Bethesda is an expensive place to live, but a great place to see some of the nation’s best and brightest in action. As a suburb of Washington, D.C., Bethesda is number one on Time’s top earning towns list, providing great access to jobs in the capital and in town. It comes as no surprise that more than half of Bethesda’s residents over the age of 25 have graduate or professional degrees. Bethesda is also a mecca of art and culture, with displays of creative works and numerous performance spaces scattered throughout the city. As such, it has become not only an urban core and employment center, but also a blossoming tourist destination.
Bethesda is home to several noteworthy medical institutions and headquarters that have contributed to the city’s success as an urban center. The National Institutes of Health campus, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences all make their home in Bethesda. The headquarters of Marriott International and Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. can also be found in Bethesda. The city has two farmers markets: Bethesda Farmer’s Market and Montgomery Farm Women’s Cooperative Market. The west side of downtown Bethesda is called Bethesda Row and includes dozens of shops and restaurants. Downtown Bethesda is home to a Madonna of the Trail monument, the Capital Crescent Trail and the Bethesda Theater. The city is also where one of the most prestigious country clubs in the world—the Congressional Country Club—is located. This is just one of numerous country clubs in Bethesda. There are also quite a few ambassador residences in the area, where events are held throughout the year. For those drawn to the creative arts, the Ratner Museum features a thought-provoking collection of biblical sculptures created by Philip Ratner. The Waverly Street Gallery also features works by local artists and artisans. And the Strathmore is Bethesda’s go-to theater to catch great musicians and entertainers at their best.
If you want to go on a safari but don’t want to leave the country, the Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge, Virginia is around 200 miles from Bethesda. The Park is Virginia’s only drive-thru zoo, with more than 1,000 exotic animals roaming a 180-acre park. You’ll be able to see wildlife from six different continents from the safety of your car. If you’re traveling in the summer and feel the need to cool off, the Massanutten Water Park is less than a three-hour drive from Bethesda. Here you’ll find waterfalls, lazy rivers and eight giant waterslides to chase away the summer’s heat. If you want to stay closer to Bethesda, Germantown, Maryland is less than a 30-minute drive away. Here you’ll find the King Barn Dairy Museum, where you can learn more about the history and importance of dairy farms in Montgomery County. Another fifty-some odd miles away is the Potomac Point Winery. It’s a kid-friendly winery in Stafford, Virginia, where you can indulge in picnics and wine-tastings. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is around 80 miles from Bethesda, and this historic site is renown for its nighttime ghost walking tour, scenic cobblestoned streets and recreation of the infamous battle.
Neighborhoods in Bethesda began cropping up as old farmland was converted into subdivisions. The core of Bethesda is near the Metro station, and this urban center is alive with offices, apartments, shops and restaurants. However, the suburban feel starts a few blocks away, with tree-lined streets and quiet neighborhoods. There are plenty of accommodations near the city center in Woodmont Triangle and Westboro. However, these lodgings are somewhat pricey, around the 200-dollar mark for 3 star hotels. There are also options near the Medical Center Metro Station, close to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Drummond is a quaint little neighborhood that feels like its own village, if you want accommodations that are away from the hubbub. Rockville Pike is an affluent neighborhood known for its mansions, if you prefer high-end accommodations.
Bethesda is all convenience in terms of transportation. It’s easy and safe to walk to your destination, but there are also numerous options for public transportation. The Metro is a quick and easy way to get to Washington, D.C. in around 20 minutes. It also serves a number of stops around town. Local bus lines connect Bethesda to other parts of Maryland as well. There are trail hubs from Bethesda to neighboring areas like Rockville, College Park and Alexandria. The city is also bike-friendly, and residents often walk or bike to get to their destination.
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