The city of Bethesda, Maryland is a center of arts, culture, and modern history. It has been rated one of America’s most livable cities for its high education level and income growth rate and low crime. You’ll find many restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the modern Bethesda Row district near the city center.
Visit the arts and culture center, Glen Echo Park, formerly an amusement park. Attend classes and workshops to learn about the performing arts and make pottery, textiles or music. The antique Dentzel carousel on-site dates back to 1921. Explore the Spanish Ballroom. Take the kids to one of the children’s theaters, such as the Puppet Playhouse. Then have a snack at the Glen Echo Café.
Then make your way to Strathmore, a center for music and the arts. Explore the picturesque 11-acre (4.5-hectare) grounds near the main mansion. Attend a classical concert at the 100-seat Dorothy M. and Maurice C. Shapiro Room in the mansion and dine at the Prelude Café. Peruse the artwork on display.
Learn about the 19th-century nurse, teacher and humanitarian who helped thousands of people at the Clara Barton National Historic Site. Stroll around the well-kept gardens and enjoy the scenic and tranquil ambiance. Admire the lumber-built main house where Clara Barton lived. Its intriguing interior is shaped like a Mississippi River steamboat.
See one of the Madonna of the Trail series of monuments in downtown Bethesda. This statue paying homage to the female pioneers of the country is one of a collection of 12 in several states. Dine at a restaurant in Bethesda Row, west of central Bethesda.
Walk to a bar on Bethesda Lane, an extension of the lively central district. It is also a popular shopping area to buy souvenirs of your cultured vacation.
The nearest major airport is Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, 11 miles (18 kilometers) from central Bethesda. Get around the city by bus, metro or bicycle. Use the free Bethesda Circulator to reach attractions in the downtown area.