Bethesda, Maryland, may not be a metropolis, but it does have a big heart. With a thriving cultural scene, exciting nightlife, great food options and ample green space, such as Glen Echo Park, this urban center in Montgomery County is worth a visit. Here are the top 12 things you should consider doing and seeing if you plan to visit.
Springtime in Bethesda is lovely and especially colorful, with azaleas, dogwoods, cherry trees and rhododendrons blooming everywhere, but it’s also time for the annual Local Writer’s Showcase. It’s a special event that honors local writers, poets and essayists who have won local writing contests. Watch them present their award-winning works and receive their awards.
Montgomery County’s oldest continuing farmers’ market has been selling delicious fruits, vegetables, pastries, cakes, flowers and crafts for more than 70 years. It’s been run by women since the beginning (and that’s probably why it’s been so successful). With both an indoor and outdoor market, this is the perfect spot to pick up picnic food, find your new favorite kind of bread or support local craftspeople and jewelry makers.
While you’re walking around Bethesda, you might come across this striking statue of a determined-looking mother with a baby in her arms and wonder why it’s there. With an interesting history, it is one of 12 identical figures across the country. Placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution, the sculptures mark the National Old Trails Road, the path of westbound covered wagons, and honor the hardships endured by pioneering women who traveled on it. The Bethesda statue stands where pioneers spent their first night after Georgetown while traveling west.
Among Bethesda’s long-running restaurants, the Tastee Diner is the kind of comforting place that’s often hard to find. It’s tripped out with jukeboxes, counter stalls and a menu that makes you feel like Sandy and Danny ordering a milkshake to share in Grease. Tastee Diner has had the same staff for 20 years, so if you’re stuck on what to order, they can tell you what’s good. It’s open 24 hours a day, so it’s ideal whether you’re after a late-night plate of fries, an early-morning pastry or a lunchtime burger. Don’t forget to tip.
Additional reporting by Alice Johnston.