Brightwood is super close to Silver Spring, Petworth, Fort Totten, Adams Morgan/Columbia Heights and a quick drive or bus ride to Chevy Chase. What I like about it too is that it is so close to fabulous Rock Creek Park, so you are close to everything AND you have plenty of green space. Carter Barron has many free concerts in the summer, and there is the tennis tournament right there each year, plus tennis courts and an exercise course, too.
Regardless of what you call it, the area has a ton to offer. If you want to be near the urban scene but like greenery and a neighborhood feel, this is a great place to make your home. Lots of houses in a variety of styles, easy proximity to grocery stores, parks and recreation (including tennis and swimming), public transportation including the Takoma Park metro, and of course the Sunday Farmer's Market in downtown Takoma Park, MD. Also quick access to the shops and nightlife of Silver Spring, MD as well as Columbia Heights, U St., etc. in DC. Lastly, if you want to be able to get into or out of the city easily, you've got major transportation corridors offered by nearby Georgia Ave., 16th St., New Hampshire Ave., Military Road, East-West Highway, etc. Definitely check it out!