5 Reasons We’re Hooked on Urbana, Maryland

Troyce Gatewood

Classic small-town charm combines with historic ambiance and easy proximity to Washington, D.C., to create a high quality of life for residents of Urbana, Maryland. Throw in a booming economy, some of the best-rated schools in the state, along with a diverse, highly educated population, and Urbana looks even better to those seeking an authentic American Dream experience. Slightly more than 11,000 people make their home in Urbana. Job growth is a little over 6 percent, and the median annual household income sits at almost $121,000. Urbana is unique among communities of its size in that it’s not technically a city or even a town — it’s a Census-designated place that doesn’t have a city council, mayor, or other city government officials. Instead, it’s run by Frederick County. 

Following are just five of the many reasons why those seeking an optimal quality of life in a thriving community should put Urbana on their shortlist.

  1. Thriving Job Market
    Federal jobs are well-represented in Urbana, with the Social Security Administration and Fannie Mae data centers being among the city’s major employers. Urbana is also conveniently located near the Maryland 355/I-270 tech corridor, which provides headquarters for some of the biotech industry’s heaviest hitters. Nabi Biopharmaceuticals, BioPort, and MedImmune all have manufacturing plants in the corridor, and the industry is expected to experience significant growth in coming years thanks to the University of Maryland’s new $200 million BioPark. John Hopkins University also has plans in the works to take advantage of the area’s current biotech boom.

    Urbana residents also have the option of commuting to Washington, D.C., for employment purposes, Washington is 37 miles away, and the city center is easily accessed by the metro rail system.

  2. Walkability and Recreation
    Modern homeowners are putting more of a premium on walkability rather than traditional suburban living, and Urbana has walkability in spades. Thanks to a well-developed system of trails and small paths, it’s possible for residents to go nearly anywhere in Urbana on foot. Small bench areas are found in almost every Urbana neighborhood for those who desire a short rest or simply want to sit and enjoy a pretty day.

    Recreation options include the many small parks dotted throughout Urbana neighborhoods as well as several top-quality recreation centers. Urbana District Park offers a number of ball fields for softball, soccer, football, and lacrosse enthusiasts as well as picnic areas, playgrounds, and trails. The 95-acre park was finished in 2012. Other opportunities for outdoor recreation include Shafer’s Mill Recreation Center, which features a fitness center and two pools and Urbana Community Park, which has tennis courts, baseball fields, and playgrounds. The Anthony Natelli Community Center has a swimming pool complex, four tennis courts, a basketball court, and community meeting rooms. The center also hosts a wide variety of fitness and recreation classes.

  3. Great Schools
    As touched on previously, Urbana has excellent public schools. The Washington Post recently named the Urbana High School one of the top 50 high schools in the greater Washington D.C. area, and the school was recognized in 2015 as one of the best high schools in the country by Newsweek. The high school is also an excellent initial learning ground for aspiring engineers, according to the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland. The number of Urbana students taking SAT tests is the highest in the state, and the scores themselves are the highest in the area. Along with being a magnet school for Frederick County, Urbana Elementary School is rated as above average in comparison to other schools in the state of Maryland. Students of this school routinely perform highly on standardized tests.

  4. Fantastic Food
    Although it’s close enough to Washington, D.C., for those seeking world class establishments for an extra-special night on the town, Urbana enjoys a good culinary scene in its own right. Aficionados of Italian cuisine love Mangia e Bevi for its classic Italian pizzas, thoughtful menu selections,  freshly baked bread, well-curated wine list, and creative cocktails. Surf House Island Cantina offers expertly prepared fresh fare in a fun, casual atmosphere. Nearby Frederick offers other excellent dining options, including Doner Bistro, The Wine Kitchen on the Creek, and Jo Jo’s Restaurant and Tap House.

  5. Four Seasons of Fun
    Urbana enjoys a classic, four-season climate with balmy, warm summers, and just enough snow during winter to make the season sparkle. Autumn is when the area really shines, however — the region is one of the best places in the country to view spectacular fall foliage as well as attend a number of fall festivals. Urbana averages about 40 inches of precipitation on an annual basis and averages 200 sunny days per year. The coldest winter month is January, while July takes the prize for warmest month of summer.

Please feel free to contact us for more information on why Urbana was listed as #35 on Time’s “Best Places to Live” or if you’re ready to find your next home in Urbana, Maryland.


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