Bethesda is a collection of many neighborhoods and downtown urban area in southern Montgomery County, Maryland, just a few miles northwest of Washington, DC. Bethesda is home to the main campus of the National Institutes of Health, the Naval Medical Center, and many other federal institutions, as well as the corporate headquarters of Lockheed Martin, Coventry Health Care, Marriott International and Chevy Chase Bank.
Both a commercial and a residential area, Bethesda has become well-known in recent years for its commercial corridor along and around Wisconsin Avenue (Route 355) and its extensive collection of restaurants in particular. “Downtown” Bethesda includes the restaurant, shopping, art and theater districts of Bethesda Row and the Woodmont Triangle. Bethesda’s more than 250 restaurants include a range of ethnic cuisines. The Bethesda Urban Partnership, in association with local businesses, brings a range of special events to downtown Bethesda, including Taste of Bethesda. A Bethesda farmers market on Norfolk and Woodmont avenues is open on Tuesday and Saturday from 10am-2:30pm, and another on Elm Street between Wisconsin and Woodmont avenues is open on Sunday from 9am-1:00pm.
With “one of the country’s best-educated populations,” “low crime,” “easy access to airports and downtown Washington,” and “foodie hub” characteristics, CNN-Money recently ranked Bethesda #5 in its “100 Best Places to Live and Launch.”
Washingtonian Magazine named Bethesda a “neighborhood for singles on the move.” It was noted that “with sidewalk cafes, an art-house movie theater and Barnes & Noble, Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle buzzes at night,” and for “restaurants of every stripe,” “a free trolley” that “circles Bethesda until 2AM,” and the Capital Crescent Trail. The magazine also noted Bethesda as a place “where empty-nesters kick up their heels,” with its “urban lifestyle.”
Washingtonian Magazine named several Bethesda neighborhoods as “Great Places to Live.” Parkwood was named for “kids spilling out the front doors,” backing “up to Rock Creek Park,” that “residents walk to Grosvenor Metro,” a “cozy character,” New Year’s Eve and Halloween parties, “doggy play dates,” “Cedarbrook pool” and Kensington Parkwood elementary school. Bannockburn was named for Whitman High School district, “the neighborhood clubhouse,” “a Halloween parade,” and “Bannockburn pool.” Hillmead and Bradmoor were also noted for their some of “DC’s largest and most tasteful Colonials,” Bannockburn for “scattered [contemporary] beauties,” and Carderock Springs contemporaries “sited on wooded, sloping lots [with] open floor plans.”
Bethesda is served by many parks and open spaces. The abandoned Baltimore & Ohio Railroad right-of-way is now the Capitol Crescent Trail, which runs through downtown Bethesda south to Georgetown and east to Silver Spring.The historic Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, with a towpath and trails popular among hikers, joggers and bicyclists, runs along Bethesda’s western boundary — MacArthur Boulevard.