Located on the northeastern border of Washington D.C. and serving as the gateway to Prince George’s County, MD, the charming community of Mt. Rainier is a neighborhood undergoing revitalization. With a boho vibe and a vibrant artistic community, it is often compared to Takoma Park, at “half the price,” making the old streetcar suburb a highly desirable, up-and-coming neighborhood.
Founded in 1910, the area was once a turnaround point for streetcars. The surveyors who were working for the streetcar line were from the Pacific Northwest, so they named the area for Washington State’s Mt. Rainier and named the streets similarly, with Shasta and Cascade continuing the motif.
The main corridor is located on Rhode Island Avenue where it exits the District. This road is part of historic US1, and leads to College Park and Baltimore. As this corridor runs through Mount Rainier, Brentwood, North Brentwood, and Hyattsville, the four joined together in the late 1990s to create the Gateway Arts District. The area seeks to revitalize the area through “an infusion of artists and arts facilities.
In addition to the US1 corridor, there are artists’ spaces along Otis Street at Red Dirt Studios and the Washington Glass School and Studio. Each of these cooperatives provide workspaces, resources, and critical feedback for artists, whether new talents or established artisans.
The most famous Gateway project, however, is Mount Rainier Artist Lofts, 44 units of affordable housing for artists and their families. It was the first Artspace live/work project featuring new construction, and contains 7,000 square feet of ground floor commercial space. It currently hosts 17 venues, 70 studios, and more than 120 artists.
Featuring many historic homes, primarily bungalows and Victorians, the area offers single-family homes with outdoor space for the price of a small condo or townhome in the District. Single-family homes can be had here for under $300K, an unheard of price point for most of the area. And many of these homes, even on the lower end of the spectrum, come with 4 or 5 bedrooms and 3 or more bathrooms, so the homes are great for growing families.
Green architecture is an important part of Mt. Rainier’s vision for future development. Perry Street Townhomes is currently being developed by Flywheel Development. The 3 bed, 2.5 bath, townhomes with two-car garages are being offered from the mid-$500s. They are net-zero energy with roof-mounted solar panels, green roofs on the garage to capture stormwater, and triple-pane windows. The finishes, however, are all luxury, with 5-inch solid hardwood floors, solid wood cabinetry, premium appliances, and marble bathrooms.
Commercial offerings have been thin in the area, traditionally. Glut food co-op is one of the oldest such businesses in the country, and is a very popular and important local institution. Vigilante Coffee is a popular local boite, along with Bird Kitchen + Cocktails. Joe’s Movement Emporium is a theatrical arts space offering shows, workshops, and other programs locally. And the addition of a mixed-use development project on Rhode Island Avenue, with a combination of ground-floor commercial space and residential apartments above promises to bring even more exciting commercial opportunities to the area.
Socially engaged residents and a high walkability score mean that you will get to know your neighbors, if you wish. There is a small-town feel in this area that you just don’t find in some of the more sterile, in-town areas of DC. Although the upkeep on historic homes can be intimidating for some, you can find a good mix of already-renovated and new construction homes here to keep that from being a deterrent. An active community board, a new library and community center in the works, and a skate park mean that the area is becoming more and more family-friendly.
Mt. Rainier is truly an area on the rise, with affordability, culture, and just enough quirkiness to keep things fun. If you are interested in Mt. Rainier, or any of the other great neighborhoods along this vibrant Rt. 1 corridor, let your Eng Garcia Grant Realtor help you find the right home, and the right neighborhood, for you. Start your search by registering on our website, and let us put you in touch with an agent who can help you plan your next real estate purchase.