5 Things to Know BEFORE Moving to Catonsville, MD
“Life is Great in 21228”
It’s hard to find a more community-oriented place than Catonsville, MD. People who live here truly love it. You can see the “life is great in 21228” motto everywhere: t-shirts, bumper stickers, yard signs. Situated in Baltimore County between Baltimore City and Ellicott City along Route 40, it’s the perfect mix of urban and suburban living, with the convenience of being near all major highways. Population is around 42,000 residents. There’s fun for the whole family with festivals, community events, scenic views along the Patapsco River, great eateries, and historic sites. I’ll stick with 5 key points, but there are endless hidden gems and reasons to fall in love with Catonsville over and over again.
Catonsville is the perfect place to live for people who have to commute to Baltimore City, Columbia, and DC for work. It has easy access to I-695, I-70, I-95, I-295, Rte 40, Rte 29, and Rte 100. You’re also close to bus routes and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). Proximity to the major government agencies and employers, including the Social Security Administration, National Security Agency, National Institutes of Health, and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, make Catonsville an attractive area to live. The Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) is located right in Catonsville with a total enrollment of 48,000, a combination of full-time, part-time, and non-credit. It’s the perfect place for working adults who want to continue their education. Homes are also a bit more affordable compared to areas closer to DC such as Bethesda and Silver Spring. You can easily get into Baltimore for a night out or take a day hike in the Patapsco Valley State Park.
With a quick Google or Facebook search, you’ll find countless community groups and local events. People in Catonsville are involved and particularly neighborly. Residential neighborhoods are Academy Heights, Westowne, Woodbridge Valley, Westerlee, Westchester, Adil Meadows, Westview Park, and Windwood. You can always stay up-to-date on local activities with the Greater Catonsville Chamber of Commerce and the Academy Heights Civic Association websites and pages. You can find out about youth and adult programs, classes, and sports through the Catonsville Rec & Parks Council. The Catonsville Community Park and Colonial Gardens are right off of Rolling Rd, Edmondson Ave, and Old Frederick Rd. with lots of green spaces and community activity such as outdoor classes and yard sales. The Catonsville Senior Center provides new classes every quarter designed to keep adults 60 years and older active, engaged, and educated. Catonsville is the home of the Baltimore County Arts Guild, which is dedicated to organizing events, supporting local artists, and giving people the means and outlet for artistic expression. Coming up on 50 years, there’s the annual Catonsville Arts & Crafts festival featuring local artisans, food vendors, live music, and activities for kids. The list goes on!
Catonsville is a hub for different cultures and cuisine from around the globe! You can’t go wrong with the fresh selection of surf and turf at Catonsville Gourmet. You’ll find wild-caught fish and shellfish that you can buy market-style to cook at home, or you can dine-in to feast on sumptuously prepared dishes. For modern American, you’ll want to try The Beaumont or Matthew’s 1600. If you blink you’ll miss it, so don’t drive too fast by Wieland’s BBQ truck. You’ll taste the best classic pulled pork and brisket with your choice of Kansas or Caroline sauce, and all of your favorite sides. Wieland’s also does great catering, perfect for block parties and picnics. For Italian try Scittino's Italian Marketplace and for Latin try El Guapo. The competition for the best Vietnamese pho is fierce with FOUR places that you see if you stand at the intersection of Rolling Roll and Route 40: Man vs. Pho, Pho Saigon, Pho Van, and Pho Pasteur. Am I being serious? Yes, I am PHO REAL. Umami Mediterranean Kitchen has amazing kabobs, masalas, and falafel with a Pakistani twist thanks to Chef Rehan Khan. You certainly don’t want to miss Thai Heaven, Indian Delight, and Persis Biryani either. Living in Catonsville puts all of these wonderful flavors on your doorstep. If you’re feeling inspired, stop by H-Mart to buy all the ingredients you need to prepare these dishes at home.
Catonsville is also known as the Music City mainly because of its large number of music-related businesses for instruments, sound equipment, and lessons. At Bill’s Music you can buy acoustic and electric guitars, drums, amps, etc. Guitar Exchange allows you to buy, sell, exchange, and connect with other musicians. Since 1960, the Appalachian Bluegrass Shoppe has been a hub for guitars and other stringed instruments from around the world. They also do repairs, provide lessons, and feature musicians right inside the store. Trax on Wax is a totally rad record store with a thoughtfully curated and extensive collection. In the world of classical music you’ll want to check out Piano Man and the Hubalek Studio of Music. Am I starting to sound like a broken record? You cannot beat (get it?) these amazing opportunities to learn from knowledgeable music professionals. The warmth of this music community spreads to musicians who are just getting started or who are expanding their talents and honing their skills. If music is food for the soul, then Catonsville is a feast!
For a casual stroll for fresh air or a more extensive hike, you’ll find it all in Catonsville. The Patapsco State Valley Park provides numerous trails of varying distances and difficulty for walking, running, and biking. There are paved trails that follow railroad lines, as well as more rugged off-the-beaten-track kinds of trails. There is not a lot of elevation, but there are definitely some hills and rocks to climb to get your heart rate up. You’ll see trees in their splendor through all seasons, and find places to access the Patapsco river, small waterfalls, and bridges. Listen for the peep or croak of a frog, the rustling of leaves from a slithering snake, the ratatat of a woodpecker, or the splash of a turtle taking a dunk after bathing in the sun. Check out AllTrails or the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for maps and the best ways to access different trails. Talk to locals, go on an adventure, and find all of the secret spots this scenery has to offer.
If you are moving to Maryland or relocating from another part of the state, you’ll want to consider Catonsville. You’ll have easy access to highways, airports, Baltimore, and DC, but a more suburban lifestyle. You’ll find more affordable home options compared to Ellicott City and Columbia. There’s community, diversity, plenty of things to do, and a true sense of place.