5 Great Neighborhoods in Baltimore

Explore Baltimore's top neighborhoods and find out where you'd like to visit—or live.
By: Christianna McCausland
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Flagship Neighborhood: Federal Hill

No neighborhood has benefited from the trend in urban renewal quite like Federal Hill, where professional 20- and 30-somethings as well as a growing flock of empty-nesters have bought up and renovated the 19th-century brick row houses and created a lively and tightknit community dominated by singles and newlyweds enjoying the first blush of urban living. Federal Hill contains a phalanx of bars and restaurants, the newly renovated Cross Street Market, funky, locally owned shops and is located within walking distance of the Inner Harbor and downtown so residents can often walk to work.

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If Federal Hill is the wild party girl, its neighbor Otterbein is the quiet, studious sister. Featuring similar brick row house architecture but in a quieter setting, Otterbein appeals to those who’ve matured away from Federal Hill’s revelry but still want to be near its vitality.


Flagship neighborhood: Guilford

Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead and kept tidy under the watchful eye of the Guilford Association, this is one of Baltimore's most attractive neighborhoods and a sought-after address. Guilford is known for the exquisite architecture of its large, gracious homes and for its lovely gardens and parks. Each spring Baltimoreans flock to Guilford’s Sherwood Gardens to witness its masses of blooming tulips. A nationally registered historic district, homes in Guilford are a luxury item and come with a hefty price tag, ensuring the neighbors are predominantly well-to-do professionals, often with families.

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Homeland isn’t as swanky as Guilford, but this historic district is still a name-dropping address. One of the country’s first planned communities in the 1920s, Homeland contains tastefully designed homes in styles from French Country to Colonial. An architectural committee ensures that taste always prevails. Homeland is popular with wealthy families who enjoy the man-made lakes in the heart of the neighborhood.

Hampden. Old-school, blue-collar Baltimore meets the new class of young, artistic urban pioneers in this neighborhood of mostly row houses (and some Victorian single homes). “The Avenue,” Hampden’s main thoroughfare, is famed as Baltimore’s destination for unique shops, and the nearby mills where workers once toiled have been converted into lofts, art studios, galleries and organic restaurants. Easy access to Light Rail (public transit) makes scooting downtown a breeze.

Wyman Park is all about row houses, though many have small front and backyards, and residents get to enjoy the open space of the park that gives the neighborhood its name.


Flagship Neighborhood: Charles Village

Charles Village is as vibrant as the “painted ladies” -- brightly painted Victorian row houses -- for which it is known. Located next to Baltimore’s intellectual center, Johns Hopkins University, and its cultural gem, the Baltimore Museum of Art, Charles Village has the feeling of a small college town with bohemian urban flair. There is a mix of row houses, high rises and adaptive reuse warehouse lofts to fit every budget, and the neighborhood is ethnically and racially diverse. Anything goes here; longtime blue-collar residents coexist with hipster couples, immigrant families, and retired people.

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Waverly provides something few neighborhoods in Baltimore can boast: culturally and racially diverse homeowners, affordable homes, a solid working-to-middle class base and relatively low crime. This area is home to fabulous ethnic restaurants and hosts one of the best farmers’ markets in town.


Flagship Neighborhood: Canton

Fifteen years ago Canton was the land that time forgot. The area that was once home to bustling waterfront industrial activity and the immigrant populations who made up Baltimore’s blue-collar base became a ghost town when local rust belt industry dried up. Young professionals returning to the city and the desire for waterfront homes drove unprecedented urban renewal that has filled Canton’s brick row houses with yuppies and its luxury harbor-front condominiums with retired couples, divorcees and anyone bored with the suburbs. The Canton Square and its host of watering holes create a social hub.

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Brewers Hill is within walking distance to Canton’s nightlife, the waterfront Korean War Memorial Park and Patterson Park as well as the former National Brewing Company now cleverly redeveloped into a retail hotspot.


Flagship Neighborhood: Mt. Washington

This community was originally a “street car” suburb where wealthy Baltimoreans could head to avoid the heat of the central city and relax in the relative cool of the far-flung outskirts. Mt. Washington still brings together that feeling of suburban quiet and urban vitality, though the street car has been replaced by the Light Rail. There are small bungalow homes and large Victorian houses as well as a smattering of garden apartments that appeal to individuals, couples, families and empty-nesters -- all of whom are invested in the community and likely to stay. At the hub of the community is Mt. Washington Village, which features small shops, restaurants and salons.

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Glen is a diverse community of mostly single-family homes. A tight knit, unassuming community, Glen is close to the walking trails of Cylburn Arboretum and the excitement of the Pimlico Racetrack. The location of the Jewish Community Center and Baltimore Hebrew College in Glen speaks to the cultural diversity of the area.

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