Where We Live: Takoma

Photo courtesy of
‘Takoma DC Public Library’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

I went into this week’s Where We Live with limited knowledge about Takoma– I’ve visited a few times, swam at the pool, walked through the pretty tree-lined streets. I knew that Takoma was a beautiful neighborhood, filled with residents who really love living there.  But the Takoma I discovered while writing this feature was just flat-out awesome: it’s a neighborhood  that feels like a small town within a big city, with community events all the time, and even a neighborhood rooster.  Seriously.

History: Takoma got its start back in 1883 as a commuter rail suburb of Washington, offering clean water, fresh air, and a semi-rural lifestyle with access to the city.  Back then the community, which straddled the DC/MD line, was known as Takoma Park.  The area attracted a good deal of residential growth with some smaller commercial areas.  The area eventually took on two names– Takoma (a neighborhood in Washington DC) and Takoma Park (a city in Maryland).  There’s a shared identity between these two parts, and the area has come to be known for its active residents.  Residents successfully joined together to oppose the North Central Freeway Project in 1964, and they had a significant impact on the Takoma Metro station (which sits on the Washington DC side, thus the name) back in the 1970s.  Initial plans called for high-density commercial and residential development around the station and a 500-space commuter parking lot, but residents organized a group called Plan Takoma that developed the alternative of what you see today: a public park, a 100-space parking lot, and the retention of medium-density houses and shops.

Photo courtesy of
‘Takoma Park Historic District Sign’
courtesy of ‘Mr. T in DC’

Neighborhood Character: Takoma really is a small town within a big city.  Darren, a Takoma resident of six months, says, “The area right around the Metro station (‘Old Takoma’) is where most of the homes are old with large yards and you have a couple of 50s-ish ‘main street’ sort of shopping districts (with some great thrift/retro shops).”  This is a neighborhood with tree-lined streets, a mix of beautiful Victorian and Sears bungalow houses, and a commercial district a short walk away.

Transportation: Takoma is centered around the Takoma Metro station on the red line, and there are a number of buses that connect the area to Montgomery County and Downtown DC.  It’s a very walkable and bike-able area (no Capital Bikeshare stations nearby, though), and there are several Zipcars available in the neighborhood too.  With all of these transportation options, there’s no need for a car– Darren says, “I actually sold my truck fairly soon after moving into Takoma and LOVE being car-free.”

Photo courtesy of
‘Driving through Takoma DC on a fall day’
courtesy of ‘stereogab’

What to See: For a ‘small town’ neighborhood, there sure is a lot to see and do in and around Takoma:

What’s Nearby: Takoma is south of Silver Spring and northeast of Brightwood.

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Hoffmann’

Why We Love Takoma: It feels like a small town, with a weekly farmers’ market and a main street home to independent shops.  But Takoma is also just minutes away from everything else in the city.  Darren says, “I can go grab a great meal or happy hour in any of the cool areas of the city and return to my quiet little neighborhood at the end of the night.”  When I asked Helen, a Takoma resident of three years, what she likes best about her neighborhood, she said, “Everything! The fact that I run into people I know all the time, the farmer’s market, the sense of community, the trees.”

Residents love Takoma and are passionate about preserving the quality of life in the neighborhood.  And with a great community center, so many fantastic community events, really awesome restaurants and shops, and a statue of its most famous rooster, it’s easy to see why residents love it so much.

Shannon grew up in the greater DC area/Maryland suburbs, went to Virginia for college and grad school (go Hoos!), and settled in DC in 2006. She’s an urban planner who loves transit (why yes, that is her dressed as a Metro pylon for Halloween), cities, and all things DC. Email her at Shannon (at) WeLoveDC.com!

3 thoughts on “Where We Live: Takoma

  1. Thanks for the nice post! I should note that, although I’ve only lived in Takoma DC for three years, I grew up nearby, eating produce from the farmers’ market.

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