Find Adventure, Shopping & More in Montgomery County, Maryland

Bordering Washington, DC to the north, Montgomery County is easy to reach and prime for exploration.

Go Ape Adventure Park, Rockville, Maryland, Montgomery County, USA, rope course, ropes course, zipline, ziplining
Go Ape Adventure Park in Rockville, Maryland
Bethesda Row shopping and dining
Bethesda Row
Clarksburg Premium Outlets, outlets, shopping, Maryland, Clarksburg, Montgomery County, discount, USA
Clarksburg Premium Outlets
Agriculture History Farm Park, Derwood, Maryland, farm, park, attractions, agriculture
Agriculture History Farm Park in Derwood, Maryland
Great Falls Tavern, restaurant, C&O Canal National Historical Park, dining, tavern, Potomac, Maryland, USA, Montgomery County
Great Falls Tavern at C&O Canal National Historical Park in Potomac, Maryland
Music Center at Strathmore, music, orchestra, performance, concert, events, arts, North Bethesda, Maryland
Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland
Go Ape Adventure Park, Rockville, Maryland, Montgomery County, USA, rope course, ropes course, zipline, ziplining
Bethesda Row shopping and dining
Clarksburg Premium Outlets, outlets, shopping, Maryland, Clarksburg, Montgomery County, discount, USA
Agriculture History Farm Park, Derwood, Maryland, farm, park, attractions, agriculture
Great Falls Tavern, restaurant, C&O Canal National Historical Park, dining, tavern, Potomac, Maryland, USA, Montgomery County
Music Center at Strathmore, music, orchestra, performance, concert, events, arts, North Bethesda, Maryland

You don’t have to venture far from the heart of DC (in fact it’s just a short Metro ride away) to discover a fantastic array of things to do in an area that includes cities like Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Rockville, Silver Spring and Gaithersburg. There’s something for everyone in Montgomery County, but here are some ways to get started. 

Outdoor Adventures

In the woods or on the water, experience nature everywhere you look. Spanning 1,800 acres, Rock Creek Regional Park is just the place for a hike along 13 miles of woodland trails. Meandering, natural surface trails that border the shoreline of Lake Needwood are particularly picturesque, and you might spy resident wildlife such as turtles, beavers, herons and more. Get a closer look at the aquatic scenery by renting a kayak, pedal boat or rowboat. On weekends and holidays during the summer, you can also take a 20-minute tour of the lake aboard the Needwood Queen pontoon boat.

Another fun stop in the park is at Go Ape, home to six ziplines, an abundance of rope ladders and two Tarzan swings for plenty of high-flying thrills. A fully immersive outdoor experience, the course’s six sections of treetop obstacles will take you higher and higher into the forest canopy, providing both an adrenaline rush and amazing views. For more heart-pumping action, head out for an 11-mile bike ride on the Capital Crescent Trail, which runs along the southern banks of the Potomac River from Silver Spring to the Georgetown neighbourhood of Washington, DC.     

Shopping

Prefer retail therapy to recreation? Montgomery County has you covered with a wide number of malls, outlets and other shopping destinations. Steals and deals are easy to come by at Clarksburg Premium Outlets, with its collection of designer brands like Armani, Salvatore Ferragamo and Coach in addition to the likes of Banana Republic, Adidas and Levi’s. In North Bethesda, Pike & Rose has made a splash as a shopping, dining, entertainment and residential district that offers more than 20 shops and restaurants, an iPIC movie theatre, a bowling alley and a live-music venue.

Brick sidewalks, attractive plazas and a pedestrian-friendly layout make Bethesda Row a charming take on a modern shopping experience. While away an afternoon perusing local boutiques for unique fashions and accessories or hit familiar brands such as Lilly Pulitzer, Anthropologie and The North Face. Anchored by Washingtonian Lake, Gaithersburg’s RIO Washingtonian Center boasts a boardwalk, carousel, trackless train and paddleboating — not to mention the dozens of options for shopping and dining. 

Agricultural Highlights 

Get to know the rural side of Montgomery County through its 93,000 acres of Agricultural Reserve — from pick-your-own farms in the spring to autumn pumpkin patches. Set on 455 scenic acres, the Agricultural History Farm Park in Derwood features lush, rolling hills and open fields, an apple orchard and farm animals. A visit affords a unique perspective on the rich farming heritage of the county and a peek inside historic buildings, barns and a modern farming-activity centre. Built in 1747, the Inn at Tusculum Farm is a piece of living history and the ideal spot for a luxurious weekend escape. The Laytonsville property is peppered with trails, ponds and outdoor sculptures that create an idyllic setting.

Farming and beer-brewing go hand in hand at Waredaca Brewing Company, whose production schedule directly relates to harvest timing, and the ingredients in each beer include something grown or produced on the working horse farm it calls home. In the spring and fall, sign up for a guided trail ride on horseback, then create your own tasting flight from the eight to 12 beers on tap at any given time.

History & Heritage

The Capital Region as a whole is known for its deep historical roots, and as one of the oldest parts of Maryland, Montgomery County is no exception. History buffs can see the past come to life in places like the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park, where hiking trails are abundant and you can book an overnight stay in one of six restored lockhouses. Known as the Canal Quarter programme, each is furnished according to a different time period and tells a story about the development of the C&O Canal.

Within Montgomery Parks’ Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park, Woodlawn Museum is the newest attraction, which utilises interactive exhibits to educate visitors on the area’s agricultural landscape, Quaker history and the lives of former residents and enslaved labourers. For additional insight, hike the Underground Railroad Experience Trail to imagine what it was like for escaped slaves seeking freedom along a secret network of safe houses.

Arts & Culture

Statewide, designated Arts & Entertainment Districts promote creative enterprises, and a wealth of cultural resources and performing-arts venues has led to three — Silver Spring, Bethesda and Wheaton — being developed in Montgomery County alone. The Music Center and Mansion at Strathmore in North Bethesda is the home for six resident partner organisations, including the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the National Philharmonic. Downtown Silver Spring’s AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center is dedicated to cinema, not only screening a lineup of independent, art-house and classic films but also presenting panels and discussions, filmmaker interviews and other events.   

Outside of the A&E Districts, you can soak up the arts through a thriving social-dance programme, galleries and studios, children’s theatres and classes in ceramics, photography, music and more at Glen Echo Park. Plus, free summer concerts, special events and a vintage carousel are big draws to this former amusement park. Seamlessly integrating contemporary art, architecture and landscape, Glenstone is a striking museum with a contemplative and serene environment. Lastly, you won’t want to miss a production at the award-winning Olney Theatre Center. Ranging from professional musicals to plays and kid-friendly shows, 2019 schedule highlights like “Cabaret,” “Twelfth Night” and “Singin’ in the Rain” are sure to captivate audiences.   

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Related: 
Outdoors & Nature
Shopping
City Adventures
History & Culture
Attractions & Family Fun