Silver Spring is a census-designated place in southeastern Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, near Washington, D.C. Although officially unincorporated, in practice it is an edge city which had a population of 81,816 residents as of 2018. This makes it the fourth most populous place in Maryland, after Baltimore, Columbia, and Germantown, and the second most populous in Montgomery County after Germantown.
The downtown, located next to the northern tip of Washington, D.C., is the oldest and most urbanized part of the community. Since beginning a significant renaissance in 2004, many new mixed-use developments combining retail, residential, and office space have been built. Downtown is in turn surrounded by several inner suburban residential neighborhoods located inside the Capital Beltway.
Silver Spring takes its name from a mica-flecked spring discovered there in 1840 by Francis Preston Blair, who subsequently bought much of the surrounding land. Acorn Park, south of downtown, is believed to be the site of the original spring.