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THE USA: Destination Guides

The ultimate student guide to Baltimore

Baltimore, Maryland has the weather, food and universities to suit international students. Find more details in our ultimate guide.

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Known as Charm City, for its many hidden gems of culture and heritage, if you’re hoping to study in the USA, Baltimore is certainly somewhere to consider. The birthplace of the country’s national anthem The Star-Spangled Banner, the city has played a significant role in America’s history.


If you dream of an American study adventure, Baltimore has it all: universities, coastline, culture and entertainment. Read on to find out more.


What is Baltimore like?


Location and demographics


Located on the USA’s northeast coast in the state of Maryland, the vibrant hub of Baltimore is only an hour’s drive from Washington D.C. and two hours from the hub of Philadelphia. If you’re not a fan of chilly northern climates, you’ll be pleased to hear that the city experiences long, warm summers and winters are relatively cool.


With a population of 575,000, Baltimore is considerably smaller than its neighbouring metropolises, meaning you can benefit from more of a community feel. It’s a diverse city and proud of the impact of multiculturalism on its heritage.


Baltimore city in the background. Park bench in the foreground with the words Baltimore The Greatest City in America


Culture and history


Baltimore was historically a place of immense strategic importance both in terms of land and sea. The city played a crucial role during many significant points in US history and its pride in this heritage is evident in the number of exceptional museums and galleries it has to offer.


Visit today and you will find many museums, monuments and historical experiences relating to the city, its heritage, the American Civil War and the African American Civil Rights movement things. Consider visiting the Baltimore Museum of Art to visit the largest collection of Matisse in the world (for free) or if you’re more interested in literature, take a trip to the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum.


The city has been home to a number of successful residents over time, including Michael Phelps, David Hasselhoff and Mo’Nique.


What universities are in Baltimore?


The most prestigious university in the Baltimore area is Johns Hopkins University, a private university ranked 15th in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2023. This institution is well known internationally, especially for its biomedical and science programmes. Notable alumni include Woodrow Wilson, Virginia Apgar and PJ O’Rourke.



If you’re prepared to travel, you might also consider the University of Maryland in College Park. This public university has global reach and impressive programmes available across all fields. Notable alumni include Larry David, Jeff Kinney and Sergey Brin.


You might also consider the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, ranked 137 in the US News & World Report 2022.


If you are hoping to apply to a community college to obtain an associate degree, consider Baltimore City Community College or the Community College of Baltimore County.


Discover the top universities in the USA.


What does Baltimore offer students?


What is transport like?


Whilst you can get around the city easily on foot or bicycle, Baltimore also offers its residents a fantastic public transport system, and better yet, it’s efficient and affordable.


Bus, subway, light rail and even water taxi services are all travel options in Baltimore. Hop on to the Charm City Circulator bus – one comes every 15 minutes – and travel around downtown for free. Or consider renting an e-scooter to get from A to B.


Tickets can be purchased on buses or at stations. Water taxi tickets give you unlimited access to the service for 24 hours. For regular journeys on bus, light rail or subway, a number of multi-day or week passes are available to make travel cheaper. If you attend a participating school, you may be able to purchase a College Transit Pass, giving you access to special student rates.


The city is well-connected to Washington DC on weekdays by rapid commuter trains. Slower rail services also connect Baltimore to a number of US cities.


For international travel, BWI Marshall Thurgood Airport connects Baltimore quickly to destinations across the Americas and Europe.


 Do you want to know more about the top student cities in the USA?


What about entertainment and food?


Think of Baltimore and perhaps the first food that comes to mind is crab – and it’s well worth trying it here – the city has certainly perfected its unique seafood cuisine. But there’s far more to this foodie destination than just the obvious. Whether you’re after a low-key vegan brunch or a high-end restaurant dinner or just want to explore Baltimore’s famous covered food markets, this city serves a diverse and exciting selection of flavours from around the world.



In the evening, why not visit one of Baltimore’s acclaimed craft breweries? Or if you prefer to dance the night away, the city is full of dance floors at speakeasies, pubs and nightclubs. Perhaps you’d prefer to catch a show? Baltimore’s theatres attract some of the top Broadway productions so you’ll never miss out.


Are there public services for students?


Studying in Baltimore, you’ll have access to resources at the government, state, and university levels to help you navigate your way through the higher education system.


The US government provides a substantial amount of free information to assist international students. Access student resources via the US Department of State website. Or explore financial aid options across Baltimore with Education USA’s helpful tool.


Your university’s international office will be able to assist you with any queries or concerns you have, from accessing healthcare to settling into life in Baltimore. To better understand the American higher education system, make sure to read our USA grading guide.


Find out how to apply for a student visa in the USA.


How much does it cost to live in Baltimore?


The general cost of Baltimore


As cities go in the USA, people living in Baltimore tend to experience a fairly average cost of living, making it an attractive destination for students. Of course, it’s still definitely worth budgeting to make the most of your experience.


Get more information on the student living costs in the USA.


Student budget


International students moving to the USA do have to pay a number of upfront costs, such as health insurance and of course tuition fees. But once those are settled, Johns Hopkins University suggests an annual budget in the region of USD 21,000.


Discover how much tuition in the USA costs.




Most undergraduates opt to live on-campus to get the most out of their student experience. You’ll find that costs vary widely between institutions, with more prestigious institutions often charging more. But the benefit of campus living is that your bills and sometimes even your food will be included in your rent.


For an approximation of accommodation costs in Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University suggests that on-campus room and board costs in the region of USD 17,500 per year. Off-campus, you’ll be looking at spending approximately USD 14,000 (not including bills).


Read more on how to apply to study in the USA.


What are Baltimore’s main attractions?


Baltimore has plenty of activities for students to do. Spend your days wandering the city’s picturesque streets and waterfront. Stroll into vintage, boutique stores, dropping into a coffee shop for refreshments. Finish your day with a luxurious cocktail or simply grab a takeaway to enjoy in your dorm room with friends.


With many venues and festivals of all sizes, if music is your thing, spend a few hours watching your favourite band, or experiencing some local acts. The city’s theatres have plenty on too. Whether you prefer a Broadway musical or an evening of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, whatever your vibe, Charm City has you covered.



For sports fans, Baltimore has major league teams in NFL and baseball as well as professional teams in soccer and lacrosse. If a day at the races appeals, the Pimlico Race Course is known all over the world. Or get involved in sport yourself; explore the city’s parks on bike or foot, or try your hand at a water-sport.


Whatever your interests, we feel sure that if you’re hoping to live in the USA, Baltimore has the potential to be the study destination of a lifetime.


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