What’s up everybody? This year in 2023, North Bethesda, Maryland was ranked the number one best place to live in the entire state of Maryland by niche.com. Niche also ranked North Bethesda the number one best suburb of Washington DC and the number one best place in Montgomery County to live.
They also ranked North Bethesda number eight for the best suburb in the entire country. So I thought it was worth giving North Bethesda its own video to see why they’re ranking it number one. So today it’s gonna be all about North Bethesda. The good, the bad, and the ugly. And stay tuned until the end because I’m gonna tell you something that only people who have lived here for a while know and it’s kind of interesting and a little bit controversial. But for now let’s dive right in.
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Let’s get back to North Bethesda. North Bethesda is a great gateway if you’re thinking about moving out of the city, but you don’t wanna be too far. Now remember, Montgomery County, Maryland borders Washington, D.C. So my first pro about living in North Bethesda has to be the location, because North Bethesda is located between Bethesda and Rockville, and it’s only 11 miles north of D.C.
You’re also within 15 minutes of downtown Bethesda, 15 minutes to Potomac, another 20 or 25 minutes north to Gaithersburg, and like I said, you’re right next door to Rockville. So you have easy access to all these places which are right around you. And keep in mind, you’re only 15 miles from Reagan Airport in DC, 20 miles to Dulles Airport in Virginia, and 30 miles to BWI, the Baltimore Washington Airport. So you have easy access to all three airports, really, really convenient. Which leads me right into my next pro about living in North Bethesda, which has to do with the commute.
Remember, a lot of people move to this area for work, whether it’s in DC or Bethesda or Northern Virginia. So living in North Bethesda makes it super convenient to get anywhere because you actually have access to three different metro stops, unlike its neighbors of Potomac and Kensington.
In North Bethesda, you’ve got the North Bethesda Metro stop, which used to be called White Flints, and you also have Twinbrook Metro stop, as well as Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro stop. All three metro stops are on the Red Line, which is a direct line right into DC. And if you prefer to drive, well your commute into DC will be about 20 or 25 minutes, depending on the time of day and where you’re going in the city and probably about 25 to 30 minutes into northern Virginia once again depending on what time you leave.
But suffice it to say that if you are going to be commuting into the city living in North Bethesda is going to be much much easier than like I said its neighbors of Potomac or even parts of Rockville because it’s just a straight shot into the city.
Things to Do in North Bethesda
Moving on to things to do right here in North Bethesda. Like I said you are super close to Bethesda and Potomac but you don’t actually have to leave North Bethesda to find great restaurants and tons of things to do. If you’re into the arts you don’t have to go far. Strathmore Mansion and Arts Center presents more than two dozen exhibitions each year that feature local, national and international artists.
Strathmore Music Center has amazing concerts all year around including Live from the Lawn on Wednesdays. I’ll put a link so you can check out their schedule. And don’t forget about Pike and Rose, a newer shopping center that gives you a plethora of choices of entertainment. You have Pinstripes, which is a really fun bowling alley where you can also have some cocktails.
There’s Bark Social where you can bring your dog and have a pint of beer. As well as so many great restaurants, shops, and an eye-pick movie theater. Some of my favorite restaurants at Pike and Rose include Summer House, Julie, Botanero, and Molina. And as far as amenities, you’ve got several different grocery stores right here in North Bethesda to choose from, which include Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, Giant, and Balducci’s. And as far as parks, Cabin John Regional Park is only about 10 minutes away. And it’s a huge park that has tons of walking trails and biking trails, several different playgrounds, an ice skating rink, hockey, tennis, and it has a super cute train for the little ones. You also have several smaller local parks just nearby.
Job Opportunities in North Bethesda
Now I touched on this before, but another reason a lot of people migrate to North Bethesda is for the job opportunities. Besides DC and Northern Virginia, you have a lot of big companies right here in North Bethesda, like Lockheed Martin, Marriott Headquarters, and the NIH, the National Institute of Health.
So you really don’t have to go far. And those are just the big companies. Don’t forget about all those shops and restaurants and movie theaters at Pike and Rose. So there is just a lot of employment opportunities right here.
Schools in North Bethesda
Now let’s move on to schools, because that is another one of the main reasons a lot of my clients moved to Montgomery County, Maryland for our very highly rated public and private schools. And North Bethesda is no exception. Here in North Bethesda you have several choices of high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools which are all very highly rated. And I’m just going to name a few. You’ve got Walter Johnson High School which has an A-plus grade from Niche.com and was ranked 15th within all of Maryland by US News and World Report and 7th within Montgomery County. And North Bethesda Middle School is ranked number five in Montgomery County and number 12 in Maryland by US News and World Report.
You also have very highly rated private schools in North Bethesda including Georgetown Prep School for Boys and Holton-Arden School for Girls as well as Roche and Beau. And there are a few others. Obviously schools are very personal for each child so I’ll put a link below but check them out yourself but just know you’re going to have a lot of choices without having to travel very far.
Diversity in North Bethesda
So let’s talk about one more pro and then I’ll get into some of the cons and then like I said I got a little secret to tell you a little inside scoop on North Bethesda. The last thing I do want to mention has to do with diversity. Bestneighborhood.net gave North Bethesda a diversity score of 99 out of 100, which makes it much more diverse than most cities in the country.
I’ll put a link to the diversity map so you can check it out yourself.
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Cost of Living: Expensive Housing
Living in North Bethesda comes with its fair share of downsides. One of the most significant drawbacks is the high cost of living. While it’s relatively more affordable than its neighbor, Bethesda, North Bethesda is still quite expensive, particularly when it comes to housing. According to Bestplace.net, North Bethesda received an overall score of 139 compared to the national average of 100. In the realm of housing costs, the score skyrocketed to 203, indicating that housing expenses can be exorbitant in this area. As a result, securing a place to live in North Bethesda can significantly strain your finances.
Housing Diversity and Pricing
However, the housing market in North Bethesda does offer a diverse range of options, from condos and apartments to single-family homes. This sets it apart from certain other parts of Montgomery County, like the more suburban North Potomac. The housing prices vary accordingly, catering to different preferences and budgets. For instance, single-family homes come with a median or lower price point of around $850,000. On the higher end, larger homes can command prices as steep as $2.5 million. So, while housing diversity is a plus, the entry point for homeownership or renting in North Bethesda remains notably high.
Traffic and Parking Woes
Traffic congestion is another notable downside of living in North Bethesda. The area’s proximity to Washington, D.C., and its popularity exacerbate traffic issues, making commuting a frustrating experience. Parking also poses challenges, with limited available spaces in the midst of a densely populated region. Navigating the traffic and finding suitable parking spots can consume a significant amount of time and patience.
Weather Extremes: Unpleasant Summers
The weather in North Bethesda also has its negatives, particularly in the summertime. Summers here can be exceedingly hot, humid, and uncomfortable. The high temperatures and humidity levels, accompanied by a prevalence of bugs, create an unpleasant environment. This sweltering weather can persist for about six to eight weeks, making the summer season less than desirable. However, the rest of the year offers more agreeable conditions, with delightful falls, pleasant springs featuring cherry blossoms and blooming azaleas, and generally mild winters.
Allergies and Positive Aspects
In the spring, though, the area experiences pollen allergies that can be bothersome for those prone to allergies. Despite these downsides, North Bethesda offers numerous positive aspects. It’s ranked highly by Niche.com, earning the top spot as the best place to live in Maryland. The urban vibe it provides distinguishes it from other more suburban parts of Montgomery County. Moreover, its proximity to the city makes it an attractive location for those transitioning from urban living.
Historical Evolution and Identity
Interestingly, North Bethesda’s history adds a unique perspective. Prior to 1980, North Bethesda was part of Rockville. Over time, it gained its identity, driven by developers, builders, and residents who sought to align themselves with the upscale reputation of Bethesda. This shift in perception was so significant that North Bethesda is now recognized as a census-designated area. The story of North Bethesda’s rebranding highlights the power of perception and nomenclature in shaping an area’s character.
Other Cities in Disguise
North Bethesda isn’t the only area with a name that might raise eyebrows. North Potomac is actually Gaithersburg in disguise. However, revealing this truth to North Potomac’s residents might not be well-received, as the connection to Gaithersburg is met with resistance.
In conclusion, while North Bethesda offers numerous benefits, including housing diversity and urban vibes, it’s important to be aware of its drawbacks, such as high living costs, traffic congestion, and uncomfortable summers. The area’s history and unique identity formation also provide intriguing insights into the dynamics of place naming and perception.