Washingtonian Waterfront

Near I-270 and I-370
Gaithersburg, MD

Submitted by: Dan Malouff

The waterfront is one of the most enjoyable places in the DC region, outside of the Beltway.

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Why It Works

Though often cited as an early example of a lifestyle center, the Washingtonian district is actually a lot more. Itís been slowly developing over the course of about 30 years and as a result contains a far superior mix of uses and architecture than one would find in a true lifestyle center. The most interesting and engaging part of the area is the immediate lakefront, which at some times resembles Baltimoreís Inner Harbor and at others San Antonioís Riverwalk. Itís one of the most enjoyable and vital places in the Washington, DC region outside the Beltway.

What Makes Washingtonian Waterfront a Great Place?

If the planned Gaithersburg light rail line ever gets built it will serve the area with a stop a few blocks from the lakefront. In the mean time the Shady Grove Metro station is a fairly quick bus or cab ride away and while thereís a lot of parking, itís all structured and every garage has retail on the ground floor.

The waterfront is kept pretty clean most of the time. Goose droppings can be a problem in the linear park that occupies the northeast bank.

There are a relatively large number of restaurants and bars, good shopping, engaging green spaces and a fine movie theater. In the summer small concerts are frequent in the evening.

The waterfront itself is very active and though there are a few dead spaces, theyíre quickly being redeveloped. With the exception of a couple good radial streets, however, quality urbanity peters out pretty quickly once youíre more than a block off the waterfront.

For both families and singles, Washingtonian has become the prime hangout spot in upper Montgomery County. There are a number of apartments nearby (unfortunately none right on the waterfront), but the majority of users are from the surrounding sprawl. Suburbanites flock to Washingtonian in droves because unlike their subdivisions, Washingtonian has a sense of place.

Related Links:

  • Beyond DC - Gaithersburg, MD: New urbanism's guinea pig

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