Silver Spring attracts a racially diverse mix of middle-class suburbanites and local immigrant communities to its newly renovated downtown. The "center" is nice and full of happy people, but also rather artificial and full of chains. The city's renovations successfully revitalized the area, but it does look like a city-planned development. If that is not your thing, head a few blocks south on Georgia Ave to try some of the excellent immigrant-run restaurants offering African, Latin American, Middle Eastern, Asian, and even Pirate cuisines. Silver Spring's biggest draw is the AFI movie theater, which shows independent films and documentaries which, refreshingly, are not the exact same independent films being shown at other "indie" theaters around DC.
Downtown Silver Spring is located just across the District of Columbia line, separated by Eastern Avenue. The Washington Metro system's "Silver Spring" stop on the Red Line is located in downtown Silver Spring.
The DC Metro runs buses that traverse all of Silver Spring,
and Montgomery County's RideOn bus system is also very convenient.
Both use the Silver Spring Metro station on the Red Line as a hub.
Be aware that a two-block area around the north side of the station is undergoing extensive construction until late 2010, and as such all bus stops have been confusingly relocated; more information is available from the Montgomery County DOT .
Silver Spring, in Acorn Park (corner of East-West Highway and Newell Street). The spring the area was named after -- now dry, but surrounded by a small park commemorating it.
The Old Tavern, in Silver Spring Library (on Colesville Road). A 1937 New Deal-era post office mural.
Mayor Lane Memorial Park, (Georgia Avenue at Mayor Lane Alley.) Bust of Norman Lane, a beloved local resident who lived in the nearby alley.
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station, 8100 Georgia Avenue. A restored station from 1945.
AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, (corner of Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road) ,. A 1938 theater, now restored and home to the American Film Institute and Shopping Center. Highly Recommended.
Discovery Channel Headquarters, Georgia Avenue between Wayne & Colesville, Check out the dinosaur skeleton in the lobby.
Walking Tour of Forest Glen Seminary, Linden Lane, . fourth Saturday of each month, March-November. The Seminary was an early 20th century school that features a unique collection of architecture from around the world (including an Italian Villa, a Japanese Pagoda, a Dutch windmill, etc). Tours are run by the "Save Our Seminary" organization.
Downtown Silver Spring, near Ellsworth & Fenton Streets, , has many restaurants.
Lebanese Taverna, 933 Ellsworth Drive, +1 301-588-1192, . Tasty and not-too-expensive Lebanese food in the "New Silver Spring". $8-$13.
Tastee Diner, Cameron Street (at Georgia Avenue). Open 24 hours. A diner dating to 1947; a Silver Spring institution.
Da Marco Italia Deli, Colesville Rd. near Fenton St. (across from the AFI Cinema.) The owner of this authentic Italian deli / lunch spot moved back from Italy to take it over.
The Roger Miller Restaurant, 941 Bonifant St (Just across the street from Mandalay, under the big yellow sign), ☎ +1 301 650-2495. Su-Th noon-11PM, F-Sa. This remarkable Cameroonian restaurant is probably the best value in the DC metropolitan area. Seated inside, you may forget what country you are in as it has the authentic character of a West African roadside bar; the outside seating is lovely in good weather. The food is some of DC's finest home cooking and is priced so low you almost feel like you are robbing the place. The wait staff is relaxed and friendly and will never rush you while you enjoy your food and conversation. Roger Miller is patronized mostly by West Africans, but they are extremely friendly and accommodating to the uninitiated.$6-9.
Mandalay, 930 Bonifant St, ☎ +1 301 585-0500, . M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-10:30PM, Su noon-10PM, closed 3PM-5PM daily. This restaurant has pretty bland, suburban ambiance, but it has the best Burmese food in the DC area. If you haven't tried Burmese food, it is time to do so—Myanmar is sandwiched between three great world cuisines (Indian, Chinese, Thai) and the food reflects this.$12-20.
Woodside/Forest Glen area, difficult to reach by Metro, is located off 16th St. north of DC.
Parkway Deli & Restaurant, 8317 Grubb Rd, West Silver Spring (off East West Highway). One of Washington area's only authentic New York-style delicatessens.
Woodside Delicatessen, 9329 Georgia Ave, Silver Spring (south of Beltway/Forest Glen, near 16th St.). Another of DC area's only authentic New York-style delicatessens.
York Castle Tropical Ice Cream, Georgia Ave, Woodside (across the street from Woodside Deli) is a popular Jamaican ice cream shop featuring soursop ice cream and other uncommon flavors.
Stained Glass Pub, Layhill Road(right off Georgia Avenue). Opened in 1979. Named for colorful windows. Good pizza and live entertainment including Karaoke and live bands.
Piratz Tavern, 8402 Georgia Avenue, ☎ +1 301 588-9001. This place is a strange gem. The staff actually do appear to be pirates—one actually lost an eye in a sword fight—and the eccentric atmosphere seems to bring out the patrons' inner pirates as well. The Pirate cuisine on offer is surprisingly excellent, a mix of Caribbean, Portuguese, and Brazilian, and attracts families and couples in addition to the bar's younger clientèle. If you like a drink, don't pass up the rum-based grog, which is quite tasty and very reasonably priced. Unlike most area bars, you will never have to lose your voice shouting above loud music. Ask for a seat outside in the back.Entrées: $9-30, glass of grog: $6.
Quarry House Tavern, 8401 Georgia Ave. (at Bonifant). Underground (literally and figuratively), old-school publick house with Live bands on weekends and a weekly Rockabilly night on Saturdays. They sport an extensive beer list several pages in length.
Crowne Plaza Washington DC-Silver Spring, 8777 Georgia Avenue, (301) 589-0800,  Never compromise on luxury or location. At the Crowne Plaza Washington DC – Silver Spring, you don't have to. Situated in the heart of the art and entertainment district of Silver Spring, this deluxe Crowne Plaza Silver Spring Maryland hotel puts you within walking distance of fine shops and restaurants, as well as the Silver Spring Metro Station.
Courtyard Silver Spring North, 12521 Prosperity Drive, (301) 680-8500, Fax: (301) 680-9232,  Easy access to the Naval Surface Weapons Center and the University of Maryland College Park.
Courtyard by Marriott Silver Spring Downtown, 8506 Fenton Street, (301) 589-4899, Fax: (301) 589-4898, . Free HSIA, complimentary access to Washington Sports Clubs inside hotel, restaurant, lounge, coffee bar in lobby. 3 blocks to Metro, 2 miles to DC border.
Residence Inn Silver Spring, 12000 Plum Orchard Drive, (301) 572-2322, Fax: (301) 572-2362, . Located off Cherry Hill Rd, 4 miles north of the Capital Beltway. Located near NSWC and the University of MD.