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A family stay in Riverdale Park..?

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A family stay in Riverdale Park..?

Hi all,

I've found a really nice-looking, affordable house to rent on AirBnB in Riverdale Park, but have found a few (older) reviews of the area saying that I s not the greatest...

We're a family with 7 children, happy to travel to the Mall by Bus rather than subway (it might even be easier); we'll probably do at least 3 days sightseeing there. We live in Central London, so are used to some more 'edgy' urban areas, and wouldn't be getting back late to our rental because we have young children.

Opinions welcome!

24 replies to this topic
Maryland
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1. Re: A family stay in Riverdale Park..?

It would help to know exactly where the house is located, because town names are used very flexibly in that part of the area, and the house may or may not actually be in Riverdale Park. If it is, you can expect an area of small, older houses, some of which have recently been renovated and others of which are still in disrepair. I live in a nearby town and do not consider the area to be unsafe, but anyone coming from an upscale suburban area where everything is neat and tidy might be taken aback. As is frequently said here: appropriate big city cautions should be taken, but no more than usual.

There is a new Whole Foods grocery store that is quite nice, and there are more reasonably priced grocery stores in nearby Hyattsville. There also are restaurants in Hyattsville (e.g., Busboys and Poets, Franklin’s, Shagga) that are good for families; College Park has numerous places that are geared to students’ tastes and budgets that also might be reasonable options.

I don’t consider it a great location for a DC visit, however, because it is very unlikely that you will be in reasonable walking distance of a Metrorail station. (Again, exact location would help.) Traveling by bus will not be more convenient—buses are infrequent and slow. On weekdays, there is a MARC train (Camden line, http://www.riverdaleparkmd.info/marctrain.cfm) that would probably be your best bet for getting into the city. It’s about a 10 minute ride to Union Station—but the schedule is limited and may not meet your needs.

Washington DC
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2. Re: A family stay in Riverdale Park..?

That's a terrible location for a tourist visiting DC. It used to just be Riverdale, I guess they added the Park to be classy. It's not a great area, but the big issue is that there isn't any bus to DC as far as I know. Did the owner of this house tell you that? If so, you need specifics because I don't know that there is. I think there are some buses in the area (how you will get to them, I do not know as we don't know where this house is), but they won't go direct to DC area around the Mall. Some go to the New Carrollton train station and there are probably some buses there that go into the center of DC near the Mall.

Ideally, you'd be within a quarter mile of the College Park metro station, but I doubt it. The MARC station is a good idea, I think it only runs weekdays, but then again, how will you get to the MARC station?

I suspect the reviews you read refer to all kinds of reason it isn't the greatest area. But if you are depending on buses, that won't work.

washington dc
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3. Re: A family stay in Riverdale Park..?

AirBB won't give you the exact address until after you book, but you can email the owner and ask for the nearest cross streets - which will give you a better idea of what your transportation options are. With 9 people, you really don't want a long difficult trip every day back and forth. Also with 9 people, your options are limited, but you could look at the neighborhoods of Petworth or Brookland which are closer in and do have larger houses. Check Homeaway.com also.

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4. Re: A family stay in Riverdale Park..?

Hi there,

Thanks for your feedback.

The house does appear to be close to a MARC station (near the crossroads of Highway 410 and Baltimore Ave, near the border with Hyattsville and College Park). It has over 100 5* reviews, with people mentioning its proximity to the station (tho yes, the trains only run on weekdays), and driving times mentioned between 25 and 35 minutes to Central DC.

We could hire a car, as the parking charges per day probably wouldn't be much more (if any) that public transport fares into DC. My husband would rather stay in a central hotel, but I imagine that we still need to use public transport to get to places like the Zoo, in any case? And we'd like to self-cater for as many meals as possible, as this is a budget trip, and there are so many of us - I think this will obviously be much easier to do if we have a car to get to supermarkets, even if we're staying in the 'centre' of DC..?

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5. Re: A family stay in Riverdale Park..?

I'm not familiar with that area, so I can't comment on the location, but did want to mention a few things about renting a car. With that large of a group you'll either need to rent two cars or a van. The van rental price may be a bit higher that you're expecting and may consume much of the cost savings you're getting from staying farther out from the city. I'm also not sure if you'll be able to rent one at the airport. It also may limit where you can park as many of the garages have height restrictions. I'm sure you could find somewhere to park, but you may have to do a little more research before hand.

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6. Re: A family stay in Riverdale Park..?

Hi - Yes, it will need to be a van to fit us all in. We may rent it on the way out of NY (we're doing a city-stop tour).

Great point about the height + parking garages! I'll bear that in mind, thank you.

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7. Re: A family stay in Riverdale Park..?

Gotcha. If you're using it for transit along the east coast then I can see why the cost might not be as much of an issue. It looks like the garage at Union Station allows vehicles up to 86" in height. I think most vans will be just below that, so that might be a good option.

washington dc
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8. Re: A family stay in Riverdale Park..?

If you give us exact dates and budget, I can see what might else be available. Also - what is the age range of your kids? If you have older teens for example, they would be fine (and probably enjoy) going off by themselves on Metro or bus sometimes.

Springfield
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9. Re: A family stay in Riverdale Park..?

Find a rental in Washington, D.C. or immediate area. Riverdale is a little far out and inconvenient. Our subways and trains are not as extensive or efficient as your Underground.

Spend a little extra upfront on accommodation to eliminate the need for transportation because the costs will mount up with a large family. A kitchen and supermarket will certainly help.

We have suites here such as the Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites, and Residence Inns. There are two bedroom suites and they all have kitchens. Some suites may have three bedrooms. Depending on the age group, seven kids and two adults may fit. They are expensive but they serve heavy breakfasts in the morning and evening receptions on some days. Homewood Suites have heavier receptions in the evenings. Your food bills will reduce considerably.

Some of these suites are centrally located. You can walk to the tourist sites. Your transportation costs will diminish.

If these suites are too expensive, try a VRBO or AirbnB in Washington, D.C. itself. A reader, VictoriaM can assist here.

Try Alexandria and Crystal City in Virginia which have better access to Washington, D.C. In these two cities, however, you will need subways. Your transportation costs go up again.

If you are traveling by van, parking is terribly expensive and restricted in Washington, D.C. Traffic is horrendous but not as bad as Central London.

It is smart to do your research in advance.

Washington DC...
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10. Re: A family stay in Riverdale Park..?

Riverdale Park is NOT Riverdale. Riverdale Park is an incorporated town/city with a Whole Foods and has the highest walkability score in Prince George's County with two metro stops (PG Plaza and College Park) ~1mile from the core of the city (with many areas closer) and a MARC commuter rail that runs M-F directly in the heart of town. Riverdale has none of these. That being said, it is not DC so if you want to be in DC just book in DC. Most of Riverdale Park however is 7 miles from the White House. The London Zoo to the Tower Bridge is approximately 6 miles.

They also have an extensive trail system if you want to walk in and around nature with trail entry points about 1/2 mile from the Riverdale Park Town Center ( http://www.anacostiatrails.org/ ). You can very inexpensively rent canoes/kayaks etc. from the Bladensburg Waterfront Park and paddle all the way to the Potomac. It is an easy paddle down to the Botanical Gardens.

It is all a matter of what you want to do. Riverdale Park by crime statistics is safer than almost all of DC (as you would expect - bedroom community vs. urban city). The metro is easily accessible either by walking, a $5 cab ride, or a couple minutes driving. Parking is a PITA in DC (if you rent a car) and VERY expensive.

As others have noted, Riverdale Park has a very good grocery market (Whole Foods) within walking distance to most of the town. It also has a hiker biker trail that connects the Whole Foods shopping area to the north to the Arts District in Hyattsville to the south (with other restaurants like Busboys and Poets [also in DC] and Franklins Brewpub). Riverdale Park has a mansion that belonged to the Calvert family of Maryland ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riversdale_(Riverdale_Park,_Maryland) ). Keep in mind also that the real Air and Space museum is at the Udvar-Hazy center next to Dulles Airport (about 30-45 minutes from DC). The Air and Space museum on the mall houses a few very interesting planes but is tiny in comparison (I am a pilot).

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