Though only about a 30-minute drive from downtown D.C., Hyattsville, Md., feels far removed from the hustle of the city. The town of about 18,000 people — roughly bordered by the Northwest Branch Anacostia River to the south and west, East-West Highway to the north and Route 1 to the east — was a “streetcar suburb” back when D.C. had streetcars, and its development was spurred by the lines that connected it to the city. Metro has replaced streetcars, but the town remains charming and historic. And a recent flurry of real-estate development, including a new mixed-use area dubbed Arts District Hyattsville, is raising its profile and luring younger folks to the area — especially those looking to snag a home close to the District at a more charming price point.
The Art in Arts District
The town’s newest development, Arts District Hyattsville, reflects a broader vision for the area as an affordable mecca for artists.
The multimillion-dollar housing and retail project, spearheaded by Bethesda-based developer EYA, with help from Streetsense, Pulte Homes and Bozzuto, is bringing townhomes, apartments, live-work spaces and retail to the formerly rundown half-mile stretch of the Route 1/Baltimore Avenue corridor.
Arts-based groups have flocked to the new district. The Hyattsville Community Arts Alliance curates exhibitions and provides artist workspaces, while DC Glass Works (5346 46th Ave.; 301-927-8271) offers glassblowing classes and studio space.
The Lustine Center, a restored 1950s automobile showroom, now houses the artdc gallery (5710 Baltimore Ave.), which features Washington-area artists. The refurbished showroom also has amenities for Arts District residents, including a fitness center.
Hyattsville also hosts an annual arts festival — in the past it’s been in September — during which more than 70 artists exhibit crafts, photography, jewelry, painting and sculpture.
The tree-lined residential streets to the west of Baltimore Avenue, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, contain a mix of Victorian houses, Colonial revivals, Sears bungalows and Arts and Crafts houses built in the 19th and 20th centuries.
The average home price in the last six months was $242,151, and average rent runs about $1,000 per month. A three-bedroom townhouse in one of the new Arts District properties along Route 1/Baltimore Avenue would start in the low $300,000s, a steal compared with prices in D.C.
Hyattsville is served by two Metro stations: The West Hyattsville and Prince George’s Plaza stops, both on the Green Line. It’s a 20-minute bus ride to the Red Line at the Silver Spring or Rhode Island Ave Metro stations.
Shuttles travel from downtown Hyattsville to Prince George’s Plaza and to the University of Maryland, College Park. At a nearby MARC commuter train stop, you can hop on a train that travels to Baltimore.
The dining scene in the Arts District started humbly enough when Busboys and Poets (5331 Baltimore Ave.; 301-779-2787) opened in July 2011.
Since then, a number of new restaurants have joined in, including such chains as Tara Thai (5501 Baltimore Ave.; 301-277-7888) and Elevation Burger (5501 Baltimore Ave.; 301-985-6869), which sells stackable grass-fed beef patties and fries cooked in olive oil. Spice 6 (5501 Baltimore Ave.; 301-209-0080) serves Indian fast-food — think Chipotle, but with naan wraps and mango lassis.
There are old stalwarts, too. Shagga Coffee & Restaurant (6040 Baltimore Ave.; 240-296-3030) has affordable, authentic Ethiopian food, with entrees around $8-12. Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store (5123 Baltimore Ave; 301-927-2740), is another fixture that locals say is a must-try for its burgers and beers, as well as for the quirky gift shop that’s attached.
In nearby Riverdale Park, about a mile from the Arts District, Dumm’s Pizza and Subs (4704 Riverdale Road; 301-277-2208) is popular for cheap eats and Town Center Market (4705 Queensbury Road; 301-277-9271) is good for its craft beer selection.
For grocery shopping, Arts District residents now have a Yes! Organic Market (5331 Baltimore Ave.; 301-779-1205), the first in Maryland. A Whole Foods market is slated to come to nearby Riverdale Park in late 2015.
The sprawling commercial developments around the two Green Line Metro stops in Hyattsville offer more options for food and other shopping, including a Giant grocery store, a Target and a Home Depot.