The holiday season is the perfect time to gift outside the box and give family, friends, and that special someone an experience to remember in Montgomery County, Maryland. We’ve gathered a few of our favorite gift experiences from some of Montgomery County’s best getaway attractions, classes, museums, performance venues, and entertainment spots. Take the quality time you spend with the most important people in your life to the next level in Montgomery County.
Nearly all the gift experiences listed in this post offer a gift card, giving your recipient the flexibility to explore when they are ready.
For the Weekend Explorer
Yurts at Little Bennett Campground: Step up your camping game and spend the night in a yurt at Little Bennett Campground, part of Montgomery Parks, in Clarksburg. Each yurt can sleep six, with a double bed futon and two full-size bunk beds (bring your own linens), and comes equipped with an outdoor grill and a picnic table. There’s a bathhouse with showers and restrooms, plus community water spigots, nearby.
Lockhouses Along the C&O Canal: The Canal Quarters Lockhouse program, managed by the C&O Canal Trust, provides guests the opportunity to live like a lockkeeper for a night… or three! Each of the seven historic lockhouses—five in Montgomery County—are restored and furnished to reflect the time in which they were built. A great virtual “stocking stuffer” is the C&O Canal app, which is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Cherry Hill Park Camping Cabins: Camp with all the comforts of home at Cherry Hill Park. Experience camping with a modern spin that’s fun for the whole family in a premium log cabin next door to Montgomery County. Each cabin includes a full bathroom with a shower, a kitchen equipped with full-sized appliances, central heating, and free wifi! Be sure to ask about their pet-friendly cabins if you are traveling with a furry friend.
For The Outdoor Adventurer
Adventure Park at Sandy Spring: Take flight with the ultimate ziplining, climbing, and axe throwing experience at the Adventure Park at Sandy Spring. Tackle 14 trails of varying difficulty that create over 200 unique challenges in their Aerial Forest, and take a swing at Adventure Axes, the DC area’s premier outdoor axe throwing venue with a variety of targets and games to choose. This is great for families and friends of all ages who are looking for a day of bonding and team building.
Calleva in Poolesville: With its unique brand of outdoor adventures, Calleva’s experiences include summer camp, wilderness educational experiences, environmental education, and small-scale sustainable farming. If you’re looking to explore the Potomac River, consider gifting a whitewater kayaking and river tour.
Topgolf in Germantown: Topgolf has made socializing a sport through a blend of technology and entertainment—and that’s just the game! If you journey through the venue on any given day, you’ll find a place buzzing with energy. Every Topgolf features dozens of climate-controlled hitting bays for year-round comfort, with HDTVs in every bay and throughout the sports bar and restaurant.
For the Creative
VisArts in Rockville: Spark some creativity in your special someone by treating them to a class at VisArts. Choose from a wide variety of intimate classes, such as ceramics, drawing, jewelry making, painting, and more, or book an adult or children’s art party for a special occasion. During their award-winning School’s Out Winter Craft Days Camp, children ages 6-12 can also enjoy making friends, drinking hot cocoa, ice skating in Rockville Town Square, and learning new skills while creating winter-themed art projects.
KID Museum: Located in Bethesda, KID Museum is the nation’s largest educational makerspace for kids focused on creativity and innovation. Explore their digital media lab, creative coding station, electronic music-making, 3D printers, and studios that integrate electronics, textiles, and circuits. Featured workshops, facilitated by resident artists, scientists, and inventors, vary weekly and include activities like robotics, soldering, and toy making. Consider gifting an annual family membership.
Glass Blowing Classes: There are two places in Montgomery County that offer glass blowing. Art of Fire in Gaithersburg features a selection of interactive glass blowing experiences, including making your own bowl, vase, or ornament. Glen Echo Glassworks, located in the historic Glen Echo Park, offers introductory glass blowing classes and individual lessons.
For the Performance Lover
Music Center at Strathmore: See a live performance by major international artists of folk, rock, blues, pop, R&B, jazz, world music, show tunes, dance, and classical music at Strathmore. Shows in the 2022-3 season include performances by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Theatre of Ukraine, Young Artists of America, Simon & Garfunkel and Beatles cover bands, and more.
Round House Theatre: One of the leading professional theatres in the area and newly renovated, Round House Theatre is home to exceptional new plays and musicals performed by artists from all around the country. Their goal is to enrich the community through bold, outstanding theatrical and educational experiences that inspire empathy and demand conversation.
Olney Theatre Center: Olney Theatre Center is one of the best spots in the area to see a play fit for the whole family. The diverse array of professional productions brings together a broad range of artists, students, and audiences.
AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center: Located in the heart of downtown Silver Spring, AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center is a state-of-the-art moving image exhibition, education, and cultural center. Anchored by the restoration of noted architect John Eberson’s historic 1938 Silver Theatre, the complex features 32,000 square feet of new construction housing two stadium theatres. AFI Silver Theatre is also home to a number of popular film festivals including AFI DOCS, AFI European Union Film Showcase, and AFI Latin American Film Festival.
Did you know that by gifting one of these experiences, you are helping to save the planet too? The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection’s annual Gift Outside the Box campaign encourages people to give greener gifts during the holiday season to reduce waste. Some other gift ideas include purchasing locally crafted items with the “MoCo Made” logo, a fresh fruit and vegetables membership in community supported agriculture, and an item from a certified green local business.