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Bethesda, MD

A comprehensive guide to this ideal, walkable neighborhood.

Top Things You Need to Know About Bethesda

In this guide, you'll get a general feel for the neighborhood, get to know the community, and learn why people choose Bethesda over other communities in the D.C. area. 

We'll highlight locals' favorite things to do in the neighborhood from unique restaurant experiences, to shopping, outdoor activities, seasonal events, and more. 

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Bethesda Guide Title

Download Your Complete Guide to Bethesda, MD

Get insider tips, recommendations, and can't-miss attractions in Bethesda.

The Neighborhood

Bethesda at a Glance

Bethesda, MD is a unique and vibrant neighborhood located just outside of Washington, D.C. This cozy, suburban neighborhood has all the amenities and excitement of a big city, making it the ideal in-between for its residents.

The suburban neighborhood feel, multitude of fun activities, and influx of new dining, shopping, and entertainment options make Bethesda a highly sought-after community for families, young professionals, and empty-nesters alike.

Getting Around

Bethesda is not only a walkable neighborhood, but also offers plenty of other ways to get around or commute.

The easiest way to get around car-free in Bethesda is by metro. The D.C. Metro Red Line has several stops in the neighborhood, including Bethesda, Medical Center, and Grosvenor-Strathmore. The future Purple Line will connect the Bethesda station all the way past College Park. 

Residents in Bethesda also have access to alternate modes of transportation, including Capital Bikeshare and buses, making Bethesda a commuter-friendly town.

For a free ride around downtown Bethesda, you can catch the Bethesda Circulator, which has 21 stops and can be conveniently accessed from the nearby Metro and parking garages. 


If You Love Foods & Flavors from Around the World

You don't have to travel the globe to experience cultural dishes

Bethesda is home to a wide variety of dishes and restaurants from all over the world. Here are some of our favorites:  

  • Mon Ami Gabi – Experience upscale French cuisine paired with an impressive wine collection at this elegant French bistro where you can dine under twinkling lights
  • Jaleo – Renowned chef Jose Andres will transport you to Spain with his authentic, creative, and innovative tapas cuisine
  • Q by Peter Chang – This is a must-visit for modern Szechuan cuisine. Peter Chang is an award-winning chef who trained in China and worked as the chef at the Chinese Embassy in DC before starting his own highly-acclaimed restaurants

If You Love Brunch

Brunch has a way of bringing everyone together

Catch up with family and friends over breakfast at these creative and tasty brunch spots in Bethesda:

  • Barrel and Crow – Rated as the ‘Best Brunch Spot in Bethesda’ on Yelp, their extensive menu offers a variety of delicious Southern-inspired dishes
  • True Food Kitchen – Offering a creative seasonal menu focused on nutritious ingredients, this menu has plenty of tasty options for those who are vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free
  • Founding Farmers – A local favorite for its classic American dishes, their menu items are made from scratch using locally-sourced and fresh ingredients

If You Love Happy Hour Deals

Bethesda is a hot spot for happy hour any day of the week

While the happy hour options may seem endless in Bethesda, here are some of our local favorites: 

  • Black's Bar & Kitchen – From food specials ranging from oysters, mussels, and calamari to handcrafted martinis, draft specials, and wine by the glass, this happy hour is one of the best deals in town, especially for seafood lovers. Happy hour runs every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm, and every Saturday from 12pm – 5pm
  • Gringos & Mariachis – For tasty street tacos, creative margaritas, and more, stop by this special happy hour every Monday – Friday from 4pm – 6:30pm
  • Passionfish – This upscale restaurant is known for its Happy Hour deals, with $5 dishes and drink specials. Happy hour times and prices vary by day and time, but are all listed on their website here

If You Love Shopping 

Bethesda is one of the best places for upscale shopping in the DC area


Westfield Montgomery Mall is a constantly evolving, high-end shopping center, featuring stores like Nordstrom, Aldo, Sephora, Banana Republic, and Under Armour. Not only are there tons of stores for everyone in the family, but the center also includes ArcLight Cinemas, Lucky Strike bowling alley and gastropub, and dozens of dining options. 


Take a stroll through Downtown Bethesda and you'll pass tons of specialty boutiques as well as brand name stores like lululemon, Kate Spade, Anthropologie, and Jos. A Bank. You can also find salons, home goods stores, and jewelers. Walk under festive lights as you shop on Bethesda Lane, a popular street filled with unique boutiques and dining. 


Pike and Rose is a relatively new development that has become a lifestyle destination for locals. Shopping includes stores like H&M, Sur la table, Lucky Brand, and Nike Factory Store. While you're there you can grab a bite to eat at City Perch Kitchen + Bar, &pizza, Summer House Santa Monica, or one of the other popular restaurants. Pike and Rose also includes attractions such as The Beach in the summer, a winter wonderland in the park, a bowling alley, a movie theater, and AMP, a music and entertainment center. 


The Shops at Wildwood are a mix of upscale shopping, boutiques, and casual dining. Check out stores like bluemercury, South Moon Under, and Coco Blanca or dine at Wildwood Kitchen, Fish Taco, or Le Pain Quotidien. 


Bethesda shopping options are seemingly endless—you can find everything you want at one of the nearby trendy shopping areas. 

If You Love Being Active

Here are some of the best places to get outdoors in Bethesda

The Capital Crescent Trail (scheduled to reopen in 2020) is one of the most popular trails in Montgomery County, stretching from Georgetown, D.C. to Silver Spring, MD. Passing right through downtown Bethesda, the trail is frequented by bikers, walkers, joggers, and rollerbladers of all ages. You can even stop for a quick bite or to shop in Bethesda or Georgetown along the way. 


Visit Cabin John Regional Park for over 6 miles of hiking and biking trails, campgrounds, picnic areas, and playgrounds. Cabin John offers a wide variety of activities like educational nature programs, recreational sports, and skating at the Cabin John Ice Rink. The park offers residents a unique oasis in the form of a natural refuge within an urban city.


Residents get a nice break from the urban bustling city feel and can stay active at these popular outdoor areas. 

If You Love the Arts

Explore your creative side at one of these local attractions


Strathmore is an arts center that showcases a diverse variety of visual and performing arts and offers educational programs for both kids and adults. At the center, you can check out free art exhibitions, catch a comedy show or musical performance in the state-of-the-art concert hall, or take a stroll to the Strathmore Mansion for smaller performances. 


Round House Theatre is a frequented theatre located right in downtown Bethesda that produces plays with a focus on casting local actors. If you're interested in getting involved, the theatre offers programs for kids and adults. 


Imagination Stage is a popular venue for families with children because it holds productions and plays targeted at younger audiences. Additionally, the theatre offers youth classes and camps that encourage creativity from a young age. 


If live action shows aren't your thing, you can catch an independent or foreign film at Landmark Bethesda Row Cinema, a small theater specializing in thought-provoking films from around the world. 


While D.C. is home to many notable art museums, you won't have to leave Bethesda to experience impressive art. Waverly Street Gallery is a small gallery tucked between boutiques in downtown Bethesda.  This contemporary fine arts gallery has diverse exhibits with art created in a wide range of media.


If you're looking to be cultured in the arts or just looking for something fun to do close to home, look no further than Bethesda's many arts venues.  


If You Love Local Events

Being the lively urban area that it is, Bethesda has a ton of seasonal local events and attractions to check out.


One very popular food and music festival is Taste of Bethesda. Held annually in October, it features approximately 60 different restaurants from the area as well as several artists and a kid's corner. You'll get a taste of some of the diverse restaurants in Bethesda while enjoying live music and cultural performances. 


Restaurant Week is held in the D.C. area twice annually: in January and August. Some of the area's most popular (and priciest) restaurants create multi-course prix fixe menus for under $40, making this one of the busiest dining weeks of the year. Make sure to book your reservations early!


Right on Wisconsin Avenue, you'll find the historic and unique Bethesda Farm Women’s Market, which has been a community staple since 1932. There, you'll find fresh produce, drinks, artisanal goods, and boutique items from a variety of vendors. You can stop by for a quick bite to eat at the food trucks, for tastings courtesy of local vineyards and breweries, or to shop at the outdoor Flea Market on Sundays.


There is no shortage of fun events and attractions in Bethesda. You can check out other can't-miss annual events like the film fest, summer concert series, outdoor movies, and more here.


You'll never be bored living in Bethesda. The residents value a strong and active community and like to come together at the many exciting local events and attractions each year. 

Ranked as one of the Top 20 Best Places to Live in the U.S., Bethesda was described as a thriving urban center by Money Magazine. Just a few honorable mentions were Bethesda’s numerous cultural venues, local shopping, dining, and entertainment options as well as the manageable commute and proximity to the nation’s capital.

Livability has also named Bethesda a Best Place to Live, while Niche has ranked Bethesda in the top 5 places to live in Maryland.

Statistics aside, Bethesda homeowners have also spoken about their love for the community. 

“We love living in Montgomery Row in Bethesda for various reasons. One, because of its prime location with proximity to many shops/dining options, public transportation, highly ranked schools, parks, and convenient access to major highways, I270 and I495. Another reason is because of the many wonderful neighbors we have met and become good friends with since moving into the community."

– Kei & Idalia, Montgomery Row in Bethesda, MD homeowners

Click here to view more testimonials from homeowners in Bethesda, MD.

We hope you find this guide to be a helpful resource. Please note that this guide has been prepared for informational purposes only and nothing contained in this guide constitutes a representation or warranty by EYA LLC, EYA Marketing LLC, or any affiliate of EYA, LLC.

EYA LLC, through its various development affiliates, builds and sells homes in the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. In no event shall this guide be deemed part of any sales agreement entered into for the sale and purchase of a home.

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We are honored to announce that EYA neighborhoods have once again been voted 'Best of' in Bethesda Magazine's 2020 readers' poll. We were thrilled to see that The Brownstones at Chevy Chase Lake were awarded the Readers' Pick for Best New Townhome Community, with both Grosvenor Heights and Montgomery Row ranking in the top 5. The Lindley was also voted in the top 3 for the New Luxury Apartments category.

Best Things to Do with Your Dog in Bethesda, MD

From dog parks and local trails to dog dining and diving, we've compiled a list of the best local spots to enjoy some time with your favorite furry friend in and around Bethesda, MD!

Here are the top places to explore, eat, and enjoy with your dog:

Ultimate Neighborhood Guide to Living in Bethesda, MD

As one of the most renowned communities in the DC metro area, Bethesda, MD is known for its eclectic mix of restaurants, extensive boutique and retail shopping, vibrant downtown, and variety of fun outdoor activities. Not only does Bethesda have so much to offer in terms of entertainment, but it offers its residents close proximity to the nation's capital as well as a variety of transportation options. 

Want to see if Bethesda is right for you?