Due to the area's large population, which flows into the neighboring towns of Catonsville and Columbia, Ellicott City's boundaries have long since moved beyond the small historic district, transforming Ellicott City into one of Howard County's largest suburbs.
Part of the award winning Howard County School district, Ellicott City boasts some of the best public elementary, middle, and high schools in the state of Maryland and parents from surrounding counties vie for coveted spots in the classrooms. In addition to their excellent public schools, Ellicott City and its surrounding towns offer several respected college preparatory private schools with small class sizes and individualized attention.
In 2006, Ellicott City was named as one of the 100 Best Places to Live in the United States by Money Magazine, due in large part to its convenient central location between Baltimore and Washington DC, charming downtown, and wealth of recreational activities and cultural attractions. While antique shops, gourmet restaurants, and art galleries line the winding streets of Historic Ellicott City, all of the modern conveniences of suburban life can be found in the outlying areas along Route 40. Additionally, Ellicott City is one of Howard County's most diverse and integrated communities, where locals frequent international grocery stores and eateries offering various ethnic cuisines.
Home prices in Ellicott City vary by location and average just over $470,000, with those in the estate communities of Farside, the Chase, and the Preserve listing for well over $1,000,000. However, a number of new townhouses and condominiums located closer to the commercial main drag of the Baltimore National Pike and historic rehabs neighborhoods offer buyers a more affordable way to enter the Ellicott City market.