Depending on what direction... you'll see houses.
Practically every direction you look you will see a lot of trees and a lot of houses. Just south east of campus there is a neighborhood. To the north east there is a townhouse community and the rest is a network of houses and exchange roads. There isn't much right off of campus. Depending on your elevation (from the library) you can see downtown Baltimore. Literally right off campus, there are a few streams and ponds. They are pretty cool places to hang out at night or go rope swinging during the spring.
UMBC is definitely not within any major city but it is really close (within 10 miles) from Baltimore City. Off campus is Catonsville which is a quaint little town but I don't really know anybody who goes there. We run shuttles to Arundel Mills Mall which will have a casino soon! During the week, we run shuttles to the local amtrak station which connects to DC.
UMBC doesn't have much of a campus town. There are neighboring suburbs with quaint restaurants and places to shop, but these can be a pain to get to without a car. Baltimore City, however, can be seen from the top of the library and is only a short ride away.
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