Wheaton, with a population of approximately 50,000 people, is known locally for its ethnic dining scene. Many ethnic restaurants in Wheaton have received awards for best-in-class food in the Washington D.C. area.
Before the arrival of the Europeans, the area was settled by the Piscataway. Wheaton got its name from the Wheaton Post Office, which was named after Union General Frank Wheaton, who defended nearby Fort Stevens and D.C. in the Civil War in July 1964.
Wheaton developed from a business district called Mitchell's Crossroads, named after Mitchell's Tavern. The business district developed at the junction of 3 roads: what is now Georgia Ave, Veirs Mill Rd, and University Blvd.
Before 1947, only 29,000 people were living in Wheaton, mostly on farms and large estates. By 1960, the population had grown tremendously, which led to the widening of Georgia Ave, also known as the "Avenue of Progess". Since then, many businesses have opened including the Wheaton Plaza Shopping Center (now Westfield Wheaton), built in 1959. Wheaton Regional Park was established in 1958.
Wheaton was part of Silver Spring until 1965, when it became a census-designated place. Residents wanted a distinct identity from Silver Spring.
Coming out of the Wheaton Metro station on the Red Line, admire that escalator—it's the longest in the Western Hemisphere, and takes almost 3 minutes to ascend!
The main streets running through the downtown are Georgia Ave, Veirs Mill Rd, and University Blvd. The area where they converge is the center of commercial activity and great cheap restaurants.
Downtown Wheaton is very compact and dense with shops and restaurants, and is is an easy from the Metrorail.
Parks and gardens
- 1 Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave (17 minute walk from the Glenmont Metrorail Station), ☎ . Sunrise-sunset daily; conservatories and visitor center to 5PM. Beautiful and expansive botanic gardens. Visit the butterfly pavilion in the summer months—otherwise just take the opportunity for a romantic stroll. Gardens: free.
- 2 Wheaton Regional Park, 1400 Glenallan Ave. Established in 1958, this is a 538-acre regional park with a playground, picnic areas, miniature train rides, carousel rides, stocked lake for fishing, botanical gardens, nature center, hiking trails, riding stables, campground, ice skating (year-round), tennis courts, covered fields, and a dog park. Free.
- 3 Wheaton Veterans Urban Park, 11200 Amherst Avenue. Established in 1978, this park was created in remembrance and dedication to veterans.
Festivals and events
- Taste of Wheaton, Grandview Avenue & Reedie Drive (Across from Wheaton Metrorail Station). Food samples from Wheaton's best restaurants as well as live entertainment. Family-friendly event with activities for all ages, including face painting and balloon sculptures for children while parents can enjoy the sultry music provided by the DJ and live bands ranging from hip hop to jazz to country. There are also performances from organizations in the area, such as the Wheaton Studio of Dance.
- Thomas Market, 2650 University Blvd W, ☎ . A gourmet food store specializing in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine.
- 1 Westfield Wheaton, 11160 Veirs Mill Rd (At Wheaton Metrorail Station), ☎ . M-Sa: 10AM-9:30PM, Su: 11AM-7PM. Shops include: Aeropostale, American Eagle, Costco, Victoria Secret, Express, Bakers, Forever 21, Foot Locker, FYE, Sears, and Target. Eateries include: Panera Bread, Panda Express, Sarku Japan, Popeye's, and McDonalds.
- BeClaws, 2404 University Blvd W, ☎ . A popular restaurant serving Cajun-Asian fusion food.
- 1 Ben Yehuda Cafe & Pizzeria, 1370 Lamberton Dr, ☎ . Su-W: 11:00AM-8:00PM, Th: 11:00AM-9:00PM, F: 11:00AM-2:30PM, Sa: 90 minutes after Sabbath until midnight. Kosher dairy restaurant with pizza and vegetarian mock meat.
- Cam Ranh Bay Pho & Grill, 2646 University Blvd W, ☎ . Vietnamese food.
- 2 El Pollo Rico, 2517 University Blvd, ☎ . 10:30AM-10PM daily. Universally acclaimed in local, national, and international food circles is Wheaton's El Pollo Rico, serving unbeatable pollo a la brasa—Peruvian chicken roasted over smoky wood charcoals to just the perfect point at which a slight crisp falls upon the skin, over succulent, moist white and dark meat, and the spice fiesta of salt 'n pepper, huacatay, aji, cumin, achiote, garlic, and lemon magically penetrates the meat straight into the bone. EPR for a long time ran out of a can't-see-your-hand smoky little take-out only shack, but that burned down, and it's now in a cheery little eatery with tables for the few who aren't taking the bird home to the family. Lines are long, but move fast. Placing your order is simple: yell whole, half, or quarter, and then enjoy the sound of the lady's meat cleaver hitting the counter through the meat. Chicken: $5.30-14.20.
- Ertale Ethiopian Restaurant, 2310 Price Ave, ☎ .
- Filippo's Italian Specialties, 11224 Triangle Ln, ☎ . Popular Italian deli.
- 3 Full Key Restaurant, 2227 University Blvd, ☎ . 11AM-2AM daily. An unassuming but pleasant little eatery, offering Hong Kong cuisine into the wee hours of the night—wonderful noodle soups, soup dumplings, congee, and barbecued meats—the roast duck tends to run out, but you can call ahead to reserve a portion for a late night visit. $3.50-20.
- Gourmet Inspirations Chinese Restaurant, 2646 University Blvd W, ☎ .
- Irene's Pupusería, 12391 Georgia Ave (Glenmont Metrorail Station), ☎ . Su-Th: 11AM-midnight, F-Sa: 11AM-2AM. A nice place to take the family for a meal, with walls of big comfy diner-style booths. This restaurant is the local hub for the Honduran community, so there are a bunch of dishes on the menu, like the baliadas (a sort of Honduran burrito) that you won't find at the other Salvadoran restaurants. Beyond the great pupusas and baliadas, the terribly unhealthy fried plantains with creme are incredible, as are the atoles, a creamy hot chocolate-style dessert drink (non alcoholic, and without chocolate) made from corn meal with all the spices you'd expect of a pumpkin pie. $4-20.
- Kantuta's, 2462 Ennalls Ave, ☎ . Latin American diner.
- 4 Max's Cafe, 2319 University Blvd W, ☎ . S-Th: 11AM-9PM, F: 11AM-2PM. Kosher meat restaurant with a selection of deli food as well as Israeli and American food.
- 5 Moby Dick Sushi, 11220 Triangle Ln, ☎ . M-Th: 11:30AM-9:30PM, F-Sa: 11:30AM-10PM. Odd name for a Korean-run Japanese place. Korean-run Japanese restaurants are usually a lesson in cross-cultural misunderstanding, but this is an exception, run by an eminently competent and seasoned preparer of Japanese cuisine. Three reasons to come: great tempura, good sushi, and impressively low prices. $7-15.
- 6 , 11301 Fern St, ☎ . Su-Th: 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa: 11:30AM-10:30PM. Served in a space that is comically and unmistakably a former cheesy Tex-Mex restaurant, Nava Thai's food is incredible, with a menu full of items Thai food lovers of the Western variety will not recognize. Dishes range from those ablaze with chilis, garlic, and curries, to those with a more subtle cilantro or perhaps pig's blood. The sweet and sour squid is famous, but if you want to play it safer, the husband and wife team here are experts with the noodle dishes, and you'd have trouble finding a better pad thai anywhere, except Ruan, of course. $6-20.
- Nick's Diner, 11199 Veirs Mill Rd, ☎ . 6AM-3PM. Old school family-run diner with Greek menu options. Breakfast and lunch only.
- 7 Nut House Pizza, 11419 Georgia Ave, ☎ . M 11:30AM-9:00PM, T 11:30AM-9:00PM, W 11:00AM-9:00PM, Th 11:30AM-9:00PM, F 11:00AM-9:00PM, Su 11:00AM-2:00PM, Sa open 1 hour after sundown until 1:00AM. Voted as the best kosher pizza by the Washingtonian Magazine. Kosher meat restaurant with a selection of deli food as well as Israeli and American food.
- 8 Paul Kee Restaurant, 11305 Georgia Ave, ☎ . Su-Th 11AM-1AM, F-Sa 11AM-2AM. Delicious, authentic Cantonese food served to a mostly Cantonese clientele. The service and ambiance are also authentically Cantonese, which is a bad thing, but they are also hallmarks of a place that serves great food at low prices. The roast and crispy meat dishes tend to be especially good bets. $5-25.
- 9 Ren's Ramen, 11403 Amherst Ave, ☎ . D.C.'s ramen scene is not as well-developed as New York, but this place comes pretty close. Very flavorful broth and delicious chewy noodles, no matter which variant of ramen you choose. The dumplings are also tasty. $10.
- 10 Ruan Thai, 11407 Amherst Ave, ☎ . M-Sa 11:30AM-10PM, Su 4PM-10PM. Trying to decide whether to eat at Nava or Ruan is best decided by a coin flip—they are both fantastic, small, and as authentic as they come. Aside from walking distance, Ruan is a little divier and marginally less expensive, which is either a plus or minus depending on your outlook. It also serves an incredible smoked eggplant salad, a fiery crispy whole red snapper, and killer larb. $6-18.
- Seoul Food, 2514 University Blvd W, ☎ . Korean, Japanese & Asian fusion in a former gas station.
- Squire's Rock Creek Chophouse, 2405 Price Ave, ☎ . Steakhouse by chef Scott Squire with photos of comedians on the walls.
- Thai Taste by Kob, 11315 Fern St, ☎ . Street-style Thai food.
- Woomi Garden, 2423 Hickerson Dr, ☎ . Korean barbecue, hot pot, sushi, and Japanese food.
- Yummy In My Tummy, 11252 Georgia Ave, ☎ . Popular ice cream shop.
Most restaurants serve alcohol.
Try the various exotic drinks at international restaurants and markets. The Asian markets usually carry great loose-leaf teas at bargain prices; Thai restaurants serve Thai iced coffee and tea; the Latino places have tasty tamarindo juice, horchata, and even delicious atoles, the fabled warm, thick corn drink of the Mayas; the Ethiopian restaurants have honey wine and great coffee; Middle Eastern markets have great Turkish and Iraqi pomegranate juice; etc.
- Bar Louie, 11006 Veirs Mill Rd (Westfield Wheaton Mall), ☎ .
- 1 Legends Billards, 11317 Elkin St, ☎ . M-W: 11AM-10PM, Th: 11AM-midnight, F-Sa: 11AM-2AM, Su: noon-11PM. A sports bar and pool hall. The bar offers specials on certain nights. Hosts parties for all sporting events year round such as March Madness, and Superbowl Sunday.
- The Limerick Pub, 11301 Elkin St, ☎ . Irish pub with live folk music and Irish food.
Wheaton does not have any nice hotels. Silver Spring is just south on Georgia Ave and the Metrorail Red Line, and has plenty of nice hotels.
|Routes through Wheaton|
|East End ← Silver Spring ←||S N||→ Glenmont|