The more than 70,000 residents who call Gaithersburg, Maryland home enjoy the best of both worlds—the slower pace of life found in a small-town community along with easy access to the hustle and bustle of the nation’s capital.
Located in the heart of Montgomery County, Maryland, Gaithersburg is home to award-winning neighborhoods and a county school system that is ranked among the best in the country. In addition, Gaithersburg is located just 20 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. and major employers, making Gaithersburg a popular suburb for D.C. workers raising a family.
Gaithersburg is also home to more than 4,000 businesses in every industry, from cutting-edge biotechnology companies to family-owned restaurants. Federal research facilities and regulatory agencies, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration are all nearby.
There are always fun activities and things to do in Gaithersburg, MD no matter your age or time of year. Read on to learn about free and fun activities in Gaithersburg, MD.
18 Things to do Gaithersburg, MD
1. Gaithersburg Community Museum
Dedicated to transportation and the history of the area, specifically the railroad, the Gaithersburg Community Museum is located inside a restored 1884 B&O Railroad Station in the Olde Town Plaza. The museum offers a variety of educational programs and interactive exhibits.
2. Bohrer Park
Named for former Mayor W. Edward Bohrer, Bohrer Park is a community gathering place and the setting for several annual events and festivals, including Paws in the Park, a signature event hosted by the Montgomery County Humane Society. The park features a paved path for walking, jogging, in-line skating and biking, several open fields, playground area, horseshoe pit, volleyball net and two ponds.
Also located within Bohrer Park is the Activity Center, a 45,000 square-foot facility with a fitness center and two large gymnasiums with basketball courts and bleacher seating, making it one of the most versatile free things to do in Gaithersburg, MD.
In addition to the free Activity Center, Bohrer Park is also home to a number of other attractions, including a Miniature Golf Course, a 12,300 square foot Skate Park designed for activities ranging from skateboards to BMX bikes, and a Water Park with palm trees, multiple slides, inflatable animals, and a “tumble bucket” water feature for children to enjoy.
3. Gaithersburg Book Festival
Since its inception in 2010, the Gaithersburg Book Festival has quickly become one of the nation’s top literary events, attracting hundreds of award-winning and best-selling authors, poets and songwriters from across the country.
4. Farmers Markets
Looking for healthy free things to do in Gaithersburg, MD? Gaithersburg offers two Farmers Markets, providing residents with locally grown produce throughout the year. The Main Street Farmers Market is open year-round on Saturdays. The Casey Farmers Market is held Thursdays, May through November. Winter Markets are held on select dates December through April, weather permitting.
5. Kentlands Market Square
Located in the charming Kentlands neighborhood, the Market Square is a popular shopping and dining district. Many of Gaithersburg’s best restaurants and pubs are in this area, as are outposts of many popular national chains. The market square is also home to a luxury movie theater perfect for an afternoon with the family or date night with your sweetheart.
6. Mini Golf
There are plenty of great places to play mini golf in the Gaithersburg area. In addition to the mini golf course at Bohrer Park, there is also Monster Mini Golf and a course at the nearby Maryland Sportsplex. For those who want to take their golf game up a notch, Topgolf driving range is located in nearby Germantown.
7. Schaeffer Farms Mountain Bike Trail
This scenic, 15-mile mountain bike trail crosses streams, fields and rolling terrain with plenty of roots to make the trail extra bumpy in spots for the more daring biker. Schaeffer Farms trail connects to Seneca Bluffs and Seneca Ridge trails for a longer, more strenuous loop.
8. Arts on the Green
Arts on the Green is the local home for the performing and visual arts and offers a plethora of things to do in Gaithersburg, MD for music and theater lovers. Enjoy concerts, magic shows, and professional and community plays in the Arts Barn, an old stable that’s been renovated into a 99-seat theater. Enjoy chamber music performances in the elegant Kentlands Mansion, a historic, landmark venue. During warmer months, the Ketlands Green provides a park-like setting for outdoor events and festivals.
9. International Latitude Observatory
If you are interested in astrology, this building is definitely one to visit while you’re in Gaithersburg. The observatory is one of six constructed in the 19th century to measure the precise wobble of the earth’s axis as we rotate around it..
10. RIO Washingtonian Center
RIO is a lakefront shopping, dining and entertainment experience for the whole family. With over 50 stores and 20 restaurants, RIO has something for everybody. Catch a movie and dinner at the AMC DINE-IN Rio Cinemas. Feed the fish as you stroll along the lakeside path. Jump, climb, and slide at the ADA-accessible outdoor playground. Rent a swan, duck or dragon-shaped paddle boat or take a ride on the Americana-themed classic carousel. Special events are held throughout the year.
11. Seneca Creek State Park
Looking for fun activities in Gaithersburg, MD that take place outdoors? Look no further. Comprised of 6,300 acres and extending along 14 scenic miles of Seneca Creek, Seneca Creek State Park has over 50 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding and bicycling as well as picnic areas and pavilions. The Clopper Day-Use Area includes Clopper Lake, where visitors can boat and fish.
Seneca Creek is also home to the drive-through Winter Lights Festival. Every December guests admire over 450 festive, illuminated displays arranged along a 3.5-mile path. A series of special holiday events including Leashes ‘n’ Lights, Wine Under the Lights and Run Under the Lights are also organized to take place during the festival.
12. Go Ape Zipline and Adventure Park
Located in Rock Creek Regional Park, this adventure center is not for the faint of heart. This park features obstacle courses and ziplines that have participants flying through the trees. It’s a great way to take in Maryland’s beautiful scenery while challenging yourself athletically.
13. 270 Center
The 270 Center is a commercial complex in the eastern part of Gaithersburg. While it may look like any other mall from the outside, this complex is known for its entertainment options, which include a bowling alley, indoor skydiving, laser tag, and a trampoline park.
14. Agricultural History Farm Park
This charming park is located just north of Gaithersburg and celebrates the area’s agricultural history. It contains a farm that has been preserved since the early 20th century with exhibits about history and farming. There are also live animals, an apple orchard, and trails that run through beautiful rolling hills.
Seasonal free things to do in Gaithersburg, MD are in no short supply. Gaithersburg hosts two annual parades. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade starts near the RIO Washingtonian Center and includes Celtic dancers, bagpipe bands, school groups, clowns, fire trucks, equestrian units, service organizations and more. The Gaithersburg Labor Day Parade starts in Olde Town Plaza and includes dance groups, antique cars and fire trucks, clowns, high school marching bands, and an assortment of community groups, equestrian units, and more.
Gaithersburg’s annual Oktoberfest features free admission, shuttles and parking, as well as multiple stages of live entertainment featuring traditional Bavarian music & dancing, along with local, regional and national talent. Fall-themed activities for families, a Business Expo, artisans, beer, mead and cider, and delicious food are also available.
Gaithersburg’s illuminating SummerFest festival celebrates America’s independence. The free event features live music, food and activities, all leading up to a spectacular fireworks display & SummerGlo after party.
18. Lancaster County Dutch Market
While not technically located in Gaithersburg, this popular market is worth the drive to nearby Germantown. This market features fresh food from central Pennsylvania retailers, with bakeries, cheese makers, butchers, and more.
Southern Management: Your Gaithersburg, MD Experts
From skate parks to Arts on the Green and every activity, parade and festival in between, there are plenty of things to do in Gaithersburg, MD. Best of all? Many of them are free! Whether you’re a dedicated book worm or an experienced mountain biker, there are tons of free things to do in Gaithersburg, MD. Plus, check out this post for even more fun things to do with kids in Montgomery County.
Now that you know all that there is to see and do in Gaithersburg, let Southern Management help you find the perfect place to live. We have a wide variety of apartment communities throughout Montgomery County, including Summit Crest in Gaithersburg, Hampshire West in Silver Springs and Miramont in Rockville.
Contact us with any questions about our apartments for rent near Gaithersburg, MD. We can’t wait to welcome you home!