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Thanks for the great info guys. I'm getting really psyched about Baltimore. I might be taking a day trip to the city soon to get better acquainted with some areas (Hampden, Charles Village, Mt Vernon...) where I'm mostly thinking of living. For this trip I'm not so interested in seeing apartments themselves as just getting a feel for the neighborhood - anyone have any tips on must-do activities? I might also be going with a girl who is trying to decide if she like Baltimore enough to go to JHU, so things that show the best side of the city would be nice for that.

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How difficult would it be to bike from Mt. Vernon to JHU medical campus? I'm just trying to figure out where I would want to live since I don't have a car. I know there is a free shuttle to the medical campus. Am I right in thinking it goes from Homewood with a stop in Mt Vernon and then on? Are there any other stops along the way?

JHMI is very much bike-able from Mt. Vernon. The Intercampus shuttle at least from what I have seen has 2 stops in the Mt Vernon area: one at Penn Station, and one at the Washington monument. There may be others, but I never really pay attention when taking it.

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Hi all...I will be attending JHU this fall. I visited the campus/city this past week for two days. It was a bit of a shock first since im coming from a big city like LA. But it does have a 'charm' to it and the campus is really nice. Ive been reading the posts on this forum and they definitely get me excited about the city and a new experience.

For anyone attending JHU or i guess just in general, there is an off-housing website where people posts vacancies from the surrounding areas(Charles Village, Hampden, Mt. Vernon) and its categorized. It gave me a good idea of the cost related to each area.

https://housing6.res.jhu.edu/classifieds/Default.asp

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I will be a new doctoral student at UMBC. Can anyone recommend specific areas to live that are within less than 700 for rent for a studio, one bedroom, or basement of someone's house. I would like any specific buildings, realtors, or folks that you could recommend that might be renting. I am hoping to move there in August at the beginning or middle of the month. Also, is there anyone that is a graduate student there now? Is there any suggestions you can give me about the area? I will not have a car; therefore, I will need to be very close to campus. Thanks! If any of you live there now or will be attending UMBC, it would be nice to meet some people ahead of time also.

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I am just accepted by Johns Hopkins - School of Public Health-infectious disease epidemiology.It is said that it is dangerous around medical campus.Who could offer some information about the life there?Do u recommend to live in the school dormitory which called Reed Hall or rent off campus? Thank you.

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Mount Vernon is a very pricey area though. There are places in other parts of the city that are just as nice without the expense. If you will have a car, this will not be a problem. However, public transportation is not bad and living either on a Metro line stop, a Light Rail stop, or even on the JHU intercampus shuttle stop is not a bad idea.

Can anyone else elaborate on living in Baltimore without a car? Most of my schools are in cities with great public transportation (NYC, SF, Chicago), so I'm wondering how good Baltimore is in that respect.

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I'll be at the JHU Med campus in East Baltimore, so I definitely don't plan on spending more time in that area than necessary. I'm hoping to live in Mt. Vernon and explore a lot from there... I'm quite excited about Baltimore in general!

Check out Federal Hill, Fell's Point, Mt Vernon, Inner Harbor, Roland Park, Hampden, Charles Village, and definitely head out to Ellicott City sometime when you have a free afternoon.

Also, if you like food: The Helmand, Brewer's Art, Soup's On, Petit Louis, Regi's, and the Ambassador were a few favorites of mine. But generally speaking, the city is really good for eating.

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Can anyone else elaborate on living in Baltimore without a car? Most of my schools are in cities with great public transportation (NYC, SF, Chicago), so I'm wondering how good Baltimore is in that respect.

I started at the School of Public Health this fall and have not "needed" a vehichle at all. I have made use of my car but I have not needed it. I ride the shuttle to school in the morning during peak hours and typically wait for less than 5 minutes for a shuttle to come by, and leave later in the evening, so I just have to plan out my work in order to catch the shuttle without a significant wait.

The shuttle runs from Charles Village (neighborhood adjacent to the Homewood campus), through Mt. Vernon and to the SPH/Med school campus in East Baltimore. I have friends who live near Patterson Park who walk to school everyday, the neighborhood is not the nicest but they all have nice places for reasonable rent (with roommates). I also have friends who live in Mt. Vernon, Fells Point, at Reed Hall (student housing on the East Baltimore campus) and Charles Village as well. If we want, we are all able to make it out to social events in each other's neighborhoods and get around town with relative ease. There is also the Charm City Circulator which takes you to other neighborhoods, I don't ride it at all but it may be worth looking into. Baltimore does have plenty of crime and uneasy neighborhoods so walking alone at night is generally ruled out for many destinations. Mount Vernon seems like an ideal neighborhood if you dont have a car, as there is the best mix of restaurants, grocery stores etc. nearby, but all of the neighborhoods I've listed are doable without a vehicle.

In short: I drive about once a week or less, and I get to school with relative ease on the Hopkins Shuttle. A significant proportion of the students do not have their own vehicles; 3 of the 7 in my cohort do not have vehicles and we all get around fine. if you are at another campus it may be a different story. Walking late at night, especially around the East Baltimore Campus, should not be done by yourself but can be avoided.

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I'm planning to formally accept a postdoctoral offer that puts me on the JHU medical campus (!!) in autumn 2011. I am gathering all advice about choosing the safest place to live (I plan to live alone and am a young woman). I'd like to live on the shuttle line, but I'm also considering living in DC and taking the MARC train (is this just going to be terrible?). I lived in DC several years ago, for several years, and know my way around DC/Arlington/etc but not MD at all. Interested in all advice, and am combing previous threads for tidbits. It would also be good to live somewhere with easy access to the Metro, as I'll be flying from DCA or IAD minimally twice a month (yikes).

People talked about the crime in DC a lot, but I lived in Foggy Bottom, Dupot Circle, etc and had no problems, although I know those are not the most dangerous areas. However, I would go to less safe places like the 9:30 club by myself late at night (although still not the roughest areas) and was fine. So I am also wondering if the crime is significantly worse than the "good" parts of DC, in the "good" parts of Baltimore I hope you will recommend to me. :)

Edited by Almost Postdoc

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I'm planning to formally accept a postdoctoral offer that puts me on the JHU medical campus (!!) in autumn 2011. I am gathering all advice about choosing the safest place to live (I plan to live alone and am a young woman). I'd like to live on the shuttle line, but I'm also considering living in DC and taking the MARC train (is this just going to be terrible?). I lived in DC several years ago, for several years, and know my way around DC/Arlington/etc but not MD at all. Interested in all advice, and am combing previous threads for tidbits. It would also be good to live somewhere with easy access to the Metro, as I'll be flying from DCA or IAD minimally twice a month (yikes).

People talked about the crime in DC a lot, but I lived in Foggy Bottom, Dupot Circle, etc and had no problems, although I know those are not the most dangerous areas. However, I would go to less safe places like the 9:30 club by myself late at night (although still not the roughest areas) and was fine. So I am also wondering if the crime is significantly worse than the "good" parts of DC, in the "good" parts of Baltimore I hope you will recommend to me. :)

Crime in Bawlmer is no worse than in DC, in my opinion. Of course there are bad areas, but like in DC, there's absolutely no reason to go there. Also, the JHU shuttle lines are extensive enough that you won't have to walk through them.

I'd say live in Mt Vernon - it's a stop away from the medical campus, and it's halfway between Penn Station (trains to DC) and the Inner Harbor. It's pretty much where all of the city's educated twentysomethings live. As for other good areas, I gave (what I think is a pretty comprehensive) list a few posts back.

As for trying to live in DC and taking the MARC - I'd advise against it. One of my friends lived in Mt Vernon and went to SAIS (in Dupont Circle, DC). She hated it so much that after a month she found an apartment in DC and ended up only doing the MARC thing for one semester. Apparently nothing ever ran on time, it was always uncomfortably crowded, the cost got to be too high, and she spent so much time commuting.

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Crime in Bawlmer is no worse than in DC, in my opinion. Of course there are bad areas, but like in DC, there's absolutely no reason to go there. Also, the JHU shuttle lines are extensive enough that you won't have to walk through them.

I'd say live in Mt Vernon - it's a stop away from the medical campus, and it's halfway between Penn Station (trains to DC) and the Inner Harbor. It's pretty much where all of the city's educated twentysomethings live. As for other good areas, I gave (what I think is a pretty comprehensive) list a few posts back.

As for trying to live in DC and taking the MARC - I'd advise against it. One of my friends lived in Mt Vernon and went to SAIS (in Dupont Circle, DC). She hated it so much that after a month she found an apartment in DC and ended up only doing the MARC thing for one semester. Apparently nothing ever ran on time, it was always uncomfortably crowded, the cost got to be too high, and she spent so much time commuting.

Thanks so much for the pointed rec and the anecdote. I had sorta narrowed my options (if I was going to live in Baltimore) to Charles Village and Mt. Vernon so it is nice to hear another vote for Mt. Vernon. The commuting story is especially good to have as I started leaning in that direction just out of sheer comforts sake (I know DC and I don't know Baltimore). It looked like a hassle (SPH shuttle, then ~50 minutes from Penn to Union Station, and then from Union Station to wherever I lived on the Metro) but there were some perks in living in DC again (jogging, museums, monuments, etc). If things don't run on time that is almost enough to completely cross it off my list!

I found one building with security access, furnishings, and indoor amenities that looks fabulous and just happens to be in Mt. Vernon -- but sadly they only have 2 bedroom/2 baths and that is way too much space for me! Hoping to find another high rise type building like that with smaller units.

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I grew up in Baltimore and still have friends/parents there, so I feel like I can give fairly accurate advice.

First, Baltimore is not dangerous per say. Sure, The Wire is a part of Baltimore, but unless you plan on getting in on the drug business it's pretty easy to avoid it. There are places you don't want to be walk alone late at night, but you should feel safe taking the bus anywhere during the day, and certainly should feel safe driving anywhere and anytime. I always find it somewhat disturbing when people talk about a "scary" experience driving down North Avenue. Give me a break. This is not a city of rampant car-jacking.

As far as a car goes, it's not needed, but it would be nice. You could certainly get by without one, but don't count on the buses. The monthly pass is overpriced when you consider how often they are late, and I mean really late. Lines are always getting cut due to budget problems. But the winters are pretty mild, so get a bike, and live mildly close to campus. Really, you'll be busy as it is with school, and there is plenty within a short bike ride or walk to keep you happy.

Living: Charles Village is the obvious choice. It can get more expensive, but you can also get lucky. I had a friend who lived there a few years ago for $350 a month....granted it was a small room, but it was prime location. Mount Vernon is great too, a bit further away, but safe and an easy bike ride away. The Mount Royal Tavern is also one of my favorite bars of all time, at least when it's not overrun with MICA kids....Another place to consider is Hampden. It used to be solid working class, now it's starting to become a bit "hip" in parts, but still has some pretty cheap rent and is close to campus. Also, next to Charles Village is Waverly. Parts of Waverly might have more crime than everyone is comfortable with, but it's really eased up in the last decade. It will be a lot cheaper than Charles Village, so it's worth checking out....trust your gut. Plus Waverly has "The Book Thing," which gives tons of free books away every weekend. Mostly crap, but I always find some gems every visit.

Other notes: Great Mexican food can be had in the area slightly above Fells Point. It will require a car, but Matthews Pizza is worth a visit....semi-deep dish pizza that's always satisfying, cheap, and the atmosphere in the place is just perfect. By which I mean, it's sorta a classy hole-in-the-wall. The Charles is the best place to catch an independent film, and last I checked they have discounts on certain weeknights. Nam Kang is my favorite Korean restaurant, it's open very late at night and can get pretty rowdy during the post-bar crowd hour, and then there is slightly surreal karaoke hotel above that you can rent by the hour, and bring whatever you want in with you. It's always a little unclear when they officially close as they sorta change it depending on how business is going...but anywhere between 4am-6am. The warehouse scene is hit or miss, take it with a (big) grain of salt, but don't write it off entirely. And again, Baltimore really isn't that dangerous, just don't be stupid.

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Does anyone know what the College Park area is like? Is rent really expensive? Are there any good neighborhood close to the University? Thanks!

would also like information on this!

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Does anyone know what the College Park area is like? Is rent really expensive? Are there any good neighborhood close to the University? Thanks!

I've only been to college park for a day/ driven through a few times, so I'm not an expert, but I do know the general area. It's pretty suburban/boring. I mean, it's not dead, but the area between Baltimore and Washington D.C. is all kinda the same. The good news is you'll have two cities nearby that you can easily visit on a weekend, and you'll probably be busy enough during the week that whatever entertainment the university produces should suffice.

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I've only been to college park for a day/ driven through a few times, so I'm not an expert, but I do know the general area. It's pretty suburban/boring. I mean, it's not dead, but the area between Baltimore and Washington D.C. is all kinda the same. The good news is you'll have two cities nearby that you can easily visit on a weekend, and you'll probably be busy enough during the week that whatever entertainment the university produces should suffice.

College Park is not that great, not that terrible.

It has a lot of chain restaurants as well as independents;

the "book exchange" shop is disappointing,

there are a few independent bars and shops;

it's not very pedestrian friendly.

There's a UMD shuttle to various transportation hubs, I think.

Also, if you drive, it gets reeeeaaally congested. I do like the College Park campus, though. I've never lived in the College Park area, just worked there, so I can't really speak for where the "good neighborhoods" are to live in. I've heard good things about Hyattsville, I think (?? somebody else can chime in here). It's probably best to compare prices of rental housing on craigslist, figure out what the cheapest areas are, then make a point not to live in those areas.

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College Park is not that great, not that terrible.

It has a lot of chain restaurants as well as independents;

the "book exchange" shop is disappointing,

there are a few independent bars and shops;

it's not very pedestrian friendly.

There's a UMD shuttle to various transportation hubs, I think.

Also, if you drive, it gets reeeeaaally congested. I do like the College Park campus, though. I've never lived in the College Park area, just worked there, so I can't really speak for where the "good neighborhoods" are to live in. I've heard good things about Hyattsville, I think (?? somebody else can chime in here). It's probably best to compare prices of rental housing on craigslist, figure out what the cheapest areas are, then make a point not to live in those areas.

I lived there during undergrad, so I can vouch that the area is not the classiest, but the campus itself is nice. There are plenty of places to eat at (mostly chains tho) and you're only about a 25 minute metro ride to DC. There are plenty of safe neighborhoods within walking distance of the university, and depending how hard you look, rent isnt that bad. Rooms in a shared house can be had for ~$600/mo, although apartments can be extremely high (up to $2000/mo for a 2BR/2bath apartment). If you have a vehicle, there are plenty of cheap places to live within 10 miles of the school (look at Laurel, Columbia..which is a bit further). Don't head closer to DC tho, its definitely dirtier and not cheap. If you have any other questions, feel free to PM me.

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So happy to see lots of great things being said about life in Baltimore.

I am considering accepting an offer at Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies. I currently live and work in DC with my boyfriend. He plans to move with me to Baltimore and commute by MARC to DC, and possibly look for a new position in Baltimore. Therefore, I am looking for suggestions for neighborhoods that are safe, fun and accessible for both of us. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated! We will be bringing a car, so that could be an option for one of us.

Thanks for your help.

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Maybe it comes from growing up in the Baltimore area, but I hate the place. It lacks everything exciting about a major city like New York, but it has all the crime and then some. Not to mention it being one of the ugliest cities overall I've ever been to. Besides the two nice sections, the city is disgusting. The crime is rough and the residents are frightening. Luckily, John's Hopkins is really making an effort to making their campus safer by literally buying up the slums around campus and bulldozing them. Apparently the city is upset with them for doing this, but JHU is the largest employer in Balitmore, and as a city with a terrible economy, it can't do much about it.

My girlfriend interviewed for Hopkins Genetics and Bio programs and was told by graduate students driving her through the city "not to make eye contact" with anyone on the streets or they will "approach the car." Wonderful, right?

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Hi Everyone,

I got admission in the PhD program at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. I read about the city and it has made me very scared as it seems the city has very high crime rate and not so good standard of living. All the residents are complaining about it. I don't want to end up in a shady place so far away from my home land (India). If anyone has been there or has some idea, kindly guide me!!

My other option is NUS, Singapore which best in every other way except that it does not have the same high ranking and fame as Johns Hopkins.

Any help would be great.

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I have been accepted to JHU BCMB program and am from India.. so my knowledge abt Baltimore is frankly zero. I read o various other sites that the place is pretty crime infested but everyone here is advising me to go because the JHU PhD program is too good to miss.

I have been told that the homedown area is really safe and has some asian grocery stores around. Therefore it should be an ideal place to live.

Apart from the post prior to mine, everyone seems to be positive about the city. The thing is I am not too much into the night club and the party scene and am definitely not interested in making it to the crime stats Also I am interested in sports and all so anyone who has been to JHU, can you please let me know about the sports and gym classes etc. Can someone please guide me as to the places to live? and also say something about the homedown area?

My apologies if my post sounds too repetitive to the previous ones. I am just a big anxious about the negativity associated with the city

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Maybe it comes from growing up in the Baltimore area, but I hate the place. It lacks everything exciting about a major city like New York, but it has all the crime and then some. Not to mention it being one of the ugliest cities overall I've ever been to. Besides the two nice sections, the city is disgusting. The crime is rough and the residents are frightening. Luckily, John's Hopkins is really making an effort to making their campus safer by literally buying up the slums around campus and bulldozing them. Apparently the city is upset with them for doing this, but JHU is the largest employer in Balitmore, and as a city with a terrible economy, it can't do much about it.

My girlfriend interviewed for Hopkins Genetics and Bio programs and was told by graduate students driving her through the city "not to make eye contact" with anyone on the streets or they will "approach the car." Wonderful, right?

Right, you grew up in the "Baltimore area." Lemme guess, Towson? Your post betrays your suburban-bubble.

Seriously, what slums next to campus? Hamden? Charles Village? Give me a break. Development happened in Charles Village not because it was a slum, but because developers realized they could make a killing buying out rowhouses near campus (owned by middle class people) in a Starbucks, Borders, Condos, etc. Damn right the city is upset---they were beautiful buildings, well maintained, and what replaced them is gross, soulless architecture.

Also, I know it's a harsh thing say, and I don't say it lightly, but those grad students who told your girlfriend "not to make eye contact" with "anyone in the streets" (now that's a nice euphemism to remember) are racists. As someone who has spent countless hours driving Baltimore streets (and get this, even parking in bad areas, and not just on how you define them!) I can say that that warning is a lie. Are there drug addicts in Baltimore? Yes. Is there crime? Yes. Are there homeless people? Yes. But chances are, if you're white, and not involved in dealing/buying hard drugs, the worst thing that is going to happen to you is you will misinterpret a black person on the street as giving you the evil eye. Which says more about you than the city itself. Sure, there are places in the city I wouldn't ideally walk alone at night, but unless you're an idiot about it Baltimore is safe. Especially the areas around JHU.

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I have been accepted to JHU BCMB program and am from India.. so my knowledge abt Baltimore is frankly zero. I read o various other sites that the place is pretty crime infested but everyone here is advising me to go because the JHU PhD program is too good to miss.

I have been told that the homedown area is really safe and has some asian grocery stores around. Therefore it should be an ideal place to live.

Apart from the post prior to mine, everyone seems to be positive about the city. The thing is I am not too much into the night club and the party scene and am definitely not interested in making it to the crime stats Also I am interested in sports and all so anyone who has been to JHU, can you please let me know about the sports and gym classes etc. Can someone please guide me as to the places to live? and also say something about the homedown area?

My apologies if my post sounds too repetitive to the previous ones. I am just a big anxious about the negativity associated with the city

As my post above goes in to detail about, you should not turn down JHU just based on what you think crime might be like in Baltimore. For your first year, I'd play it safe and find a place in Charles Village. It's right next to campus, very safe, and would be a good way to start to know the city. Hamden is also near campus, and a bit cheaper. There are also more "rough" spots, but nothing you couldn't feel out for yourself...maybe a place to live your 2nd year when you get a better feel for the area. Same goes for Waverly---though any part of Waverly that is closer to campus is perfectly fine. They also have a really nice farmers market in the Spring-Fall. You are right, there are a lot of Asian grocery stores near Hopkins---also a really nice South-Asian grocery near the farmer's market.

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