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  • Military
  • Suburb
  • Commuter
  • Attractive

Laurel enjoys a unique position roughly halfway between DC and Baltimore, and its relative seclusion makes it an attractive option for commuters who work in either city but prefer a small-town home environment. The close proximity to Fort Mead also makes Laurel a popular option for Department of Defense employees and military personnel seeking off-base housing.

The cost of living is rather affordable, and apartments tend to rent for much more reasonable rates than closer to the major cities nearby. While almost exclusively residential, Laurel does feature a handful of large shopping centers along its major roadways as well as a quaint Main Street district, the perfect place to grab a cup of coffee in a friendly café before heading off to work.

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Rent Trends

As of August 2017, the average apartment rent in Laurel, MD is $1,095 for a studio, $1,305 for one bedroom, $1,553 for two bedrooms, and $1,817 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Laurel has increased by 2.5% in the past year.

Beds
Avg Sq Ft
Avg Rent
Studio
527
$1,095
1 BR
777
$1,305
2 BR
1,056
$1,553
3 BR
1,242
$1,817
Beds
Avg Sq Ft
Avg Rent

Ratings

47 Walk Score® Car-Dependent
26 Transit Score® Some Transit
0 Bike Score® Somewhat Bikeable

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Restaurants

Head to Baltimore Avenue to find the entertainment hub of this city, where home-grown eateries compete with international cuisines for attention.

Visit Sardi's Pollo a la Brasa to indulge in a local favorite: flavorful charbroiled chicken and plantains. Described by its patrons as friendly and quick with service, this authentic Peruvian restaurant serves specialty dishes including Lomo Saltado, steak sautéed with onions and tomatoes over French fries and rice, and Anticucho Corazan, beef-heart skewers served with roasted potatoes, yuca, Peruvian corn and chaufa rice. Try the quarter, half or whole chicken, marinated and charbroiled and served with two side orders.

Head to Pasta Plus to find a gourmet market alongside an Italian restaurant, favored by locals for its casual atmosphere and consistently good food. Try a wood-burned brick-oven pizza or calzoni, choose from the extensive pasta menu or experiment with one of this restaurant's specials, which include Pollo Rustico, risotto with fontina cheese and fish of the day.

Baltimore Avenue also plays host to the neighborhood's nightlife, with a high concentration of sports bars. BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse offers burgers and pizzas alongside an extensive beer selection and cocktail menu. Nuzback's serves imported beers and chicken wings. Try Delta Bingo for an alternative evening of bingo or the Starting Gate for a dive bar atmosphere. For an evening of theater, head to the Venus Theatre Play Shack or the Laurel Mill Playhouse.

History

Originally formed from land on the fall line of the Patuxent River, U.S. Route 1 was built through Laurel in the 1800s, creating a major north-south land route along several states. The 19th century saw a building boom, as mill workers flocked to the area. The neighborhood saw a shift in the 20th century as local industry began to fall away and residents instead commuted to Washington or Baltimore, transforming the area into a residential haven. Department of Defense facilities feature prominently in the region, as does the Laurel Park Racecourse.

Visit Laurel Museum to learn about the history of the area, or Montpelier Mansion for a stately home that belonged to Major Thomas Snowden. Find the local arts scene at the Montpelier Arts Center or Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission Art Gallery and enjoy the annual Main Street Festival each May, hosted by the Laurel Board of Trade.

Transportation

While most residents rely on their personal vehicles to travel within the Laurel neighborhood or commute to the two nearby major cities, public transportation options include two Maryland Area Regional Commuter stations on the Camden Line: Laurel Station and Laurel Racetrack Station. The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority runs four lines into the city, while Connect-a-Ride and Howard Transit bus services can be found in Laurel. Shuttle and taxi services are widely available, and Uber operates to the southwest of the neighborhood. Disabled residents make use of MetroAccess, a shared-ride paratransit service, while Call-a-Cab provides transportation at a reduced cost for seniors over the age of 60.

U.S. Route 1 bisects the neighborhood from north to south, while Maryland Route 216 connects Laurel with Howard County and MD 197 takes you to Bowie. Find Suburban Airport on Brock Bridge Road. Locate parking lots scattered through the neighborhood and limited street parking in the residential parts of town.

A relatively large neighborhood, Laurel requires a car for most errands, though strolling through the shopping and entertainment districts is perfectly possible. Find several biking routes through the city, from lanes and side paths to trails, located mostly on the main thoroughfares.

Cost

Expect a cost of living in Laurel that's roughly on a par with the state average for Maryland. The median rental cost for a one-bedroom apartment is about $1292, while public transportation fares to the center of the two nearby cities range from $4 to $16 dollars, depending on distance. A pint of beer runs about $8.80, while the price per gallon of gasoline is just over 4 percent higher than the national average.

Shopping

Head to the Towne Centre at Laurel for a convenient variety of stores, restaurants and entertainment options, mostly chain stores and large brands. The neighborhood also features plenty of boutiques and specialty stores alongside a range of department stores.

Visit The Crystal Fox for books as well as essential oils, incense and Tarot cards. For handcrafted needlework ranging from samplers to hardanger from local designers, try Stitching Pretty. Square dancers throughout the region head to CaLyCo Crossing for dance clothing, from petticoats and blouses to Western shirts and pants.

Grocery store options abound within Laurel, from Weis Markets and a Super Best to the Corridor Market Place and Giant Food. Find regular grocery outlets such as Shoppers Food Warehouse, Food Lion and Safeway as well as specialty stores, including Laurel Health Foods for healthy, great tasting breads and Aladdin Food Mart for Middle Eastern ingredients. For a local farmers market, head to the Dutch Country Farmers Market on Fort Meade Road, selling everything from fresh produce to baked goods, dairy, barbecue, candies and organic meats.

Parks

All parks within Laurel are free to the public and most remain open all year round. Visit Riverfront Park, a 30-acre scenic space that parallels the Patuxent River from the dam ruins to U.S. Route 1, to find three picnic pavilions and 1.5 miles of paths for exercise fans, a "tot lot," picnic tables and barbecue grills. Enjoy open play areas and scenic wetlands as well as space for your dog to run free. Nearby, find the Laurel Municipal Pool and Laurel Museum.

Donated to the city as part of the Laurel Lakes Development in 1984, Granville Gude Park and Lakehouse features a lakehouse and snack bar, as well as two lakes, picnic pavilions, grills and picnic tables. Families enjoy the horseshoe pits, tot lot and a boat dock with paddle boat rentals and open play areas. Outdoor events take place on a stage, and the parks hosts plenty of community events including a July 4 celebration, Movies in the Park and Easter's Eggstravaganza. Exercise enthusiasts and dog walkers enjoy the 1.25 miles of trails.

Head to Dinosaur Park for an archaeological site with fossils from the Cretaceous Period — pick up some fossils of your own and check what you've found with one of the trained volunteers or paleontologists. Open houses take place on the first and third Saturday of every month; the fossil area can be accessed only during these times and special events, but the interpretive garden opens every day. A dinosaur-themed activity room welcomes visitors at nearby Montpelier Mansion.

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