Walking through Silver Spring’s downtown feels like strolling in an open-air museum. A glistening steel sculpture of lotus leaves and petals by Honduran artist Wilfredo Valladares towers over one intersection, while farther down on the same block, a curved stainless steel sculpture by David Hess is suspended artfully on four poles. They’re just two of over 50 pieces of public art dispersed throughout this community—and a small sampling of the artistic attractions on hand in Montgomery County, Md., a vibrant multicultural region right outside the nation’s capital.
Located just a short Metro ride or drive from downtown Washington, the county offers a diverse array of attractions at a slightly more relaxed pace (and more affordable prices) than D.C. With large immigrant populations from Korea, China, El Salvador, Ethiopia, India and beyond, “each area of the county has pockets of its cultural diversity so their traditions come through in their festivals and celebrations,” said Kelly Groff, president and CEO of Visit Montgomery. Celebrations like October’s World of Montgomery Festival bring those communities together, while marquee cultural events like June’s AFI Docs Film Festival draw travelers from around the world. And the area’s urban attractions are accompanied by significant stretches of serene countryside, thanks to the county’s decision to preserve a third of its land as an agricultural reserve.
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