Located on the far northeastern tip of the District, the neighborhood of Takoma was Washington DC’s first railroad suburb that offered access to the city along with a semi-rural lifestyle. Its triangular boundaries are defined by Georgia Avenue to the west, between Tuckerman and Van Buren Streets to the south, and Eastern Avenue to the northeast. To the annoyance of some residents, it often gets confused with its Maryland neighbor, Takoma Park, and for good reason. Beyond the similarity in names, the side-by-side towns share a founding, some cultural similarities, plus a Metro station.
Takoma’s tree-lined streets are characterized by older, historic Colonials, bungalows, and Cape Cod-style homes built between 1920 and 1950. While some residents of Takoma have lived in the neighborhood for generations, many younger families are moving here and adding to the diversity. More residents rent than own homes and apartments in Takoma, enjoying the business growth in its small redeveloped downtown combined with the community-oriented atmosphere. Those seeking greenspace will enjoy Takoma’s proximity to Rock Creek Park, a 1,754-acre national park and urban oasis.
Overall, if you’re seeking a quieter lifestyle with access to urban amenities, Takoma is for you. And, thanks to the Metro and other public transportation options, it’s easy to get to nightlife and the hustle and bustle of other parts of the city as desired.
Takoma is centered around the Takoma Metro station on the Red Line. There are plenty of buses that connect the area to Montgomery County, Maryland, and Downtown DC. Because of this major connection point, some parts can be very walkable and bikeable, with a few Capital Bikeshare stations available as well.
This is one Washington DC neighborhood where it’s easy to have a car. Parking in Takoma is relatively easy to come by, and it’s only about 35 minutes by car to Downtown DC, depending on traffic.
Fill your coffee cup at Tomoka Coffee House where you can sip authentic, organic Ethiopian coffee and nibble on traditional dishes like Fatira, a street food commonly eaten for breakfast, consisting of a large, crispy, wheat flour pancake served with scrambled eggs and honey.
Lost Sock Roasters is another quaint café that serves Fair Trade coffee from places like Colombia, Brazil, and Guatemala. Pick up pastries with a Latin flare from empanadas to pan de yuca, best described as soft cheese bread. You can also order online to pick up at the window. Want to take its cozy atmosphere home? The coffee house also sells plants along with take-home beans.
When comfort food fits your mood, head to Horace and Dickies. Build your own personal seafood buffet of fried whiting, catfish, shrimp, oysters, and scallops. Load up on southern-style side dishes, including mac ‘n’ cheese, collard greens, hushpuppies, and yams.
Conveniently located across the street from the Metro, try Jamaican flavors at Spicy Delight. Locals consider this Caribbean spot a great staple in the neighborhood. Sure they have the expected jerk chicken and beef patties, but menu items like the Oxtail and whole fish are standouts.
For authentic African cuisine, grab a table at Zuri Bistro. Their specialty is suya or spicy meat skewers and Cameroonian eru, a vegetable soup made up of finely shredded leaves of the eru, an evergreen vine native to Central and West Africa. The samosas and plantains are also popular with local diners.
Non-meat eaters can get their fill at Elife, a cafeteria-style eatery offering vegan versions of soul food standards, plus desserts and a full bar. It’s a no-frills restaurant with a rotating menu. Come back often to sample from a wide range of hot and cold bar items. Some recurring dishes are maple honey drumettes, cashew mac and cheese, and buffalo cauliflower. There’s also a selection of smoothies with flavors as creative as peanut butter punch and banana or blueberry heaven.
Takoma hosts one of eight locations of Busboys and Poets restaurant-bar-bookstore founded by owner Andy Shallal, an artist and activist turned restaurateur. The establishment considers itself a cultural hub for artists, activists, writers, thinkers, and dreamers. It’s also a place where you can get almost anything you’re in the mood to eat from soups and salads to paninis and pasta.
You can get your groceries at Takoma’s Safeway, a longtime supermarket chain that offers local and national brand goods, a deli, bakery, and more. When checking off that grocery list wears you out, you can stop for a pick-me-up at the in-store Starbucks before or after you check out.
If you’re planning on entertaining, Cork’ n Bottle Liquors has you covered. It’s a small but very well-stocked liquor store, especially when it comes to wines from around the world.
Though technically in Takoma Park, MD, TableTop is the perfect spot for finding quirky gifts for almost any occasion. Peruse shelves and racks stocked with funny animal pillows, eco-friendly toys, cookbooks, and organic cotton tote bags. There’s another location in Dupont Circle.
Need to decorate your apartment? Check out a variety of modern furniture and accessories at Modern Mobler. This Takoma store specializes in Mid 20th-Century furnishings from the best designers and manufacturers of the 1950s through 1970s. Choose from stylish chairs, tables, art, and more from the largest collection of American, Danish, and European furniture on the East Coast. Its weekday hours are by appointment and on Fridays through Sundays from 11 am to 7 pm.
Takoma is just east of Washington, DC’s largest outdoor gem, Rock Creek Park. Come for the quiet or to work up a sweat as it’s a popular destination for hiking, cycling, and nature walks. It’s also home to horseback riding trails, a planetarium, nature center, sports venues, and a world-class tennis stadium.
Take in a little bit of history on different grounds. Created by Abraham Lincoln after the Battle at Fort Stevens, Battleground National Cemetery on Georgia Avenue NW is the second smallest national cemetery in the United States (next to Hampton National Cemetery in Virginia). This one acre of land was where the Union stopped the attack on Washington DC, and the only time Lincoln came under direct fire from the Confederacy. 41 Union soldiers lost their lives in the Battle of Fort Stevens that day, and this cemetery, run by the National Park Service, honors them. Entry is free.
Takoma’s HBCU Museum shines a light on the accomplishments of Historically Black Colleges and Universities and their alumni. The museum works with HBCUs to collect and award scholarships for qualified underprivileged applicants. In addition, they provide free weekly tutoring sessions for local high school and college students and organize business workshops and conferences with HBCU keynote speakers, which are streamed on HBCU campuses nationwide.
Less than a half-mile outside Takoma, Belle Ziegler Park offers a soccer field, covered picnic tables, and a greenspace for gathering and picnicking.
Though not officially within its borders, students of Montgomery College, a public community college in Montgomery County, Maryland, may find Takoma a convenient neighborhood to live. It’s near the college’s Takoma Park/Silver Spring campus.
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