11 Things to Do in Bethesda, MD

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Finding things to do in Bethesda, MD, is simple because there are so many options. Bethesda is a thriving community with a bustling arts and entertainment district, a number of favorite restaurants, and plenty of nightlife and shopping opportunities. In 2018, Money magazine put it on the list of best places to live in the United States, which came as absolutely no surprise to the people who call it home.

Just northwest of Washington, D.C., within 45 minutes of Baltimore and just over two hours from Philadelphia, Bethesda, Maryland gives you easy access to the entire region while providing all the comforts and conveniences you need close to home.

A Brief History of Bethesda

In the earliest days, Bethesda was a “wide spot in the road,” and the earliest European settlers in the area were tobacco farmers. This fledgling city — though you couldn’t call it that at the time — was along the route farmers and traders took with their produce, tobacco, and more. A tavern was finally built there in the middle of the 18th century.

When the Maryland legislature decided to repair the road in the early 1800s, houses and businesses slowly started to emerge in the area. It wasn’t until 1891 with the arrival of the trolley — and the enterprising people who wanted to create a place where the Washington elite could escape for a long weekend — that the area really started to come alive. It experienced its ups and downs over the years, but it was on its way to becoming the bustling suburb we know today.

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11 Things to Do in Bethesda, MD

There is no shortage of attractions in Bethesda, and residents and travelers alike can find plenty of fun things to do every day of the year. Whether you enjoy art and history, outdoor recreation, fine dining, or family-friendly events, you’ll find it in Bethesda. 

Here are a few of our favorites:

1. The Strathmore

The Strathmore is a world-class performing arts center offering accessible, affordable arts programming. With classes, visual arts, and musical partnerships with esteemed artists and organizations like the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and The National Philharmonic, this place has something special to offer art lovers of all types.

2. Bethesda Row

Along Bethesda Ave just off Wisconsin Ave, Bethesda Row is your one-stop shop for dining, spas, shopping, and more. Treat yourself at the Apple Store and Pampillonia Jewelry, have lunch at Bibibop Asian Grill or Matchbox Pizza Bistro, and see a movie or get your nails done. This is a wonderful place to enjoy an afternoon with friends and family. Downtown Bethesda offers more than 700 retailers, which is more than enough to keep you busy for days!

3. Taste of Bethesda

This annual event, typically held in October, brings together the best of the area’s food and music for an event that both kids and adults enjoy. While adults check out the entertainment stages and extensive menu offerings, the kids can enjoy face painting, arts and crafts, and more.

4. Cabin John Regional Park

Cabin John Regional Park is a popular outdoor recreation area in Montgomery County. With tennis courts, an indoor ice rink, picnic areas, campgrounds, playgrounds, hiking and biking trails, and more, this is a great place to take the kids for an outdoor adventure, or to take some quiet time to yourself — and it’s only about 15 minutes from downtown Bethesda.

Farmers market tomatoes

5. Central Farm Market

The Bethesda Central Farm Market was the first of what became four related farmers markets in Maryland and Virginia. Located in downtown Bethesda and open on Sundays year-round, it’s a place to buy great food, crafts, and locally grown produce while enjoying music, wine tasting, chef demos, activities for kids, and much more.

6. Waverly Street Gallery

The Waverly Street Gallery is one of the oldest such galleries in the Washington, D.C. area. It’s a true center for contemporary fine artists, and you’ll enjoy a variety of works including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photography, jewelry, and more. The Gallery also keeps an active calendar of events, special exhibits, and artist demonstrations.

7. Golf

There are numerous golf courses in Bethesda, whether you’d like to get competitive with your golf buddies or simply practice your swing. Falls Road, Sligo Creek, Kenwood Golf and Country Club, Burning Tree Club, and the University of Maryland Golf Course are just a few of dozens of options within a short drive of downtown Bethesda.

8. Glen Echo Park

This is one of the Maryland attractions that offers a bit of everything. At Glen Echo, you’ll find classes, concerts and shows, art galleries, and other events. Kids will enjoy the nearby Glen Echo Park Aquarium. In that space between Clara Barton Parkway and Macarthur Boulevard, you’ll also find the Clara Barton National Historic Site, The Journey Space Healing Arts Center, Adventure Theater, The Puppet Co., cafes and restaurants, a pottery store, and the Dentzel Carousel.

9. Stratton Local Park

Another one of the Montgomery County parks, Stratton Local offers recreational options for everyone. Enjoy picnic shelters and a playground as well as basketball and tennis courts and softball and soccer fields.

10. Bethesda Blues & Jazz Supper Club

The Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club pairs a delicious food and wine menu with world-class musical performances in an historic theatre and concert hall. It’s a popular choice for an evening out on the town.

11. Washington, DC

It’s not a Bethesda attraction, per se, but it is one of the primary destinations that is easily accessible from Maryland. The United States capital and its many attractions —  including the National Mall and countless historic sites — are only about 25 minutes from Bethesda, MD. That makes it a great day trip for residents and visitors alike. The trip is also an easy commute, which is why many people who work in Washington like to live in Bethesda.

Experience Bethesda, MD for Yourself

Bethesda offers modern conveniences and entertainment with proximity to the region’s most important cities while being surrounded by the natural beauty that gives you the opportunity to get outdoors. It’s a great place to visit, and maybe one of the best places to call home.

Contact Nomadic Real Estate today to speak with an expert about any questions you might have about living near the nation’s capital or buying / renting a property,  or for advice about the best activities, sights, hotels, and more in Bethesda, Maryland.

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Enhanced Reporting

Your portal includes a selection of extremely useful reports. Reports are available in the “Reports” section, and are distinct from the financial statements. Unlike financial statements which are static records, Reports are dynamic real-time records that will update with current data every time you view them. 

Scroll down to learn more about Reports:

Navigate to the "Reports" module in your portal:

Owner Portal Reports
  • Keep in mind, these reports are dynamic records. They will refresh to display current information every time you view them. 

Enhanced Rent Roll Report:

Enhanced Rent Roll Report
  • The Enhanced Rent Roll Report will show the rent amount, last payment date, move-in date, lease expiration date, and security deposit amount for each of your tenants. 
  • It will also show a portfolio summary with occupancy percentage, vacancy loss, and more!

Unit Comparison Report:

Unit Comparison Report
  • If you own multiple units (or buildings) with Nomadic, you’ll get access to the Unit Comparison Report. 
  • This report enables you to quickly compare financial performance between your units at a glance without toggling between individual reports. 

Income Statement Month-Over-Month:

Income Statement by Month Report
  • The Income Statement Detail – Monthly Report serves as a month-over-month record of portfolio performance. You’ll see itemized income and expense categories and can track monthly. This report will update with fresh data every time you view it. 

Financial Statements

Financial statements will be published to your portal on a monthly basis. The statements are found in your Documents library, and provide a historical record of all financial performance. The statements serve as a snapshot of financial performance over a given period, and are static documents (unlike Reports, the statements do not update/change in real-time). 

Scroll down for more info about the Financial Statements in your Documents library:

The Documents area contains monthly financial statements:

Owner Portal Documents
  • The statements in the Documents are are static documents. They are posted to the portal once a month to serve as a historical record of financial performance. 

Download a statement to see month and YTD financials:

Owner Portal Property Statement

You'll also find a month-over-month operating statement:

Month over Month Statement

Portal Communication Tool

You can use your owner portal to communicate with our team. Any messages you send through the portal will go straight to your Account Manager. When we reply, you’ll get an email notification and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

Here’s an overview of using the communication platform:

Click "Communications" and navigate to "Conversations":

Commincation Dashboard Screenshot
  • The communications module will contain a record of all messages that you create through the portal. 

Click the "New Message" button and send your message:

Owner Portal New Message Screenshot

Responses will show up in the conversation ticket:

Portal Conversation Response Screenshot
  • You’ll get an email notification whenever you get a response, and you’ll also see the message in your portal next time you log in. 

You can reply in-line using the comment box:

Owner Portal Comment

Each conversation will be logged in its entirety:

Portal Conversation Snapshot

Understanding the Ledger

Your portal includes a ledger with all transactions. The ledger is populated with data in real-time as transactions flow through our accounting software. Much of this information is also available in the Reports area, as well as the Statements in your Documents library, but the ledger is the most comprehensive resource for diving into the details. 

Please scroll through the sections below to get a better understanding of how to interpret the ledger. 

By default, transactions are sorted chronologically:

Owner Ledger Dates
  • The date reflected in the lefthand column is the actual transaction date, not the “bill date”. This is the date the transaction was actually processed. 

If you have multiple properties with Nomadic, you'll see the address for each transaction in the "Location" column:

Ledger Property Column
  • You can filter the ledger to look at just one property, all properties, or specific sets of properties. 
  • If you only have one property with us, you’ll just see the ledger for that property. 

The Description column displays the transaction type:

Owner Ledger Description Column
  • BILL: this is an expense transaction, such as for repair costs or management fees.
  • CHARGE: this is a transaction  billed to the tenant, most typically a rent payment. 
  • NACHA EXPORT: this is a credit we processed to your distribution account. This type of transaction is how you get paid! 

The Amount column shows the dollar value of each transaction:

Owner Ledger Amount Column
  • Positive Amounts: if an amount is positive, it reflects a transaction that is payable to you. Typically, this will be a rent payment that we collected from your tenants. On occasion, a positive number could also signify a journal entry or credit adjustment. 
  • Negative Amounts:  if an amount is negative, this is a transaction that is either payable to Nomadic or is an amount that has already been paid to you. Typically this will be for repair costs or management/leasing fees. Owner draws (net distributions into your checking/savings account) also reflect as negative amounts, since they have already been paid to you. 

The Account Balance column shows a sum of positive/negative transactions at a given point in time:

Owner Ledger Account Balance Column
  • Account Balance should always equal zero after a net distribution has been processed. When the balance is zero, this means that all expenses have been paid and you’ve received the remainder as net operating income, leaving a balance of zero (meaning: no one is due any money, as all funds have been distributed appropriately). 

Navigating the Propertyware Owner Portal

Your portal includes some extremely useful features that help you understand your property’s financial performance at a new level, with real-time transparency into every transaction.

Scroll through the snapshots below for an overview of portal navigation! If you need more help or have specific questions about using the portal, you can reach out to your Account Manager any time for a screen share. 

You can filter all info by date range or property:

PW Portal Filters

View a snapshot of income and expenses on your dashboard:

PW Owner Dashboard View

See every transaction in real-time on your ledger:

Owner Portal Ledger View

Statements and forms will be posted to your documents library:

Owner Portal Document Library

View a suite of real-time financial reports:

Portal Reports View

See a running list of all bills, and drill down for more detail:

Owner Portal Bills View

Under Bill Details, you'll find dates/descriptions/amounts and more:

Portal Bill Details

You can also communicate with your Account Manager through the portal:

Owner Portal Communication Tools

How do net distributions work?

Net distributions keep your accounting clean and simple. Each month we’ll collect rent from the tenants, deduct any repair expenses for the previous month and any management/leasing fees for the current month, and credit the remaining net operating income to your account. 

Net Distribution

You’ll receive a statement via email each time a net distribution is processed, and can view all transaction details in your Propertyware owner portal.