We've divided the Baltimore area's residential communities into three regions: North of Baltimore (Baltimore County), Downtown Baltimore, and South of Baltimore (Howard County).
The data below, shared courtesy of the Johns Hopkins Medical Auxiliary (JHMA), shows where most Johns Hopkins residents, fellows, and new attending physicians lived during the 2020-2021 academic year.
Graph copyright of Lokhandwala Realty
To get a true feel for Baltimore area neighborhoods, we recommend spending an afternoon driving around, if you have the time. Neighborhoods north and south of the city provide a more suburban setting: single-family homes and townhomes with larger yards and green spaces. Coming from the north, it's a 25-minute drive to downtown Baltimore in normal traffic. The MTA LightRail operates routes from Hunt Valley (north of Lutherville-Timonium) to BWI and points downtown, including Camden Yards, but the line stops several blocks from Johns Hopkins Hospital. Traffic is heavier commuting from the south. The drive on I-95 from Columbia to downtown Baltimore takes roughly 30 minutes in ideal conditions.
In contrast, Baltimore's historic downtown neighborhoods offer a distinctive city-dwelling experience: more compact and close-knit living spaces with easy access to the best of Baltimore's restaurants, workplaces, nightlife, and attractions. Baltimore's public transit system isn't as widespread or reliable as those in Washington, D.C. or New York City. However, Baltimore's MetroSubWayLink runs from Owings Mills to directly underneath Johns Hopkins Hospital and is scheduled every eight to ten minutes during morning and evening rush hours. Parking can be tight in certain downtown neighborhoods. If you’re bringing your car, make sure you have a designated parking spot or parking pad.
For Johns Hopkins University employees and students, JHMI Transportation provides free Employee and Student Courtesy Shuttles connecting from the main campus to multiple points in the city, as well as to affiliate/satellite campuses. The JHMI Vehicle Escort Service (powered by JHMI Transportation) offers rides to all Johns Hopkins University and Health System faculty, staff, students, and trainees living within designated boundaries. JH SafeRide (powered by Lyft) is now offering a pilot transportation program for all Johns Hopkins pre-doctorate students in the School of Medicine, School of Nursing or School of Public Health living within designated boundaries. Johns Hopkins Corporate Security also provides 24/7 walking escorts anywhere within campus limits. Ask your training program about similar transportation initiatives, and check out our blog for additional commute details.
Baltimore County and Howard County are home to several designated No Child Left Behind Blue-Ribbon Schools. For additional school data, we offer links to GreatSchools.org ratings in each neighborhood. For crime statistics, livability information, and other neighborhood data, we offer links to AreaVibes. We make no personal assessments/comments or guarantees about school quality, resident demographics, or crime statistics. Use the provided links to further your own research in these areas.
As you plan your move to Baltimore, we also recommend joining physician/family networking groups such as the Johns Hopkins Medical Auxiliary (JHMA). You'll make valuable connections in a new city - plus you'll get the "inside scoop" on local neighborhoods and events.
North of Baltimore
Driving Distance to JHH: ~15 miles (25 min)
Driving Distance to UMMC: ~16 miles (24 min)
Driving Distance to JHBV: ~15 miles (19 min)
For quintessential suburban living close to the city, you can't top Lutherville-Timonium (our home since 2015). The area offers a variety of attractive housing options, including luxury townhome communities with ample common green space, as well as 1, 2, and 3-bedroom condominiums and affordable single-family homes. With easy access to I-83, Lutherville-Timonium is only a 20-minute commute to downtown - if you beat the rush hour. The MTA LightRail also makes multiple stops in the area.
Lutherville-Timonium is home to a variety of shopping areas, restaurants, schools, and public parks – including Loch Raven Reservoir. The nearby Hunt Valley Towne Centre offers shopping, dining, and a summer outdoor concert series. The Maryland State Fair is held in Timonium every August/September.
Driving Distance to JHH ~13 miles (21 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~16 miles (23 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~14 miles (19 min.)
Towson boasts the comforts of small, college-town living and the proximity to city amenities. A variety of affordable single-family homes and townhomes are located convenient to I-695 and an easy commute downtown. Home to Towson University and Goucher College. Towson is known for its restaurants and shops, including Towson Town Center - Baltimore County’s largest indoor mall with a Cinemark multiplex - and Towson Square open-air mall. Join the Y in Towson (Orokowa), featuring an indoor pool, family-friendly amenities, and discount rates for Johns Hopkins employees. Notable community activities in Towson include the annual Fourth of July Parade.
Also part of Towson and just seven miles from downtown, Loch Raven and Loch Raven Village offer suburban living just outside the city limits. These are two communities of attractive and affordable brick townhomes built in the 1950s. Many of the homes feature hardwood floors and basement recreation areas. Both neighborhoods are convenient to Towson's shopping and entertainment centers, as well as to schools and major highways, including I-695. Parking is sometimes tight here, but many homes have backyard parking pads for off-street convenience.
Driving Distance to JHH ~10 miles (22 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~10 miles (20 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~16 miles (24 min.)
AreaVibes Livability Score: 74
This tree-lined neighborhood of charming brick townhomes is traditionally pricier than Towson and known for its public open spaces and active Rodgers Forge Community Association. Part of the greater Towson area, Rodgers Forge offers easy access to Towson’s shopping and entertainment centers in a picturesque suburban setting just miles from downtown. The Rodgers Forge Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places and home to beautiful parks, including its “Tot Lot” playground.
Driving Distance to JHH ~11 miles (20 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~17 miles (21 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~10 miles (14 min.)
Just outside of Towson limits, Parkville is another suburb with a “hometown” feel. Parkville does not have as many open spaces or nearby entertainment as neighboring towns; however, Zumba at Putty Hill Park offers local skating and recreational opportunities. Plus, the amenities of Towson and White Marsh are minutes away by car.
Driving Distance to JHH ~14 miles (22 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~16 miles (20 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~22 miles (25 min.)
Pikesville, the closest northwestern suburb to Baltimore, is an easy commute downtown from I-695. With a population of only 30,000 people, it’s another option for those city commuters searching for a small-town feel. Reiserstown Road provides a hub of restaurants and amenities – although traffic can become heavy in that area.
Driving Distance to JHH ~21 miles (27 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~19 miles (21 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~27 miles (28 min.)
Owings Mills has become less popular in recent years. Nevertheless, residents still enjoy numerous townhomes and condominiums with easy access to the Northern end of the Baltimore Metro line, for an easy commute downtown with a stop inside Johns Hopkins Hospital. Owings Mills is home to satellite branches of the Community College of Baltimore, ITT technical Institute, and Stevenson University – as well as the Irvine Nature Center and Baltimore Ravens Headquarters. Residents also enjoy the newly-constructed Foundry Row shopping center with restaurants, retail stores, and Wegman’s grocery store.
Middle River / White Marsh / Nottingham
Driving Distance to JHH ~11 miles (18 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~15 miles (21 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~8 miles (15 min.)
The growing communities of White Marsh, Nottingham, and Middle River are known for secluded and affordable single-family homes with easy access to I-95, I-695, and numerous businesses and amenities. New residential developments, such as Whitemarsh Estates, offer popular suburban housing options.
The Avenue at White Marsh is a well-known hub for shopping and dining that also sponsors seasonal community events such as summer musical performances, outdoor ice skating, and a tree lighting and holiday parade. The White Marsh Mall is another local shopping destination, with special activities planned weekly for visitors of all ages and interests. Ikea and Target are within a few miles’ drive, and residents frequent The Y in Perry Hall for recreation and childcare.
Driving Distance to JHH ~8 miles (16 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~8 miles (14 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~11 miles (23 min.)
Mount Washington is a thriving historic community of affordable single-family homes and townhomes with spacious yard. This neighborhood features suburban-style living within city limits. Mount Washington Village and Mount Washington Mill are home to numerous restaurants, salons, and stores, including Whole Foods and Starbucks. The Baltimore Light Rail’s Camden Station, located nearby, provides a quick commute to downtown and BWI. Mount Washington has plenty of tree-filled streets and open spaces, including University of Baltimore Fields, and other beautiful sights, such as the Clyburn Arboretum. The Johns Hopkins Conference Center, Mount Washington Pediatric Hospital, and Sinai Hospital are all located in Mount Washington.
Homeland / Belvedere Square
Driving Distance to JHH ~8 miles (18 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~9 miles (17 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~9 miles (24 min.)
The Homeland/Belvedere Square area, bordered by Charles Street and York Road near the Towson line, is a neighborhood of mostly older, affordable single-family homes with spacious yards. Residents live close to entertainment at the historic Senator Theater, as well as events sponsored by Loyola University. The Belvedere Square Market offers many restaurants and an outdoor Summer Sounds Concert Series on Friday nights.
Driving Distance to JHH ~7 miles (17 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~8 miles (16 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~10 miles (25 min.)
Bordered by Falls Road and the East Northern Parkway, Roland Park was America’s first planned suburban community. Roland Park has a “college-town feel,” offering a variety of reasonably-priced (compared to city rates) single-family homes close to restaurants, multiple private schools, and St. Mary’s Seminary & University. For approximately the same cost as a downtown apartment or townhome, Roland Park residents enjoy ample parking on tree-lined streets, plus access to the beautiful Roland Park Pool. Roland Park Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Hampden / Druid Hill Park
Driving Distance to JHH ~4 miles (12 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~5 miles (11 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~7 miles (19 min.)
Located along the Woodbury light rail stop, Hampden offers a variety of housing options, from townhomes with backyards to apartment living. Hampden boasts many restaurants, bars, and shops. A shuttle runs from the nearby Johns Hopkins Homewood Campus to the Johns Hopkins Hospital downtown. Hampden residents enjoy shopping and dining on 36th Street, known as “The Avenue,” as well as checking out the street art.
Each summer, Hampden celebrates HONfest – (honoring the Baltimore term of endearment: “hon” or “honey”) a music and arts festival where 35,000+ attendees sport beehive hairdos, cat’s-eye glasses, poodle skirts, and flamingo attire. Other annual Hamden events include September’s Hampdenfest, celebrating local merchants.
The area’s historic Druid Hill Park, a hub for picnics and other recreational activities, is currently undergoing renovations. The City plans to decrease the size of the Druid Lake Reservoir to make room for an additional 14 acres of green space, which a wider promenade, a cycling path, and an amphitheater. Adjacent to Druid Hill Park is the Maryland Zoo, a must-see attraction for visitors.
Driving Distance to JHH ~3 miles (12 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~3 miles (10 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~7 miles (20 min.)
Charles Village is a community of spacious rowhomes located adjacent to Johns Hopkins University campus and less than three miles from Johns Hopkins Hospital. Rent in Charles Village is typically more affordable than other downtown neighborhoods, such as Fells Point or Canton, and the homes offer plenty of yard space. Charles Village is close to plenty of restaurants, a year-round farmer’s market, and grocery stores such as Eddie’s of Roland Park, as well as the Enoch Pratt Library, Baltimore Museum of Art, and Hampden’s 36th Street.
Driving Distance to JHH ~2 miles (8 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~2 miles (8 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~4 miles (15 min.)
Mount Vernon offers center-city living at its best, with a mix of modern high-rise apartment buildings and older townhomes surrounded by a beautiful park and the nation’s first monument dedicated to George Washington. Residents enjoy easy access to restaurants, museums, and theaters, as well as the annual FlowerMart celebration each May, outdoor concerts and festivals throughout the year, and the Monument Lighting each December.
Driving Distance to JHH ~0.5 miles (4 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~3 miles (11 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~3 miles (10 min.)
Located Northeast of Patterson Park, Butchers Hill is close enough to the city’s main historic neighborhoods, yet tucked away enough to provide a quiet and friendly hometown atmosphere. As with many of Baltimore’s historic areas, rent in Butchers Hill can be high. However, residents enjoy the ease of living close to The Johns Hopkins Medical Center, along with the activities of Patterson Park. The Butchers Hill Association hosts multiple neighborhood activities, including a house tour, flea markets, and neighborhood cleanups.
Driving Distance to JHH ~1.5 miles (7 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~3 miles (12 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~2 miles (9 min.)
Patterson Park is a popular pet-friendly neighborhood consisting mostly of newly-rehabbed rowhomes and apartments situated between Canton and Fells Point. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Patterson Park is home to 155 acres of picturesque acres of green space with a dog park and recreational facilities. The Patterson Park Summer Concert Series attracts crowds from throughout the city, and the unique Patterson Park Pagoda is a widely-recognized landmark and gathering point.
Driving Distance to JHH ~1.5 miles (8 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~3 miles (13 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~2 miles (10 min.)
A great place for newly-minted Baltimoreans looking to make friends, Canton is a popular upscale waterfront area known for its sturdy brick townhomes and neighborly atmosphere. Canton residents enjoy a peaceful and pet-friendly community with easy access to Patterson Park, Highlandtown, Greektown, and the nightlife of Fells Point and Downtown.
Although tree-lined streets are not as plentiful in Canton, this neighborhood is home to Fishing Pier Park and Canton Waterfront Park, which offers first Thursday concerts. The picturesque Waterfront Promenade connects Canton to Fells Point. Canton Square is another lively spot with multiple pubs, shops, and restaurants – as well as festivals and post-sporting celebrations. During warmer months, the Canton Waterfront Farmers’ Market provides fresh food and camaraderie in the fresh air.
Street parking can be sparse in Canton. However, the neighborhood’s Safeway and Harris-Teeter offer grocery pickup, adding to the reasons why many residents leave their cars at home. The new Canton Crossing shopping center boasts several grocery stores, clothing stores, and a Target.
Upper Fells Point
Driving Distance to JHH ~1.3 miles (8 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~2 miles (9 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~3 miles (12 min.)
Upper Fells Point is a subdivision comprised mostly of historic row homes bordering Patterson Park. Residents here can enjoy the best of multiple downtown neighborhoods, along with the pet-friendly amenities and recreational opportunities of Patterson Park. The Upper Fells Point area is situated between Canton and Butchers Hill, and just a short drive away from Whole Foods and the adjoining Harbor East neighborhood.
Driving Distance to JHH ~1.3 miles (8 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~2 miles (9 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~3 miles (14 min.)
Situated near Inner Harbor, Fells Point offers upscale urban housing in one of Baltimore’s most picturesque settings. Fells Point residents live among some of Baltimore’s best retail shops, restaurants, and pubs. Broadway Market, a year-round indoor market built in 1786, is a main attraction in Fells Point.
Fells Point is a bustling hub of activity, especially on weekend nights. Traffic can be heavy and street parking can be limited in Fells Point. However, easy access to Uber/Lyft and the Johns Hopkins Shuttle are easy remedies. Plus, residents can easily connect to Harbor East, Tide Point, Federal Hill, and other locations via Water Taxi. The television show “Homicide: Life on the Streets” was filmed in the old city pier along the Fells Point waterfront, and that area has now become The Sagamore Pendry Hotel.
Harbor East / Harbor Point
Driving Distance to JHH ~1.5 miles (8 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~1.5 miles (8 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~1.5 miles (8 min.)
The newly-developed and growing neighborhood of Harbor East offers both luxury and convenience for city dwellers with busy schedules. Comprised mostly of upscale high-rise apartments, Harbor East is situated within a few blocks of a Whole Foods, retail stores, restaurants, and a Landmark Movie Theater (boasting in-movie bar service). With easy access to the Water Taxi, Charm City Circulator, and Uber/Lyft, Harbor East residents rarely drive for groceries, coffee, recreation, or a night out.
The nearby pet-friendly neighborhood of Harbor Point provides the bustle of Fells Point and the modern conveniences of Harbor East. Plus, residents experience a beautiful view of the waterfront on nearly every corner.
Driving Distance to JHH ~1 mile (6 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~1.5 miles (7 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~3 miles (15 min.)
Little Italy, situated between Inner Harbor and Fells Point, is a mix of old and new homes, restaurants, and retail shops – including 20 of the city’s best Italian eating establishments. Residents can live in historic older row homes and apartments or the newer townhomes built as part of the Albemarle Square development.
Driving Distance to JHH ~2 miles (12 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~1.2 miles (6 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~9 miles (18 min.)
Federal Hill, much like Fells Point, is a bustling upscale community of historic brick townhomes and single-family homes, known for its stunning view Inner Harbor, green spaces, and a wide range of locally-owned shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Residents enjoy easy access to the historic Cross Street Market and its $7.3 million renovation project. The American Visionary Art Museum, a fixture of Federal Hill, hosts an annual Kinetic Sculpture Race, where participants maneuver self-made artwork through the city. Sitting atop Federal Hill are replicas of the famous cannons used in the War of 1812 to protect Baltimore against the British invasion.
Driving Distance to JHH ~2 miles (9 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~4 miles (16 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~1.4 miles (7 min.)
Located east of Patterson Park, Highlandtown is an arts-centric community with a main street that continues to grow and thrive. Highlandtown is home to historic older rowhomes offering spacious rooms and pet-friendly yards, often at rates more affordable than other downtown neighborhoods such as Canton and Fells Point. Residents enjoy ample parking and the neighborhood’s proximity to multiple art galleries and restaurants.
South of Baltimore
Driving Distance to JHH ~10 miles (22 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~7 miles (10 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~13 miles (20 min.)
Located southwest of Baltimore and close to I-95, Arbutus is neighborhood with a “college-town” feel, comprised mainly of single-family homes. The nearby University of Maryland Baltimore County campus is a popular spot for sporting events and other entertainment, and the town is home to a RC Hollywood Cinema 4 movie theater. The annual July 4th Boxcar Derby race is a key community event.
Driving Distance to JHH ~14 miles (30 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~19 miles (21 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~24 miles (29 min.)
Ellicott City is a historic town that offers picturesque views of the Patapsco Valley - ideal for suburban living, but within reasonable commuting distance to both Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Downtown Ellicott City boasts unique shops, residences, and fine dining. Escape from the city feel of Baltimore. Cost of living in Ellicott City (and Howard County in general) is higher compared to the neighborhoods North of Baltimore. However, communities such as Shipley’s Grant are known for spacious homes and pet-friendly yards within minutes of major retailers, parks, and trails.
Driving Distance to JHH ~23 miles (32 min.)
Driving Distance to UMMC ~12 miles (19 min.)
Driving Distance to JHBV ~17 miles (29 min.)
Columbia is a growing community of single-family homes, townhomes, and condominiums attracting those who commute to both Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Its three lakes (Lake Kittamagundi, Lake Elkhorn, and Wild Lake) offer numerous outdoor activities. Columbia is also home to Howard County Community College, Loyola University Maryland, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and Johns Hopkins University facilities, among other institutes of higher education. The Merriweather Post Pavilion is Columbia’s premier outdoor concert venue, and The Mall in Columbia is a popular shopping and entertainment center. Residents can access the Washington Metro System via the MTA commuter bus.
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