The Top 10 Things To Do and See in Silver Spring

The Top 10 Things To Do and See in Silver Spring
Though quiet and slightly off the beaten track, the peaceful suburb of Silver Spring is conveniently situated near popular destinations such as Washington, D.C. and the historical Ellicott City. For travellers passing through or remaining for a few nights, however, Silver Spring also holds its own when offering various historical, educational, and recreational opportunities.

National Museum of Health and Medicine

Established during the Civil War as the Army Medical Museum, the National Museum of Health and Medicine went through several different evolutions. It was also known, varyingly, as the new Army Institute of Pathology, the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, the Medical Museum of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, and the Armed Forces Medical Museum before gaining its current appellative. Currently it contains exhibitions such as ‘Advances in Military Medicine’ and ‘Anatomy and Pathology’.

Opening hours: 10am – 5:30pm

National Museum of Health and Medicine © Over-the-River/Flicke

AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center

Created by the citizens of Montgomery County, Maryland, the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center is a place for all kinds of educators and artists from all over the world. With ties to the American Film Institute, the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center hosts a wide variety of film and video programming as well as interviews, panels, discussions, musical performances, and other artistic performances. From silent film with live musical accompaniment to current films on 70mm wide high-definition screens, the AFI Silver is perfect for everyone – from the film buff to a family looking for a day of child-friendly entertainment.

Opening hours: varies per event

AFI Silver © Kate Mereand/WikiCommons

Silver Spring Stage

An all-volunteer community theater in the Washington, D.C. area, Silver Spring Stage is perfect for the drama lover who wants to support the local community effort and is ranked as one of the top theaters in the area, despite its amateur status; it’s been running for over 40 years. Located in a small shopping center, this hidden gem requires you to walk through a storefront and down a set of the stairs, but the lovely theatrical world thus encountered is well worth the effort. It often hosts festivals such as the One Act Festival, an annual summer tradition which takes place over two weekends in August, and presents plays ranging from comedies to more serious works. With characters ranging from rag dolls to a man who talks to his cats, the variety provided by the ten playwrights is sure to entertain.

Opening hours: varies per event

© Mohammed Janga/Flickr 

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station

Provided by the Silver Spring Historical Society and Montgomery Preservation Society, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station is Montgomery County’s only 20th century railroad passenger station. An active station from 1945 to 2000, with passengers as illustrious as President Harry S. Truman – who appreciated the lack of crowds as compared to the Union Station – the B&O was renovated and listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. Built in the classically simple colonial revival style with a hipped roof, granite sills, and keystones, the sheltered trackside canopy and fence-protected bench offers a safe place for children to watch trains.

Opening hours: Mon-Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 11am-4pm

Baltimore & Ohio Railroad © Michael Bludworth/Flickr

Gateway to NOAA

A newly permanent exhibit from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Gateway to NOAA is designed to highlight the ways in which NOAA ‘takes the pulse of the planet every day and protects and manages ocean and coastal resources.’ It is divided into five sections: NOAA Heritage, which features historic artifacts from over 200 years, and Earth Observations, which describes NOAA’S information gathering methods on the planet’s environment. The third section is Weather and Climate, which focuses on NOAA’s role in weather forecasts and climate process. The Water section shows NOAA’s support of safe navigation and commerce as well as other marine processes; and there’s also NOAA in the News section, which presents an interactive display for visitors to explore the ocean.

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm

Exhibit Courtesy of NOAA

Wheaton Regional Park

Established in 1960 and stretching through 536 acres, Wheaton Regional Park offers a variety of recreational and educational options for everyone to enjoy. Horseback riding, picnicking, ice skating, hiking, and touring via train are all activities that are available to try. For the more sedate visitor, Wheaton Regional Park also offers Brookside Gardens, four different nature centers with lovely programs and exhibits such as ‘Legacy of the People,’ ‘Legacy of the Land,’ and ‘Curiosity Corner’, and a conservatory.

Opening hours: sunrise to sunset

© Amrit Patel/Flickr 

The Fillmore

For over 40 years, The Fillmore has hosted a variety of influential and popular musical artists as well as other performers. With a newly renovated capacity of 2,000, the refreshed Fillmore is hoping for an even bigger and better future. Located in the heart of downtown Silver Spring, the Fillmore has entertained performers ranging from the up-and-coming rapper Mac Miller to the Washington Redskins cheerleaders.

Opening hours: varies depending on shows

The Fillmore on New Year’s Eve © Matthew Straubmuller/WikiCommons

Wat Thai DC Buddhist Temple

As the center of Thai Buddhism in Washington, D.C., the Wat Thai DC Buddhist Temple strives to teach meditation and Buddhism to any who wishes to learn. The center also allows more casual visitors to appreciate and, in some small way, take part in a belief system and way of life that stretches back for thousands of years. The temple itself was built in 1974, but the traditions underlying this oasis of serenity have a much older history. The space is just 40×100 ft and includes a worship hall for meditation, religious ceremonies, and an open multi-purpose room that is used for social functions and education.

Opening hours: none listed

© Benh Lieu Song/WikiCommons 

St. Camillus Church

Saint Camillus was born to a 60-year-old woman in a stable and devoted himself to the care of the sick and dying, personally founding 15 houses of his order and eight different hospitals. His namesake church, staffed by those with ties to both the Catholic and Franciscan traditions, attempts to bring spiritual care and a long history of orthodox tradition to the Silver Spring area. With Mass offered in French, Spanish, and English, with both traditional and gospel music and seven different choirs, St. Camillus Church is highly recommended as a beautiful, international experience for the believer and non-believer alike.

Opening hours: varies depending upon Mass

St. Camillus Church © Farragutful/WikiCommons

Great Shoals Winery Tasting Room

With over 20 wines in production, the Great Shoals Winery Tasting Room is perfect for the wine-loving traveller. Great Shoals has produced and released multiple unique hard ciders and wine – the newest seasonal drafts being peach, berry, and cherry – all with fresh, locally sourced fruits from regional farms, all developed and produced on-site. From dry to sweet, sparkling to non-sparkling, Great Shoals offers a wide range of flights and tastings as well as various packages, including their premiere package, which features eight varieties of wines and hard ciders along with a cheese pairing plate and signature wine glasses.

Opening hours: 11am-6pm

© Jeff Kubina/Flickr