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Located 13 miles southwest of Baltimore, Ellicott City brings diverse amenities and a close-knit community feel to its residents. Educated professionals and their families plant roots in Ellicott City for its low crime rates and great public schools. However, because of all the area has to offer, residents range from retirees looking for a charming historic town to singles with an affinity for the perfect work-life balance. The upper middle-class community consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in Maryland and rivals Baltimore in job opportunities and local culture.
As of October 2017, the average apartment rent in Ellicott City, MD is $1,922 for a studio, $1,293 for one bedroom, $1,614 for two bedrooms, and $2,294 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Ellicott City has increased by 4.7% in the past year.
Similar to retail options, the area’s restaurants and cafes hover along Main Street or the Baltimore National Pike. Cuisine in the area ranges from Ethiopian and Korean to savory vegetarian and classic American favorites, allowing locals to taste flavors of many countries without leaving the Ellicott City zip codes. Start with Nora’s Kabob, a Mediterranean café specializing in gyros and an assortment of kabobs. Locals recommend attending for lunch, since the specials warrant ordering a ton of food for an affordable price. Order the lamb kabab and hummus for a taste of local favorites. The Greek salad also packs tons of flavor into a leafy bed of greens if you are not in the mood for the marinated vegetable kabob. Order a chicken gyro to go to savor the flavors of shirazi salad and tangy feta cheese after your initial visit.
Locals in need of hearty American classics with an Irish influence head to Kelsey’s, a bar and restaurant hybrid that combines the best of beer with savory meals. Start with the Irish stew, a mix of tender veggies and potatoes smothered in a meaty gravy. Sandwich mavens stick to the half pound burger or Rueben, which layers corned beef below sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. While inexpensive daily deals such as half-priced wings draw hungry patrons in, the Guinness mussels and braised beef chili nachos keep them coming back. Save room for dessert, since locals say heavenly desserts such as the apple vanilla bread pudding are divine.
The nightlife scene in Ellicott City is comprised of a string of pubs that feature after hours amusement, such as karaoke and live bands. Judge’s Bench on Main Street offers thirsty residents a healthy selection of craft beers to enjoy while they take in the tunes of regular live performances. Judge’s brings the best of a lounge with large couches, big screen televisions and pool hall games. With a closing time well after midnight, locals can stick around the casual hangout for a night out any day of the week. Beer enthusiasts swear by The White Oak Tavern on the Baltimore National Pike. Regular visitors recommend ordering a beer flight for the best of the tavern’s brews, though the appetizers generate some discussion as well. Be sure to stop by on Thursdays for a Blue Point Hoptical Illusion to wash down a round of trivia.
Ellicott City is steeped in history and continues to perpetuate its rich past with a slew of historic sites and preserved buildings. The area was named for the Ellicott family who were instrumental in establishing the local economy, starting with the founding of a flour mill in 1772. In the 1800s, railroad developments carried the area the rest of the way to becoming one of the best places to live. Residents visit the B & O Ellicott City Railroad Station Museum or venture to Historic Ellicott City to peruse the city’s beginnings. A large art and performance scene exists in the area and allows residents to indulge in galleries such as Cotton Duck Art & Apparel and productions put on by the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company or the Kinetics Dance Theatre. Many locals look forward to annual events such as the Fall Festival and the popular Main Street Music Fest.
Residents in Ellicott City depend heavily on cars for their transportation needs. Since the area encompasses around 30 miles, most destinations are too spread out to walk or bike to, except along Main Street. Cyclists are most common west of Main Street around the state parks and River and Frederick Roads. With 88 percent of residents choosing to use automobiles, free and residential parking come easily and traffic only backs up at the fork of the Columbia Pike. Instead, residents can use Frederick Road or access the Baltimore National Pike from Rogers Avenue to avoid backed up routes. Commuting to Baltimore takes roughly half an hour by car for those who take jobs in the city. Few public transportation options exist, but a few bus routes pass through the county and provide service to most subdivisions and neighboring towns. A one-way bus fare runs $2.00, though taking Route 150 to regularly commute to Baltimore could be more costly. Locals without a set of wheels call ahead to one of four taxi services in Ellicott City or use Uber to schedule their rides.
Ellicott City is proof of the concept that you get what you pay for. Life in the seemingly flawless town comes in at 49 percent higher than the average cost of living in Baltimore. However, this vast difference is the result of a steep housing market outside the city. Locals face similar prices for standard goods and services, such as groceries or health care. Fuel prices sit about 9 percent higher than the national average, but the median home price sits at $515,000. Though the majority of locals own, renters face pricey monthly payments as well. The average monthly rent runs $1,361, though a standard one-bedroom can be found for as little as $800 or as much as $1,600. Average prices overall help ease the expensive housing market, especially since locals can enjoy a liter of beer for $7 to $8.
Local shopping options are most populous along Main Street, though residents can still pick up items from big-name retailers. However, to get the real feel of the area, locals prefer to gather their home goods, apparel and décor from local shops. Sweet Elizabeth Jane reigns as the best selling retailer for vintage women’s clothing and accessories. Locals praise the stunning styling and arrangements and say the store evokes a high-end atmosphere without costing too much. Shoppers with a keen eye for interior design particularly love the shop for its selection of home décor tailored to fit small spaces. For other treasures that cost even less, head to Vintage Bliss Boutique or A Journey From Junk for used furniture and clothing in a consignment environment. Vintage Bliss holds the reputation of having excellent and trendy gifts in its three-floor kingdom of chic and eclectic inventory. For the best in local jewelry, stop in Hi Ho Silver Co or the Crystal Underground Shop. Each location brings something different; Hi Ho Jewelry sells a big selection of Celtic designs and Crystal Underground caters to shoppers interested in handmade designs.
Locals pick up groceries from chain stores such as Harris Teeter or Safeway on Montgomery Road. However, local options such as H Mart and Tere’s Latin Market remain long-time favorites for residents interested in purchasing specialty groceries. Tere’s Latin Market stands out for offering both a quick meal and Latin American goods in the same space. H Mart sustains its reputation as a prime outlet for the freshest produce and seafood. Residents attend the Ellicott City Old Town Market for farm fresh food vendors, music performances and events. A countywide market also operates in Ellicott City.
With at least three major recreation destinations in Ellicott City, residents take their pick between the quirky, themed playgrounds at Clark’s Elioak Farms or acres of nature at the Patapsco Valley State Park. The former park features a petting zoo, grassy fields and restored pieces from the Enchanted Forest amusement park. The $5 per person entrance fee is a steal compared to all the park has to offer. Residents with furry friends take their dogs to the Worthington Dog Park on Hillsborough Road or hook them to leashes for hikes through the trails at Patapsco Valley State Park. Paved paths and rolling hills are ideal for joggers or bike riders, though adventurous locals take to foot to soak up as much nature as possible. Beautiful in both summer and winter, this $3 park offers an escape into the wild small waterfalls and picturesque stretches of forest along railroad tracks. Locals recommend exploring the house ruins in Avalon and walking across the swinging bridge. Make sure to print a map beforehand, since paths get tricky and make it easy to get lost while exploring retired train tunnels. Neither park hosts large events since many local gatherings draw in crowds too large to accommodate.
Apartments for Rent Under $500 in Ellicott City, MD
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