Gaithersburg is the fourth largest city in the state of Maryland. Established in 1878, it has grown from an agrarian community to a tech hub with offices owned by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), IBM, BroadSoft and more. Many of the area’s top festivals and fairs are hosted at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, located in the center of the city.
Neighboring Germantown is one of Montgomery County’s fastest growing communities with an extensive number of new homes, community centers and shopping areas. Germantown is also home to the BlackRock Center for the Arts, a leading venue for the performing and visual arts, as well as the Maryland SoccerPlex. The sports complex features 19 natural fields, 3 artificial fields, and 8 indoor convertible basketball/volleyball courts.
5 Things To Do In Gaithersburg & Germantown
- See the Past: Visit Gaithersburg’s historic “Olde Towne” area and see where the city got its start. Grab a coffee at a local café and browse the great antique shops. You can’t miss the Gaithersburg Community Museum either. The museum is a restored 1884 railroad station with exhibits on the city’s history and historic railroad artifacts. There are also two preserved trains on display.
- Shop and Dine With the Family: One of Montgomery County’s busiest places, the RIO Washingtonian Center is a premier outdoor shopping center that includes a movie theater and numerous restaurants, bars and shops. Locals love to walk and jog around the lake. During the warmer seasons, paddle boats are available for rental as well. And, kids love the carousel and playground located by the lake.
- Spend a Day in the Park: Nature lovers will enjoy Seneca Creek State Park, a 6,300-acre park that includes 14 miles of Seneca Creek which runs into the Potomac River. The park offers Clopper Lake for boating and fishing, as well as trails for hiking, cycling and horseback riding. Adventurous hikers can take the 16.5 mile Seneca Creek Greenway Trail that follows the entire course of the creek.
- Go Amish: For 20 years, the Lancaster Dutch Market has served Germantown and its nearby areas with top-quality food from vendors from central Pennsylvania. Locals love the fried chicken, freshly rolled pretzels and Dutch Family Restaurant. There are also handcrafted furniture pieces by skilled Amish craftsmen for sale.
- Get Fresh Produce: Butler’s Orchard is a local farm in Germantown that has been operated by the same family for three generations. The farm grows more than 25 varieties of produce, flowers, and trees on 300 acres of land. Visitors can pick their own produce or head to the on-site market and buy homemade preserves, local honey, condiments, cider and more.
Mentioned above, RIO Washingtonian Center is a top shopping destination in the area with big-name stores including Barnes & Noble, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Target, as well as unique retailers like Francesca’s and South Moon Under. Meanwhile, Lakeforest Mall, located just off Interstate 270, has drawn in shoppers since it opened its doors in 1978.
Gaithersburg and Germantown have numerous hotbeds of culinary delights. From pan-Asian fare to beers on the tap, the Downtown Crown shopping center has quickly become a weekend favorite since it was built in 2014. Right up the road is the popular Kentlands community, which includes fine dining and fast-casual options for every connoisseur. Check out our local restaurant directory next time you’re thinking of dinner plans nearby.
See other fun ideas for things to do and places to stay in Gaithersburg and Germantown below. Also, our handy event calendar will give you the scoop on all upcoming festivals, performances and charitable events happening in the area. Don’t miss out!