We searched far and wide to bring to you a variety of activities and attractions that you probably didn’t know existed throughout Montgomery County, Maryland. Here are our top 20 hidden gems that we recommend adding to your next weekend itinerary in 2020.
1. Environmental Center at Glenstone Museum
Looking to go green in 2020? Visit the Environmental Center at the Glenstone Museum for a hands-on experience that teaches visitors sustainable best practices such as organic landscaping, recycling, composting, water management, and more. You are sure to be amazed by the way this museum seamlessly integrates art, architecture, and landscape design. Local tip: Take the Montgomery County Ride On bus along the 301 route for guaranteed entry into the museum. Admission is always free, and all visitors must be 12 or older.
When to go: Glenstone Museum is open Thursdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
2. The Clara Barton House at The Clara Barton National Historic Site
2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women’s constitutional right to vote. In celebration of the anniversary, add a visit to the Clara Barton House to your next weekend itinerary. A nurse and relief worker who founded the American Red Cross, Clara Barton is known for dedicating her life to help those in need. She called Glen Echo her home for the last 15 years of her life until her passing in 1912.
When to go: Tours are available at the top of every hour, Fridays and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
3. Swains Lockhouse at C&O Canal National Historical Park
A weekend getaway to Swains Lockhouse at C&O Canal National Historical Park is the perfect opportunity to detox from digital life and immerse yourself in nature. Swains Lockhouse is the newest addition to the Canal Quarters Program, operated by the C&O Canal Trust. Located along the canal towpath, the Great Falls Tavern Visitors Center is an easy and scenic 13-minute bike ride away.
When to go: Swains Lockhouse is available for booking throughout the year through the C&O Canal Trust website.
4. Backyard Beekeeping at Calleva
Calleva has something for everyone to enjoy whether you are an adventure seeker, foodie, or animal lover. Learn about bees and their habitats during a Backyard Beekeeping Session, take a family-friendly kayak trip down the Potomac River at Calleva’s Liquid Adventures, or participate in Calleva’s Dirty Dinner series and enjoy a magical farm-to-table dining experience on a 200-acre farm.
When to go: Calleva’s Liquid Adventures is open Saturdays and Sundays May 25th – September 1st, 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. Dirty Dinner is open on select days during the summer.
5. Sip Wine at Windridge Vineyards
Experience the feel of Napa Valley right here in Montgomery County, Maryland at the area’s newest winery, Windridge Vineyards. Sip locally made wines with friends surrounded by lush farmland, rolling hills, and panoramic views. This year, a new tasting room will open with a 360-degree bar overlooking the vineyard and Sugarloaf Mountain.
When to go: Windridge Vineyards is open Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. through 6 p.m.
6. Underground Railroad Immersion Experience at Button Farm Living History Center
The Underground Railroad Immersion Experience at Button Farm Living History Center is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for visitors to participate in simulated journeys depicting plantation life and the Underground Railroad. This hands-on activity focuses on conflict resolution, environment, history, agriculture, and most importantly, team-building.
When to go: The farm is open Saturdays from noon until 4 p.m. and weekday visits are appointment only.
7. Breathtaking Beauty at Soleado Lavender Farm
Located at the base of the Sugarloaf Mountain in The Agricultural Reserve, Soleado Lavender Farm is a family-owned business that specializes in growing several varieties of French and English lavender. The freshly harvested flowers are used to create essential oils used for their handmade, luxury bath products. The farm offers tours, yoga retreats, spaces for photographers and painters, and fresh honey.
When to go: The farm will reopen the first weekend in June 2020.
8. Dentzel Carousel at Glen Echo Park
An amusement park in the early 1900s, Glen Echo Park is now home to artist studios, cultural organizations, performing art classes, dance programs, and a nature center. Constructed in 1921, the Dentzel Carousel is a “must-see” attraction at Glen Echo Park. Once a series of repairs and renovations are complete, the carousel will reopen to the public in the Spring of 2020.
When to go: The park is open from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily and the Dentzel Carousel operates from May through September.
9. Take to the Skies at Dream Aero
Have you ever wanted to know what it was like to fly a plane? Dream Aero’s flight simulator – located in Westfield Montgomery – reproduces every aspect of a real flight including takeoff and landing. During your journey, you will be accompanied by an experienced pilot who will assist you in mastering the basic elements of flying a plane.
When to go: Dream Aero is open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. through 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. through 9 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. through 7 p.m.
10. Eat Incredible Ice Cream at Woodbourne Creamery
Woodbourne Creamery at Rock Hill Orchard is Montgomery County’s only “cow-to-cone” creamery and the first new dairy in over 60 years. The farm’s herd of Golden Guernsey cows are grass-fed and provide all the goodness of double Omega-3 fat to create a lush, rich ice cream like no other. We recommend trying dark chocolate, malted milk ball, or ginger.
When to go: Woodbourne Creamery is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. until 5 p.m.
11. Learn About Lincoln’s Death Bullet at the National Museum of Health and Medicine
A historical artifact is located right here in Montgomery County, Maryland at the National Museum of Health and Medicine: The bullet that killed President Abraham Lincoln. Discover more about the former president’s final hours, the injury, and an in-depth analysis of his autopsy.
When to go: The museum is free and open to the public every day except national holidays.
12. Watch an Independent Film at the South Asian Film Festival
The 9th annual South Asian Film Festival brings together film enthusiasts for a weekend of celebrating alternative cinema from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The festival screens features, documentaries, and shorts, as well as hosts panel discussions, networking events, and exclusive media presentations.
When to go: Dates for this year’s South Asian Film Festival to be announced in the coming months.
13. The Washington Spirit at Maryland SoccerPlex & Discovery Sports Center
Cheer on the Washington Spirit at their home stadium, the Maryland SoccerPlex & Discovery Sports Center, the largest premier multi-sport facility in Montgomery County, Maryland. Every year it hosts more than 5,000 local soccer clubs and league matches with teams from all over the country. Fun fact: World Champion US Women’s National Team players Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh play for the Washington Spirit.
When to go: Games and tournaments take place throughout the year starting in late spring.
14. Roastery Tour at Mayorga Organics
Discover how coffee is sourced and produced to make the perfect cup of joe on a Roastery Tour at Mayorga Organics. This guided tour will take you through the facility, give an overview of their coffee roastery and chia seed processing plant, and allow you to taste the coffee for yourself.
When to go: Roastery tours are held throughout the year.
15. Murder at the Mansion Dessert Theater at Kentlands
Enjoy a dessert buffet while you try to solve a murder mystery at Kentlands Mansion. You’ll experience an exciting evening filled with food and entertainment while working with your fellow guests on solving the mystery.
When to go: Murder at the Mansion Dessert Theater shows are held throughout the year.
16. Yurt Camping at Little Bennett Regional Park
Get outdoors in 2020 by camping in a yurt at one of the best campgrounds in the area, Little Bennett Regional Park. There are three yurts available to rent on the premises and each have two full-size beds and two twin bunks that can sleep up to six people. Little Bennett Regional Park offers 3,700 acres of forest to explore including 25 miles of trails, historical sites, and an 18-hole golf course.
When to go: While Yurt camping is available throughout the year, the busiest season is March through November. During the off-season from December through February, some camping features may not be available.
17. Grab a Brew at Silver Branch Brewery
Sip your way through Silver Branch Brewery’s list of seasonal and on-tap beers in their one-of-kind taproom. Coffee lovers will also enjoy their caffeine offerings starting at 7 a.m. on weekdays. They serve up coffee staples like macchiatos, cappuccinos, cortados, and pour-overs.
When to go: Silver Branch Brewery is open Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., Fridays from 7 a.m. until 12 a.m., Saturdays from 12 p.m. until 12 a.m., and Sundays from 12 p.m. until 11 p.m.
18. See a Show at Round House Theatre
See a live performance with actors from all around the country at the Round House Theatre. Choose to see theatre performances in a variety of genres like comedy and drama. The theater offers “Free Play,” which allows any student from age 13 through college to see a show at no cost. A few of their upcoming shows in early 2020 are “Spring Awakening,” showing January 22nd through February 24th, and “Cost of Living,” showing April 1-19.
When to go: The Round House Theatre has performances throughout the year.
19. Dutch Family Restaurant at Lancaster County Dutch Market
Lancaster County Dutch Market in Germantown is home to some of the best baked goods, desserts, dairy products, produce, and snacks around. Every week, farmers travel down from Pennsylvania to sell their products at the market to give visitors a little taste of Lancaster. Their in-house diner, Dutch Family Restaurant, serves up classic home-cooked staples like omelets, waffles, burgers, and melts.
When to go: The Dutch Family Restaurant is open Thursdays 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Fridays 9 a.m. –7 p.m, and Saturdays 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
20. Kenwood Cherry Blossoms
Skip the bustling crowds at the Tidal Basin and head to Kenwood to have an up-close and personal view of the iconic cherry blossoms along Kennedy Drive, Dorset Avenue, and Kenwood Avenue.
When to go: Peak bloom changes from year to year, so keep an eye out National Park Service’s peak bloom predictions during the spring.
Make sure to share your 2020 adventures with us by using #MontgomeryMoment or tagging @VisitMoCo in your photo.
Want more activities to add to your 2020 itinerary? Check out our Four Seasons of Fun list for all year-round family activities.