The Most Walkable Suburbs of DC (in Maryland)

Posted on Apr 13, 2022


Walkability has become increasingly important to home buyers - moving from “would be nice” to “must-have” on checklists despite the competitive market.

According to a study published in Science Direct, walkability leads to higher neighborhood housing values, and additional studies indicate that living in walkable places leads to better health.

Most millennials - who now comprise the nation’s largest demographic of homebuyers - don’t need the extra encouragement. They tend to value walkability as a way of life, preferring it over disconnected suburbs that require cars for everything.

DC takes the cake for walkability, but several suburbs come in a close second. Here are some of the most walkable Maryland suburbs of DC.

Riverdale Park 

Quaint streets, green lawns, elegant Victorian homes, and small-town amenities define this town - which often gets overlooked in favor of larger cities near Washington DC, like Hyattsville. But this is absolutely not a neighborhood to sleep on - for homebuyers craving walkability, it's potentially top of the list. 

"Riverdale Park has blossomed lately with lots of older quaint communities integrating with newer developments sprouting up around restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, and specialty stores. There are some great places to sit outside and enjoy a meal or a glass of wine such as at the Station in Riverdale Park or the Town Center Market where you can sample the latest local brewed beers, listen to a live concert, or just hang out and play a game of cards in their outdoor seating areas," explains local buyer agent Paul Johnson

"Right across the street from the Town Center Market is a lively farmers' market of locally produced foods and produce. And like Takoma Park, a nice walking/bike path meanders nearby connecting to other communities and larger urban areas."

  • Walkability score: 74/100
  • Worth checking out: Rivieras Tapas Bar (highly rated with the option for bottomless tapas)
  • Median home price: $455,000 (data via Redfin)
  • Average rent price: $1,415 (via RentCafe)
Courtesy of Riverdale Park Farmer's Market's Instagram

Hyattsville 

If you’re looking for a walkable Maryland city close to DC, look no further than Hyattsville: the city’s motto is, quite literally, “A world within walking distance.” Both Hyattsville and College Park have been named the next likely “boom town” areas of Washington, DC thanks to the investment of the University of Maryland in the local area, an increasingly young and upwardly mobile population moving in, as well as the anticipated launch of the Purple Line, which will make the area more of a transportation hub. 

Beyond this, though, there are gyms, coffee shops, brunch spots, and even a restaurant/book shop/poetry reading spot within easy walking distance - as well as the Mall of Prince George, which brings together numerous options for shopping and casual eating in one central location. Although Hyattsville started out as a dry town, it’s experiencing something of a beverage renaissance thanks to the numerous distilleries and breweries that have opened shop here lately.

  • Walkability score: 69/100
  • Worth checking out: Franklins (brewpub)
  • Median home price: $367,500
  • Average rent price: $1,666

Langley Park

In many ways, Langley Park likely benefits from being located near the University of Maryland. Students tend to prioritize having easy-to-walk-to eateries, grocery stores, and other important amenities - so the surrounding area has adapted to this thanks to the large number of student residents. 

This cozy neighborhood is home to Adelphi Mill Recreation Center, a park with ample walking trails, and a beautiful creek. There are numerous restaurants and quick-food locations within walking distance, and this area is known for its diversity thanks to the many Latin-Americans who have made this neighborhood home. 

  • Walkability score: 72/100
  • Worth checking out: Taqueria Garibaldi (great tacos)
  • Median home price: $389,000 
  • Average rent price: $1,514 

Takoma Park 

Takoma Park lives up to its namesake with many family-friendly parks within easy walking distance. Beyond the ample green space that appeals to those looking to escape the concrete jungle, Takoma Park is a welcoming community with a history of local activism, earning it the moniker of “The Berkeley of the East.” 

Rather than condos, Victorian and bungalow homes are the norm here. A metro station allows for easy commuting to DC and Silver Spring, while the village-like layout means that it’s easy to walk from the baker to the bank and back to your home without breaking a sweat.

"Downtown Takoma Park has lots of great stores, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, nightclubs, and movie theaters just a couple of blocks away from residential neighborhoods. Their proximity makes it super accessible for residents to take a nice stroll through the neighborhoods, or even a nice bike ride along some gorgeous tree-lined paths and streams running throughout the DMV area," explains Paul Johnson.

  • Walkability score: 70/100
  • Worth checking out: The Girl and the Vine (artisanal cheeses, books, wine, and more!)
  • Median home price: $570,500
  • Average rent price: $1,513
Photos from Girl and the Vine on Instagram

Mount Airy

Mount Airy, MD is a suburb of both Washington, DC and Baltimore, and it’s a quaint town ideal for families looking for a bit more space.

“It's a perfect combination of small-town feel with beautiful rolling countryside (and mountain views from town) while still having most of the conveniences you need,” explains one resident on the city-sharing site City-Data

Are you looking for a night out at a Sicilian restaurant, followed by drinks - or a game of bowling if the kids are coming along? It’s easy to get around the charming and historic downtown area on foot. 

  • Walkability score: 62/100
  • Worth checking out: Mount Airy Inn (good brunch & upscale brewery)
  • Median home price: $585,000
  • Average rent price: $1,032

Berwyn Heights 

Moving to Berwyn Heights means you'll benefit from a strong sense of community and residents who feel fully invested in maintaining the small-town bonds. There are multiple parks with year-round activities ranging from ice skating to tennis, hiking, and more. 

With a 33% foreign-born population, this area is quite diverse, and there are plenty of coffee shops to choose from for those who prefer ambient noise while working from "home." Mature trees line the streets and you'll find a healthy variety of condos, single-family homes, and townhomes to choose from here. It's no surprise that homebuyers hunting for the best DC suburbs often have this neighborhood on their list.

  • Walkability score: 73/100
  • Worth checking out: Lake Artemesia Natural Area
  • Median home price: $370,000
  • Average rent price: $2,540

So: Ready for Life in the Washington DC Suburbs?

Regardless of which suburb you land in, you’ll likely have a leg up on other communities. That’s because the Washington, DC greater region has consistently ranked as one of the top metro regions in the nation when it comes to walkable communities. According to Greater Greater Washington, “The Washington region is leading the nation in investment in walkable 'suburbs,' which it defines as areas outside the center city.” They also found that specifically in DC, 67% of home buyers were willing to pay a premium to be in a walkable area.

If walkability is important to you, then make sure to note the proximity of amenities you’ll need most frequently. A walkable distance to a gift shop is fine, but a walkable distance to a restaurant will objectively come in handy more often. Similarly, don’t just pay attention to distance alone - the presence of sidewalks that allow for safe pedestrian travel is just as important (and their absence is not always obvious via Google maps). 

 Talk to a local agent about walkable neighborhoods

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