Very few visitors know of Wheaton, much less make it out to this Maryland suburb of D.C. in Montgomery County. It has D.C.'s best ethnic dining scene period amidst what is probably the most diverse neighborhood for 100 miles in any direction. The Washington City Paper's 2009 critics' choice for best Thai in the whole metro area went to both Nava and Ruan. And it has the legendary Peruvian pollo a la brasa joint: El Pollo Rico.


Wheaton finds its origins during the 1700s. It was named after Union General Frank Wheaton, who defended nearby Fort Stevens and D.C. in the Civil War in July 1964. The land was originally owned by the Carroll family and named after Balamona after the Carroll holding in Ireland.

Nicky's Diner

At the cross section there were three roads that cut through the farmland, where a small business section was created. The north/south being Brookeville Pike, now Rt. 97 Georgia Ave, ran from Washington D.C. to Baltimore. Veirs Mill Rd. was used a coach road with sections of plank road, which ran from Wheaton to Rockville. Lastly, the third road was Old Bladensburg Rd., now University Blvd, that connected Bethesda, Chevy Chase, and Bladensburg.

Before 1947 only 29,000 people were living in Wheaton on farms and large estates, however in 1950 and 1960 the number of residents increased tremendously, which led to the widening of Georgia Ave, also known as the “Avenue of Progess”. Since then there has been a tremendous amount of businesses that have blossomed such as the Wheaton Plaza Shopping Center in 1959, and Wheaton Regional Park in 1958.

However because Wheaton is so close to the large Silver Spring area many residents were unhappy because of their loss of identity, therefore in 1965 the community residents of Wheaton and Kensington gained permission to use Wheaton, MD for specific zip codes such as 20902 and many others. The area has developed extremely since its humble beginnings and is now known as a central business area with a diverse community surrounded by major roads and transit systems.

Get in

Coming out of the Wheaton Metro station on the Red Line, admire that escalator—it's the longest in the Western Hemisphere, taking over four minutes to ascend!

The main streets running through the downtown are Georgia Ave, Veirs Mill Rd, and University Blvd—the area where they converge (and the disorganized strip malls just east before the Metro stop) is the center of commercial activity, and is cram packed with great cheap restaurants.

Get around

Downtown Wheaton

Downtown Wheaton, as shown in the map to the right, is very compact and dense with shops and restaurants, and is easily walkable from the Metro. Bus service is extensive throughout the area. To get to Brookside Gardens by public transport, get off the Metro at the Glenmont stop, then take Metrobus #C8 towards College Park. Get off at Glenallan Ave and walk 3/8ths mile south to the Visitor Center. You could also just walk the whole way (south on Georgia Ave, left on Randolph, right on Glenallan), which is about a mile. (From Wheaton Metro you could take Metrobus Y5, Y7, Y8, or Y9 up Georgia Ave, and then transfer to #C8 at Randolph Rd or just walk the rest of the way, east on Randolph, then right on Glenallan.)



The Wheaton Metro stop's vertigo-inducing escalator—the longest in the Western Hemisphere!


There are plenty of shopping centers that are in the Wheaton area. Wheaton is filled with stores of all different kinds for all specialities such as, retail clothing, shoes, etc, drug stores, entertainment, electronics, etc.


Brookside Gardens

Kosher dining


Rare is the restaurant in Wheaton that doesn't have a full bar, and even the shopfront dives tend to at least serve bottled beer.

While you're here, why not try out the various exotic drinks around the various international restaurants and markets. The Asian markets usually carry great looseleaf teas at bargain prices; Thai restaurants serve Thai iced coffee and tea; the Latino places have tasty tamarindo juice, horchata, and even delicious atoles, the fabled warm, thick corn drink of the Mayas; the Ethiopian restaurant has honey wine and great coffee; Middle Eastern markets have great Turkish and Iraqi pomegranate juice; etc. You'll find new things as soon as you begin poking your nose around downtown Wheaton.


Wheaton does not have any nice hotels to stay in. If you are looking for a place nearby for your visit, Silver Spring is just south on Georgia Ave and the Metro Red Line, and has plenty of nice hotels.

Go next

Routes through Wheaton

East End Silver Spring  S  N  END

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