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#1
Old 12-08-2013, 05:19 PM
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So I'm moving to Baltimore from Seattle

Hey everyone.

So I'm on my way to Baltimore for new adventures in life, and I want some honest opinions. I've never been to that part of the country, so I expect some culture shock. My father lives there, and he's told me some good and bad things about the city. I'm particularly interested in:

1. Quality of life
2. Crime/Safety
3. Public Transportation
4. Economy

Any info would be appreciated from the wonderful people who live there.
#2
Old 12-09-2013, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Gutgore Blooddrink View Post
so I expect some culture shock.
Not just culture shock--some physical shock, too.
Qualiy of life is affected by the simple physical aspects of our surroundings, and in Seattle, the weather is a big part of that.
Seattle's weather is gloomy and depressing.
Nonstop rainy days, and even more non-stop grey skies.
You will be wet, chilly and never, ever see the sun.
I don't mean just for a week or two or three. You'll live this way for months and months at a time. There is a constant, interminable greyness in the air, which gradually seeps into your brain, just like the dampness seeps into your socks..
To survive in Seattle*, you need to compensate for the gloominess, by diving in and actively participating in all the other good aspects of the city.
But overcoming the weather takes a real, conscious effort,and adds a strain to your life which is unknown almost anywhere else.

There have been millions of songs written about blue skies, sunshine and love and happiness.
There have been zero songs written about gloomy damp days, grey fog, and happiness.


(*disclaimer: I only survived 3 months. Most people do better )

Last edited by chappachula; 12-09-2013 at 10:29 AM.
#3
Old 12-09-2013, 10:29 AM
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Uh, I think he's moving away from Seattle.
#4
Old 12-09-2013, 10:31 AM
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I think the Captian's ship is sailing east - from Seattle to Baltimore. It's been 20 years since I spent any time in the Baltimore area, so I'm sure my info would be outdated.

I'll bet there are still great crab cakes, though! Is the Calvert House still open?
#5
Old 12-09-2013, 10:51 AM
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I have to head out soon so I can't leave a long note right now, will try to later.

In short Baltimore is a town that evokes extreme reactions - you'll love it or you'll hate it.

It's a post industrial city trying like hell to re-invent itself. I always called it the world's biggest small town. Indeed it has very defined neighborhoods and social circles. If you land in one you like, you'll love it. If you land two blocks outside of where you want to be you'll hate it.

The town has some very strong civic leaders trying to do good things for the city & it's people: example Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti & the Under Armor originator Kevin Plank pour their hearts back into the city. It also has some significant crime and poverty issues.

I have a friend who works with me in DC who came from Texas. On his weekends he's prone to traveling to Baltimore for fun - "It has more soul" he remarks.

More later.
#6
Old 12-09-2013, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Do Not Taunt View Post
Uh, I think he's moving away from Seattle.


So, hey,is there some kind of new rule now that we're 'sposed to actually read the OP?






(Apologies to the rest of the Dopers in the universe for kinda messing up a thread.
But on the other hand, ya gotta admit that ya got a good laugh at my expense-- So it wasn't a complete waste, right? )

Last edited by chappachula; 12-09-2013 at 10:54 AM.
#7
Old 12-09-2013, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2gigch1 View Post
In short Baltimore is a town that evokes extreme reactions - you'll love it or you'll hate it.

It's a post industrial city trying like hell to re-invent itself. I always called it the world's biggest small town. Indeed it has very defined neighborhoods and social circles. If you land in one you like, you'll love it. If you land two blocks outside of where you want to be you'll hate it.

I have a friend who works with me in DC who came from Texas. On his weekends he's prone to traveling to Baltimore for fun - "It has more soul" he remarks.
I agree with both of these comments. I used to live exactly halfway between DC and Baltimore, and we found ourselves driving to Baltimore at least five times more often than DC. Baltimore is definitely a city of neighborhoods, and some blocks are very safe and some are war zones, as one might surmise from The Wire or Homicide-Life on the Streets.

Quality of life is pretty good, I'd say. The Science Center, Aquarium, Zoo and Inner Harbor are all terrific, and you also have the best baseball park in the world - Camden Yards. Though it is shrinking, Little Italy has some good restaurants, and there are other good restaurants and bars throughout the city. There are neighborhood parks with festivals.

Is the OP planning on living in Baltimore or nearby? Housing prices vary tremendously, depending on neighborhoods in and outside the city.
#8
Old 12-09-2013, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Gutgore Blooddrink View Post
Hey everyone.

So I'm on my way to Baltimore for new adventures in life, and I want some honest opinions. I've never been to that part of the country, so I expect some culture shock. My father lives there, and he's told me some good and bad things about the city. I'm particularly interested in:

1. Quality of life
2. Crime/Safety
3. Public Transportation
4. Economy

Any info would be appreciated from the wonderful people who live there.
Hey, I did EXACTLY that transfer four years ago! Like you, I'd never been to Baltimore before.

1) Quality of life

It's... okay. Baltimore doesn't have anywhere near the number of good restaurants, unless you go to the Hampden area or downtown. I live up in Hunt Valley, and you really have to drive a good distance to get to good restaurants. B'More does get better weather, but it can get really freakin' humid and hot during the summer- but luckily it doesn't last very long. We tend to get more snow, less drizzle.

2) Crime/Safety

Ever seen The Wire? The area can be pretty dangerous if you live downtown. Out here in the sticks, though, it's actually pretty nice.

3. Public Transportation

Bad. Terrible. Seattle had much better public transportation. Here, we've got the light rail, and it just plain sucks.

4. Economy

Generally more expensive, but not by a lot.


What area are you going to be living in?
#9
Old 12-09-2013, 11:54 AM
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Baltimore resident here. I have a real love/hate relationship with the city.

Love: Depending on your age, there is a ton to do here. Baltimore was recently listed (I forget where) as one of the best cities for singles in their 20's and 30's. There's a plethora of bars, clubs, and people to meet. The food is great and varies over many different cultures. There are lots of interesting museums here like The Walters and The American Visionary Arts Museum (super cool). We even have a wonderful aquarium and science museum. Baltimore is also really nicely located. Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia are a straight shot about hour away, Annapolis is charming and lots of fun, and many different beaches like Rehoboth and Ocean City are a short 2-3 hours away. If you're into football, the Baltimore Ravens are huge and create a big sense of community. Pretty much, if you're bored here, you're either broke or not getting out of the house enough. The city is also very politically liberal.

Hate: While the city has its positives, it isn't without its downsides. The mayor and City Council are a travesty. Political corruption is terrible here (The Wire got it right), and city funds are badly mismanaged. Too much focus is spent on keeping the downtown Inner Harbor area a tourist trap while the rest of the city crumbles. The infrastructure has been ignored for way too long and is rapidly decaying, being held together by duct tape and prayers. Drugs, crime, and poverty are rampant here in a lot of areas, and it's hard to ignore since a well-to-do block can be right across the street from the ghetto. In my neighborhood in east Baltimore, I am fairly comfortable walking around at night as long as I don't cross Patterson Park after dusk.

If you'd like to meet up when you get here, drop me a PM. I'll show you around.
#10
Old 12-09-2013, 12:13 PM
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I have relatives who live in the suburbs and I had reason to visit downtown Baltimore and neighboring areas many times about five years ago, mostly during the day. I never felt unsafe in "Charm City," even after dark, but it's kind of depressing. There are a lot of homeless people and panhandlers. I'm not really a city person, and I find most large American cities depressing. I can't really compare it to Seattle because I've never been there.

Keep in mind that Baltimore City and Baltimore County are completely separate entities, with the county almost surrounding the city. They're very different places. Median household income in the County is $64000, but only $39000 in the City.

I like city-data.com for comparing places to each other. They have information about income, crime, weather, housing, etc. The interactive maps are especially helpful in checking out neighborhoods.:

Baltimore City: http://city-data.com/city/Baltimore-Maryland.html
Baltimore County: http://city-data.com/county/Balt...County-MD.html

Seattle: http://city-data.com/city/Seattle-Washington.html
King County: http://city-data.com/county/King_County-WA.html

Last edited by bibliophage; 12-09-2013 at 12:13 PM.
#11
Old 12-09-2013, 12:25 PM
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It's about a 45 minute drive from Baltimore to Jerry's Seafood in Bowie, MD. The Crab Bombs there are to die for. Enjoy.
#12
Old 12-09-2013, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary T View Post
It's about a 45 minute drive from Baltimore to Jerry's Seafood in Bowie, MD. The Crab Bombs there are to die for. Enjoy.
The Olive Grove and G&M are closer, located across the street from each other just south of Baltimore. It's a local ongoing argument whose crabcakes are better. I vote for Olive Grove. Of course, good crabcakes are easy to find in Charm City.
#13
Old 12-09-2013, 05:04 PM
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Maryland’s an interesting state and small enough to get around. Drive a couple hours east from Baltimore and you’re at the ocean, which can actually be warm in the late summer; drive west and you’re in the Appalachians (granted they’re not the Olympics or Cascades). Baltimore and DC are major cities, and Philly is just north. There’s the Bay and seafood and boating. There are colonial and Civil War historic places to see. If you like sports, in addition to the O’s and Ravens, Baltimore is a traditional hotbed for lacrosse.

And then there’s the Bawlmer accent, hon. That may take some getting used to.
#14
Old 12-09-2013, 06:14 PM
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If the Captain can give us some clues as to the parameters of his move, such as what he will be doing, what he want to achieve, etc. we might be able to better offer some ideas.

As noted public transportation is busses, one subway line which doesn't hit that many areas (northwest to east city), and one light rail line (north to south of town).

Communities outside of the city range from slums to mansions with every culture in between.

Thoughts of what you're looking for can help us narrow it down.
#15
Old 12-09-2013, 07:39 PM
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Yeah, public transportation is terrible. The light rail is just a north/south thing that exists for people to get to the airport and stadiums without having to drive and park. The subway is a joke.

The only positive move is the new Circulator which is system of color coded hybrid energy buses that are free and run around different areas mostly downtown and to nearby boroughs.

Are you a hipster or pretend you're not but would be described as one by most people? Live in Hampden. Are you an artist? Live in Mt. Vernon near MICA. Are you young business person? Live in Fed Hill. Are you an aging alt/punk type who likes to drink? Try Fells Point. A mix of the previous stereotypes? Canton.

Do not let the crime stats scare you. Most assaults and murders are done with reason in bad parts of town usually as part of the drug trade or gang activity. Be mindful of your surroundings like any big city, but it doesn't take long to learn which areas to stick to and which ones to avoid.

Above all, never go to Patterson Park at night.

Last edited by MrDurden; 12-09-2013 at 07:39 PM.
#16
Old 12-09-2013, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2gigch1 View Post
I always called it the world's biggest small town. Indeed it has very defined neighborhoods and social circles. If you land in one you like, you'll love it. If you land two blocks outside of where you want to be you'll hate it.
To put this in perspective using an area I'm familiar with, take a look at this block and then take a look at this block. Then zoom out to see how far apart they are.
#17
Old 12-09-2013, 09:04 PM
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Thanks for the replies so far. For now, I'll be living in the Mount Washington area and pursuing a career with Whole Foods. My father lives there, and I have a friend in DC who both told be I'd probably love the Hampden area, so that looks like it might be the eventual destination.
#18
Old 12-10-2013, 04:14 AM
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From coffee to oysters. Baltimore's an old city and there're bound to be lots of things of interest. Take a picture of the first 5-roof line mansion you see.
#19
Old 12-10-2013, 10:17 AM
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Nevermind.

Last edited by Agent Foxtrot; 12-10-2013 at 10:17 AM.
#20
Old 12-10-2013, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrDurden View Post
Do not let the crime stats scare you. Most assaults and murders are done with reason in bad parts of town usually as part of the drug trade or gang activity. Be mindful of your surroundings like any big city, but it doesn't take long to learn which areas to stick to and which ones to avoid.
Right. The areas you are most likely to encounter assault and murder are places you'd never normally go anyway, and it will be immediately obvious if you accidentally wander into one of these places, which is actually fairly difficult to do.

Welcome to The Free State!
#21
Old 12-10-2013, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
So, hey,is there some kind of new rule now that we're 'sposed to actually read the OP?
I read it wrong too, because of the order in which he phrased it. And also because why would anyone move from Seattle to Baltimore?
#22
Old 12-10-2013, 12:24 PM
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The annual precipitation is more in Baltimore (41.88 inches) than in Seattle (37.07 inches). So you might want to buy an umbrella or two.
#23
Old 12-10-2013, 01:20 PM
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Seems to me a fest of some sort is in order.
#24
Old 12-10-2013, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Duckster View Post
The annual precipitation is more in Baltimore (41.88 inches) than in Seattle (37.07 inches). So you might want to buy an umbrella or two.
It's not only about how much, but how often. Seattle has 153 days per year with precipitation, compared to 113 days in Baltimore.
#25
Old 12-10-2013, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
(Apologies to the rest of the Dopers in the universe for kinda messing up a thread.
But on the other hand, ya gotta admit that ya got a good laugh at my expense-- So it wasn't a complete waste, right? )
A good laugh? I almost gave up my will to live after reading that. I hope you're living someplace sunny now!

All I know about Baltimore is that it looked nice from the window of the Amtrak that I was taking from NYC to DC. That does mean though that you can easily get to NYC or DC in a pretty short time, which is a big perk right there. Presumably that same train can take you a lot of other interesting places too, so your weekends should be full for awhile.
#26
Old 12-10-2013, 01:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Gutgore Blooddrink View Post
Thanks for the replies so far. For now, I'll be living in the Mount Washington area and pursuing a career with Whole Foods. My father lives there, and I have a friend in DC who both told be I'd probably love the Hampden area, so that looks like it might be the eventual destination.
I lived in Baltimore for 8 years (moved a couple of years ago). I owned a house in Mt. Washington (sold it last year). Great area, good (for Baltimore) public school. The Village (where Whole Foods is) is nice. The Tavern is awesome (not so much for the food, but the bar was great) - it burned down but it's rebuilt now. Several other good restaurants there as well (french, cajun, middle eastern, sushi, as well as awesome ice cream (Sylvan beach/Taharka bros/ Uncle Wiggly - all the same place).

Light rail stops in the village, so getting downtown or to the airport is easy.

I liked B'more. Try the Brewers Art in Mt. Vernon, Birds of a Feather (scotch bar) in Fells Point, Bertha's Mussels, Visionary Arts Museum, and lots of other stuff.

PM me is you want more info.

On edit - If you're renting and living in the MW area, I bet you're going to live at Bonnie Ridge. Am I right?

Last edited by mozchron; 12-10-2013 at 02:01 PM.
#27
Old 12-11-2013, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orwell View Post
The Olive Grove and G&M are closer, located across the street from each other just south of Baltimore. It's a local ongoing argument whose crabcakes are better. I vote for Olive Grove. Of course, good crabcakes are easy to find in Charm City.
G&M's!

(I grew up just a few miles from G&M's. )

(The name of the place is "G&M," as you wrote, but everyone I know calls it "G&M's.")

Quote:
Originally Posted by mozchron View Post
Try the Brewers Art in Mt. Vernon
Seconded: the Brewer's Art is one of the best things about N Charles Street (maybe even the best, now that Gampy's is closed), and one of the places I miss most in Baltimore.
#28
Old 12-11-2013, 02:21 PM
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Washingtonian, but I've always had a soft spot for B'more. The city has character and that goes a long way. Any city that produced John Waters is ok in my book.
#29
Old 12-11-2013, 04:45 PM
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Here are some generalizations from a DC-area perspective... Baltimore is the OOOOOOO's.... craibs, hon.... downy ocean, Pimlico, gambling, and a unique accent, hon.

Last edited by Lukeinva; 12-11-2013 at 04:46 PM.
#30
Old 12-11-2013, 05:21 PM
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Marylander here.

I don't currently love in the city - and when I did - it wasn't that are. You aren't moving to "the wire" baltimore. It is a pretty good neighborhood from what I know. I only go there usually when I need to get something from whole foods or fresh market. Or when I have to get in or out of the city using 83.

I wouldn't really consider that part of the city. I mean it is totally 100% - but don't consider most negative or positive things said about baltimore in general to apply there. It probably has more in common with some parts of Timonium or even places in Virginia than it does with what people normally talk about when they say "baltimore city". Again - I don't go there that much - so sorry I am not much help.
#31
Old 12-12-2013, 02:06 AM
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Originally Posted by DataX View Post
Marylander here.

I don't currently love in the city - and when I did - it wasn't that are. You aren't moving to "the wire" baltimore. It is a pretty good neighborhood from what I know. I only go there usually when I need to get something from whole foods or fresh market. Or when I have to get in or out of the city using 83.

I wouldn't really consider that part of the city. I mean it is totally 100% - but don't consider most negative or positive things said about baltimore in general to apply there. It probably has more in common with some parts of Timonium or even places in Virginia than it does with what people normally talk about when they say "baltimore city". Again - I don't go there that much - so sorry I am not much help.
Yeah, agreed.

Mount Washington isn't really in the 'city' even though it's in the limits. There's plenty of woods and empty space around. More like suburban sprawl with some bad roads because of crappy budgets. You gotta go down I-83 like 4-5 more exits to get to the city city.

But it's still a great location to live in. Not in downtown, but not so far in the burbs you have to drive a long distance to get to the major downtown areas. It's safe, has some city character and a sort of hippie liberal vibe mixed with young parents.
#32
Old 12-13-2013, 11:16 PM
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Another thing I need to know now. I just found out that the bank I use (US Bank) doesn't exist in Baltimore. Any good bank suggestions? I'm not fond of Bank of America and would prefer to avoid them if possible. Maybe a credit union or something along those lines?
#33
Old 12-16-2013, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Captain Gutgore Blooddrink View Post
Another thing I need to know now. I just found out that the bank I use (US Bank) doesn't exist in Baltimore. Any good bank suggestions? I'm not fond of Bank of America and would prefer to avoid them if possible. Maybe a credit union or something along those lines?
The big bank here is M&T Bank. I've used them for years and have been mostly satisfied.

Edit: The big credit union here is SECU (State Employees' Credit Union, I think). You might want to check it out if you don't mind that my local branch reminds me of a government office.

Last edited by Agent Foxtrot; 12-16-2013 at 07:46 AM.
#34
Old 12-16-2013, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Agent Foxtrot View Post
The big bank here is M&T Bank. I've used them for years and have been mostly satisfied.

Edit: The big credit union here is SECU (State Employees' Credit Union, I think). You might want to check it out if you don't mind that my local branch reminds me of a government office.
I also use M&T with no complaints. I will mention that when I was looking to change banks (away from B of A) I'd narrowed it down to two choices and consulted my accountant. He said "basically, they're all the same. I've been with M&T for years with no problems, but [his partner in the firm] had a problem with them. He's with PNC. My wife had a bad experience with them some years back. I usually tell people to just go with whichever is the easiest for you to get to."
#35
Old 12-16-2013, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
I usually tell people to just go with whichever is the easiest for you to get to.
That's pretty much been my strategy all of my life. I now use M&T, which has an office within walking distance of my home, plus a fairly extensive ATM network nearby. I've largely been satisfied, but if they close the branch near me, I'll likely switch to the next closest bank.
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