Less than an hour’s commute from Washington, D.C., Baltimore offers a slower pace of life and significantly cheaper housing than its hyper-charged neighbor to the south. But the time to buy in one of Baltimore’s diverse, historic communities (the city ranks #15 for Neighborhoods) may just be right now—home prices have jumped nearly 10 percent since 2018. Baltimore is also home to world class institutions like Johns Hopkins University and the National Aquarium, as well as a quirky culture that makes Charm City a place like no other. Johns Hopkins is Baltimore’s largest employer, and while this may be the biggest city without a single Fortune 500 company, Maryland boasts a $35-billion aerospace industry, and the defense contractor Northrop Grumman is a top-five employer of Baltimore residents. Meanwhile, unemployment has been dropping steadily since 2010. Baltimore earns a #13 ranking for Museums, and many—from historic ships to highly-acclaimed Port Discovery Children’s Museum—are clustered around the Inner Harbor, which for 50 years has served as a nationwide model for the reuse of post-industrial waterfront.