Wheaton, with a population of just under 50,000 people (2010), 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 Washington, D.C., from invading forces during the Civil War in July 1864.
Wheaton developed from a business district called Mitchell's Crossroads, named after Mitchell's Tavern. The business district developed at the junction of three roads, which are now called Georgia Avenue, Veirs Mill Road, and University Boulevard.
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 Progress". 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.
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 Avenue, Veirs Mill Road, and University Boulevard. The area where they converge is the center of commercial activity and great inexpensive restaurants.
Downtown Wheaton is very compact and dense with shops and restaurants. It is easy to walk around from the Metrorail station.
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
- [formerly dead link] 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.
- 1 Thomas Market, 2650 University Blvd W, ☏ . A gourmet food store specializing in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine.
- 2 Westfield Wheaton, 11160 Veirs Mill Rd, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-9:30PM, Su 11AM-7PM. Large indoor shopping mall that includes Aeropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Bath & Body Works, Champs Sports, Charlotte Russe, Children's Place, Costco, Dick's Sporting Goods, DSW Shoes, Express, Foot Locker, Forever 21, FYE, GameStop, G by Guess, H&M, Hot Topic, JCPenney, Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts, Kay Jewelers, Lids, Macy's, Target, Vans, Victoria's Secret, and Zales Jewelers. Restaurants include Nando's Peri Peri, Panera Bread, Panda Express, Sarku Japan, Popeye's, and McDonalds. Also has an AMC movie theater.
- 1 Ben Yehuda Cafe & Pizzeria, 1370 Lamberton Drive, ☏ . Su-W 11AM-8PM, Th 11AM-9PM, F 11AM-2:30PM, Sa: 90 minutes after sunset until midnight. Kosher dairy restaurant with pizza and vegetarian mock meat.
- 2 Cam Ranh Bay Pho & Grill, 2646 University Blvd W, ☏ . Vietnamese food.
- 3 El Pollo Rico, 2517 University Blvd W, ☏ . 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.
- 4 Ertale Ethiopian Restaurant, 2310 Price Avenue, ☏ .
- 5 Filippo's Italian Specialties, 11224 Triangle Lane, ☏ . Popular Italian deli.
- 6 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. $3.50-20.00.
- 7 Gourmet Inspirations Chinese Restaurant, 2646 University Blvd W, ☏ .
- 8 Kantuta's, 2462 Ennalls Avenue, ☏ . Latin American diner.
- 9 Max's Cafe, 2319 University Blvd W, ☏ . Sa-Th 11AM-9PM, F 11AM-2PM. Kosher meat restaurant with a selection of deli food as well as Israeli and American food.
- 10 [dead link] Moby Dick Sushi, 11220 Triangle Lane, ☏ . 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.
- 11 , 11301 Fern Street, ☏ . 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.
- 12 Nick's Diner, 11199 Veirs Mill Road, ☏ . 6AM-3PM. Old-school family-run diner with Greek menu options. Breakfast and lunch only.
- 13 Nut House Pizza, 11419 Georgia Avenue, ☏ . M 11:30AM-9PM, Tu 11:30AM-9PM, W 11AM-9PM, Th 11:30AM-9:00PM, F 11AM-9PM, Su 11AM-2PM, Sa open 1 hour after sundown until 1:00AM. Voted the best kosher pizza by Washingtonian Magazine.
- 14 Paul Kee Restaurant, 11305 Georgia Avenue, ☏ . 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, 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.
- 15 Ren's Ramen, 11403 Amherst Avenue, ☏ . 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.
- 16 Ruan Thai, 11407 Amherst Avenue, ☏ . M-Sa 11:30AM-10PM, Su 4-10PM. 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.
- 17 [dead link] Thai Taste by Kob, 11315 Fern Street, ☏ . Street-style Thai food.
- 18 Woomi Garden, 2423 Hickerson Drive, ☏ . Korean barbecue, hot pot, sushi, and Japanese food.
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.
- 1 Legends Billards, 11317 Elkin Street, ☏ . 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.
- 2 Limerick Pub, 11301 Elkin Street, ☏ . M 4-11PM, Tu-Th 11AM-11PM, F 11AM-midnight, Sa 10:30AM-midnight, Su 10:30AM-11PM. Irish pub with live folk music and Irish food.
Wheaton does not have any hotels. There are many hotels in downtown Silver Spring, just two stations away on Metrorail's Red Line.
- 1 Wheaton Interim Public Library (Montgomery County Public Libraries), 2400 Arcola Avenue (Second floor of Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad), ☏ . M-Th 9AM-9PM, F Sa 10AM-5PM, Su 1-5PM, closed holidays. Free internet and wi-fi available. Ask a librarian for an Internet Card to use a computer. Free.
|Routes through Wheaton|
|East End ← Silver Spring ←||S N||→ Glenmont|