12 Best Places to Live in Maryland (By Quality of Life)

Jon Miksis Jon Miksis clock Updated December 24, 2023 tourism Dream Destinations
by Jem
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Maryland is more than just a state; it’s a state of being. From its picturesque Chesapeake Bay to its rolling mountains and vibrant cities, the Old Line State offers a diverse range of lifestyles and landscapes. But with its rich history and varied geography, choosing the perfect spot to call home can be a challenge. To help you make your decision, I’ve put together this guide on the best places to live in Maryland.

I’ve roamed Maryland extensively over the years, and I can vouch for the state’s incredible diversity and beauty. From the tranquil beaches of the Eastern Shore to the bustling tech hubs around Baltimore, and from the historic charm of Annapolis to the artsy vibes of Frederick, Maryland’s diversity is unparalleled. Whether you’re drawn to the maritime culture, the allure of mountain living, or the dynamic pulse of cities like Baltimore and Rockville, there’s a corner of Maryland that feels like it was crafted just for you.

So, where to begin? The ideal location varies for everyone. Some may prioritize proximity to the water and staying near the Deep Creek Lake, others might look for excellent schools, and for many, the cost of living is a crucial factor.

Jump in as I dissect the best cities to live in Maryland, based on what matters most to you. As someone who’s experienced the state’s many sides, I’m here to guide you through the best places in Maryland to live. I’ve pored over research, analyzed statistics, and engaged with locals to compile a list that caters to every lifestyle and budget. Let’s get started!

The top places to live in Maryland for all

The Best Places to Live in Maryland     

Eager to explore the most enchanting places to call home in Maryland? Situated near the nation’s capital and bordered by Virginia, West Virginia, and Delaware, Maryland offers a unique blend of urban and rural living. Keep reading to uncover the best places to live in Maryland tailored just for you.

Searching for your dream location in the East coast? No matter what you have in mind, this versatile state has something to offer.

  • Best for historic charm: Annapolis
  • Best for city life and culture: Baltimore
  • Best for community and exclusivity: Chevy Chase View
  • Best for arts and history: Frederick
  • Best for upscale living: Fulton
  • Best for small-town feel: Kensington
  • Best for suburban comfort: Ilchester
  • Best for education and family life: Rockville
  • Best for green spaces and family activities: Scaggsville
  • Best for diversity and convenience: Silver Spring
  • Best for neighborhood charm: Tilden Woods
  • Best for rural beauty and growth: Urbana

Here are all the top spots in Maryland you should definitely consider for your next home:

1. Annapolis

Ah, the allure of the Chesapeake Bay! Annapolis, the state capital, is a sailor’s dream and a history buff’s paradise. Cobblestone streets and 18th-century architecture provide the backdrop for a vibrant downtown area. Here, you’ll find a mix of boutique shops, art galleries, and some of the state’s best seafood restaurants.

The U.S. Naval Academy calls Annapolis home, adding a youthful energy to this already dynamic city. As one of the best places to live in Maryland, it offers a blend of old-world charm and modern amenities. The city’s waterfront is a hub of activity, from sailing to stand-up paddleboarding.

Annapolis is also a political powerhouse, being the state capital. Legislative sessions draw people from all over, making it a melting pot of ideas and cultures. If you’re looking for a city that offers both natural beauty and intellectual stimulation, Annapolis is the best city to live in Maryland for you.

Did I mention the seafood? The crab cakes are a must-try, and the oyster bars are top-notch. Annapolis is a city that knows how to live life to the fullest, both on land and water.

Both sailors and history buffs will find utopia in Annapolis.
Both sailors and history buffs will find utopia in Annapolis.

2. Baltimore

Step into a world of vibrant culture and rich history. Baltimore, Maryland’s largest city, is a tapestry of diverse neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm. From the historic Inner Harbor to the artsy vibes of Fells Point, there’s something for everyone. The city is a hub for arts and culture, boasting museums like the Walters Art Museum and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Baltimore is known for its famous crab shacks and world-class zoo. The city’s lifestyle is a mix of calm and busy. As one of the coolest places to live in Maryland, it’s a city that celebrates its diversity and heritage. Every year, the Artscape festival brings together artists and art lovers from all over the country. It is the biggest free arts event in the country.

Sports enthusiasts will find plenty to cheer about, with the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles calling the city home. And let’s not forget the music scene; from jazz to indie rock, the city’s venues offer something for every musical taste. If you’re seeking a dynamic urban environment, Baltimore is one of Maryland’s best cities to live in.

Craving a culinary adventure? The food scene in the city is a culinary treat, with everything from gourmet donuts to seafood that will make your mouth water.

Baltimore is made up of a variety of neighborhoods, each having its distinct character.
Baltimore is made up of a variety of neighborhoods, each having its distinct character.

3. Chevy Chase View

Imagine living in a community where tree-lined streets meet upscale elegance. Welcome to Chevy Chase View, a residential haven that’s just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of Washington, D.C. This suburban gem offers a tranquil lifestyle, complete with lush parks and top-rated schools.

Residents here enjoy the best of both worlds: a peaceful neighborhood vibe and easy access to urban amenities. It’s one of the best Maryland towns to live if you’re looking for a balanced lifestyle. The area is known for its beautiful homes, ranging from charming bungalows to luxurious estates.

Shopping and dining options abound, with nearby Bethesda offering a plethora of choices. And for those who love the great outdoors, Rock Creek Park provides a natural escape right in your backyard. Chevy Chase View is a nice city to live in Maryland, especially if you value a community-oriented lifestyle.

Weekend farmers’ markets, community events, and local boutiques add to the area’s charm, making it a place where you’ll feel instantly at home.

This hidden suburban treasure offers a peaceful way of life with well-regarded schools and verdant parks.
This hidden suburban treasure offers a peaceful way of life with well-regarded schools and verdant parks.

4. Frederick

Picture this: a city where history and innovation coexist in perfect harmony. That’s Frederick for you, a city that’s as picturesque as it is progressive. With its historic downtown, complete with 18th-century architecture, Frederick offers a glimpse into America’s past. Yet, it’s also a city that’s forward-thinking, home to a growing tech industry and vibrant arts scene.

Frederick is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The nearby Catoctin Mountains offer hiking trails that lead to stunning vistas, while the city’s many parks provide ample space for picnics and sports. As one of the best places to live in Maryland, Frederick offers a lifestyle that’s both relaxed and invigorating.

The city’s culinary scene is nothing short of impressive. From farm-to-table restaurants to craft breweries, Frederick is a foodie’s paradise. And if you’re someone who enjoys a bustling nightlife, the city’s bars and music venues won’t disappoint. Frederick stands out as a good place to live in Maryland, particularly for those who appreciate the finer things in life.

Cultural festivals, art galleries, and live music events are regular features here, ensuring there’s never a dull moment in Frederick.

Frederick is a dynamic city that is equally charming.
Frederick is a dynamic city that is equally charming.

5. Fulton

Welcome to a place where suburban tranquility meets modern luxury. Fulton is a hidden gem in Howard County, offering a serene lifestyle that’s complemented by high-end amenities. The area is known for its excellent schools and family-friendly atmosphere, making it one of the best areas to live in Maryland for those who prioritize education and community.

The Maple Lawn community is the heart of Fulton, featuring a mix of residential, commercial, and recreational spaces. Think of it as a small town within a town, where you can find everything from boutique shops to gourmet restaurants. Fulton is a nice part of Maryland to call home, especially if you appreciate well-planned communities.

Outdoor activities? Fulton has you covered. With its proximity to the Patuxent River, residents can enjoy kayaking, fishing, and hiking. The area also boasts several parks and golf courses, offering a variety of options for outdoor fun.

Local farmers’ markets and seasonal festivals add a touch of charm to this already delightful community. Fulton is the kind of place where neighbors know each other by name, creating a warm and welcoming environment.

Fulton offers upscale amenities to go along with a tranquil way of life, one of the best places to live in Maryland.
Fulton offers upscale amenities to go along with a tranquil way of life, one of the best places to live in Maryland.

6. Kensington

Discover a slice of Americana in Kensington, a charming town that exudes a sense of community and nostalgia. Known for its Antique Row and historic homes, Kensington is a place where the past is lovingly preserved. The town’s farmers’ market is a local favorite, offering fresh produce and artisanal goods every weekend.

Kensington is more than just a pretty face; it’s also a hub for education and culture. The town is home to several top-rated schools and is just a short drive away from the nation’s capital, making it one of the great places to live in Maryland. The Noyes Children’s Library, the oldest library in the D.C. area dedicated to children, is a testament to the town’s focus on education and community.

For those who love the outdoors, Rock Creek Park offers hiking trails and picnic spots, providing a natural escape from the daily grind. When it comes to lifestyle, Kensington is a where to live in Maryland that offers a balanced blend of suburban peace and urban convenience.

Art festivals, holiday parades, and community events are staples here, ensuring that there’s always something happening in Kensington.

Explore Kensington, a quaint village that radiates nostalgia and a sense of community, to experience a little piece of Americana.
Explore Kensington, a quaint village that radiates nostalgia and a sense of community, to experience a little piece of Americana.

7. Ilchester

Nestled between the Patapsco River and the bustling city of Ellicott City, Ilchester offers a unique blend of natural beauty and urban convenience. This unincorporated community is a hidden treasure, known for its scenic landscapes and close-knit community. It’s a place where families thrive and nature is just a step away.

Ilchester is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The Patapsco Valley State Park offers a plethora of hiking and biking trails, camping sites, and vacation rentals for those who want to get closer to nature. As one of the best Maryland towns to live, Ilchester provides a tranquil setting that’s perfect for raising a family or simply enjoying a quieter pace of life.

The area is also home to some of the state’s top-rated schools, making it an ideal choice for families. And when it comes to amenities, nearby Ellicott City offers a range of shopping and dining options. Ilchester is the best town to live in Maryland, particularly for those who appreciate a community-oriented lifestyle.

Local events like the annual “Ilchester Fest” bring residents together, fostering a strong sense of community that’s hard to find elsewhere.

Ilchester has a special fusion of city conveniences and scenic beauty, one of the best places to live in Maryland.
Ilchester has a special fusion of city conveniences and scenic beauty, one of the best places to live in Maryland.

8. Rockville

Step off the Metro and find yourself in a city that’s a blend of urban sophistication and suburban comfort. Rockville, located in Montgomery County, is a hub for biotech companies and federal agencies. Yet, it maintains a small-town feel with its community events and local markets.

The city is a cultural melting pot, boasting an array of international cuisines and diverse festivals. As one of the best cities to live in Maryland, Rockville offers a lifestyle that’s both dynamic and family-friendly. The Town Square is a bustling center of activity, featuring shops, restaurants, and a seasonal ice-skating rink.

For those who love the outdoors, Rockville doesn’t disappoint. The city is home to more than 1,000 acres of parkland, offering ample opportunities for hiking, biking, and picnics. If you’re wondering what are the best places to live in Maryland, Rockville should definitely be on your list.

The city’s educational system is top-notch, with several schools receiving high ratings. Plus, the presence of Montgomery College offers opportunities for higher education right in your backyard.

Rockville, a center for government agencies and biotech businesses, is situated in Montgomery County.
Rockville, a center for government agencies and biotech businesses, is situated in Montgomery County.

9. Scaggsville

Unveil the charm of a community where rural landscapes meet modern living. Scaggsville is a small, unincorporated area in Howard County that offers a peaceful retreat from the urban hustle. With its rolling hills and farmlands, it’s a place where you can truly unwind and enjoy the simpler things in life.

Don’t let the rural setting fool you; Scaggsville is anything but isolated. It’s strategically located near major highways, making it easy to commute to Baltimore or Washington, D.C. If you’re considering places to move in Maryland, this community offers the perfect balance of seclusion and accessibility.

Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the proximity to the Patuxent River and the Rocky Gorge Reservoir, offering opportunities for fishing, kayaking, and hiking. Scaggsville is the best Maryland town to live in if you’re looking for a place that offers both natural beauty and modern conveniences.

The community also hosts several events every year. Some of the events are the Thanksgiving Parade and the Silver Spring Jazz Festival, which add to the rich culture of the area.

Small and unincorporated in Howard County, Scaggsville provides a tranquil escape from the bustle of the city.
Small and unincorporated in Howard County, Scaggsville provides a tranquil escape from the bustle of the city.

10. Silver Spring

Dive into a world where urban energy meets a suburban vibe. Silver Spring, located just north of Washington, D.C., is a bustling community that’s rich in diversity and brimming with life. The area is a hotspot for arts and entertainment, with venues like The Fillmore Silver Spring offering a stage for both local and international acts.

The Downtown Silver Spring area is a hub of activity, featuring a mix of shops, restaurants, and public art installations. It’s one of the top cities in Maryland to live if you crave a lively atmosphere. The area’s farmers’ market is a weekend staple, offering everything from fresh produce to handmade crafts.

Nature lovers will find solace in the nearby Sligo Creek Park, which offers hiking trails and picnic spots. Silver Spring is the best Maryland city, especially for those who want a blend of urban excitement and natural beauty.

The community is also home to several annual events, including the Silver Spring Jazz Festival and the Thanksgiving Parade, adding to its vibrant local culture.

A thriving town full of energy and diversity, Silver Spring is a constant source of inspiration.
A thriving town full of energy and diversity, Silver Spring is a constant source of inspiration.

11. Tilden Woods

Tucked away in the heart of Maryland, Tilden Woods offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. This charming area, known for its lush green spaces and friendly community, is a great place to live in Massachusetts. With their mature trees and well-kept homes, the streets make for a beautiful setting that’s great for morning jogs or relaxing strolls.

The community spirit in Tilden Woods is palpable. Neighbors know each other by name, and there’s a sense of belonging that’s hard to find in larger cities. The nearby parks are always busy with events like summer picnics and sports games. This makes them a great place for families and people who love being outside.

Education is a top priority here, with schools that are renowned for their academic excellence. Its closeness to big cities like Baltimore and Washington, D.C. makes it even more appealing. This gives people easy access to a wide range of professional and cultural options.

If you live in Tilden Woods, you can enjoy the peace and quiet of the suburbs without giving up the benefits of city life. It’s one of the best areas to live in Massachusetts, blending the best of both worlds in a way that’s uniquely its own.

A peaceful diversion from the bustle of the city can be found at Tilden Woods.
A peaceful diversion from the bustle of the city can be found at Tilden Woods.

12. Urbana

Welcome to a community where modern amenities meet a relaxed lifestyle. Urbana is a master-planned area in Frederick County that has seen rapid growth in recent years. With its top-rated schools and family-friendly atmosphere, it’s no wonder Urbana is considered one of the best areas to live in Maryland.

The Urbana District Park is a local gem, offering a variety of outdoor activities for all ages. From soccer fields to hiking trails, this park is a haven for those who love to stay active. When it comes to finding the best place to live in Maryland, Urbana is a strong choice. It has a lot of fun things to do and good schools.

Shopping and dining are also convenient in Urbana, thanks to the Urbana Village Center. This shopping complex features a range of stores and eateries, making it easy to run errands or enjoy a night out without leaving the community.

Urbana’s strategic location near I-270 makes commuting to both Frederick and Washington, D.C. a breeze. It’s a place that offers the best of suburban living while keeping the city’s amenities within reach.

Urbana is a Frederick County master-planned community that has experienced explosive expansion in recent years.
Urbana is a Frederick County master-planned community that has experienced explosive expansion in recent years.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Places to Live in Maryland                             

Looking to expand your knowledge about the best places to live in Maryland? Here are some common questions I get a lot about the best Maryland places to live in.

What is the nicest area in Maryland?

When it comes to the nicest parts of Maryland, the answer can vary depending on individual preferences for lifestyle, amenities, and natural beauty. However, places like Chevy Chase View and Kensington often top the list for their upscale neighborhoods, excellent schools, and proximity to Washington, D.C. Annapolis, the state capital, is another standout with its historic charm, waterfront views, and vibrant arts scene. If you’re looking for a blend of urban and suburban living, Silver Spring and Rockville offer a dynamic atmosphere with diverse dining options, arts, and entertainment. For those who prefer a more tranquil setting, Scaggsville and Urbana provide a peaceful environment with easy access to outdoor activities.

What is the safest city in Maryland?

Safety is a top concern for anyone considering where to live in MD, and Maryland offers several cities that are known for their low crime rates. Fulton often ranks as one of the safest cities in the state, thanks to its well-funded police department and community engagement programs. Ellicott City is another area that boasts low crime rates, coupled with excellent schools and family-friendly amenities. Rockville, despite being one of the larger cities in Maryland, also has a reputation for safety, with various community policing initiatives in place. It’s worth noting that safety can vary within different neighborhoods of a city, so it’s always a good idea to check the most recent crime statistics when making a decision.

Is Maryland a good place to live with family?

Absolutely, Maryland offers a plethora of options that make it a great place to live in Maryland for families. The state is home to some of the country’s top-rated public schools, particularly in areas like Fulton and Kensington. Outdoor activities are abundant, from the beaches of the Eastern Shore to the hiking trails in Western Maryland. The state’s rich history provides numerous educational opportunities for kids, with landmarks like Fort McHenry and the Antietam National Battlefield. Proximity to major cities like Baltimore and Washington, D.C., means families have access to world-class museums, theaters, and other cultural amenities. Additionally, Maryland has a variety of community types to choose from, whether you’re looking for urban convenience, suburban comfort, or rural tranquility.

Families will find that Maryland is an excellent area to live in due to its abundance of possibilities.
Families will find that Maryland is an excellent area to live in due to its abundance of possibilities.

Is Maryland a desirable place to live?

Maryland is often cited as one of the most livable cities in Maryland, and for good reason. The state offers a diverse range of living environments, from bustling urban centers like Baltimore to quaint coastal towns like Annapolis. The job market is robust, particularly in sectors like healthcare, education, and technology. Maryland’s location along the Mid-Atlantic gives residents the benefit of experiencing all four seasons, each offering its own set of recreational activities. The state’s rich cultural heritage, from its colonial history to its thriving arts scene, adds another layer of allure. Whether you’re a young professional, a growing family, or looking to retire, Maryland has something to offer everyone, making it a highly desirable place to live.

Is Maryland, USA expensive to live?

Living in Maryland does come with a higher cost of living compared to the national average, particularly in areas close to Washington, D.C., like Chevy Chase View and Silver Spring. Housing tends to be the most significant expense, with home prices and rents above the national median. However, the state’s higher living costs are often offset by higher average salaries, especially in fields like technology, healthcare, and government. While some may consider Maryland expensive, the state offers a range of options for different budgets. For example, places like Frederick and Urbana offer a more affordable lifestyle while still providing excellent amenities, making them good places to live in Maryland if you’re budget-conscious.

What is a good salary to live comfortably in Maryland?

The salary needed to live comfortably in Maryland can vary widely depending on the area and your personal lifestyle. In more affluent areas like Chevy Chase View or Annapolis, a household income of around $100,000 to $150,000 may be necessary to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. In contrast, in more affordable areas like Frederick or Urbana, a household income of $70,000 to $90,000 might suffice. It’s also essential to consider other expenses like healthcare, education if you have children, and personal savings. Generally speaking, Maryland offers a high quality of life, and higher salaries in the state often balance out the cost of living, making it one of the best towns to live in Maryland for those who plan their finances wisely.

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Live in Maryland

Maryland is a state that truly offers something for everyone. From the bustling energy of Baltimore to the serene landscapes of Western Maryland, the diversity is astounding. Whether you’re a young professional seeking career advancement, a family looking for a nurturing environment, or someone who simply wants to enjoy the golden years, Maryland has a place for you. The state’s rich history, cultural diversity, and natural beauty make it a compelling choice for anyone looking to relocate.

While the cost of living can be on the higher side, especially in areas close to Washington, D.C., the state offers a variety of options to fit different budgets. The higher average salaries in Maryland often balance out these costs, making it a financially viable option for many. If you’re considering where to move in Maryland, you’ll find a range of choices from urban centers to suburban communities and even rural hideaways.

So, what are you waiting for? Maryland is not just a state; it’s a lifestyle. Whether you’re drawn to the historical charm of Annapolis, the vibrant arts scene in Silver Spring, or the peaceful tranquility of Scaggsville, Maryland is waiting to welcome you home. Maryland’s best cities to live are not just about the amenities they offer but also about the communities that you become a part of.

Take the plunge and discover why Maryland is more than just a place on the map; it’s a state of being. Your perfect home is out there, waiting for you in one of the best Maryland towns to live.

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