Oldtown – Baltimore, MD

The Old Town neighborhood sits directly northeast of the busy waterfront business and tourist district of Baltimore, Maryland. Unless visiting the nearby Johns Hopkins University, few residents of Baltimore are aware of the hidden gems this neighborhood has to offer. Attainable rent prices, local eateries and accessible transit options are just a few of the benefits residents enjoy while living here.

Schools in Oldtown

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Restaurants & Nightlife

An initial online search may leave visitors in the dark about where to eat in this quiet neighborhood, but locals quickly point to a few great establishments that remain anything but unknown. Owners of these local favorites may not choose to spend time developing their Internet presence, but the quality of food reveals time well spent. Directly across from the Johns Hopkins University, on the corner of East Monument Street and North Broadway, sits a fried food lover's paradise. Mama Mia's represents the "other woman" to health food fanatics visiting and working at the nearby university. The cozy corner establishment offers its regulars a surprising number of breakfast and lunch options. From hotcakes and breakfast sandwiches to favorites such as the chicken cheesesteak on pita and the Fried shrimp basket, the food does not disappoint. If you still don't feel you have consumed enough calories through your fried food meal, Mama Mia's offers several tempting dessert options, including cheesecake and seasonal pies. The aptly named Dog House, located directly across from the Baltimore penitentiary on Penn-Fallsway, remains another local favorite that succeeds in staying busy despite its lack of marketing. Similar to Mama Mia's, Dog House appeals to customers through its hearty offering of breakfast and lunch items. Only open Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., with standing room only, the restaurant sees the majority of its patrons taking their meals to go. From fresh French toast sticks and homemade home fries to the meatloaf sandwich, the Dog House does not leave customers disappointed. Dog House represents one of the few establishments where you can grab a made-to-order meal without going over budget. After a hard day's work, locals find nearby nightlife alternatives within a 10-minute drive from Old Town, via taxi or transit. Club Orpheus, situated on the edge of Little Italy on East Pratt Street, has been drawing crowds for decades. Stimulate your senses when you walk through the door thanks to lively DJs, light shows, projectors and an upstairs lounge overlooking the central dance floor. The night club hosts themed events every Thursday, Friday and Saturday and offers nightly drink specials. If you discover too much sensory overload with the nightclub scene, make your way over to Ziascoz, also located on East Pratt. This bar and lounge has more of a neighborhood pub feel, serving drinks and late night snacks. Ziascoz has $1 crab nights on Mondays and karaoke on Wednesdays. If have a hidden singing talent, locals may tell you this is one of the best venues in town to live your dream.

History & Culture

The center of Old Town Baltimore's stone streets were once bustling with traffic as patrons and residents alike shopped and dined at the many business lining the Old Town mall. This scenic destination was quickly destroyed, however, during the Baltimore riots of 1968, an eight-day riot spurred by the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Though rebuilt in the mid-1970s, the area has never returned to its former splendor. Old Town is now at the center of Baltimore's historical revival movement and poised to be an up and coming Baltimore neighborhood. Situated directly to the west of the beautifully built Johns Hopkins University, the country's premier medical institution, the location is ideally situated in geography with proximity to the Jones Falls Expressway (JFX) and in scenery, with views of some of Baltimore's most historic architecture.

Transportation

Whether you are a biker, walker or frequent rider of the city transit system, the Old Town neighborhood is both accessible and travel-friendly. If biking is your preferred method, there are bike lanes available to the recreation centers north of the neighborhood and to the waterfront and downtown, south of the neighborhood. If you are up for a walk, you can walk to your favorite eateries or the local Whole Foods within 17 minutes on well-maintained sidewalks. The Maryland Transit Authority has several bus routes that pass through the Old Town every 15 minutes. At the low price of $1.60 one way, you can be in downtown Baltimore within 11 minutes. If you need your own set of wheels for the day, Zipcar has a local car-sharing location on Pace Street. To ensure your ride, make sure to arrange a taxi beforehand as hailing one from the street can prove difficult; Uber also services the area.

Cost

The population of Old Town Baltimore is comprised solely of renters. Renters enjoy a median rent of $675 for a one-bedroom residence, while the cost of living is 20 percent lower than the state average and 8 percent lower than the national average. With gas prices sitting at 5 percent higher than the national average, residents can still take advantage of the low cost of $3.60 for a R/T fare to downtown Baltimore. Pay around $4 for beer.

Shopping

Catch the local MTA bus southwest to Harborplace, the local indoor shopping mall housing many of your favorite retail stores. For the food fanatics, two unique specialty grocers sit directly west of Old Town, reachable within 10 minutes via bus or car. If you are second generation Italian or just an Italian connoisseur, you won't be able to resist a visit to Trinacria Italian Market & Deli located on North Paca St. You can pick up one of the tasty premade items or shop the selection of ingredients direct from the old country. if your tastes lean towards an Asian influence, PO Tung Trading on West Park Avenue is the perfect destination to procure authentic ingredients for your favorite south Asian cuisine. For the essentials, there is a Whole Foods Market located on Fleet Street, 11 minutes southwest of Old Town via transit or car.

Parks

There are two local recreation areas within a 5- to 10-minute walk of the Old Town neighborhood. The Chick Webb Recreation Center offers an indoor pool and small gym area as well as ongoing activities for children and adults, including cooking and theater classes, crafts and gym activities. Daily admission is only $3 for residents, and fees vary for classes. If you are looking for an outdoor area, you can walk over to the Madison Square recreation area where members of the community use the space to plant flowers and engage in other beautification projects.