25 Fun Things to Do in Gaithersburg, Maryland with Kids

Spend a day on the lake at Black Hill Regional Park in Gaithersburg.
Spend a day on the lake at Black Hill Regional Park in Gaithersburg.
4/19/24 - By Rebecca Singer

Around 20 miles northwest of DC, Gaithersburg is a diverse and vibrant Maryland suburb with a rich history, thriving community, and plenty of kid-friendly activities. Once an agricultural community known as Log Town, the city grew after the arrival of the B&O Railroad in the 1870s, which spurred business expansion and drove summer tourism by DC residents escaping the city’s heat.

Whether you’re looking for parks and playgrounds, museums and arts centers, local fairs and festivals, or kid-friendly restaurants, there’s so much for kids of all ages to explore and enjoy in Gaithersburg.

Read on for 25 fun things to do with kids in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Our Guide to Family Day Trips and Weekend Getaways for DC Kids includes even more fun suburbs to visit, like Fairfax, Virginia and Kensington, Maryland.


Museums, Arts, and Cultural Activities for Kids and Families in Gaithersburg, Maryland

1. Gaithersburg Community Museum

If your kids are train enthusiasts, consider checking out this free museum, open Wednesdays through Sundays. It’s small, but perfectly sized for little ones, and almost everything is hands-on. When my daughter was in preschool this was one of our favorite outings. Located in a historic freight house next to the old B&O railroad station, now a MARC station, one of the highlights of our visits was watching trains go past. You can also explore several historic train cars on the plaza outside the museum.

2. Arts Barn

Housed in a charming historic building that was once part of the Tschiffely estate, the Arts Barn is now a hub for visual and performing arts as part of Gaithersburg’s Arts on the Green program. It has a theater, art studios, and exhibits, and hosts a variety of classes and workshops for all age groups. We’ve attended special events with art-making activities for kids, and there’s always something new going on, from concerts to stage performances to family movie nights.

3. Skywatching at Observatory Park

Skywatching programs are periodically held at Gaithersburg’s Observatory Park, which is built around the historic International Latitude Observatory. Programs typically take place in the evening under a darkened sky and include telescope viewing and hands-on activities. Participants are welcome to bring snacks and blankets or chairs to spread out on the lawn while enjoying the event.

4. Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department Fire Museum

This free museum is small and only open on Saturdays from 10am-2pm, but for kids fascinated by all thing firefighter-related, it’s a must-see. The museum includes a fire truck from the 1980s that kids can climb on and coats and helmets that they can wear. There’s also a restored 1941 Diamond-T fire truck and various artifacts dating back to the 1920s.

5. Casey Community Center

Built in the 1930s, this historic landmark was once a dairy barn and is now a community center that hosts a variety of activities including movie nights, classes, a farmers market, and early childhood programs. On Saturday mornings the Tasty Books series, for children ages 2-8 and their adult caregivers, explores different themes with a read-aloud, a scavenger hunt, a craft, and snack-making.

RELATED: National Harbor with Kids: 21 Best Things To Do in National Harbor, Maryland

Gaithersburg with Kids: Gaithersburg Book Festival 
Meet authors and participate in fun book-related activities at the Gaithersburg Book Festival. Photo by Shashi Bellamkonda via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Special Events and Seasonal Activities for Kids and Families in Gaithersburg, Maryland

6. Gaithersburg Book Festival

Each spring the Gaithersburg Book Festival, which is free and open to all, brings a celebration of books, writing, and literacy to Gaithersburg’s Bohrer Park. Programming at the festival’s Children’s Village includes presentations by best-selling authors and illustrators, arts and crafts activities, and writing workshops for kids and teens.

7. Children’s Summer Concert Series

On Wednesday mornings in June and July enjoy free family-friendly musical performances at Gaithersburg’s charming outdoor Concert Pavilion. Past performances have included shows by Rocknoceros, The Grandsons, Jr., Mr. Jon & Friends, and more.

8. Montgomery County Agricultural Fair

A local tradition for 75 years, the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair is an annual favorite taking place in late summer on the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. Enjoy animal exhibits, craft shows, deep-fried fair food, and carnival rides. The fair is free for children 11 and under.

9. Winter Lights Festival

Each year for the winter holiday season the City of Gaithersburg organizes an enchanting winter lights display in Seneca Creek State Park. The display encompasses a 3.5-mile drive illuminated by sparkling lights, creating a winter fantasy land in the surrounding woods. A portion of the festival revenue goes to support people in need in the Gaithersburg community.

Indoor Things to Do in Gaithersburg, Maryland with Kids

10. Amazing Art Studio

More than just a paint-your-own-pottery studio, this local business offers a variety of projects from crafting mosaics to making fused-glass creations to canvas painting. The studio also hosts special events including “Kids Night Out” drop-off programs. It is located in Downtown Crown, a walkable neighborhood with plenty of shopping and dining options to explore before or after making your art project.

11. Monster Mini Golf

This 18-hole miniature golf course is indoors so you can play year-round, regardless of the weather. For added fun the course is set under beaming black lights, creating a glow-in-the-dark adventure complete with interactive monsters that talk, move, and even tell silly jokes. The venue also has an arcade, a laser maze, bowling, and two virtual-reality attractions.

12. Me Land

This indoor play space has play areas that appeal to toddlers through tweens, and there are even massage chairs available for parents to relax while their kids play. The Big Kids Zone includes a multi-tiered climbing structure and a giant slide landing in a huge ball pit, the Toddler Zone has a soft play area, and the Mini Town has play shops, dress-up, and toy cars to drive.

13. Sky Zone

When your kids are bouncing off the walls, why not take them to Sky Zone, an indoor trampoline park where they can bounce to their hearts’ content? They can enjoy wall-to-wall trampolines, play ultimate dodgeball, swing on the trapeze or zip line, and then make a soft landing in the giant foam pit.

14. Castle Laser Tag

Families will enjoy the immersive environment of this multi-level laser tag arena, complete with fog, light, and sound effects, transporting you to a land of knights, castles, and wizardry. There’s also an arcade and an indoor ropes course.

15. Bowl America

This 48-lane bowling alley, now owned and operated by Bowlero, has a fun atmosphere with large video walls screening entertainment while you bowl, an on-site arcade, and concession snacks like pizza, burgers, and chicken tenders that you can have delivered to your lane while you play.

RELATED: Baltimore with Kids: 50 Best Things To Do in Baltimore, MD

Gaithersburg with Kids: Black Hill Regional Park
Enjoy kayaking, canoeing, and other water activities at Black Hill Regional Park.

Outdoor Things to Do in Gaithersburg, Maryland with Kids

16. Black Hill Regional Park

Not far from Gaithersburg in neighboring Boyds, Maryland, Black Hill Regional Park is another picturesque spot for outdoor recreation. Situated along Little Seneca Lake, the park includes picnic shelters, playgrounds, and a discovery center offering a variety of programs highlighting the natural and historic resources of the area. Seasonal boat rentals include kayaks, canoes, rowboats, pedal boats, and stand-up paddleboards.

17. Bohrer Park

Bohrer Park has a playground and a pleasant, paved walking path around two fishing ponds. A 12,300-square foot skate park is open March through October. During the summer the miniature golf course and water park are also open. The water park—open only to City and County residents—has an extensive kids’ splash area and a zero-entry pool with fun features including islands, fountains, and water slides.

18. Constitution Gardens Park

This park has unique interactive play areas inspired by Gaithersburg’s local history. There’s a sliding hill with tree-stump stairs and a log town with a sand pit, wooden playhouses, and natural materials for climbing and building. The park also has several bench swings, picnic tables, and a little free library.

19. Seneca Creek State Park

This scenic park offers a variety of recreational opportunities including hiking and biking trails, boating on the serene Clopper Lake, and a 32-acre disc golf course. The recycled-tire playground—a favorite with its tire swings, zip line, and tire "dragon" climbing structure—is temporarily closed, but a new nature play space is open at Oriole Picnic Grove. On weekends and holidays from April through October there is a park entrance fee, but at all other times admission is free.

20. Rio Lakefront

This shopping, dining, and entertainment complex offers plenty of lakeside fun. You can take a swan, duck, or dragon paddleboat for a spin on the lake, ride the carousel, climb on the playground, and stroll the lakeside path. There’s also a movie theater, indoor rock-climbing center, escape room, and more. You can also browse shops and enjoy the many dining options and fun places to pick up unique treats like Donutchew, Fantasticks, and Le Macaron.

RELATED: 21 Best Things To Do In Old Town Alexandria, Virginia with Kids 

Gaithersburg with Kids: Crepes-a-Go-Go
Crepes-a-Go-Go serves up made-to-order crepes both sweet and savory. 

Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Gaithersburg, Maryland

21. Crepes-a-Go-Go

Crepes-a-Go-Go has an extensive menu with both sweet and savory crepes, offering a selection of fillings in a wide variety of tasty combinations. The crepes are made-to-order and served hot and fresh off the griddle. For kids, part of the fun of dining here is watching the crepes being made behind the counter.

22. Ted’s Bulletin

Local chain Ted’s Bulletin is known for its Ted’s Tarts (homemade pop tarts) and elevated diner fare. Ted's serves all-day breakfast and other comfort foods like a grilled cheese and tomato soup combo and homemade loaded tater tots (a favorite with my family). The children’s menu includes Mr. Breakfast—a smiley-faced pancake with fruit, bacon, and scrambled eggs—as well as chicken fingers and more.

23. Hershey’s Restaurant

A truly local spot that has been in business since the 1950s, this restaurant occupies a former train station and post office built in the 1880s. You can still watch the trains rumble past on the nearby tracks. Fried chicken is their specialty. Be forewarned that it can take 25 minutes to prepare, but many say it is worth the wait. There’s no children’s menu, but the regular menu offers plenty of kid-friendly options.

24. Charley Prime Foods

Charley Prime Foods serves delicious modern bistro fare including steaks and pastas. The children’s menu features kid favorites like chicken fingers and mac and cheese along as well as smaller portions of steak and salmon. For a delectable treat, try the Magical Sundae—scoops of homemade ice cream covered in hot fudge and surrounded by a colorful assortment of candy toppings. On Tuesday nights, kids eat free with the purchase of a full-priced adult entrée and drink.

25. Lil' Cakes & Creamery

Lil Cakes & Creamery has an almost overwhelming variety of treats to choose from. The ice cream is made fresh daily on site, and there are also cupcakes and a variety of fun pastry choices. You can build your own ice cream sandwich or cake-n-cream cup with any combination of bakery goodie and ice cream you choose. Cake jars and cake push pops are a creative twist on bakery treats. Lil' Cakes even has sweet treats for dogs—pupcakes and doggy ice cream.

All photos by the author, unless otherwise noted.

Places featured in this article:

Gaithersburg-Washington Grove Volunteer Fire Department Museum

Montgomery County Fairgrounds

Ted's Bulletin - Downtown Crown