Bethesda has a dynamic downtown within walking distance of some major hotels like the Hyatt or the Doubletree. Stroll Bethesda Row for sophisticated shopping, restaurants and sidewalk cafes. Art galleries such as Discovery Galleries on Bethesda Avenue display creative pieces. The Landmark Bethesda Row Cinema, near the intersection of Woodmont Avenue and Bethesda Avenue, shows a great selection of independent and foreign films. Across the street, readers comb the stacks of Barnes and Noble or chat over coffee. The Potomac Farm stand sells fresh fruit and vegetables from local farmers.
Wonderful Range of Restaurants
Bethesda’s restaurants are as diverse as most major cities, but have the charm of a small town. Choices range from French and Italian to Afghani and Lebanese. For a homemade mozzarella cheese bar and tasty Italian dishes, try Assaggi on Bethesda Avenue. Mon Ami Gabi is a popular French restaurant around the corner from the cinema. Be sure to make reservations. McCormick and Schmick’s offers delightful seafood and good service. Treat yourself to a desert at Georgetown Cupcake or Bundles of Cookies.
Beautiful Bike Trails
Bethesda’s Capital Crescent Trail allows the traveler to escape into nature on foot or by bike. The trail, which was built over the abandoned railbed of the B&O Railroad, is a paved trail. A motivated biker could easily make the 11 mile route to Georgetown, D.C. The trail offers beautiful scenes of the Potomac River as it winds through woods and parks. Connect to the Mount Vernon Trail that leads to George Washington’s home in Mount Vernon. The avid cyclist could easily use Bethesda as a hub and ride the many D.C. bike trails. Big Wheel Bikes rents bikes. A sign on the Capital Crescent Trail points to their shop on Arlington Road.
Close to D.C. Attractions
While Bethesda offers enough to do, while in the area, why not take the fifteen minute subway ride to the White House and visit the U.S. capitol? The Bethesda Metro is located on the west side of Wisconsin Avenue at Montgomery Lane by the Hyatt hotel. To get to the White House, take the Red Line towards Glenmont Metro and exit at the Farragut North Metro Station. Walk southeast about half a mile to get to the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.
Tickets to shows in the capital can be pricey. Luckily, some of the best holiday entertainment in and around Washington is free.
Visiting the Lincoln Memorial and other historic monuments is easy from the Bethesda Metro. Just hop on the Red Line towards the Glenmont Metro, then transfer at the Metro Center Statio, take the Orange Line towards New Carrollton, and exit at the Smithsonian Metro Station. Walk northwest for less than half a mile and you will be at The Mall, which houses the major U.S. monuments.
A weekend in Bethesda offers good food, sophisticated culture, healthy activities, and even a bit of history. Enjoy!