- For other places with the same name, see Bethesda (disambiguation).
Bethesda is in Montgomery County, Maryland, 1½ miles northwest of Washington, D.C. Wealthy and well-educated, Bethesda is best known for its numerous restaurants and as the headquarters of the National Institutes of Health.
Bethesda was a quiet suburb until 1984, when the Red Line of the Metrorail was extended. This brought an explosion of growth, and many high rise office and apartment buildings were built. Bethesda became the major suburban destination in Maryland for wining and dining, and is much more family-friendly than anywhere in D.C. Bethesda is generally ranked #1 in the list of the most educated cities in the U.S. and the richest neighborhoods in the U.S.
Baltimore-Washington International (BWI IATA), Dulles International (IAD IATA), and Washington Reagan National (DCA IATA) airports are more or less equidistant by taxi from downtown Bethesda, usually taking about 30-45 minutes, without traffic. Budget an extra 30 minutes during rush hour.
For information on getting from the airports to Bethesda, see Washington, D.C.#Get_in
Bethesda is served by WMATA trains via its Red Line, travel time from central Washington, D.C. is just over 20 minutes. 1 Bethesda Station is located at the intersection of Wisconsin Ave and Old Georgetown Road. Eventually, the Purple Line will be built, giving easy access to Silver Spring and the campus of the University of Maryland.
From New York City
- Tripper Bus, ☏ . Service to Penn Station in New York City. Pickup/dropoff near the Metrorail stations in Bethesda and Rosslyn. $27 discounts available with multiple online tickets purchased. Elite bus service option includes leather captains reclining chairs.
- Vamoose Bus, ☏ . Service to Penn Station in New York City Pickup/dropoff near the Metro stations in Bethesda and Rosslyn. $30 free ticket with every four purchased.
From other points in Montgomery County, MD
Wisconsin Ave (Route 355) and Connecticut Avenue run from Downtown Washington DC to Bethesda.
The Capital Crescent Trail, which runs from Georgetown to Silver Spring passes through Bethesda. Between Bethesda and Georgetown the trail is smooth asphalt suitable for rollerblading. The trail from Bethesda to Silver Spring is closed as of Oct 2020 due to construction of the Purple Line light rail.
Bethesda Circulator operates free bus service within downtown Bethesda. It runs every 10 minutes M-Th 7AM-11PM, F 7AM-midnight, Sa 10AM-2AM, Su no service.
You can walk around downtown Bethesda — it's not so big.
Parking meters cost $2.25 per hour. Parking enforcement is aggressive and fines start at $45 for an expired meter.
Bethesda is not known for its sights; it's known for its restaurants and bars. Nonetheless, you might be interested to see:
- 1 Bethesda Fine Art, 4931 Cordell Avenue, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. By appointment only. To schedule an appointment, contact Lori Rapaport, +1 914-806-1979. Art gallery
- 2 Gallery B, 7700 Wisconsin Avenue, ☏ . W–Su noon–6PM. Art gallery.
- 3 KID Museum, 6400 Democracy Blvd (in Davis Library), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Open only Sundays 10AM to 5PM. Hands-on learning center and museum where kids learn how to make, build and design things and objects with science and technology. Open to general public only on Sundays 10AM to 5PM and admission price includes 2 adults. $12 per child (includes admission for 2 adults).
- 4 Madonna of the Trail statue, Wisconsin Ave & Old Georgetown Rd. The Madonna of the Trail memorial was dedicated at Bethesda in 1929 by the Daughters of the American Revolution. It is one of 12 identical memorials that mark the National Old Trails Road, also known as the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway. Each Madonna of the Trail monument stands 18 feet tall and weighs 17 tons and is constructed of algonite stone. The statue depicts a pioneer woman clasping her baby with her young son clinging to her skirts and is a tribute to the women that headed west with their pioneer husbands. Free.
- 5 National Institutes of Health, 9000 Rockville Pike (north on Wisconsin). The mammoth collection of buildings housing the majority of the nation's government bio-research. Due to worries about the security of the bio-weapons research programs here, admission of non-employees to the grounds requires a security screening.
- 6 Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The view from Wisconsin Ave of the main building is plenty impressive. If you see a helicopter landing on that main building, it's probably the president or one of the top cabinet officials — this is where they get their repairs. Frankin Delano Roosevelt sketched the design for the impressive main building.
- 7 Waverly Street Gallery, 4600 East-West Highway, ☏ . W–Su noon–6PM. Art gallery
Bethesda Urban Partnership sponsors many events including free concerts, movie showings, and art exhibitions, all of which are posted on the website.
- 8 Elm Street Urban Park, 4600 Elm St. Sunrise to sunset. A 2.1-acre park in downtown Bethesda. There is a playground, a picnic area with an open shelter, and a stone and metal statue by Jenny Read titled Girl with Hoop. Occasionally, this is the site of free dance classes on weekends.
- Bowlmor Lanes Bowling, 5353 Westbard Ave, ☏ . M 5PM-2AM, Tu-Th 5PM-midnight, F Sa 11AM-2AM, Su 11AM-11:30PM. A big, 34-lane upscale bowling alley with two large and popular bars. $4-9/game depending on time, Monday night special: $14 all-you-can-bowl +shoes 8PM-close.
- 1 Bethesda Live, 7719 Wisconsin Avenue.
- Strathmore Hall (The Music Center at Strathmore), 5301 Tuckerman Lane North Bethesda (Adjacent to "Grosvenor-Strathmore" Metrorail station), ☏ . A fantastic hall for seeing concerts because of its state-of-the-art acoustics and great seating. Even the last row has great sound and viewing lines. Check the schedule to find everything from classical music symphonies to rock concerts to kids music performances.
- Bethesda Row Arts Festival. Mid-Oct: 10AM-5PM. A festival featuring arts and crafts for sale by local artists and live music.
- Taste of Bethesda. Early Oct: 11AM-4PM. The taste of Bethesda is the biggest festival of the year, when people from all over the area come to sample Bethesda's restaurant offerings and to enjoy big free concerts. A pack of 4 taste tickets costs $5, and restaurants will give you a food serving for 1-4 tickets. Many great restaurants participate!
- 1 Bethesda Farm Women's Market, 7155 Wisconsin Ave. Dates back to the Great Depression. Food, drink, and crafts are sold.
- 2 Westfield Montgomery Mall, 7101 Democracy Blvd. Includes many clothing stores such as Aeropostale, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Apparel, American Eagle, Banana Republic, Forever 21, GAP, Old Navy as well as an Apple Store and a food court
Bethesda is known throughout the Washington D.C. area for its nearly 200 restaurants.
- 1 Bangkok Garden, 4906 St. Elmo Ave, ☏ . This Thai restaurant is one of the best in the D.C. area. It has relatively inexpensive food served in a warm, inviting atmosphere.
- 2 Gringos & Mariachis, 4928 Cordell Ave, ☏ . Tacos and margaritas.
- 3 Tastee Diner, 7731 Woodmont Ave, ☏ . 24 hours daily. Looking for the true American diner experience with greasy spoons and waitresses with too much eye shadow? How about cheap eats any time of day or night? Look no further than the Tastee Diner to serve your needs. Indeed, this might be the most dineresque diner in the D.C. area. $3-11.
- 4 Vace's Italian Deli, 4705 Miller Ave, ☏ . M-Tu Sa 9AM-8PM, W-F 9AM-9PM, Su 10AM-4PM. Vace's serves the best, most authentic New York style pizza you'll find anywhere this far south. Takeout only. $8-12.
- 5 California Tortilla, 4871 Cordell Ave, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su 11AM-9PM. Large tortillas filled with delicious and creative ingredients. The most popular choice is the blackened chicken caesar burrito. Any menu item can be made vegetarian upon request. For customers who like spiciness, customers can help themselves to any of the hot sauces on their Wall of Flames. Occasionally, the restaurant's social media accounts will announce a free item for anyone saying a particular word to a cashier on a particular date.
- 6 VÜK, 4924 Saint Elmo Ave, ☏ . Su Tu-Th noon-10PM, F Sa noon-midnight. True New York-style pizza. Huge slices. And more than 12 pinball machines. Too much fun.
- 7 Jaleo, 7271 Woodmont Ave, ☏ . Su-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F Sa 11:30AM-midnight. José Andrés' excursion to Bethesda brings the same excellent modern takes on Spanish tapas and the same excellent sherry and port lists. While extremely popular, this location is big enough where you can get a table without reservations. $20-40.
- 8 Kadhai, 7905 Norfolk Ave., ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Lunch daily 11:30AM-2:30PM; Dinner Su-Th 5-10PM, F Sa 5-10:30PM. Indian cuisine. All dishes served with hand prepared spices and fresh ingredients.
- 9 Maki Maki, 8023 Wisconsin Ave, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su noon-9:30PM. Just a bit north of the hotbed of restaurants, this unassuming but pleasant and friendly corner sushi bar is excellent. They specialize in creative sushi (or Maki) dishes like the "Red Dragon" (spicy crunchy tuna inside, topped with avocado, tobiko and spicy sauce) and "Fuji Maki" (eel, tobiko, shrimp tempura, cucumber, tamago, cream cheese & eel sauce). $15-30.
- 10 Mon Ami Gabi, 7239 Woodmont Ave, ☏ . French bistro
- 11 Mussel Bar & Grille, 7262 Woodmont Ave, ☏ . Mussels, frites, and Belgian beer.
- 12 Olazzo, 7921 Norfolk Ave, ☏ . Italian food in a rustic environment.
- 13 Passage to India, 4931 Cordell Ave, ☏ . 11:30AM-2:30PM, 5:30-10PM daily. The often fiery cuisine here is some of the best Indian food you'll find anywhere in the metro area, and it's also attractive, rather quiet, and has reliably excellent service. If you are up for a challenge, try to finish one of their vindaloos without asking them to dull down the spice level. $16-30.
- 14 Pizzeria Da Marco, 8008 Woodmont Ave, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Lunch M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM; Dinner M-Th 4-9:30PM, F 4-10PM; Open all day Sa 11:30AM-10PM, Su 11:30AM-9:30PM. Authentic Neapolitan pizza from a wood-fired oven. Fresh imported tomatoes & mozzarella; ingredients also sourced from local and organic farmers.
- 15 Raku, 7240 Woodmont Ave, ☏ . Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2:30PM, Sa Su noon-3PM; dinner: Su-Th 5-10PM, F Sa 5-10:30PM. Arguably the best Asian food in Bethesda. It's kid-friendly and rather noisy, but the food is made with incredibly fresh, high quality ingredients, and will not likely disappoint. Very popular so make a reservation or get there early. $11-35.
- 16 Tako Grill, 4914 Hampden Ln, ☏ . Lunch Tu-F 11:30AM-2:15PM; dinner Tu-Sa 5:30-10PM, Su 5-9PM. Japanese cuisine. Wide variety of sushi. Cooked entree dishes include teriyaki, negimaki, tonkatsu, tempura and broiled fish. Noodle dishes: ramen, soba, udon. Also izakaya (small plates). Delivery available via Uber Eats.
- 17 Woodmont Grill, 7715 Woodmont Ave, ☏ . American food. Live jazz music nightly.
- 18 PassionFish Bethesda, 7187 Woodmont Ave, ☏ . Seafood and great cocktails in a sleek atmosphere.
- 19 Persimmon, 7003 Wisconsin Ave, ☏ .
- 1 Barking Dog, 4723 Elm St, ☏ . Dance floor upstairs.
- 2 Black's Bar & Kitchen, 7750 Woodmont Ave, ☏ . M-Th 11:30AM-midnight, F 11:30AM-1AM, Sa noon-1AM, Su noon-10PM. A very nice place for a few drinks with some oysters on the half shell, particularly during happy hour (M-F 4-7PM), when there are good deals to be had on the oysters and on the drinks. It can get very crowded around meal times—make reservations.
- 3 Brickside, 4866 Cordell Ave, ☏ . Local modern American bar. A relaxed environment with artisan bar food, creative drinks, and neighborly service. Crowded during happy hour with a professional crowd and hosts trivia nights on Wednesdays.
- 4 Caddies on Cordell, 4922 Cordell Ave, ☏ . A sports bar.
- 5 Rock Bottom Brewery, 7900 Norfolk Ave, ☏ . Su-Th 11AM-1AM, F Sa 11AM-2AM. The food is fine, but this small but national chain is best visited for the excellent beers on tap, which can be ordered in sampling glasses. DJs show up F Sa nights, but this isn't really the sort of place for that. Great people watching from the outdoor seating in good weather.
- 6 Tyber Bierhaus, 7525 Old Georgetown Rd, ☏ . Great selection of German and Belgian beers.
- 1 Bethesda Marriott Suites, 6711 Democracy Blvd, ☏ .
- 2 Bethesda Marriott, 5151 Pooks Hill Rd (not within walking distance to downtown or Metrorail), ☏ .
- 3 Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Rd, ☏ . This hotel offers conference space and services for any event. It also offers a fitness center, heated indoor pool, restaurants, the largest ballroom in Maryland.
- 4 The Bethesdan Hotel, 8120 Wisconsin Ave, ☏ . $100-260.
- 5 Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC/Bethesda, 7301 Waverly St, ☏ .
- 6 Hyatt Regency Bethesda, 1 Bethesda Metro Center (on Wisconsin Ave, next to Bethesda Metro station), ☏ . $140-260.
- 7 Residence Inn Bethesda, 7335 Wisconsin Ave (one block from the Bethesda metro station), ☏ . $270-360.
Bethesda, like most of the county, is very safe. This being an urban area, it wouldn't hurt to be watchful of your belongings though.
- Rockville includes the grave of American novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, writer of The Great Gatsby.
- Silver Spring
- Washington, D.C. is a 10-minute ride south on the Red Line Metrorail from the Bethesda Metrorail Station.
|Routes through Bethesda|
|Frederick ← Rockville ←||W E||→ END|
|Springfield ← Potomac ←||W E||→ Kensington → Silver Spring|
|Gaithersburg ← Rockville ←||N S||→ Upper Northwest Washington → East End, Washington|