Last fall, out-of-state students at the University of Maryland made up 23.7 percent of the on-campus undergraduate population.

Coming to a new place can be nerve-wracking at first, and many students stay in the college town’s boundaries. If students do venture into other Maryland cities, they visit Annapolis or Baltimore, instead of neighboring ones such as Hyattsville — my hometown.

If you’re interested in planning a visit, here are some of Hyattsville’s hidden gems for your itinerary.

Shortcake Bakery

Located on Rhode Island Avenue, this pink-bricked bakery is hard to miss. Shortcake Bakery has been a Hyattsville treasure since Cheryl Harrington opened it in 2011. From cookies to quiche, morning pastries to pound cake, Harrington’s bakery offers a variety of treats. The red velvet cupcakes are especially to die for.

The bakery hosts afternoon tea on Saturdays from 2 to 4:30 p.m. There is also a special brunch menu available on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., which includes tasty sandwiches and amazing pattie plates.

Maryland Meadworks

Next to Shortcake Bakery is Maryland Meadworks, which opened in 2018. The meadery’s founder and owner, Ken Carter, hopes to create a variety of delicious mead using locally sourced ingredients.

Maryland Meadworks offers an assortment of signature house-brewed meads and blends. With a small stage for live entertainment and a cozy tasting room, this local meadery is a great place to hang out with friends. The meadery also serves snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.

[Plan your next Baltimore outing with this travel guide]

Vanadu Art House

Have you ever seen a car covered with metallic objects? If so, chances are you crossed paths with one of Clarke Bedford’s cars. 

Bedford, the resident and creator of the Vanadu Art House on Nicholson Street, first experimented his art form with his Saab convertible around 2000, according to the art house’s website. 

He started doing the same with his other vehicles, including a Ford Econoline van, a bus, a Beetle, a Volvo and a Chevy Caprice wagon.  He then turned to his fence, then the outside of his house and soon made his way inside. 

The Vanadu Art House and Bedford’s cars are works of art — an assemblage of found objects and sculptures that have caught his eye enough to add to the place he calls home. Bedford leaves his door open and welcomes curious visitors to say hello. However, if he is not there, respect the property — it’s still his house.

My Dead Aunt’s Books 

After his aunt-in-law’s death, Robert Harper and his wife were given her great collection of books. Harper has since been “bringing books back from the dead.” Originally an online bookstore, My Dead Aunt’s Books is now a locally independent store on Baltimore Avenue, carrying an inventory with more than 38,000 books.  

The bookstore offers used, rare and new books on top of merch at its storefront in the SoHy Arts Building or on its website, with 109 categories to choose from. The bookstore also hosts live music and poetry events, among others.

[We’ve all heard Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ before]


A true Hyattsville staple, Franklins is a triple threat — a restaurant, a brewery and a general store. 

Mike and Debra Franklin opened Franklins General Store and Deli in 1992. The deli’s popularity soon outgrew its space — in 2002, the couple closed the deli to open a brewpub and doubled the size of the general store.

Located on Baltimore Avenue, Franklins has indoor and outdoor seating for its restaurant’s vast menu of pizzas, salads, sandwiches, burgers and soups. The brewery offers an array of hilariously named drinks, such as the Silent Annihilator and Rubber Chicken Red. 

Franklins partners with the Hyattsville Community Arts Alliance and showcases art by local artists. Outside of Franklins is a 40 by 10 feet mural named “After Dark, Hyattsville” by Liz Manicatide. The mural is a permanent kinetic light outdoor installation with color changing LED lights and creates a captivating light show to serve as a symbol of the creativity that lies within Hyattsville.