The Baltimore Advantage

Baltimore + Graduate Students

The Baltimore scene is independent in a wild sort of way.

This city's art and design scene is experimental and communal. It doesn’t link itself to trends, doesn’t try to sell out, and has a by-artists-for-artists mentality. Baltimore doesn’t have the volume of events that New York or Chicago have, but it makes up for it in energy. The result is an open city where artists, designers, curators, and educators are eager to coordinate and collaborate.

How Will Baltimore Influence Me As A Grad Student?

Some frequently asked questions about living in Baltimore.

Tell me about the art scene.

Students can find off-campus exhibition space, participate in alternative theater projects, see local acts that have national recognition, and invent new ways to contribute.

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What's close to MICA?

Like most east coast cities, Baltimore is a collection of dozens of smaller neighborhoods.

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What types of opportunities are there for artists and designers in Baltimore?

Baltimore has a different feel from cities like New York and even Washington, D.C., because there is less emphasis on upscale gallery representation—the scene is more community- and artist-driven.

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What is the cost of living in Baltimore?

That’s always a tough question because it is always a comparison. There are some good online cost of living calculators (Expatisan is our favorite—it is truly global in scale) that will help you compare Baltimore to where you are living now.

Visit Expatisan

Do I need a car to get around Baltimore?

The short answer is no. Baltimore is small, and the area surrounding MICA is relatively compact. In fact, Walk Score calls Baltimore the 11th most walkable city in the U.S. Additionally, a recent uptick in bike lanes and a large number of student bikers make bicycling a great transit option as well. Baltimore’s is also home to sprawling bus lines (including the free-to-ride Charm City Circulator) that can be tricky to learn but will take you almost anywhere. If you do bring your car, Residential Parking Permits for street parking are available for all neighborhoods and cost about $20 for the year--so bringing a vehicle is manageable.

Visit Walkscore

Should I live on campus or off-campus?

For low-residency students coming from outside Baltimore, we definitely recommend taking advantage of the on-campus housing for the six-week residencies—although it is not required. For full-time students, MICA has very limited on-campus housing options, and we tend to prioritize international students (and others coming from great distances) when it comes to housing assignments. Baltimore is a largely residential city with many students, so finding off-campus housing can be very easy. We talk about how to research both options on our housing page, but we definitely recommend at least doing some general research on living off-campus because there are some great options available for students.

If I can't visit Baltimore before I start school, what do you recommend?

The best thing to do to learn more about Baltimore—what to do, where to eat, where to live—is to talk to your faculty and classmates. Because Baltimore is small, friendly and accessible, you can learn a lot about the city in a very short amount of time. Most of the faculty and staff have been living in Baltimore for a long time, so they can be a great resource for information about everything from where to get a haircut, to where to get a cheap dinner. We’ve always loved how generous most Baltimoreans are with their time and knowledge, so take advantage.

More questions about life in Baltimore? Contact us.

Office of Graduate Admission


Fred Lazarus IV Center 131 W. North Ave. First Floor Baltimore, MD 21215