6 Best Downtowns in the DC Suburbs

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Craving a ‘burb with a bustling downtown? Start here.

Looking for DC suburbs with a bustling nightlife or other centrally-located go-to for food, fun and tons of family activities? Chances are, you’re looking for a suburb with a great downtown.

While, often, suburban downtowns leave much to be desired—we’ve seen tons of dry cleaner/pizza shop/grab-and-go “downtowns” in the DC suburbs and beyond—some are
truly city-level. And if you’re craving a little urban in your suburban, start with these downtown towns.


#1. Georgetown, DC

DC’s historic Georgetown neighborhood could easily stand its own against any downtown anywhere. Not only does it boast unparalleled charm—it’s DC’s oldest neighborhood, after all—but the streets are lined with Michelin-star restaurants, high-end shopping, fitness studios, cafes and coffee shops and, literally, everything you could possibly want. And because it’s on the waterfront, this downtown offers sweeping views and a vibe that’s one part posh, one part cool and casual.


#2. Gaithersburg, MD

Downtown Gaithersburg is the place to be in the DC suburbs. The Rio Washingtonian Center is jam-packed with a theater, shopping, restaurants, bars, entertainment and more, all lining an amazing boardwalk and pond. This spot is definitely ideal for date night, family night or entertaining out-of-town guests—your choice!


#3. Silver Spring, MD

Silver Spring looks and feels like a classic city center—and you’ll no doubt bump into at least a few friends and neighbors while you’re here. Here, you’ll find the basics—shopping, dining, entertainment and even a summery splash pad—plus tons of local flair, including area artist showings, outdoor music, pop up performers and other community activities.


#4. Bethesda, MD

There’s a reason so many locals and tourists flood downtown Bethesda daily. This historic strip is a thriving go-to for food, entertainment shopping and culture. During a quick stroll, you’ll encounter everything—think 200 restaurants and eateries, 20 art galleries, two theaters and shopping that rivals any big city.

#5. Alexandria, VA compares Old Town Alexandria to the Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow “kicked up a notch”—and we get it. This DC suburbs downtown is as quaint and cozy as it is modern and lively. Grab a drink, a bite and, of course, save room for a cupcake at Alexandria Cupcake.

#6. Hyattsville, MD

If you crave a more artsy downtown, Hyattsville is for you. Smaller than some of the other DC suburbs on this list, downtown Hyattsville is part of the Gateway Arts District and includes tons of amazing eateries, public art displays, studios and shops.



There are hundreds of towns to choose from. How do you figure it all out? You simply don’t, without getting a Suburban Jungle Strategist to help you through it all. Schedule here for your strategy session with our innovative suburbs strategy team. All services are completely free.


Featured Images: @erinebert, Visit Maryland

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