls State Park which boasts the largest waterfall in Maryland. And, with the town also being next to the Catoctin Mountain Park, residents have easy access to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

So, who is Thurmont for?

Thurmont isn’t for the young professional looking to make some big moves in a big city. We would only recommend this town for the outdoorsy type who is either a professional that works remotely or someone looking to retire in a quaint town near the mountains. If that’s not you, take another look at Baltimore.

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4. Fly anywhere, anytime in Fredrick.

Fredrick, Maryland is quite a bit bigger than Thurmont and Takoma Park but still small compared to Baltimore. At roughly 70,000 people (240,000 when you count the greater Frederick Maryland area), some might say the city is a perfect size. One interesting fact about Frederick is that 50% of the United States population lives within an 8-hour drive of the city. That’s pretty crazy when you take a moment to think about it…

In addition to this, Fredrick is a nice blend of both historic and contemporary. Its historic downtown area is dominated by beautiful old churches that stand like masterpieces on the Frederick skyline.

One quick Google search and you’ll be able to see what we’re talking about here. The city is breathtaking, honestly. It’s old buildings have been repurposed versus knocked down and built over and it has a beautiful canal that runs through the city with lovely walking and biking paths along the sides of it.

When the sun goes down, the skyline turns to fire creating the perfect backdrop for the beautiful old buildings. The city was named one of the nation’s Distinct Destination because of its incredible job preserving its buildings.

Not to mention, if you are a jet-setter and feel more comfortable in the air than on the ground, Frederick is actually close to three international airports. Yes, you read that right. It’s within a close drive to Reagan National, Dulles, and BWI.

It’s also worth mentioning that Frederick is home to a growing regional airport and close to two other regional airports… Hagerstown Regional Airport and Gaithersburg Regional Airport. What we’re trying to say here is that you won’t have any trouble getting where you need to go for cheap from Fredrick, that’s for sure.

So, who is Frederick for?

We recommend Fredrick for families of professionals that might find themselves needing to do a lot of traveling but who aren’t wanting to deal with the craziness of a bigger more congested city. Frederick isn’t so small that you’ll run out of things to do, but it’s not so big that you’ll find yourself getting lost there, either.

Final thoughts on the best places to live in Maryland.

As we mentioned at the beginning, Maryland is a funky state when it comes to cities. It’s absolutely breathtaking, but unlike other states, there aren’t too many large cities that exist there.

So, as far as the best places to live in Maryland goes, we have to give it up to Baltimore. While Baltimore has been known for having a relatively high crime rate, we think the benefits you will get living in such a big city within such close proximity of other cities is worth the risk. As we mentioned earlier, Baltimore is only a 30-minute drive to Washington D.C., it’s a one hour drive from Philadelphia, and it’s a two-hour drive from New York City.

Sorry, but we just don’t think you can beat that. With that said, if you are looking for something smaller you can’t go wrong with Fredrick, Thurmont or Takoma Park. You really can’t.

And, always remember, if you find yourself worn out while moving or simply need a helping hand, don’t hesitate to give us a call. While we don’t currently service the smaller cities and towns on our list of best places to live in Maryland, we do service Baltimore and would be more than happy to help you settle in. So if you decide to move in or to Maryland, don’t hesitate to reach out. We coordinate local and long-distance moving services in Maryland, and we would love to help!

Looking for a state with more cities to choose from? Take a peek at our write-ups on Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia.

Best of luck!

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