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Life at UMBC

While UMBC is known for its focus on academic achievement and research, there are plenty of opportunities on- and off-campus to unwind and relax. Listed below are a few favorites identified by current Biology graduate students (which are not necessarily endorsed by the department.)


Baltimore is known for its diverse neighborhoods and there are many restaurants close-by offering all types of cuisine:

Baltimore City
Pazo’s (a Tapas restaurant; upscale but nice)
Salty Dog’s Crab House, in Federal Hill
Red Maple Restaurant, on N. Charles St. (upscale, but nice)
The Helmand, on N. Charles St. (reliably excellent Afgani)
Nam Kang, on Maryland Ave. (great Korean, open until 4 am)
Blue Agave, in Federal Hill (fantastic Mexican)

Ship’s Café, minutes from UMBC on Frederick Rd. (has a nice menu with very reasonable prices; sell Maryland Steamed Crabs)
Indian Delight, also minutes from UMBC on Frederick Rd. (great Indian, BYOB)
Dimitri’s Grill, on Frederick Rd. (Oella, actually; international cuisine)
Double T Diner, on Rt. 40 and Rolling Rd (average food, open all night)

Ellicott City
The Trolley Stop, on Oella Ave.
Ellicott Mills Brewing Company, on Main St. in Old Ellicott City (good beer and food)
Bean Hollow, on Main St. in old Ellicott City (best local coffeehouse/best local dessert spot)

Mango Grove in Columbia (wonderful vegetarian Indian)
Hunan Manor at Columbia is the best Chinese Restaurant in Maryland



9:30 Club
The Owl Bar
Recher Theater



Historic Ellicott City Minutes away from campus in the Patapsco River Valley features restaurants, pubs, and coffeehouses. Ellicott Brewing Mills, a Bavarian styled brewpub, and the Judge’s Bench are among graduate student favorites.

Federal Hill – Bars and restaurants are plentiful in this small Baltimore neighborhood overlooking the Inner Harbor.

Canton – Lots of bars and restaurants in this small Baltimore neighborhood, along O’Donnell and Boston Streets.

Fells Point – Located east of downtown Baltimore, this is the major bar/club district of the city.

Inner Harbor – PowerPlant Live and the ESPN Zone are popular spots with lots of bars and restaurants.

Mt. Vernon – Dionysus is the “perfect date bar” and there are numerous restaurants on Charles Street around the Washington Monument.

Brewer’s Art – The basement is a great place to hang out and it’s the best microbrewery in Baltimore.

Mick O’Shea’s – This is one of Baltimore’s favorite Irish pubs.



American Visionary Art Museum
Baltimore Museum of Art
Fort McHenry
Flag House Museum
Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
National Aquarium in Baltimore
The National Zoo in Washington, DC
The National Mall in Washington, DC – with access to many free museums
Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC
National Arboretum in Washington, DC
Patapsco Valley State Park (minutes from UMBC, biking & hiking)
Peabody (offers many free concerts)
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American Art
New River (in nearby West Virginia, canoeing & kayaking)
Seven Springs (skiing)
Numerous Multi-plex Movie Theaters at various locations
Miniature Golf (Elkridge, Reisterstown and Perry Hall)
State Parks

  • Patapsco (multiple locations)
  • Gunpowder
  • Deep Creek
  • Great Falls at Potomac

Loch Raven Park (fishing, water activities, trails, mountain biking)
Greater Baltimore Canoe Club
Baltimore Road Runners Club
Earth Treks Climbing Center (indoor rock climbing at multiple locations)
The Charles Theatre
Red Emma’s Bookstore Coffeehouse
The Walters Art Museum



Baltimore Farmers’ Markets – Located at Holliday and Saratoga streets underneath the Jones Falls Expressway
32nd Street Market



Harbor Place and The Gallery
Arundel Mills Mall
Security Square Mall
Columbia Mall
Marley Station Mall
Owings Mill Mall
Towson Town Centre



UMBC teams play a full schedule of 19 intercollegiate sports including basketball, baseball, soccer, lacrosse and field hockey. The athletics and physical education department also sponsors a variety of intramural offerings throughout the year. Other facilities available to graduate students are an indoor track, fitness trail, golf driving range, tennis courts, Olympic-size outdoor and indoor swimming pools, sauna, locker rooms, exercise areas, several weight machines and a full 15-piece Nautilus Fitness Center complete with electronic exercise bicycles and computer health analysis. Aerobics, lap swimming, pick-up basketball and use of the exercise equipment are available on a daily basis. The Indoor/Outdoor Recreation Center provides the usual collegiate activities of billiards, board games, table tennis and soccer, darts and video games. Tourneys for men and women are held each year in these and other indoor games and sports. The Outdoor Club offers rental of canoes, sailboats, tents and other recreational gear, as well as a resource library describing the excellent local and regional outing areas.



Research at UMBC takes place not only in the laboratory but also in the concert hall, theatre, gallery and dance studio, where outstanding artists and faculty in the visual and performing arts reinterpret the classics and explore new modes of expression before audiences composed of colleagues, students and the general public.

The visual arts are strongly represented by the imaginative and critically acclaimed exhibitions of the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery, which often draw on its vast photography collection, and in the Fine Arts Gallery, one of the finest spaces in the region dedicated to contemporary art in all its forms.

The University sponsors a full season of performances by the UMBC Symphony Orchestra and the renowned Maryland Camerata, UMBC’s resident chamber choir.

UMBC is also home for a variety of professional companies and ensembles that tour nationally, such as the Phoenix Dance Company, and Doug Hamby Dance.