Rock Creek Park passes along the west side of Silver Spring, and offers hiking trails, picnic grounds, and bicycling on weekends, when its main road, Beach Drive, is mostly closed to motor vehicles.
Sligo Creek Park follows Sligo Creek through Silver Spring; it offers hiking trails, tennis courts, playgrounds and bicycling. The latter is facilitated on weekends, when parts of Sligo Creek Parkway are closed to automobiles. The bike trails are winding and slower than most in the region. Recently, rocks have been spread along either side of the road, providing a hazardous bike ride, or skating leisure.
Acorn Park in the downtown area of Silver Spring is believed to be the site of the eponymous "silver spring".
The 14.5-acre (59,000 m2) Jesup Blair Park was recently renovated and features a soccer field, tennis courts, basketball courts, and picnic area.
Brookside Gardens is a 50-acre (20 ha) park within Wheaton Regional Park, in "greater" Silver Spring. It is located on the original site of Stadler Nursery (now in Laytonsville, Maryland).
Northwest Branch Park is a 700-acre (280 ha) park surrounding the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River. The park includes hiking, equestrian, and cycling trails on the Northwest Branch and Rachel Carson Greenway Trails. This park is part of Silver Spring and extends farther within Montgomery County. Note that the Rachel Carson Greenway Trail is named after Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring and former resident of Silver Spring.
Downtown Silver Spring hosts several entertainment, musical, and ethnic festivals, the most notable of which are the Silverdocs documentary film festival held each June and hosted by Discovery Communications and the American Film Institute, as well as the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade (Saturday before Thanksgiving) for Montgomery County. The Silver Spring Jazz Festival has become the biggest event of the year drawing 20,000 people to the free festival held on the second Saturday in September. Featuring local jazz artists and a battle of high school bands, the Silver Spring Jazz Festival has featured such jazz greats as Wynton Marsalis, Arturo Sandoval, Srgio Mendes, Aaron Neville and such bands as the Mingus Big Band and the Fred Wesley Group.
The Fillmore is a live entertainment and music venue with a capacity of 2,000 people. It opened in 2011 in the former JC Penney building on Colesville Road. The venue joins the American Film Institute and Discovery Communications as cornerstones of the downtown Silver Spring's arts and entertainment district. It has featured performances by artists Prince Royce, Minus the Bear, Tyga and many other hip hop acts. In August 2012 R&B singer Reesa Renee launched her album Reelease at the Fillmore.
Downtown Silver Spring is also home to the Cultural Arts Center, Montgomery College. The Cultural Arts Center offers a varied set of cultural performances, lectures, films, and conferences. It is a resource for improving cultural literacy, encouraging cross-cultural understanding, and to build bridges between the arts, cultural studies, and all disciplines concerned with the expression of culture.
Dining in Silver Spring is also extremely varied, including American, African, Burmese, Ethiopian, Moroccan, Italian, Mexican, Salvadoran, Jamaican, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Thai, Chinese, Indian, Greek, and fusion restaurants, as well as many national and regional chains.
Silver Spring has many churches, synagogues, temples, and other religious institutions, including the World Headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Silver Spring serves as the primary urban area in Montgomery County and its revitalization has ushered in an eclectic mix of people and ideas, evident in the fact that the flagship high school (Montgomery Blair High School) has no majority group with each major racial and ethnic group claiming a significant percentage.
Silver Spring hosts the American Film Institute Silver Theatre and Culture Center, on Colesville Road. The theatre showcases American and foreign films. Discovery Communications, a cable TV and satellite programming company, has its headquarters in downtown, as well. Gandhi Brigade, a youth development media project, began in Silver Spring out of the Long Branch neighborhood. Docs in Progress, a non-profit media arts center devoted to the promotion of documentary filmmaking is located at the "Documentary House" in downtown Silver Spring. Silver Spring Stage, an all-volunteer community theater, performs in Woodmoor, approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) north up Colesville Road from the downtown area. Downtown Silver Spring is also home to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an agency of the United States Department of Commerce that includes the National Weather Service; the American Nurses Association; and numerous real estate development, biotechnology, and media and communications companies.