Montgomery County offers a stocked buffet of arts, entertainment and dining options
Whether you are looking to feed your body or your artistic soul, there are plenty of delectable options on the entertainment menu in Montgomery County.
Foodies have a global buffet of choices, with more than 900 ethnically diverse restaurants providing the opportunity to enjoy three square meals a day from all four corners of the world. For those who like to keep their food sources close to home, Montgomery County has seven local USDA organic farms, 24 farmers markets and 27 Community Supported Agriculture vendors.
Cultural offerings are prominent throughout Montgomery County as well, with dozens of galleries and performing arts venues in the area. And all of this takes place just outside of Washington D.C., home to many of the nation’s most famous historical sites and museums.
“Our proximity to Washington, D.C. – and to the millions who live on the East Coast – makes Montgomery County a great option for a day trip,â€ says Emily Grebenstein, communications manager for the Glenstone Museum, one of more than 350 cultural organizations within the county.
Founded in 2006 by Montgomery County native Mitch Rales and his wife Emily, Glenstone is an ideal example of the wide variety of cultural offerings that can be found in the area. Glenstone integrates art, architecture and landscape across a beautiful 200-acre site in the Potomac community. The museum recently expanded beyond its 9,000-square-foot gallery with the opening of the 50,000-square-foot Pavilions, providing additional art space along with two cafes and a bookstore.
“The new Glenstone will increase the number of people coming into Montgomery County and offer residents and businesses an opportunity that is most often available in large cities,â€ Grebenstein says. “Glenstone has a commitment to Montgomery County. We are very active with the public schools, and we host middle and high schools on field trips. We think it’s important to expose people to art starting at an early age, and want to take the opportunity to show them a unique museum experience.
“One of our core values is that art is essential to life, and Glenstone will always be free of charge so that everyone has a chance to visit and to come back as often as they would like. We just ask visitors to schedule their visits in advance so we can provide a serene and contemplative environment.”
Concert Seats, Exotic Eats
In addition to museums, there are numerous musical venues in Montgomery County. The Strathmore has a 2,000-seat concert hall on a 16-acre site in North Bethesda, with multiple performances each year by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
New music can be enjoyed at the 2,000-seat Fillmore in the growing arts-and-entertainment district in downtown Silver Spring. The Bethesda Blues & Jazz Club offers music and dinner in a restored 1938 Art Deco movie theater. And the intimate 140-seat Black Box Theatre in Silver Spring is a community spot for open-mics, improv and dance concerts.
Other facilities in Montgomery County include the BlackRock Center for the Arts, the Imagination Stage children’s theater, the Olney Theatre Center (one of two state theaters of Maryland), and the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, dedicated to preserving and showcasing American and world cinema.
Attending all those shows can work up an appetite, but that’s no problem in Montgomery County. In fact, the hard part is deciding what kind of food to eat. Approximately one-third of the county’s residents were born outside the United States, a diversity that is reflected in the area’s restaurants, from traditional Italian and Asian cuisine to lesser-known Ethiopian and Salvadorian fare.
The city of Takoma Park is a haven for vegetarians and vegans, and is home to Republic restaurant, which was named by Eater magazine as one of the 38 Essential Restaurants in the Washington, D.C. region. The freshest of fresh foods can be found year-round at the Kensington Farmers Market. And for dinner (or drinks) with a view, it’s hard to beat the restaurants in the Clarksburg and Poolesville areas of northern Montgomery County, along with the Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard in Dickerson.