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MarylandNed Feb 11th 2011 10:36 pm

Re: DC or Baltimore?

Originally Posted by MarylandNed (Post 9169775)
I think a driving commute from Baltimore to DC would be rough. The I-95 and I-485 (DC Beltway) interstates can be jammed at times.

Oops - meant I-495 (not I-485). One of the biggest parking lots in DC! I agree with those who say that you shouldn't try to live in Baltimore and work in DC. You really would be in for a very painful time. I was going to say a painful life - but life wouldn't be the correct word for that type of existence!

penguinsix Feb 11th 2011 11:37 pm

Re: DC or Baltimore?
Chevy Chase, MD is a town in Maryland along the northern side of the NW border of DC ('Western Avenue'). It has a small town council though most of the government services are provided by Montgomery County, where it is located (i.e. schools, fire/rescue, etc).

Chevy Chase is a 'neighborhood' in Washington DC. As such the government for that area falls under the District of Columbia municipal government. There are Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners for Chevy Chase DC (zoning advisors, basically) which has some small quasi-powers, but generally the overall governance is done in DC City Hall.

Chevy Chase MD is an extremely expensive place to live. Median incomes around $200,000 or so. The DC side is also pretty expensive.

This is a good map of the various neighborhoods in DC proper.

Generally West of Rock Creek Park is the most desirable places, with larger homes and less crime. The extreme SE and NE parts of the city tend to have the most crime.

Neighborhoods on the border, like Dupont, Mount Pleasant, Adams Morgan have, in recent decades, been gentrified and are quite expensive, but still offer a bit of urban living (restaurants and bars and occasional street crime). In fact parts of Shaw and Columbia Heights on this map are in the transitional phase.

Capitol Hill is also desirable. Quieter than other parts of the city but with an urban edge, many of the Congressman and their staff live in these areas. Eastern Market is one area that is quite popular on the weekends, with a street market that brings people from all over.

It all depends on what the OP is interested in paying and where they are working. Living in DC will result in higher state/local taxes than say Maryland, but lower commuting costs and more nightlife options. There are also areas of the 'suburbs' that are quite urbanized, such as Bethesda MD, Silver Spring, MD, and Roslyn/Arlington, VA (Courthouse, Ballston neighborhoods).

Bladerunner Feb 12th 2011 9:50 pm

Re: DC or Baltimore?
If you are working near the center of DC and live 15 mins or less from Baltimore Penn station then it may be worth it. The fast train takes just 30 mins to the centre of DC from Bimo.

I like Baltimore. I used to live in Howard County and it was a real hassle getting into town by car, but the light rail is very good if you live near a stop. Also, the central area of Baltimore near the Washington Monument, Mt Vernon, is safe and quite a happening place full of students and alternative types, with lots of bars and restaurants. You can walk to the station from there.

The Baltimore Subway, BTW, does not go near Penn station. The local train (MARC I think) is a good way of getting around Maryland but it takes ages to get to DC. The fast train is the AMTRAK. They don't let you travel without ID.

katybluewater Feb 13th 2011 1:26 pm

Re: DC or Baltimore?
I live in Vienna, Va - a nice suburb with a good community feel to it. My husband works in Ballston and it only takes him about 15 minutes to drive in on the 50. I definitely wouldnt commute from Baltimore if I were you - your quality of life would suffer as you would be spending most of your day in traffic!
Penguin six gave some great advice about neighbourhoods and nightlife.

AyePod Feb 14th 2011 11:17 am

Re: DC or Baltimore? guys are amazing! Thanks SO much to the people who put so much effort into their replies!
It seems that I was being a bit naive, I pretty much just looked at a map and thought " Well, they ARE close..." without knowing that the beltway is a parking lot. Basically, we are wanting to live in a walkable city with great transport links to and from work, due to the fact that we will not have a car initially. Also, neither of us have jobs yet, but my wife will likely get a job in DC (many non-profits there, and that is what she wants to do). For this, living in DC or northern virginia seemed to fit the bill. However, the rental prices around metro stops are so high, especially if you'd rather not live with rodents! That's why we started looking to Baltimore, it seemed cheaper to live in nice accommodations, and I think there is a train between the 2 cities. I guess from what you guys say it would be a soul-draining experience if one of us had to commute to DC every day. Unless we both get a job in Baltimore, it sounds like it would be grim living there and working in DC

penguinsix Feb 14th 2011 2:43 pm

Re: DC or Baltimore?

I hate to be the bearer of even more bad news, but I strongly recommend reading this article from the Washington Post:

This article talks about the fact that yes, there are tons of non-profits here, but the competition for working with them is fierce, and in many cases folks with advanced degrees and experience are taking positions that pay barely subsistence wages, let alone anything decent. Simply coming to DC to look for a job is done, frequently, but the wait can be months and the hit to your savings can be substantial.

Once you have a job is really when you start to look for a living arrangement. Given the rather rough traffic flow in the area, generally it makes more sense to live near your job, or if you are saving on money, live in a place where getting to your job is not impossible. For example the close-in suburb of Silver Spring--somewhat moderate in price, walkable, etc. would pose quite a commuting challenge on your if you were working in say Old Town Alexandria or Reston, VA, where many jobs are located.

She might want to take a look at this site:

It's the top job site for public policy / non-profit jobs in DC. Costs $5 a month or so but really solid job leads.

DC is a fun place to live and work. Lots of excitement and certainly a few walkable areas with nightlife and entertainment and the whole bit. You just have the problem that everyone who wants the urban living experience wants a nice apartment on top of a metro station in a hip and trendy area, and with tens of thousands of DINK (double income, no kid) professionals pulling in 6 digits each the housing prices are rather steep.

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