Home & Living

Hello, Neighbor: Otterbein

Get to know one of Baltimore’s most desirable and best-preserved rowhome communities.
—Photography by Tracey Brown

Proximity to the harbor, a shared affinity among neighbors for preservation, and a major jumpstart in the 1970s from the city’s famous Dollar Homes revitalization program have collectively made Otterbein one of Baltimore’s most desirable and best-preserved rowhome communities. Residents here enjoy a tight-knit urban fabric, easy access to transit, and major ballparks in their own backyard.

Walk just a few blocks south to Federal Hill for boutiques (Pandora’s Box, Brightside Boutique), used books and records (Protean), and the weekly Sunday Cross Street Farmers Market. For a grocery run, Whole Foods in Harbor East and the McHenry Row Harris Teeter are both about 10 minutes away.

Take in concerts at the walkable Pier Six Pavilion and CFG Bank Arena and seasonal cultural festivities at the Inner Harbor. For a glimpse at the community’s 18th-century roots, visit Old Otterbein United Methodist Church, situated at Sharp and Conway streets for more than 250 years.

There’s arguably no better place for an Orioles or Ravens fan, with home games at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium practically within earshot on most blocks. Nearby Key Highway boasts premier public spaces at Rash Field and Federal Hill Park, and closer to home are the Otterbein Swim Club, playgrounds and ballfields at Solo Gibbs Park, and Wheel Park at the neighborhood’s center.

Relative newcomer Morning Mugs on Hughes Street has supplied the neighborhood’s caffeine fix since 2021. Options abound—too many to count—for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert in Federal Hill. Out on Light Street near the Inner Harbor, Ramen Utsuke offers noodle bowls, sushi, gyoza, and other traditional Japanese favorites.

Steven Stegner, a 44-year resident of Otterbein who purchased and renovated his West Hill Street rowhome as part of the city’s original Dollar Homes program.

“I just think being in the city is fantastic. Before Otterbein’s Dollar House revitalization came along, I was 26 and renting and working downtown. When the program came up, I thought, wow, and put my application in. I wanted to get a house in the city, and I didn’t have a lot of money to buy one outright, and so I didn’t mind.

It was an opportunity to fix it how I wanted. As it turned out, for my whole career, I was able to walk to work as a civil engineer with the Corps of Engineers downtown. I tell people who are going to visit that everything is here—we’ve got restaurants of all imaginable types that you can walk to; the harbor and all the events; the museums aren’t far away; Fort McHenry. It’s [all] right there. I think the history and the location is just ideal.”

Population: 2,677 Occupancy Rate: 90 percent Owner/Renter Split: 38 percent/62 percent Median Home Purchase Price: $389,000 Estimated Monthly Mortgage: $2,653 Estimated Rent: $1,720 Walk Score: 93 Transit Score: 100 —Sources: Baltimore City Department of Planning, Live Baltimore