Neighborhood Guide: Silver Spring. Ice skating at Veterans' Plaza. Photograph by Philip Scalia/Alamy.
Silver Spring

The latest happenings, plus where to eat, shop, and explore around Silver Spring.

About Silver Spring

What you should know about the Montgomery County suburb right now.

Net-Zero Hero

After months of snarled traffic and construction dust, the biotech company United Therapeutics completed a high-profile expansion of its Silver Spring headquarters in September.

Dubbed the Unisphere, the 210,000-square-foot, elliptical-shaped building is net-zero, which means it leaves no carbon footprint. It’s powered by a litany of eco-friendly technologies, including 3,000 solar panels, 52 geothermal wells drilled more than 500 feet into the earth, electrochromic glass that changes tint to increase or decrease thermal energy, and a thermal pool on view in its atrium.

The Unisphere is the latest in a long list of projects slated to transform the face of Silver Spring. Several apartment buildings, mixed-use developments, and a hotel are still on the way.

Dumped by Discovery

After Discovery Communications announced last January that it would leave the place it helped revitalize in the early 2000s, Montgomery County set its sights on winning Amazon’s HQ2 to cushion the blow. A top Discovery executive even wrote to Jeff Bezos about the pros of choosing the area. That didn’t pan out, of course, so what will become of the old Discovery site once the company’s nearly 1,100 employees completely vacate the building?

Developer Foulger-Pratt and private-equity firm Cerberus Capital Management bought the Discovery building in September. They recently secured a $97-million loan to reconfigure it into a space that can accommodate multiple companies. Several health-care tenants have reportedly expressed interest. Discovery will maintain a scaled-down presence at Silver Spring Metro Plaza, though the giant Shark Week head it became known for is presumably NYC-bound.

New Brew Crew

Since opening Silver Spring’s first successful brewery in 2014, the owners of Denizens Brewing Co. have successfully lobbied to erase restrictive local laws on businesses like theirs. The result? They’re not so lonely anymore.

In October, Astro Lab Brewing opened on Georgia Avenue, featuring four to eight beers, meat pies, and a shiny industrial space. Silver Branch Brewing Co. is scheduled to debut early this year. It draws influence from Belgium, Britain and Ireland, Central Europe, and the Americas—and features a flagship beer for each of those regions.

Right to Bike

Silver Spring has gotten a lot more bike-friendly. Starting in 2017, Montgomery County began painting the dedicated green bike lanes that now crisscross the area. In the past year, more lanes have been added to Second Avenue, Spring Street, and Wayne Avenue. There’s also a special “protected intersection” at Second and Spring, in which rounded concrete barriers separate cyclists from traffic and encourage turning drivers and bikers alike to slow down. The design is one of the first of its kind on the East Coast.

The Purple People Disrupter

Construction of the Purple Line, now in its second year, isn’t scheduled to finish until 2023 at the earliest. When it’s done, the 16-mile route will include five stops throughout Silver Spring. But before residents get to enjoy the convenience, they’re weathering the disruptions.

First, businesses in the Spring Center strip mall were forced out, then bikers and joggers saw much of their woodsy Georgetown Branch trail razed into logs. The Lyttonsville Place Bridge, a popular connector between Silver Spring and Chevy Chase, shut down for reconstruction in June and reopened only in January. And morning till night, people can hear—and feel—the tunnel under Arliss Street being excavated.

Pizza Desert

Armand’s went first. After 29 years of serving Chicago-style deep-dish out of its Silver Spring restaurant, the local chain shuttered the location—one of its only remaining two—over the summer. A few months later, Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza followed suit. Thankfully, help is on the way: Matchbox is opening a location in the Ellsworth shopping corridor early this year.

Things to Do in Silver Spring

Our favorite things to do in Silver Spring.
The AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center is partially housed in a restored Art Deco movie palace built in 1938. Photograph by Randy Santos/DCStockPhotos.
The AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center is partially housed in a restored Art Deco movie palace built in 1938. Photograph by Randy Santos/DCStockPhotos.

AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural CenterNot just a place to catch the latest indie movie—filmmaker interviews, panels, performances, and documentary festivals make AFI a destination for dedicated film lovers. 8633 Colesville Rd.; 301-495-6700.

Denizens Brewing Co. Silver Spring’s first brewery offers ten beers and seasonal brews plus sophisticated versions of pub grub. Dogs are welcome in the beer garden. 1115 East-West Hwy.; 301-557-9818.

The FillmoreLarger than a nightclub, smaller than an arena, the 2,000-person venue has put Silver Spring on the music map by attracting acts such as the Roots and Mary J. Blige. 8656 Colesville Rd.; 301-960-9999.

Interactive Fountain. As the centerpiece of the downtown shopping district, it delights and cools kids in summer while hosting Silver Spring’s artsy Christmas tree in winter. 916 Ellsworth Dr.

Kaldi’s Social House. Coffee shop by day, rooftop club by night, and a favorite among the work-from-home set. 918 Silver Spring Ave.; 301-557-9990.

National Museum of Health and MedicineNot for the faint of heart, it showcases curiosities dating to the Civil War, including organs, skeletons, medical equipment, and the bullet that killed Abraham Lincoln. 2500 Linden Ln.; 301-319-3300.

Silver Spring Ice Skating Rink at Veterans’ Plaza. Open through late March, the rink is mostly shielded from rain and snow by a funky, translucent roof. 8523 Fenton St.; 301-588-1221.

Silver Spring Library. Come for the books or just to marvel at the contemporary steel-and-glass design, which sets the tone for Silver Spring’s increasingly modern downtown. 900 Wayne Ave.; 240-773-9420.

Silver Stars GymnasticsClasses for gymnasts aged 18 months through high school; open gym is available at noon to kids under eight. 2701 Pittman Dr.; 301-589-0938.

Real Estate in Silver Spring

Photograph by Emma Mattson.
Photograph by Emma Mattson.

Here’s the math that keeps young families flocking to Silver Spring: DC couple has a baby, realizes they need a house. The neighborhoods they can afford in the city have not-so-great public schools. But if they’re willing to move just over the District border, they’ll get Montgomery County schools, easy Red Line access, and a median home price of $400,000. Silver Spring it is! Here’s what your money will buy you in Silver Spring:

$265,000 buys . . .

A new 569-square-foot condo two blocks from the Silver Spring Metro.

$500,000 buys . . .

A three-bedroom Cape Cod that’s been remodeled but retains some 1930s charm.

$652,000 buys . . .

A 1980s four-bedroom townhouse with a walkout basement and patio.

$735,000 buys . . .

A renovated Craftsman bungalow with three bedrooms and a new high-end kitchen.

Crime & Safety

Below, the number of crimes (violent, nonviolent and property) reported in 2017.

Photos of Silver Spring

Click on a photo to view gallery in full-screen.