Updated: Sep 6, 2019
Takoma Park is a lovely community located in Montgomery County, Maryland abutting the Washington, DC border. It is bordered by the Maryland/Washington, DC line on Eastern Avenue to the southwest, Takoma Avenue, Chicago Avenue, and Boundary Avenue to the west, Mississippi Avenue, Sligo Creek Parkway, and Flower Avenue to the north, Carroll Avenue and University Boulevard to the northeast, and just east of New Hampshire Avenue to the east.
Established in 1883, it was built to resemble a “sylvan suburb of the National Capitol,” which continued as horticulturist and Takoma Park resident Benjamin Y. Morrison (first director of the U.S. National Arboretum) contributed to its reputation as “Azalea City.” A lesser-known fact about Takoma Park is that it previously was located in both Montgomery County and Prince George’s County, but after a referendum in 1995 residents voted to move county lines and make Takoma Park exclusively in Montgomery County.
Today there is much to see and do in Takoma Park, and it is a hugely popular suburb known for its commitment to nature, peace, and public investment. Takoma Park is a kind of principality where it is part of Montgomery County but residents pay a special tax to have its own fire department, library, and other public works that are not part of the county system. Everywhere you turn there are parks and playgrounds filled with children. In fact, there are so many children in Takoma Park that there are two elementary schools to accommodate them— the first is Takoma Park Elementary School which offers pre-k through second grade, and the second is Piney Branch Elementary School which offers third through fifth grade. Takoma Park Middle School is also kid-friendly in that is renowned for its sledding hill.
The Takoma Park Farmers Market is year-round from 10am to 2pm every Sunday on Laurel Avenue, and features not only fresh food and produce but also entertainers like banjo players and jugglers. There are plenty of funky boutiques and restaurants, which have favorites like Seoul Food and Roscoe's Pizzeria on Carroll Avenue, the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Food Co-op on Ethan Allen Avenue, and Busboys and Poets. A perk of living in Takoma Park is that there are no big box stores, which reflects the values of residents to build a walkable, environmentally-sustainable and community-oriented neighborhood. A testament to this is the development of Takoma Junction, which is a parking lot by the co-op that will be more small businesses and one-of-a-kind stores. Takoma Park is also known for its festivals and events, like the Takoma Park Folk Festival, the Takoma Park Street Festival in October, Blues Festival, Halloween parade, and Fourth of July fireworks.
Takoma Park is very environmentally friendly in a variety of ways. With its tree ordinance, residents must apply to have a tree removed and sometimes need to plant one or more trees in its place; this maintains the tree canopy and air quality, and makes for gorgeous fall colors. Not only do residents recycle, but the Public Works Department does composting and offers free mulch as a result of said compost. With solar panels and an energy audit that tells residents how energy efficient their houses are, neighbors are very conscious of their environmental footprint. The Takoma Park Dog Park even has turf instead of grass because it is not environmentally friendly to have grass that needs to be watered frequently. Residents of Takoma Park also can take advantage of Sligo Creek, where they can fish, splash around, or run or bike on bike paths that run along the trail.
Homes for sale in Takoma Park are exceedingly sought-after, with residents often moving within Takoma Park or building up existing homes to stay in the neighborhood. Since it is located right on the Maryland/Washington, DC border, it is easy to go into the city or venture further into Maryland. The real estate is diverse with Sears Craftsman bungalows juxtaposed with colorful painted victorians. Since there is such a focus on being environmentally conscious with a twist of fun, it has been dubbed Azalea City, Tree City USA, and Playful City USA (Takoma Park hosts a “play day” twice a year). Takoma Park is also proudly a nuclear-free zone, with official ordinance adopted as Takoma Park Nuclear Free Zone Act.
Whether it is stopping by a pop-up biergarten, attending one of the many festivals, walking along the picturesque tree-lined streets, or stopping for fresh produce at the co-op, there is something for everyone in Takoma Park!