Underrated Neighborhoods in DC Metro

I was hoping to be able to do a video about the top 5 or the top 10 underrated places to live in DC but sadly, this area is very densely populated and finding real gems is super difficult. I decided to take a breather, and then it came down to this. If I, Melissa Terzis, DC Real Estate Mama, was going to buy an investment property in the DC Metro Area, where would I buy?

1. Twinbrook

There is so much to love here. Twinbrook is in east Rockville just near the Twinbrook metro and bisected by Veirs Mill. Historically this has been a middle class neighborhood with many “starter homes” built in the 1940’s to 1950’s. But before you think – ooh mid century modern, this wasn’t the cool open concept mid-century. It’s more of the 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1500 square foot ranch or split level home. Still cute, but if they get torn down and rebuilt into a McMansion, no one is screaming, “That was a gorgeous charmer of a house you tore down!”

Regardless, the houses here are $100,000 less expensive for the same house in other parts of Rockville.

Twinbrook is a few blocks from the red line metro stop. It’s across Rockville Pike from Pike and Rose as well as a ton of other shops and restaurants on Rockville Pike. You can hop into Rock Creek and go for a run on the trails within a couple minutes.

Twinbrook spans across both sides of Veirs Mill, and that makes the part on the east side of not as metro accessible. Before you think “Great, half this neighborhood she’s telling us about isn’t as desirable,” I’ve got a solution. Note that the northern part of the triangle between Rockville Pike, Veirs Mill and Twinbrook Parkway is another neighborhood called Rockcrest. That’s also part of this hidden gem we’re discussing.

Most of Twinbrook west of Veirs Mill is currently zoned for Twinbrook Elementary, Julius West Middle and Richard Montgomery High School, which is an IB school.

The future is even brighter for Twinbrook. By 2024, the neighborhood will be a few blocks from a brand new Wegmans, under construction now.

2. Barcroft

Clarification: Not Lake Barcroft which is just to the west and its own CDP (Census Designated Place,) this is the Barcroft area of South Arlington. Unlike Twinbrook, there are a lot of different house types here. You will find everything from condos, attached / townhomes in the $500,000’s and ranch style homes that need renovation priced in the $600,000’s. Then from the 700,000’s to the teardown / new construction over $1.5M, you have your choice, and there is a lot happening here.

Something to really take note of with Barcroft is the quick 10-15 minute commute time over to Amazon’s National Landing, and to Reagan National Airport. Barcroft’s northern border is Route 50, which is known for not only that it separates North Arlington from South Arlington, but there are tons of stores along 50.

On the southern border of Barcroft, you have Columbia Pike which is one of the revitalization corridors in Arlington. There are lots of great restaurants and conveniences along Columbia Pike, and on the other side of Columbia Pike, there’s the Barcroft recreation center which is a pretty big rec center for Arlington Parks & Recreation. Lots of awesome classes and sports leagues are hosted here.

For schools, you’ll be zoned to Barcroft Elementary, Kenmore Middle School and Wakefield High.

Other awesome things about Barcroft – the W & OD Trail and Four Mile Run trail goes right alongside your neighborhood. Just on the other side of the stream (called Four Mile Run) is the Glencarlyn Dog Park and Playground. And Harris Teeter is walking distance – just a few blocks away, located on the south side of Barcroft.

3. Rock Creek Palisades

Back up to Maryland for this one – Rock Creek Palisades and Rock Creek Woods are right next to each other, have similar names, but are somewhat different. Rock Creek Woods is a cluster of 76 homes designed by Mid-Century Modern Architect, Charles Goodman. Rock Creek Woods is just north of Rock Creek Palisades, and bounded on the east by Connecticut Avenue and the west by Rock Creek Park and is north of Connecticut Avenue where it splits with University Blvd.

Rock Creek Woods is, in a nutshell, difficult to get into. The homes sell at a premium over list price, and are highly sought after, which is why it’s worth mentioning. These houses also have a Silver Spring mailing address.

But the real gem in my opinion is the little sister which is Rock Creek Palisades.

Rock Creek Palisades is less glamorous than its big brother to the north, but the price differential is astonishing. Where the Mid-Century Modern houses in Rock Creek Woods go close to the $1M mark, you can easily get into Rock Creek Palisades for $500,000 – $700,000. In many cases, the homes also retain a mid-century style, though they are not part of the Goodman community just to the north.

Relatively affordable, adorable, walkable, this is a great location! You can easily access Rock Creek Park and the trails within a couple blocks, and downtown Kensington is a few blocks to the south.

Currently, this neighborhood is zoned for Rock View Elementary, Newport Mill Middle and Einstein High School. Einstein is part of the Down County Consortium though, and students have the ability to apply in to one of a cluster of schools. There’s also a new high school coming that will service parts of Kensington and west, and this area will possibly be zoned for the new high school.


I was going for a combination of location, affordability and access to recreation and restaurants. I also pay attention to neighborhoods where the prices are out of line and much lower than surrounding neighborhoods because as we know, a rising tide raises all ships. Eventually, prices will rise as homes are improved, renovated and the neighborhood improves as well. If you have any questions about these gems or have a different list of what makes a neighborhood a gem for you, let me know!