Best Places to Live in Maryland

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With top-notch schools, a thriving job market, and rich cultural experiences, Maryland is aptly known as “America in Miniature.”

Whether you prefer the bustling cities or the tranquility of its suburbs, we can help find you your dream home. This guide will discuss some of the best places to live in Maryland to help you make an informed decision.

Your Guide to the Best Places to Live in Maryland

Maryland has much to offer, from the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains to the sparkling Chesapeake Bay. Based on several factors below, let’s discuss some of the best places to live in Maryland.

Columbia, MD

Located in Howard County, Columbia is a planned community that consistently ranks among the best places to live in Maryland and the United States. Its outstanding public schools attract many families with kids.

Housing Market

Columbia boasts a competitive housing market, with average home prices slightly above the national average at $455K. Real estate options vary from affordable single-family homes for first-time buyers to upscale properties if you want luxury.


The city’s commitment to quality education is evident in its top-rated schools like Atholton, Wilde Lake, and River Hill High.

Traffic and Transport

Columbia offers easy access to major cities like Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Its well-planned road networks and reliable public transport system ensure minimal traffic congestion.


There are plenty of entertainment options, from the Columbia Mall to gorgeous parks and recreation facilities like Wilde Lake Park. It also houses Merriweather Post Pavilion, an iconic outdoor concert venue.

Bethesda, MD

Bethesda is one of Maryland’s most affluent and highly educated communities in Montgomery County. It’s a haven for professionals, particularly those working in the nearby capital city, Washington, D.C.

Housing Market

The housing market in Bethesda is robust and leans towards the high-end, reflecting the area’s wealth and upscale lifestyle. The median price for a home in Bethesda, MD, is around $1.2M, well above the national and state averages.


Bethesda is home to some of the best schools in the state, like Bethesda-Chevy Chase high school.

Traffic and Transport

Bethesda’s proximity to Washington, D.C., and well-planned transport infrastructure make commuting hassle-free. The Bethesda metro station and several bus routes provide easy access to the surrounding areas.


Bethesda offers a diverse mix of upscale shopping centers, gourmet restaurants, and green spaces for outdoor activities. The vibrant urban center also hosts the popular Bethesda Row Cinema.

Towson, MD

In Baltimore County, Towson is a lively suburban city that balances youthful energy and stately elegance, making it suitable for everyone, from students to retirees.

Housing Market

Towson’s housing market is diverse, offering everything from apartments to single-family homes. The median home price of $450K is competitive compared to the national average.


Towson features several top-rated primary and high schools, such as Towson High School. The city is also home to Towson University and Goucher College, which provide an enriching cultural and educational atmosphere.

Traffic and Transport

The city boasts an efficient transport system, including multiple bus lines and easy access to Interstate 695. Its proximity to Baltimore offers plenty of job opportunities without a stressful commute.


From the Towson Town Center, one of the largest indoor shopping malls in the county, to plenty of restaurants, parks, and libraries, Towson offers a wealth of amenities.

North Potomac, MD

North Potomac, located in Montgomery County, is known for its beautiful landscapes, excellent schools, and upscale neighborhoods.

Housing Market

North Potomac’s housing market is considered affluent, with median home prices well above the national average. Well-maintained homes with large yards and mature landscaping characterize the area, and an average home price of $855K is the norm.


North Potomac’s public schools, like Wootton High School and Stone Mill Elementary, are some of the best in the state.

Traffic and Transport

The city is just a short drive from Washington, D.C. Public transport options, including bus lines and the nearby Shady Grove Metro Station, also facilitate easy commuting.


North Potomac features several biking trails and parks, like Big Pines Local Park. There are also several shopping centers, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

Olney, MD

Nestled in Montgomery County, Olney is a tight-knit community known for its blend of historic charm and modern convenience.

Housing Market

The housing market in Olney is robust, with housing options from colonial-era homes to contemporary townhouses and spacious family homes. Median home prices fall around $655K, which is higher than the national average.


Schools in Olney, like Sherwood High School and Brooke Grove Elementary, uphold the standards of excellence set by the Montgomery County Public Schools system.

Traffic and Transport

With its strategic location and well-connected roads, such as MD-108 (Olney Laytonsville Road), Olney residents enjoy easy access to major roads and highways.


The city offers a variety of amenities, including the Olney Theatre Center and the Olney Ale House, a local favorite.

Rockville, MD

As the largest city in Montgomery County, Rockville offers a blend of suburban living and urban amenities. It’s a culturally diverse city with a lot to offer its residents.

Housing Market

Rockville’s housing market is active with a high median price of $640K. From apartments in the vibrant town center to single-family homes in quieter neighborhoods, there are a variety of housing types on offer in Rockville.


Residents of Rockville have access to Rockville High School and Richard Montgomery High School, which have both been recognized for their academic and extracurricular programs.

Traffic and Transport

Rockville’s well-connected public transportation system, including Metro and bus services, makes it easy for commuters to get around.


Rockville has several shopping centers, including the posh Rockville Town Square. The city also boasts a thriving arts scene, with facilities like the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre and the Glenview Mansion.

Burtonsville, MD

Burtonsville, located in Montgomery County, is a smaller town known for its close-knit community and family-friendly environment.

Housing Market

The housing market in Burtonsville is fairly affordable compared to many other parts of the county. It offers a mix of single-family homes, townhouses, and apartments, with an average sale price of $459K.


Highly rated public and private schools like Paint Branch High School make Burtonsville an excellent place for families with children.

Traffic and Transport

Burtonsville is located near major highways such as US 29 and MD Route 198, providing easy access to Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.


Burtonsville offers several parks, a library, and many local restaurants and shops, like Burtonsville Town Square. It also hosts an annual parade and festival that celebrates the city.

Ellicott City, MD

Nestled in Howard County, Ellicott City offers a rich history, charming cityscape, and a strong sense of community. Its unique blend of old and new makes it a desirable place to live.

Housing Market

Ellicott City’s housing market is diverse, ranging from historic 19th-century row houses in the Old Ellicott City area to more contemporary, single-family homes in newer developments. Ellicott City’s average home prices of $654K are above the national average.


Ellicott City’s schools, like Centennial High School and Howard High School, consistently rank among the best in Maryland.

Traffic and Transport

Ellicott City has good transportation links, access to major highways, like US-29 and I-70, and convenient bus routes. It’s also close to both Baltimore and Washington, D.C.


The Historic Main Street of Ellicott City features unique shops, quaint cafes, and artisanal boutiques. It also has beautiful parks and green spaces, adding to its charm.

Gaithersburg, MD

In Montgomery County, Gaithersburg offers a diverse landscape, from its bustling downtown district to serene suburban enclaves.

Housing Market

Gaithersburg’s housing market is diverse, offering various options, from condos to single-family homes. The average home price of $560K is higher than the national average but is considered reasonable given the city’s amenities and quality of life.


Gaithersburg boasts highly-rated public and private schools like Quince Orchard High School and Rachel Carson Elementary.

Traffic and Transport

With its own MARC station and proximity to I-270 and the Intercounty Connector, Gaithersburg is well-situated for commuters.


This city has amenities, including the Lakeforest Mall, the Water Park at Bohrer Park, and several shopping centers.

Chevy Chase, MD

An affluent suburb of Washington, D.C., Chevy Chase offers elegant streetscapes, verdant parks, and a touch of urban sophistication.

Housing Market

Chevy Chase’s housing market is highly competitive as one of the most affluent cities in the United States. The median home price is well above the national average, with most single-family units in upscale neighborhoods ranging from $1.2M to $1.8M.


Chevy Chase is served by the Montgomery County Public Schools, which are highly rated. The area also boasts several top-notch private schools.

Traffic and Transport

Being on the D.C. Metro’s Red Line, commuting from Chevy Chase to downtown D.C. is a breeze. The area is also well-served by buses and has bike-friendly streets.


Chevy Chase Village offers high-end shopping and various restaurants. The nearby Capital Crescent Trail provides a great outdoor recreation opportunity.

Urbana, MD

Urbana, located in Frederick County, is a fast-growing, family-oriented community known for its safe neighborhoods and high-quality schools.

Housing Market

Urbana’s housing market is competitive, with a range of options from townhouses to single-family homes. Due to its recent growth spurt, the median home price of $544K is higher than the national average.


Urbana is served by some of the top-rated schools in Maryland, including Urbana High School.

Traffic and Transport

Urbana is conveniently located near I-270, providing easy access to Washington, D.C., and other major cities.


The Urbana District Park, the local library, and several shopping centers like Urbana Village Center are among the amenities that make Urbana a great place to live.


Cities such as Havre de Grace, with its emphasis on waterfront activities, South Kensington offering a vintage charm and close-knit community, and Clarksburg boasting gorgeous parks and outdoor activities, are all worth exploring if you want to move to Maryland.

More About Living in Maryland

Cost of Living in The Best Cities to Live in Maryland

The cost of living in the best cities in Maryland can be higher than the national average, particularly regarding housing. Cities like Bethesda, Chevy Chase, and Rockville, located in Montgomery County, are within the high-rent district of the D.C. metro area. Meanwhile, cities such as Urbana and Gaithersburg offer a more moderate cost of living.

The Economy in Maryland

Maryland’s economy is strong and diverse, benefiting from its proximity to Washington, D.C., and various industries, including biotech, healthcare, education, and government services. The state boasts a high median income of $41K, considerably above the national average.

Maryland Schools and Education

Maryland takes pride in its top-rated public school system, which ranks highly nationally. Many of its public schools have been awarded the National Blue Ribbon, and the state is home to prestigious universities like Johns Hopkins University.

Entertainment and Lifestyle

Maryland offers a rich tapestry of entertainment and lifestyle options. From the historic sites and cultural institutions in Annapolis to the natural beauty and recreational opportunities in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland has something for everyone.


Get to know Maryland better with these frequently asked questions and concerns about living in this diverse state.

What are the nice areas to live in Maryland?

Maryland has many attractive areas with a unique charm. Cities like Columbia, Bethesda, and Chevy Chase are known for their high quality of life, excellent schools, and vibrant communities.

Is it worth living in Maryland?

Living in Maryland can be highly rewarding, thanks to its strong economy, top-rated schools, and diverse recreational and cultural amenities. However, the cost of living might be higher than the national average in some areas.

Is Maryland a cheap place to live?

While Maryland’s cost of living can be higher than the national average, particularly in the most populated cities, there are also more affordable housing options in areas like Havre de Grace and Clarksburg.

What is the happiest town in Maryland?

North Potomac is often cited as one of the happiest towns in Maryland due to its low crime rate, high median household income, and excellent schools. However, this can depend on personal preferences and lifestyle choices.

What salary do you need to live comfortably in Maryland?

The salary can vary depending on your area and lifestyle, but a good rule of thumb is to earn a household income around or above the median income for your chosen city or town.

Is Florida or Maryland more expensive?

Generally speaking, Maryland is considered more expensive than Florida in terms of the cost of living. This is largely due to higher housing costs.

Best Cities in Maryland Final Words

Finding the best places to live in Maryland is about understanding your needs and preferences, whether top-rated schools, vibrant community life, or access to job opportunities.

From Columbia’s bustling urban center to the family-friendly neighborhoods of Bethesda and North Potomac, Maryland offers something for everyone.

Start your journey by exploring available Maryland properties, and don’t hesitate to contact your local eXp agent for personalized advice.

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