Home Cities America’s #1 Place to Start a Business: Bethesda

America’s #1 Place to Start a Business: Bethesda

America’s #1 Place to Start a Business: Bethesda

Bethesda, Maryland is a hotbed of new industry. Or perhaps you prefer the analogy of a petri dish of enterprise. Any which way you like to see it worded, there is something in the water of this mid-size city that makes it a community that nurtures commerce and isn’t afraid to finance business ventures of all kinds. If you’re looking to move to a place where innovation, entrepreneurship, and enterprise are favored, Bethesda is number one with an exclamation point!.

A Little History

bethesda photo
Photo by lorax4096

Bethesda was first settled in 1694, thanks in large part to the fact that tobacco leaches nutrients from the soil and settlers had to push on to the area leaving the leached earth of their previous farms behind in other parts of Maryland.

Bethesda initially went by the name Darby’s Store but that all changed in 1871 when the name Bethesda was taken from a local church, the Bethesda Meeting House (as in Jerusalem’s Pool of Bethesda), which was originally built in 1820.

The erection of a “downtown”—at that time consisting of a post office, blacksmith shop, church, school, and some houses and stores established Bethesda as a crossroads town during the 19th Century.

Only after WWII did Bethesda grow into what it is now. Bethesda is one of the most affluent communities in the United States with homes going for around $850,000, and the median household brings in about $141,817 each year. Bethesda thrives, in part, actually because of the education level of its inhabitants who welcome new business and makes it easy for established businesses to linger around longer.

Greater Bethesda

Chevy Chase Maryland photo
Photo by skyfaller

Bethesda is most closely associated with Washington, DC and its “bedroom towns” because they are connected by the DC Metro Red Line, which allows Bethesda residents to work in the national capital, or at least make some connections there.

Also on the Red Line is Friendship Heights, Maryland, which probably sounds more residential than it is. This neighborhood is actually a shopping hub and a home of GEICO and the Ritz-Carlton corporate headquarters, as well as several broadcast media outlets, including Fox 5, WMAL and WMAL-FM.

Chevy Chase, Maryland is a nearby residential suburb of D.C. divided into smaller villages.

Rockville, Maryland, part of the Interstate 270 Technology Corridor, is home to several software and biotechnology companies as well as some federal government institutions.

A Few of the Locals

Some rights reserved by National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Since we’re exploring America’s Business Incubator, we should mention some of the industries that have thrived for years there. Bethesda is home to the National Institutes of Health and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, as well as the following corporate headquarters:

The Discovery Channel (reaching 83% of American households with TVs), converts big viewership numbers each year when they air their beloved Shark Week summer schedule.

From little Bethesda, Marriott International and Host Marriott Corporation operates their 4,087 properties in over 80 countries and territories worldwide.

Lockheed Martin is one of the largest makers and innovators of aerospace, defense, security, and technologies industry. Lockheed is among the long list of quintessential American industries.


Alana Armstrong Travel expert, writer for America Unraveled.


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