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 D.C. 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 .
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.
Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Station, 8100 Georgia Avenue. A restored station from 1945.
Mayor Lane Memorial Park, (Georgia Avenue at Mayor Lane Alley). Bust of Norman Lane, a beloved local resident who lived in the nearby alley.
The Old Tavern, in Silver Spring Library (on Colesville Road). A 1937 New Deal-era post office mural.
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.
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.
Washington D.C. Northern Boundary Stone, (along East West highway in front of the Summit Hills apartment complex), . Erected in 1792. This stone represents the northern most boundary of Washington D.C.
Downtown Silver Spring
Near Ellsworth & Fenton Streets, , this area has many restaurants.
Crisfield, 8012 Georgia Ave (near railroad tracks), ☎ +1 301 589-1306, . It specializes in seafood.
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.$1.50-10.
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.
Ceviche, 921-J Ellsworth Dr, ☎ +1 301 608-0081, . Restaurant: Su-Th 4PM-10PM, F-Sa 4PM-midnight; lounge usually open a couple hours past kitchen close. It's pricey and not terribly filling, but the ceviche (raw fish "cooked" in lime juice) at its namesake Peruvian restaurant is excellent. As are the pisco sours. Ceviche really stands out, though, for being a very stylish, unique lounge/restaurant in an area dominated by bland could-be-anywhere chain restaurants.$6-22.
Jackie's Restaurant, 8081 Georgia Ave, ☎ +1 301 565-9700, . Tu-Th 5:30PM-9:30PM, F-Sa 5:30PM-10:30PM, Su 11:30AM-2:30PM,5:30PM-9PM. Four star cuisine in an unlikely stretch of Silver Spring filled with auto part shops. Actually, the building itself used to be an auto parts shop. The owners have more than made the most of the location, aiming for a trendy and very fun take on the industrial-loft look. The contemporary American cuisine on offer is faultless, most famous for its "mini Elvis burgers" appetizer, but with a range of great seafood, meats, and salads on its seasonal menu.$28-40.
The Roger Miller Restaurant, 941 Bonifant St, ☎ +1 301 650-2495. Su-Th noon-11PM, F-Sa. Seated inside this Cameroonian restaurant, 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 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.$8-17.
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 D.C. 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.
River City Grille, 8777 Georgia Ave, . Located on the lobby level of Crowne Plaza Silver Spring Hotel
Woodside/Forest Glen area
This 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 (south of Beltway/Forest Glen, near 16th St). Another of D.C. area's only authentic New York-style delicatessens.
York Castle Tropical Ice Cream, Georgia Ave, Woodside (across the street from Woodside Deli). A popular Jamaican ice cream shop featuring soursop ice cream and other uncommon flavors.
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 extremely stiff 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 (below Bombay Gaylord), ☎ +1 301 587-8350, . Su-Th 5PM-midnight, F-Sa 5PM-2AM. This bar has been a neighborhood staple for over 70 years. At first glance it's just a friendly looking dive bar, but upon further inspection it reveals itself as something of a gastropub—the food is heads and shoulders above usual bar fare (fried pickles are a must), and they have a great, long list of Belgian beers! Live bands on weekends and a weekly Rockabilly night Sa.
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.
Courtyard by Marriott, 8506 Fenton St, ☎ +1 301 589-4899 (fax: +1 301 589-4898), . Free WiFi, gym, restaurant, lounge, coffee bar in lobby. Three blocks to Metro, two miles to D.C. border.$200-280.
Residence Inn Silver Spring, 12000 Plum Orchard Drive, ☎ +1 301 572-2322 (fax: +1 301 572-2362), . Located off Cherry Hill Rd, 4 miles north of the Capital Beltway. Located near NSWC and the University of MD.
Crowne Plaza Washington DC - Silver Spring, 8777 Georgia Ave, ☎ 301-598-0800, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: noon. Outdoor pool, 24 hour fitness center, 24 hour business center, meeting space, restaurant onsite
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