Welcome to Bethesda
Getting ahead in a relaxed fashion.
For much of the 19th Century, Bethesda was nothing more than a country crossroads named after a local church, but it grew steadily after the installation of a streetcar between the more prosperous towns of Georgetown and Rockville. After World War II, the National Naval Hospital and the National Institutes of Health were built in the area, and Bethesda flooded with federal workers, military personnel and contractors. Today it’s grown into a vibrant community in its own right with several corporate headquarters and a high-density downtown.
While this DC suburb used to be well on the fringes of urban life and entertainment, today’s Bethesda is anything but boring. With a bustling, pedestrian-friendly downtown featuring high-end dining and shops, this self-confident community is on the move.
What to Expect
Idyllic residential living with downtown options.
Bethesda’s wide side streets and large houses feel far away from the stress of Washington, while its downtown core has options for those who want a higher energy lifestyle.
The whole town has a very efficient public transportation system with Metro and bus service, but traffic is still an issue along Wisconsin Avenue and Old Georgetown Road. From parking to shopping to an abundance of medical care and professional services, Bethesda combines the conveniences of the suburbs with the urbanity of a small city.
Adventurous with a focus on well-being.
Residents take advantage of the numerous arts options, like galleries and theaters, and love eating out at a bevy of restaurants. Local favorites include Uncle Julio
’s, a Tex-Mex chain serving mesquite-grilled fare & margarita-sangria swirls in a hacienda-style space; Fish Taco
, which specializes in Baja flavors and cuisine; Mon Ami Gabi
, a classic French bistro with an art deco setting; and Duck Duck Goose
, another French outpost which serves classics like dry-aged duck and foie gras.
Bethesda is also a very health-conscious community, and there are many businesses that cater to fitness and a healthy lifestyle. There is ample green space such as the Capital Crescent trail linking to Georgetown and Silver Spring as a popular route for runners and bikers.
What Not to Expect
A pulsing nightlife or the diverse dining options of the city.
Despite some international flair, Bethesda doesn’t have the diversity that D.C. offers for places to eat. It also doesn’t have the nightlife, with few bars open late during the week or weekend. Still, there is always evening activity at the restaurants and pubs along Woodmont and Bethesda Avenues.
And you will find several community events and gathering spots. The annual Taste of Bethesda outdoor food festival gathers more than 50 different restaurants in Woodmont Triangle for a sampling of local fare. At Glen Echo Park
, you’ll find classes, camps, and other art-supporting activities, and Imagination Stage offers theater shows and after-school programs for teens and young adults.
Condominiums near downtown.
Bethesda is full of older homes that have been refurbished or replaced with larger, modern housing. More modern, luxury condominiums have joined some of the older stock of apartments built downtown. Families investigating schools should research Walt Whitman High School
, one of the area’s best.
You'll Fall in Love With
Not needing to drive into the city to enjoy city life.
If you love eating out, you’ll be at home here with a variety of outposts of DC restaurants as well as new places unique to Bethesda to try.
You can be downtown boutique shopping one minute, and then back home enjoying the comforts of home the next. In Bethesda you move at your own pace, and enjoy the best that life has to offer.