Silver Spring’s family-friendly, walkable downtown atmosphere is the perfect place to stay when visiting the Washington, D.C., area. Located minutes from the Nation’s Capital and the Beltway, Silver Spring offers excellent restaurants and stores for every budget and a vibrant mix of arts and entertainment, like the Fillmore music venue and the AFI Silver Theatre.
Wheaton is conveniently located on the Metro Red Line. From a world-class botanical garden to one of the region’s largest shopping centers (with specialty shops, award-winning restaurants, and outdoor events), Wheaton boasts activities and attractions that are as eclectic and diverse as its residents.
Then, there is Takoma Park. Considered to be Washington, D.C.’s first commuter suburb, the town was founded in 1883. It has an extensive historic district with everything from large Victorian homes to tiny bungalows. Be sure to take a drive through town to see the beautiful buildings!
5 Things To Do In Silver Spring, Wheaton and Takoma Park
- Stop and Smell the Flowers: Brookside Gardens in Wheaton was founded in 1969. With its colorful plantings, shimmering ponds, and breathtaking landscapes, it’s often described as the jewel of Montgomery Parks. The 50-acre property features intricately designed gardens with 20,000-plus plants. Experience the color, texture and scents of nature on a tranquil walk or under a gorgeous, shady gazebo.
- Catch a Movie: Film buffs will love the AFI Silver Theatre, a remodeled 1938 theatre dedicated to sharing the richness of American and world cinema. It presents classic films as well as new, independent and foreign films not widely shown in mainstream theatres. Viewings are often accompanied with in-person filmmaker interviews, panel discussions and other special events.
- Get Medical: The National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) in Silver Spring is dedicated to preserving objects, specimens, photographs and documents that chronicle the history of medicine. The NMHM includes five collections consisting of about 25 million artifacts, including 5,000 skeletal specimens and 8,000 preserved organs. Its most famous pieces are centered on President Abraham Lincoln. This including the bullet that took his life, pieces of his hair and skull, and the autopsy surgeon’s shirt cuff stained with his blood.
- Hit Main Street: Takoma Park’s Old Town historic district actually discourages big chain stores and national franchises from opening there. Instead, it supports locally-owned, independent businesses, which means you’re bound to find some one-of-a-kind souvenirs and eats. Pop in and browse the stores selling unusual musical instruments, local art, vintage clothes and sophisticated furniture. Or, head to local favorite, Busboys and Poets – a restaurant meets coffee shop, meets bookstore.
- Sip Some Wine: You don’t have to go to Napa Valley to have a great glass of chardonnay. Great Shoals Winery uses local fruits from Maryland farms to craft high-quality wines, sparklings and ciders. They also offer wine tasting classes to help visitors expand their describe and taste wine, store and serve properly, and learn the basics of wine and food pairing – all while sampling premium Maryland wine from Great Shoals.
Explore great outdoor shopping in downtown Silver Spring, with stores like LOFT, H&M and New York & Company. There is also a kid-friendly fountain, perfect for those hot summer days. And then, there is Veterans Plaza, a large public open space where many local festivals and concerts are held like the annual Silver Spring jazz festival. Fashionistas can’t miss the Westfield Wheaton mall, with stores like Aldo, Guess, Forever 21 and Victoria’s Secret. See our shopping page for other great retail destinations.
Besides shopping, downtown Silver Spring offers fantastic dining options. Whether you like Vietnamese pho, a custom-built salad, a classic cheeseburger with everything on it or sizzling hibachi, there’s something to suit every taste bud. If you find yourself in Takoma Park, don’t miss Roscoe’s, baking up authentic, traditional Neapolitan pizzas. Or, if you’re a vegan, check out the vegan-friendly burritos and bowls at Vegaritos or the organic soups at Soupergirl.
- Downtown Silver Spring Website
- Wheaton Urban District
- City of Takoma Park Website
- Takoma Park Main Street Website
See the resources below for other things to do, events to attend and places to stay when you’re in Silver Spring, Wheaton or Takoma Park. Or, head over to our blog for more tips and advice on how to make the most of your trip to Montgomery County, MD.