Hyattsville and College Park

The latest happenings, plus where to eat, shop, and explore around Hyattsville and College Park.

About Hyattsville and College Park

By Alison Beckwith

What you should know about the vibrant stops on the Route 1 corridor right now.

Is College Park the Greatest?

In 2011, the University of Maryland and the city of College Park announced a joint vision to make the area one of the nation’s 20 greatest college towns by 2020. It was an ambitious goal for a landscape then characterized by the fact that it had been passed over by the walkable, urban development hitting other DC suburbs.

To be sure, College Park still has a way to go. But it’s made significant progress, with more than a half billion dollars currently invested in development. College Park is now a place where you can take an Orange­theory class, order a Kalita pour-over at Vigilante, hunker down at WeWork, and live in a new luxury apartment building with a pool and bocce courts. Nearly 400 more high-end apartments are planned at Bozzuto’s Southern Gateway project, and developer Gilbane is building a five-story project with 440 apartments and 12,000 square feet of retail. Developer Scott Plank, meanwhile, just opened the Hall CP, a 20,000-square-foot food-and-arts venue, next to WeWork and the Hotel at the University of Maryland.

Growing Pains

Not all the changes in College Park have been unanimously welcomed. University of Maryland students and alums have mourned the closings of beloved old-school hangouts—for instance, the pizza joint Ratsie’s, which was replaced by Nando’s. Many fear the next big loss will be Marathon Deli, a 48-year-old stalwart in a strip mall that a developer wants to turn into apartments and retail. Students such as Stephen Kenny have voiced their opposition at city-council meetings: “A college town is a place that has tradition . . . that has a sense of community around certain institutions—and I feel like Marathon Deli is probably one of the most important ones we have,” Kenny said, according to the university’s paper, the Diamondback. Developer Greystar Real Estate Partners says it’s “working with” the deli to keep it in business. The company’s final plan for the site still needs official approval—a step likely to happen this year.

The Whole Foods Effect

The 2017 opening of massive mixed-use development the Station at Riverdale Park brought Prince George’s County’s first Whole Foods—and has since sparked a wave of openings that have enlivened the quiet town between Hyattsville and College Park. Trendy chains such as District Taco and MOD Pizza, as well as a 12,000-square-foot outpost of Silver Spring’s Denizens Brewing Co., have land-ed at the Whole Foods complex. A half mile away, the activity is spilling into Riverdale Park’s historic downtown. Recent openings there include the Vietnamese restaurant Banana Blossom Bistro and Riviera Tapas Bar. Vegan and barbecue restaurants are also coming soon.

Getting Crafty

Hyattsville was born a dry town—the city’s 1886 charter included a booze ban—but craft alcohol is helping fuel its rebirth. The most recent addition to the scene is Sangfroid Distilling, Prince George’s County’s first distillery since the end of Prohibition. It produces fruit brandies, rye whiskey, and barrel-aged gin. The brothers-in-law who run it are redesigning the tasting room to offer cocktails in early 2020.

Head a couple of blocks south on Baltimore Avenue and you’ll run into Street-car 82 Brewing Co. Opened in 2018 by three Gallaudet University graduates in a former auto garage, the spot is the first deaf-owned-and-operated brewery on the East Coast. A few more doors down is Maryland Meadworks—the first and only meadery in the Washington area and a popular live-music venue. All of the newcomers are within a quick walk of Franklins, which has been making its own beer since 2002.

Trails . . .

The Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail—a three-mile path through Hyattsville, Riverdale Park, and College Park that follows the course of an old streetcar line—opened in 2002. But it wasn’t until 2017 that a crucial missing link was added. Now the trail, which is paved and protected from car traffic, runs past many of the new shops and restaurants lining the corridor. It’s become a favorite means of exploring the area, whether on foot or bike.

Also helpful: In 2018, Capital Bikeshare arrived in Hyattsville and it has since extended into nearby Riverdale Park and other places along the corridor. College Park maintains a separate bike-share system called VeoRide, which debuted last year. And another half-mile segment of the Trolley Trail is planned in the next few years, though a construction date hasn’t been set.

. . . And Rails

The Purple Line is slated to begin service in late 2022, and though it’s been delayed several times, the buzz around its potentially transformative effect on Route 1 has spurred major real-estate moves, such as the construction of new tech-incubator spaces, high-end hotels, and thousands of new residential units. The light-rail train will stop in Riverdale Park and the Discovery District—College Park and the University of Maryland’s growing research park—as well as at the College Park Metro station, before running through the university’s campus on its way to Bethesda.

Where to Eat in Hyattsville and College Park

The best places to eat around Hyattsville and College Park.
Vigilante Coffee Company
Vigilante’s College Park location (shown) opened after its original Hyattsville spot. Photograph courtesy of Vigilante Coffee Company

Busboys and Poets. The Hyattsville location of the popular local chain has a lively open-mike night and an equally lively Monday-morning kids’ music series called Rise + Rhyme.5331 Baltimore Ave., Hyattsville; 301-779- 2787.

Cafe Azul–Caracas de Ayer. One of the first restaurants to open in Hyattsville’s Arts District, it serves housemade arepas and other authentic Venezuelan cuisine. 4423 Longfellow St., Hyattsville; 301-209-0049.

Franklins. A general store, toy shop, brewpub with 30 types of beer, and comfort-food restaurant, all in a pair of funky 1880s buildings with neon signs and a kinetic light mural outside. 5123 Baltimore Ave., Hyattsville; 301-927-2740.

La Fondita. Inexpensive, authentic Mexican dishes tucked away in a nondescript little house. Hearty tortas and enchiladas are good bets, but definitely try the mouth-watering tacos. 4901 Decatur St., Hyattsville; 301-699-0785.

Maryland Dairy. Using milk from local cows and recipes from a former professor—who was a world-renowned authority on ice cream—the University of Maryland’s dairy has been serving its hand-crafted scoops for more than 95 years. 3972 Campus Dr., College Park; 301-405-1415.

Northwest Chinese Food. Owner Hua Wang cooks excellent, numbingly hot dishes from China’s Shanxi Province—plus a delicious take on a burger, made with cumin-scented lamb and a rice-flour bun. 7313 Baltimore Ave., College Park; 240-714-4473.

Shagga Restaurant. The menu is more varied than at a lot of other Ethiopian spots and the cooking expertly done, making this a favorite destination for DC foodies and locals alike. 6040 Baltimore Ave., Hyattsville; 240-296-3030.

Taqueria la Placita. The homey vibe, 20 types of tacos, and can’t-miss elote make it a standout, even among the taqueria-heavy Route 1 corridor. 5020 Edmonston Rd., Hyattsville; 301-277-4477.

Vigilante Roastery & Cafe. The original location—in a former Model T dealership—of the popular local chain serves organic and fair-trade coffee varieties and draws a mix of families, professionals, and college kids. 4327 Gallatin St., Hyattsville; 301-200-3110.

Where to Shop in Hyattsville and College Park

The best places to shop in Hyattsville and College Park.
The Station at Riverdale Park. Photograph by Bradley Caricofe/Stanley Martin Homes

Franklins. A general store, toy shop, brewpub with 30 types of beer, and comfort-food restaurant, all in a pair of funky 1880s buildings with neon signs and a kinetic light mural outside. 5123 Baltimore Ave., Hyattsville; 301-927-2740.

Tanglewood Works. Handmade gifts, artsy decor, and upcycled vintage furniture—plus a used-book store, My Dead Aunt’s Books, inside. 5132 Baltimore Ave., Hyattsville; 415-595-9839.

Town Center Market. It has grocery staples, too, but the real draw is the extensive beer, wine, and, liquor section, with a growler-filling station. 4705 Queensbury Rd., Riverdale Park; 301-277-9271.


Things to Do in Hyattsville and College Park

Our favorite things to do in Hyattsville and College Park.
J9HYD2 Letter Press blocks

Art Works Now. Art programs and camps for kids plus pottery-making for adults. Bonus: The nonprofit shares a building with Pizzeria Paradiso, so it’s easy to grab dinner on your way out. 4800 Rhode Island Ave., Hyattsville; 301-454-0808.

The Board and Brew. Round up a group of friends to play one of the 700-plus board games on-site. A resident “game guru” can walk you through the rules of any of the options. 8150 Baltimore Ave., College Park; 240-542-4613.

College Park Airport and Aviation Museum. Open since 1909, it’s the oldest continuously operating airfield in the world. The small museum houses replicas of airplanes and offers lots of kid-friendly exhibits and activities. 1985 Corporal Frank Scott Dr., College Park; 301-864-6029.

MOM’s Organic Market Pinball Club. The grocer’s newly expanded College Park location has a vegetarian cafe, an organic bakery, even a section for at-home beekeeping—but it’s the side room filled with dozens of pinball machines (25 to 50 cents a game) from the personal collection of CEO Scott Nash that really sets it apart. 9801 Rhode Island Ave., College Park; 301-220-1100.

Proteus Bicycles. It started out in the 1970s making custom racing bikes and now sells a large inventory of new bicycles and gear. Also has a full-service repair shop. 9827 Rhode Island Ave., College Park; 301-441-2928.

Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. A 130-year-old former movie theater now houses studios for papermaking, bookmaking, and letterpress classes, plus a darkroom and exhibitions of artists’ work. 4318 Gallatin St., Hyattsville; 301-608-9101.

Riversdale House Museum. Once a private residence, the 19th-century Federal manor (no, Riversdale is not a typo) is now a museum and a fun spot for outdoor Shakespeare, an annual reenactment of the Battle of Bladensburg, and other events. 4811 Riverdale Rd., Riverdale Park; 301-864-0420.


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