Bethesda originally was a small settlement along a trade route that connected to Georgetown. It got its name from Bethesda Meeting House, a church built in 1820. There wasn’t much in Bethesda until the streetcar system connected the neighborhood to DC in the early 1900s. The streetcar encouraged a boom in suburban development in Bethesda, which continued throughout the twentieth century. The area got its office boom during World War II, when the NIH and National Naval Medical Center relocated here. Bethesda continued to grow, and in 1984 the Bethesda Metro station opened, which led to even more high-density development and redevelopment.
The core of Bethesda around the Metro station couldn’t be more urban, with tall buildings housing offices, apartments, restaurants, shops, gyms, and even two movie theaters. But walk a few blocks away from the Metro, and you’re surrounded by tree-lined suburban streets. This balance makes Bethesda a perfect urban suburb — it has everything you need within walking distance, but offers housing choices that you can’t find anywhere else.
Bethesda is an urban neighborhood that has it all. You can drive to a mall, walk to a farmers market or walk and bike along the Capital Crescent Trail, bike to the airport, or be in DC in a snap via Metro. Yet you’re in the middle of a completely urban area, with such a variety of restaurants and shopping that you’d never have to leave.
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