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The city of Greenbelt, Maryland offers an affordable, family-oriented community within the Capital Beltway, as well as a unique and culturally-significant, historic neighborhood. Just 12 miles northeast of Washington, D.C. and within easy commuting distance of both Baltimore and Annapolis, Greenbelt is much more than a bedroom community for these larger cities. Within its boundaries, Greenbelt contains NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, a 1,100-acre national park and an innovative, New Deal-era cooperative neighborhood.
As of August 2017, the average apartment rent in Greenbelt, MD is $1,490 for a studio, $1,314 for one bedroom, $1,502 for two bedrooms, and $1,830 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Greenbelt has increased by 1.0% in the past year.
The allure of Greenbelt lies in its artful and progressive combination of residential and commercial districts. A small town square called the Roosevelt Center anchors Greenbelt’s historic section, called Old Greenbelt.
The keystone of the Roosevelt Center and one of the town’s signature cooperatives is called the New Deal Café. Specializing in Lebanese food, the New Deal provides a comfortable neighborhood hangout for locals to share a plate of to-die-for baba ganoush and engage in a friendly game of chess. The New Deal also hosts live music six nights a week and a jazz brunch on Sundays.
Around the corner from the New Deal sits another Old Greenbelt institution, Generous Joe’s Deli. Generous Joe’s casual, old-school atmosphere entices residents to drop in for a burger or one of Joe’s famous steak and cheese subs on their way home.
For a healthier option, cross over to the Greenway Center for Pollo Cabano’s Peruvian rotisserie chicken. Order a whole chicken with rice and beans on the side to take home or enjoy one of the amazing, yet figure-friendly, sandwich wraps.
Greenbelt’s proximity to the University of Maryland, not to mention three major cities, mitigates its relatively tame nightlife. While you can always find locals tossing back a few beers at the New Deal or at one of the areas’s numerous chain restaurant bars, more adventurous types head to nearby College Park, home of the Maryland Terrapins, for more spirited after-hours fun. Check out Looney’s Pub or town classics R.J. Bentley’s or the Cornerstone Bar and Grill.
Founded in 1937, the city of Greenbelt exemplifies the New Deal era’s Utopian urban planning. The original city was designed to be both a public cooperative and one of the federal government’s three planned “green” towns, with the goal of boosting affordable housing options in the D.C. suburbs and simultaneously creating employment opportunities. The National Register of Historic Places includes the section of the city known as Old Greenbelt, and numerous organizations within Old Greenbelt still run as public cooperatives.
Greenbelt houses an extremely progressive, culturally-aware population. Within Old Greenbelt, visit the Greenbelt Museum to learn more about Eleanor Roosevelt’s hand in conceptualizing the city or catch a live performance at the acclaimed Greenbelt Arts Center.
Residents and visitors enjoy a great number of annual festivals, including a Labor Day Festival, the environmentally-centered Green Man Festival and a Festival of Lights Art and Craft Fair during the holiday season.
Greenbelt’s excellent location and convenient transportation options definitely contribute to its popularity among residents. Commuters can easily get into Washington by taking the Metro from the Greenbelt stop on the Green Line. The commuter rail service connecting Baltimore to Washington shares the Greenbelt Metro station. Numerous bus lines also cover the area, including MetroBus and Prince George’s County’s extremely affordable The Bus.
For those who prefer driving to public transportation, both the Washington, D.C. Beltway and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway have exits located in Greenbelt. Drivers need not worry about parking in this relatively suburban area. To ease the cost of Metro parking, many commuters choose to bike to the station and stow their bikes at its plentiful bike racks and lockers.
Portions of Greenbelt are easily walkable. The original section of town was designed with walking and biking in mind, but the more modern areas of the city are less easily walkable. Similarly, certain areas offer extensive bike paths, and some roadways have designated bike lanes.
To get a cab in Greenbelt, call a service. Taxis or car services such as Uber happily respond to telephone requests, but cannot easily be found on the streets.
You can live much more cheaply in Greenbelt than in Washington, D.C. or many other areas of Maryland. Those who prefer renting to buying can expect to pay about $1,300 per month for a one-bedroom residence.
The cost to get into downtown D.C. on the Metro from Greenbelt is $4.70 during peak hours and $3.60 off-peak. Parking at the Greenbelt station costs an additional $5.10 per day. Gas prices in Greenbelt and throughout Maryland are somewhat higher than the national average.
Tip a bottle of beer or a specialty draft at the New Deal or one of Greenbelt’s many affordable restaurants for $4 to $6.
The city of Greenbelt includes several strip malls that offer high-value shopping at stores such as Marshalls and Target. Boutique shoppers must travel out of town a bit, but will not be disappointed at the options in nearby.
If you are looking for vintage clothes, make the trip to Polly Sue's in nearby Takoma Park for its mind-blowing selection of midcentury and older clothing. Franklin's General Store in Hyattsville sells an unparalleled selection of unique gifts, not to mention its exceptional stock of beer and wine. For belt-splitting desserts, visit Chef Lou's. This blink-and-you'll-miss-it shop offers simple but amazing desserts, from cakes and tarts to homemade ice cream.
Greenbelt's Co-op Supermarket and Pharmacy harkens back to the city's New Deal roots. All customers are welcome to shop at the Co-op, but members reap the benefits in the form of annual patron refunds. The Safeway in Greenway Plaza or Beltway Plaza's Giant Food provide other affordable options. Shoppers needing higher-end groceries travel just 8 miles to Wegmans.
For fresh fruits and vegetables and various local wares, the Greenbelt Farmers Market convenes every Sunday between May and November.
Greenbelt lives up to its name’s expectations, offering a 1,100-acre national park and a 23-acre lake. Greenbelt Park includes multiple picnic areas, miles of hiking paths, paved biking routes and even equestrian pathways. Entrance to the park is free and the cost of campsites is minimal.
In addition to Greenbelt Park, locals flock to Greenbelt Lake and the adjacent Buddy Attick Park area during times of pleasant weather. The city operates an indoor and outdoor swimming pool and fitness center, and children enjoy an endless line-up of sports programs using the city’s ball fields, basketball and tennis courts.
The city of Greenbelt, particularly Old Greenbelt, is extremely child-friendly. Twenty-three playgrounds dot the community and free outdoor movies delight the neighborhood during the summer months.
Apartments for Rent Under $700 in Greenbelt, MD
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