From shopping to concerts, live ballet, public art and more, Silver Spring, Maryland has a lot to offer. Like many of the DC suburb areas, Silver Spring gets overlooked for the more exciting downtown DC or Baltimore areas, but don’t count it out.
Located in Montgomery County with over 80,000 residents, Silver Spring has something for nearly anyone. Its location 25 minutes north of DC makes it the perfect higher-end commuter city, but it’s a destination for sure. If you’re in the area and worried about finding enough to do… you should be worried about fitting everything great into your itinerary!
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Hang out downtown while you’re there!
Downtown Silver Spring Mall
If you’re already going to the Fillmore to see a show, hang out downtown and check out the restaurants and shopping. The Downtown Silver Spring Mall is an indoor/outdoor mall with shops like Loft, Ulta, and DSW. If you hang out on Ellsworth Dr and the surrounding blocks, you can get coffee, dinner, and a brand new outfit.
Silver Spring Restaurants
McGinty’s Public House is a great Irish pub with live music, a small but cozy patio, and a really impressive selection of spirits, especially whiskey. Copper Canyon Grill is a local chain with really fantastic rotisserie chicken, and El Sapo Cuban Social Club is a must if you want authentic Cuban or Latin food. Their happy hour is also pretty great!
Sushi Jin Next Door has some of the best sushi in Silver Spring, and Loyalty Books around the corner is a great stop to support local booksellers and authors. For excellent coffee, you’ll need to go two blocks to check out Zed’s Café, which has great espresso and an excellent vibe.
See Your Favorite Band at the Fillmore
By far one of my favorite parts of Silver Spring is the Fillmore, a relatively small music venue downtown.
My first metal concert was there 10 years ago and I’ve always had a soft spot. As more people feel comfortable going to packed venues like concerts, Fillmore is going to be the spot.
Don’t Miss the Silver Spring Thanksgiving Parade!
Okay, this one is pretty time-specific, but if you find yourself in the area around Thanksgiving, be sure to check out the parade. It’s the only Thanksgiving parade in the DC area, and takes place the Saturday before the holiday, usually. It runs all through downtown, and there are people in costumes, candy thrown, and music played.
Most years, Veterans Plaza is also done up with a corn maze, cast members in costumes for pictures with little ones, and more. It’s really a great day all around, and something everyone can enjoy.
Full Guide to the Silver Spring Thanksgiving Parade
Check out every Silver Spring Brewery
Astro Lab Brewery
Astro Lab Brewery is located in downtown Silver Spring off Georgia Ave (one of the major arteries of the downtown area), and has a really great rotating selection of craft beers made onsite. Their menu is always changing, so there’s something for everyone – keep stopping back for new selections.
Silver Branch Brewing Company
Silver Branch Brewing Company is a few blocks northwest, and has a huge on-tap selection with a good variety. Their IPAs are really excellent, and their menu is solid. The house-made tamales are my favorite, but their pretzels are a table must.
Denizens Brewing Co
Denizens Brewing Co is my third brewery recommendation, closer to the DC line than downtown itself. It’s a huge two-level taproom with a beer garden, and Denizens is one of those popular local brands that everyone knows and loves. Their menu is a little more extensive, with a good burger selection too.
Urban Winery of Silver Spring
If you’re more into wine. The Urban Winery of Silver Spring is a must-stop. You don’t get a ton of wineries downtown like this, but this winery has a tasting room, their own wine – plus a good selection of local wines – and a really excellent, though small, menu. They also have classes, if you ever wanted to learn how to find the tasting notes of wine or how to pair wine with food properly. Speaking of classes…
Take a class!
Maryland Youth Ballet
Ever wondered if you could hack it in a ballet class? Maryland Youth Ballet has both children’s and adult classes, and it’s a great way to spend an afternoon discovering you are not as flexible as you thought you were.
Montgomery County College
Audit a class, get your continuing education credits done, load up on college credits while in high school or earn another degree when you enroll in classes at Montgomery County College. There are courses for all ages, including visual arts, youth classes and summer camps.
Or, see a show!
Black Box Theatre
While some of the local theaters have closed their doors (like Forum Theatre downtown, or the Highwood Theatre), Black Box Theatre on Colesville Road is still going strong. It’s a smaller local theatre with a really intimate feel, and has a variety of local performing troupes coming in and out.
AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center
The AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center has 3 screens, and plays a rotation of documentaries, foreign films, and just shows you’ll never see at your local Regal. There are so few movie theatres that host and produce these kinds of work, it can be a rare treat to see a foreign movie or documentary outside of your own living room.
The Washington DC Temple is in Silver Spring
If you’ve ever driven up 495 and saw the tops of this iconic temple over the trees, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Did anyone else’s parents tell them it was Disney World? No?
The Washington DC Temple is a huge temple for the LDS, and has over 160,000 square feet, with the tallest spire reaching over 280 feet.
The visitors center might not be the typical thing someone does when visiting a new city, but it’s certainly an experience to see this giant building up close, especially if you constantly drive past it on the highway and marvel.
Lots of Silver Spring museums to see
No surprise, being so close to DC there are plenty of museums and historical places to see.
National Museum of Health and Medicine
The National Museum of Health and Medicine is a little odd, but if you’re interested in the history of modern medicine and seeing real-life medical specimens up close, I highly recommend spending an afternoon there.
National Capital Trolley Museum
The National Capital Trolley Museum is a relatively small but vibrant museum with classic streetcars from all around the world. They have a working trolley that offers 1-mile long rides so you (or the littles you bring along!) can experience what it was like to get around using public transportation before the metro came into DC.
Gateway to NOAA
The Gateway to NOAA is very much a hidden gem of a museum in Silver Spring, and I know a lot of locals that have never been. NOAA, or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, runs this exhibit in the NOAA headquarters downtown. If you ever wanted to know about how NOAA came to be, or what goes into monitoring the world’s atmosphere (like hurricanes, tornados, and more), this is the place to stop.
Brahma Kumaris Meditation Museum
If you want something totally unique, check out the Brahma Kumaris Meditation Museum, located on Georgia Avenue. This one is certainly unique – the “museum” offers spaces for meditation, classes on mindfulness and meditation, and exhibits on the history and study of meditation. Even if you’re a doubter, it’s
Plenty of green space, too
Don’t discount Silver Spring as a concrete suburb, there is plenty of vibrant greenery to see.
Woodside Urban Park
Just north of downtown, Woodside Urban Park in Silver Spring has a great playground, tennis court, basketball hoops and a small skatepark.
Rock Creek Regional Park
Rock Creek Regional Park is over 1800 acres, and there are plenty of walking trails right in Silver Spring. The park itself stretches across several different cities.
Sligo Creek Trail
Sligo Creek Trail is a paved hiking and biking trail along Sligo Creek itself, and is really excellent for a low-key relaxing afternoon walking. It’s also perfect for a short out and back if you don’t want to spend a lot of time hiking several miles, but need to be in the fresh air.
Ray’s Meadow Local Park
If you want something a little more interactive, Ray’s Meadow Local Park is just outside of Silver Spring itself and includes a baseball field, two soccer fields, and a huge playground.
Acorn Urban Park
Acorn Urban Park is a small urban park downtown that has a unique, acorn-shaped gazebo and a small grotto, perfect for a quick stop with coffee or pastries.
Other must-try things?
Big Escape Room
Big Escape Room is probably the best local escape room in the area, and if you’re with friends it’s even better.
Silver Spring Civic Center
The Silver Spring Civic Center regularly has concerts, shows, or other live events, plus has a huge outdoor space and gardens in the Veterans Plaza.
Silver Spring Library
The Silver Spring Library is a huge, brand new library building with a community center if you want to wander, read, or see the view from the top floor.
St John the Evangelist Church
St John the Evangelist Church is a huge mid-century church with an amazing piece of artwork out front. Even if you’re not religious, you can appreciate the time and effort that went into such a piece.
White Oak Lanes
White Oak Lanes is great for a few hours of bowling in Silver Spring MD.
Stop into Heyser Farms, a specialty shop that has local fruit, vegetables, cheeses, butter, and more. It’s a small taste of the country in a big city that is very welcome.