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  • Writer's pictureEddie Brady

A Local's Guide to Living in Ellicott City Maryland

If you're on the hunt for a prime location in the Greater Baltimore area, chances are Ellicott City, Maryland has popped up in your search results more than once. Wondering if it's the ideal spot for you? Let's dive into the ins and outs of this vibrant city to help you determine if it's the right fit.

Hey there, I've spent a good chunk of my life in Howard County, and Ellicott City has always held a special place in my heart. So, let's unpack what this city is all about. Check out the video below if you prefer to watch instead!

The Lowdown on Ellicott City Maryland

Howard County Maryland Map

First things first, Ellicott City is no small fish in the rankings. It proudly sits as the number one place to live in the Baltimore area and holds the sixth spot in Maryland. Nestled in one of the top counties in the US, it boasts the third-best school district nationwide. Impressive, right? It's no wonder so many people are looking to move here.

Where It's At

Located in Central Maryland just outside Baltimore City, Ellicott City spans across three zip codes, covering a whopping 30 square miles in Howard County. Here's a tip: To get a complete picture, check both the main area and the western part by using the zip code 21042 on Google Maps.

Commuting and Traffic

Traffic in Baltimore

Ellicott City is a commuter's dream, conveniently positioned near major routes like I-70, Route 40, Route 144, and Route 29. It's about 20 minutes from downtown Baltimore, 35 minutes from Annapolis, and a 40-minute ride to DC—traffic permitting. Speaking of traffic, in these dense suburban areas, expect some congestion, especially along major commuter routes.

The Nitty-Gritty: Amenities and Old Ellicott City Maryland

Now, here's the true benefit: amenities galore. Route 40 hosts an array of shopping, dining, service-based businesses, and healthcare options, catering to most needs. There's also the smaller Long Gate Shopping Center on the southern end which has a Target, Safeway Grocery Store, Kohls, Barnes and Noble, and a handful of chain restaurants.

But the heart of Ellicott City lies in its historic downtown—Old Ellicott City. It all started

in 1772 when the Ellicott Brothers purchased a piece of land on the Patapsco River, and convinced local farmers to switch from growing tobacco to grain, where they could then mill it using the waters of the Patapsco River.

The mills helped the town to expand pretty quickly and in the 1800s, the national road, which is Rt 40, was extended to Ellicott City, making it a stop on one of America’s first cross-country highways. Ellicott City was also connected to the B&O railroad which helped them ship grain across the country.

One of these mills operated until 2021 when it finally closed down. But the present-day downtown has its original charm and now over 80 local businesses thrive here. There are great local restaurants and shops to check out. And it’s fun to just walk around this historic part of town.

But that’s not the only thing to do here in Ellicott City.

Outdoor Escapes in Ellicott City Maryland

Patapsco Valley State Park waterfall

Nature enthusiasts, rejoice! The nearby Patapsco Valley State Park stretches for 32 miles along the Patapsco River. With 16,000 acres to explore, it's a haven for hiking, biking, fishing, and more.

There are over 200 miles of trails, with some being hiker-only trails and some multiple use. I love mountain biking here, and most people would agree that it’s one of the best, if not the best spots in Maryland to mountain bike.

You also have Centennial Park which is one of my favorite spots to go to in Howard County.

Centennial Lake at Centennial Park in Howard County Maryland

It’s a 337-acre park with a 54-acre man-made lake, which is stocked with fish. They have a very nice boat ramp to put in small boats with electric motors or canoes and kayaks. And they also have rentals available as well. 

One of the cool things about this lake is that it has a 2.6 mile paved walkway that loops all of the way around it. So you can walk, run, or bike this path and it’s a popular spot for people to go to from all around the county.

Real Estate Rundown

Ellicott City Maryland Condos

Housing in Ellicott City is diverse, with plenty of options including condos, townhouses, and single-family detached homes. At the time of this writing, Condos range from the low $200s to the mid $500s, townhouses from the low $300s to the low $900s, and single-family homes from the high $300s to well over $2 million. There's a mix of old and new properties, ensuring there's something for everyone.

The market here is in high demand in nearly every market condition, meaning you'll likely have competition from other buyers. This is something I specialize in so that you have the best shot at winning your dream home. Make sure to reach out to me to hear my strategy!

Ellicott City Maryland School Districts

Howard County Public School Busses

A crucial aspect for many moving to Ellicott City Maryland: the school system. Ellicott City spans six different high school districts, so check the district maps before house hunting. Every school in the county has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Some may appeal to you because of testing numbers, and others for their demographic make-up.

Next Steps

Planning your move? I'm here to assist. Reach out, and let's craft a tailored plan for your move—whether it's months or weeks away.

Ellicott City is a vibrant community offering a blend of history, amenities, and outdoor experiences. If this sounds like your kind of place, let's make your move a seamless one. Schedule a call with me and let's get started!

Eddie Brady, REALTOR

Cell: 301-395-0815

Office: 301-648-6000

Eddie Brady with Showcase Real Estate, LLC

Stay updated with more insightful videos about moving to Maryland by liking and subscribing to my channel.

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