16 Things People in DC Don’t Understand About Baltimore

DC and Baltimore are only 30 miles apart, but the two cities couldn’t be more different. In fact, Washingtonians often regard Baltimore as that strange younger step-sibling with some odd habits and a violent streak. And we Baltimoreans think of DC as the pretentious sibling we would rather not keep in touch with. So, to clear up any confusion between the two, here are 16 things people in DC don’t quite get about Baltimore:

1. Not everywhere is like an episode of The Wire

Let’s get this one out of the way: contrary to popular belief, you won’t step off the MARC Train and immediately get mugged. Baltimore has its rough areas, sure, but what city doesn’t? (Stares daggers at DC.) 

2. No one cares about where you work

Without fail, this is the first question you're asked in DC (followed by confusion/shocked fascination if that job doesn't somehow pertain to the government). In Baltimore, the first question will most likely be, "Where did you go to high school?".


3. Natty Boh isn’t actually made here

While National Bohemian was founded and brewed in Baltimore for nearly 100 years, the beer is now owned by Pabst Brewing Company. But we aren't hurting for local beer, thanks to The Brewer’s Art, Union Craft Brewing, Heavy Seas Beer, etc.

4. You can actually afford to live here

Paying $8 for a beer or $2K a month for a one-bedroom are blissfully foreign concepts in Baltimore.


5. We don’t live in soulless condos

Speaking of apartments, most of us are happy to live in charming brick rowhomes, brownstones, or the oh-so-Baltimore motif of formstone houses that have actual character. 

6. Yeah... you're going to need a car here

We'll admit it -- our public transportation leaves much to be desired. We’re finally getting on the ball a bit with things like the Circulator and impending Red Line. But hey, no single-tracking Metro delays!

Flickr/Tim Evanson

7. Our city wasn’t designed as a trap

Though the idea of L’Enfant designing DC to defend against military invaders is widely regarded as myth, we totally believe it. Between the circles, diagonal avenues, and streets that change out of nowhere -- we’d prefer an easy drive down Charles St any day.

Flickr/Ron Cogswell

8. Baltimore has a Washington Monument

And it was built first. Posers. 

9. We also have a beltway

While our 695 has its issues during rush hour, it is nothing compared to the Seventh Circle of Hell that is 495 -- any time of day.


10. You can get an actual baseball experience here

Retro-inspired Camden Yards fills with actual lifelong baseball fans April-October, not just an endless stream of lobbyists, publicists, and other "ists" who'll inevitably spend more time staring at their smartphone than watching the game before leaving in the seventh.

11. Nobody here wears suits to the bar

Find some jeans.


12. There's actual food culture here

One Ben’s Chili Bowl doesn’t give you a culinary identity. And don't even try with the crabs; those belong to Maryland and you know it.

13. People actually stay here longer than three years

Having a population with established roots and city pride is nice, you should try it sometime! Whoops.

14. There are certain places locals just don’t hang out

Steer clear of out-of-towner traps like The Inner Harbor and Power Plant. If we wanted to see tourists, we’d just go to DC


15. Don't call us "quirky"

The quirky label has defined us a city for a while, but we actually think things like toilet bowl races and giant poodle parade floats are pretty normal parts of living in a city with actual personality.

16. We don’t want to move to a more "major" city

This is a question we get asked all the time. Why not move to DC or New York or Chicago? Simply put: this is home.

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