We are glad to welcome you to the vibrant and growing neighborhood of South Silver Spring.
About the South Silver Spring Neighborhood Association
The SSSNA is involved with many initiatives in South Silver Spring to create a sense of community and to unite residents toward common goals. Our most notable event is our annual South Silver Spring Street Fest, which attracts vendors and thousands of people from across the region. We also have tackled issues in the past that affect us such as parking, development and crime.
Shopping in Silver Spring
With many great retailers in downtown Silver Spring, you’ll find your trips to the big boxes far and few between. Just remember to bring your reusable bag since Montgomery County collects a 5¢ bag tax. In addition to these markets in downtown Silver Spring you can visit the Silver Spring farmers market year-round, Snider’s a short distance up Georgia Ave and Trader Joe’s up 29/Colesville Rd just outside the beltway. And for random household items you should also check out Strosniders True Value hardware store, which might be more general store than hardware store.
Dining and entertainment in Silver Spring
Where to begin? Silver Spring is full of fantastic restaurants, the vast majority being local or regional. Some local favorites include Quarry House Tavern for beer and burgers (it’s hard to find – ask a local if you need help), Sidebar for handcrafted cocktails, and 8407 Kitchen Bar for some American fine dining.
For arts and entertainment, see some live shows at the Fillmore or at the Montgomery College Performing Arts Center. Theaters include the American Film Institute for limited-release or classic films, or the Regal Majestic for mainstream films.
Transit in Silver Spring
With an abundance of public transit options, many families in South Silver Spring are single or no-car homes. The Silver Spring Metro station is a short walk away, and many Metro and Ride-On (Montgomery County) bus lines run through the area. And the free VanGo circulates through Downtown Silver Spring every 10 minutes or so on weekdays. To get to downtown DC you can take Metrorail, but Metrobus has two express busses that run on weekdays during rush hour: the S9 on 16th St and Eastern Ave, and the 79 on Georgia Ave and East-West Hwy.
SmartTrip. Many transit systems in the DC/Baltimore area accept Metro SmarTrip, including Montgomery County’s Ride-On busses. You can buy a SmarTrip card in some stations and at many local stores including CVS and Giant. SmarTrip is interchangeable with Maryland’s CharmCard, so you can even use your card in Baltimore.
Transit smartphone apps. To get around and discover new transit routes, you can use Google Maps on your smartphone and just ask for transit directions. You’ll get the best route using a combination of local bus and rail systems. You can also find many apps that will tell you estimated arrival times for busses and trains, basing their calculations off of live GPS data.
Car sharing. For the times that you need an occasional vehicle you might want to use Zipcar, an international car sharing company with many vehicles scattered across Silver Spring. Use of the service requires membership which costs $60 per year per driver and can take a few days to process. From your computer or smartphone you will then be able to reserve one of the many cars, vans or pickup trucks at various hourly rates in most medium to large cities in the US and even some cities in Canada and the UK. Once you make your reservation you can use the provided membership card to unlock the car door. All of Zipcar’s rental prices include gas and insurance.
Bike sharing. The bicycle sharing program Capital Bikeshare has been growing with amazing speed. While we don’t have any bike stations in Silver Spring yet, there is talk that it might be arriving soon. Those of you who spend a lot of time in DC might find it a worthwhile investment though. For prices ranging from $7 per day to $75 per year you can take a bike from any of the 140+ stations for up to half an hour and then re-park it at any other station. If you go over the half-hour limit you’ll be charged a small fee, which increases at every hour. Because of this increase CaBi, as it’s sometimes known, is best for taking trips from point A to point B, not for recreational riding.
Parking in Silver Spring
Montgomery county uses a myriad of parking systems. Rates, hours, payment options and permits vary depending on the street, lot or garage. If your building does not have dedicated resident parking, the following information might be particularly useful.
PCS Permit. The Parking Convenience Sticker is available for a flat monthly fee, allowing you to park without paying an additional fee at many meters and garages. You don’t really get a discount for purchasing this permit. The purpose is just for the convenience of not having to use change at the meter for cars that are left parked for most of the day. For full details and pricing see the MCDOT website.
AM/PM Permit. This permit exempts you from having to pay at some meters and garages before 9am and after 6pm. The fee is comparable with paying the meters during those times, so it’s really only useful as a convenience so you don’t have to wake up early in the morning and go to your car before you get ready to leave for work. For full details and pricing see the MCDOT website.
Pay-By-Cell. Montgomery County contracts with a Pay-By-Cell service called ParkNOW! For a small service fee you can pay by calling, by text, or with an iPhone or Android app. ParkNOW! keeps a small balance and automatically charges your credit card as needed. Although there is a service fee, there are some conveniences such as being able to pay the meter in the morning without going to your car (just note the meter number the night before), and being able to cancel your payment if you leave early so that you only have to pay for the time that you actually use. It is currently only available in metered spaces, so you won’t be able to use the service in Pay-By-Space garages such as the Galaxy Garage 16. For more information see ParkNOW!’s website.
Alcohol in Silver Spring
Montgomery County and Maryland have some alcohol laws that baffle outsiders. Montgomery County itself is the only distributor of alcohol in the county, which can sometimes limit availability of specialty beers and wines at stores and restaurants. However, the folks at Quarry House Tavern and at Fenwick Beer & Wine seem to be able to get their hands on some unique beers. Montgomery County is also the only liquor retailer in the county. While beer and wine might be available at independent retail shops, only Montgomery County stores carry liquor. Beer and wine licenses are also distributed quite conservatively, meaning you won’t find any supermarkets or chains such as 7-11 or Safeway in downtown Silver Spring (or much of Maryland at all) that carry beer and wine.
Secret tip: Veridian Market is open every day of the week, is often open very late, and has a great selection of beer and wine.