Canton – Baltimore, MD

The Canton community of Baltimore city is an exciting environment to call home. With the popular Canton Square area's restaurants and bars, access to the city's largest public park, and some of the area's best schools, Canton is one of the most prominent communities in the city. With a location within Baltimore City proper, and just a mile away from downtown, this urban waterfront community is a convenient location for those seeking an easy commute to downtown. While Canton may have the most famous bar and nightlife district in the city, this charming community, filled with historic row homes, is also a family-friendly community.

Schools in Canton

School data provided by GreatSchools

Restaurants & Nightlife

Canton holds a strong reputation as one of the most visited dining and entertainment districts in all of Baltimore city. Most of the bars in the area are located in or around the Canton Square region of the neighborhood. Canton Square is a collection of shops and restaurants that surround the community’s dog-friendly park. This is where Mama’s on the Half Shell resides. This neighbor establishment features a collection of locally caught seafood, and an award winning recipe for Maryland Crab soup. Those looking for a cocktail to compliment their seafood platter can try the restaurant’s Orange Crush cocktail, made with vodka, Triple Sec and fresh squeezed oranges. Also right off the square, residents seeking home-style southern food can visit Canton’s Cardinal Tavern. This southern restaurant has an extensive menu of house made dishes, but is best known for its fried chicken, which patrons can order in bulk at this neighborhood bar and restaurant. Residing in the same area is the infamous Nacho Mama’s. This establishment serves more than just Mexican Cuisine as it is also an Elvis impersonator bar. Try their fajitas and one or two of their famous hub cap margaritas. Throughout the Canton Square neighborhood, residents can find many bars and late night establishments with drink specials, weekly DJs and live bands on the weekend. One such tavern is the Claddagh Pub, an Irish bar that specializes in being Baltimore's soccer bar. Only a stone's throw away lies Plug Ugly’s Publick House, a bar that specializes in cheap beer, good food, and bottomless Bloody Mary and mimosa brunch on Sundays.

History & Culture

As one of the oldest communities in Baltimore, Canton holds a great deal of history. This history began in 1785 when Irish merchant John O’Donnell settled in Baltimore and began trading in a Chinese Port, called Canton. This is how the name Canton came to be, and the neighborhood’s main road, O’Donnell Street, was named after the community’s founder. In the early 20th century, European immigrants settled in the community and Welsh, German, Slavic and Polish immigrants began developing and commercializing the area. The influence of Slavic and Polish immigrants plays an important role in the development of Canton, and this history is displayed at the nearby National Slavic Museum. Throughout Canton, several monuments pay homage to Canton’s history to the immigrants that helped develop this community and to Baltimore’s role in the War of 1812 and the American Revolutionary War.


Most residents in Canton, travel by car, with Boston Street connecting the neighborhood to Interstate 95 and to nearby downtown Baltimore. Due to Canton’s location along the harbor, residents who drive on Interstate 95 towards downtown must travel through the underground Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, which comes with a $4.00 toll fee. Free and meter street parking and free parking lots are available throughout Canton; however, parking is notoriously difficult to come by, so residents should think twice before investing in a car. The neighborhood is rated as one of the most walkable in Baltimore, and several bike racks and bike-friendly routes can be found throughout Canton. The Uber car service serves the Canton area, and due to the number of bars and restaurants in the neighborhood, cabs are quite easy to come by. Residents can also travel on the MTA local bus, which is part of the Maryland Transit Administration. There is another bus route that serves the city, known as the Charm City Circulator, this is a free public bus that travels throughout Canton and downtown.


Life in the Canton area carries an average to above-average cost of living. The cost of leasing a row home or apartment, is much higher than the city average, with the typical one-bedroom apartment in Canton costing around $1,435 per month. A ride to the city center on a MARC bus is $1.60, or residents can travel to the city center for free through the Charm City Circulator. The cost of gas hovers around 0.5 percent above the national average. You can also expect to pay around $5 for a pint at local bars.


Boutique shopping makes up the majority of the shopping scene in Canton. Most of the stores are located in Canton Square or along bustling Boston Street. For the latest women's fashions and on-trend shoes or accessories, check out Cloud 9 Clothing. On the O'Donnell Street side of Canton Square, 2910 On The Square sells handmade gifts, accessories and other items. Many shoppers know this boutique for its hand-painted decorative bricks. Residents buy their groceries and essentials at the local Safeway supermarket or head down the street to the large Canton Crossing development where there is a Harris Teeter location in addition to several big-name chain stores such as Michaels, DSW and Ulta. RoofTop Hot, a nearby organic farmers market, provides locally made goods and organic produce as well as locally sourced cheese, eggs, hummus and meats as well as other grocery items.


Several parks can be found throughout Canton. Canton Waterfront Park rests between Boston Street and the Baltimore Harbor. This public park is home to the Korean War Memorial and a water taxi location, and it provides residents with views of Fort McHenry. This dog-friendly park has ample green space, walking trails, benches and picnic tables. Canton also borders Patterson Park, the largest public park in the city of Baltimore. This massive park provides residents with access to tennis courts, soccer fields, basketball courts, walking trails and lots of green space. The park is home to several annual events, including BARCStoberfest, Baltimore’s Oktoberfest and the annual water ballet.
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