Amazing Things to Do and Other Reasons Gaithersburg, MD Is a Great Place to Live


The city of Gaithersburg is found in Montgomery County, Maryland, around 20 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. It is both a suburb and a primary city in the Washington–Arlington–Alexandria Metropolitan Area, which is often referred to as the National Capital Region.

As wit;h most other communities in the area, Gaithersburg holds a certain degree of prestige and significance. This historic city is home to major businesses as well as important public offices, and with its proximity to Washington, D.C., it serves as an affluent bedroom community for the nation’s capital. Gaithersburg features highly rated schools and a diverse range of things to do, making it a wonderful place to live for people of all ages and interests.


Gaithersburg was initially a rural farming community. It was settled in 1765 as a small agricultural settlement called Log Town near present-day Summit Hall, which can be found on Ralph Crabb’s 1725 land grant known as Deer Park. Gaithersburg was incorporated as a town in 1878 and officially incorporated as a city in 1968.

Now a vibrant urban community, Gaithersburg hosts a number of top corporations, including AstraZeneca, Sodexo, and Novavax, and was the former home of IBM and Leidos/Lockheed Martin. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is headquartered here, earning for the city the nickname of “Science Capital of the United States”. The United States Army Reserve Legal Command garrison can also be found here.

Major thoroughfares cut through the area, including I-270, I-355, and I-370, making traveling to and from the city easy and convenient.


The city is known for its economic and cultural diversity. In 2021, WalletHub ranked Gaithersburg second for ethnic diversity among the 501 biggest cities in the US.

Since 1998, Gaithersburg’s population has more than doubled. According to the 2020 US Census, the city is home to around 69,657 residents, making it the third-largest city in Maryland in terms of population. The population is relatively young – the median age of residents is around 37.6, but 22% of residents are below 18.

Over half of the adult population in Gaithersburg has a bachelor’s degree or higher. The median household income from 2016-2020 was $91,485, about 5% higher than the median income in Maryland and 29% more than the national median household income.


Dave and Buster's in Gaithersburg, Maryland

As one of the primary cities in the Washington Metropolitan Area, Gaithersburg is a center for economics, politics, and culture. The city’s history goes back to the earliest days of the nation, and today, that rich heritage can be felt amid the flurry of urban activities and sophisticated amenities.

Gaithersburg’s historic area is found on the eastern section, especially the historical central business district that is known as “Olde Towne”. You can also find City Hall, Lakeforest Mall, Bohrer Park, and the Montgomery County Fairgrounds on the eastern part of the city.

On the west side, you’ll find upscale neighborhoods such as the Lakelands and Kentlands community, as well as the Washingtonian Center (also called the RIO), a business and shopping district famous for its Black Friday deals and other shopping holidays.


Over the years, Gaithersburg has received acclaim from various groups and publications tracking the desirability and quality of life in various US communities.

  • Fortune Well ranked Gaithersburg 7th in its 2022 list of the 25 Best Places to Live for Families. The publication cited Gaithersburg’s diversity and highly inclusive community programming, which includes over 200 activities a year ranging from farmers markets and culinary classes to major events such as the annual Gaithersburg Book Festival.
  • Wallet Hub ranks the city as the #3 Most Ethnically Diverse Cities in America for 2022. Gaithersburg has consistently ranked high in this annual list, as well as in other lists tracking population diversity in major cities across the country
  • has named the city the 35th Best Place to Live in Maryland, citing the city’s highly rated schools and abundance of parks, restaurants, and shops. 
  • Gaithersburg has been designated a Tree City USA in the last 33 years
  • 24/7 Wall Street Journal ranked Gaithersburg #23 in its 2016 Best Cities to Live in America, citing the high concentration of restaurants and fitness centers in the city.


As with its people, Gaithersburg attractions are highly diverse, from scenic parks and trails to stunning museums, arts venues, and fantastic restaurants.

Here’s a rundown of the top attractions and things to do in Gaithersburg.

  1. Parks and Trails

    Seneca Street State Park
    Seneca Street State Park can be found on the western end of Gaithersburg. It spans 6,300 acres, with the main section only a little more than five minutes away from central Gaithersburg. The park is home to the 90-acre Clopper Lake, where you can rent a rowboat or kayak during the summer. Around 14 miles of Seneca Creek can also be found inside Seneca Street State Park. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore over 50 miles of trails, or wander around in gardens, playgrounds, and a disc golf course. There are also picnic areas, a scenic overlook, and a zip line. During Christmas, over 450 installations light up 3.5 miles of the park.

    Bohrer Park
    You can find the 45,000 square-foot Activity Center inside Bohrer Park. The center is home to two basketball courts, a fitness center, and two large gyms. Outside the Activity Center, there are numerous trails, a pond, and picnic pavilions. Bohrer Park is also home to a water park, a 12,300 square foot skate park, and an 18-hole miniature golf course, which is open from May to early October.

    Rock Creek Regional Park
    For a more rugged experience, head to Rock Creek Regional Park, a 1,800-acre park in Rock Creek valley, which can be found east of Gaithersburg. Lake enthusiasts will love exploring the 75-acre Lake Needwood or 55-acre Lake Frank. You can rent pedal boats and canoes at the Lake Needwood Boat Shop from May to September, or book a tour on board the Needwood Queen pontoon. There are also 13 miles of trails that wind around the lakes and run through the surrounding woods.

    Rock Creek Regional Park also features the Meadowside Nature Center, which offers interpretive trails, exhibits, and other programs. Other attractions in the park include the Go Ape high ropes course, picnic shelters, the 9-hole Needwood Golf Course, and an archery range.

    Great Seneca Stream Valley Park
    The Great Seneca Stream Valley Park can be found near Watkins Mill Road in Germantown. It is home to the Greenway Trail, which is loved by runners, hikers, and mountain bikers. Birders also gather here to view a wide number of bird species. You can also rent canoes and paddle boats. Families can visit the playground and use picnic tables and tents.

  2. Museums and Arts Venues

    Rusty steam train

    Gaithersburg Community Museum
    One of the top things to do in Gaithersburg is to visit the Gaithersburg Community Museum at the old Gaithersburg Railroad Station, which was made in 1884 for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. It’s one of the main attractions of Gaithersburg’s Olde Towne District, which is also home to the 1884 Freight House. Both the district and the Freight House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

    Inside the museum, you can learn about railroads, commerce, and education, as well as the Gaithersburg Latitude Observatory. Outside, various train memorabilia are on exhibit, including a 1918 steam engine, a 1953 Rail Diesel Car, and a 1982 caboose.

    Arts on the Green
    Arts on the Green is Gaithersburg’s main hub for the visual and performing arts. It’s home to the Arts Barn, a resplendent rebuilt antique barn that contains an art center and a 99-seat theater.

    Arts Barn runs community educational programs, camps, and workshops and also hosts exhibitions and performing arts events. If you want to take home some artsy souvenirs, accessories or clothing, head to the City Art Shop inside Arts Barn.  Next door to the Arts Barn, you’ll find the luxurious Kentlands Mansion. It was built in 1900 and is now used for chamber music performances and exhibitions. 

    During the summer, Arts on the Green is the perfect venue for concerts and other outdoor events.

    BlackRock Center for the Arts
    The BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown is less than 15 minutes away from Gaithersburg. It stages concerts in a wide range of music genres, such as pop, rock, jazz, folk, and classical. The center also hosts various performing art programs, including dance and theater, as well as visual art exhibits and community and family activities. In addition to concerts, it also presents other live performances, including plays, musicals, and even a modern circus.

  3. Events and Festivals

    Gaithersburg Book Festival
    Established in 2010, the Gaithersburg Book Festival has become a top literary festival in the Washington, D.C. area. This free day-long event has hosted hundreds of best-selling and critically acclaimed authors, poets, and songwriters.

    Taking place every May at Bohrer Park’s pavilions and outdoor spaces, the festival features talks, workshops, readings, and performances. There are also book signings and story time and workshops for children, as well as exhibitor booths and food vendors.

    Labor Day Parade
    The Gaithersburg Labor Day Parade has been held in Olde Towne Gaithersburg since 1938. Whether it rains or shines on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, you can expect marching bands, equestrians, global dance groups, classic cars, fire trucks, and cheerleaders to march through the district in all their finery. During the parade, candies, stickers, and special commemorative coins are handed by the Gaithersburg Mayor & City Council to spectators and participants.

    Montgomery County Agricultural Fair
    The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair has the distinction of being the largest agricultural event in Maryland. It happens in mid-August across nine days and has been a cherished tradition since 1949. The venue is a 62-acre site on Perry Parkway, with more than 50 buildings housing exhibits, demonstrations, and competitions where more than 5,000 animals, from rabbits to goats, are featured.

    A kid zone, a carnival, pony rides, many food vendors, a lumberjack show, and garden and craft displays are also part of the festival. You can also watch a demolition derby, and monster trucks and lawnmower racing at the Grandstand. Some events are free, while others require tickets.

  4. Local Destinations

    RIO Lakefront
    If you’re looking for a modern shopping, entertainment, and dining destination by the lake, head to RIO Lakefront, near the intersection of the I-270 and I-370. You can rent a paddle boat to cruise the lake or ride a carousel. There’s also an outdoor concert series every Friday night from May to September. 

    RIO Lakefront has over 25 restaurants, many of which feature outdoor seating right next to the water. There’s also an AMC Dine-In 18 where you can enjoy delivered meals while you watch a movie. Shops and stores here include Barnes & Noble, Target, LOFT, Kohl’s, and Dick’s Sporting Goods, among many others.

    Butler’s Orchard

    Pick your own strawberries and pumpkins at Butler’s Orchard. Located in Germantown, just a little north of Gaithersburg, this attraction spans over 300 acres and features a farm market offering more than 25 fruit varieties, plus various plants, vegetables, flowers, cheeses, and freshly baked goodies.

    You can also pick a variety of produce. Depending on the season, crops for picking include apples, raspberries, pumpkins, and more. The farm also stages family-friendly seasonal festivals, including Bunnyland in the spring, followed by the Sunflower Spectacular in the summer, and the Pumpkin Festival in the fall.

    There’s a Farm Park that is open seasonally, with attractions that include giant slides, farm animals, pedal tractors, a playground, and more. 

    Olde Towne Gaithersburg

    Gaithersburg’s historic downtown is home to various attractions such as the B&O Railroad Station and the Freight Shed, modern shops, restaurants, and services, and several apartment buildings. Next to the railroad station and the freight shed is Olde Towne Plaza, which includes an interactive fountain where visitors can splash around. 

    Monster Mini Golf Gaithersburg
    If you’re looking for a fun activity, head to Monster Mini Golf Gaithersburg, an 18-hole indoor mini golf course that features a blacklight and a glow-in-the-dark backdrop. If golfing isn’t your thing, there’s also mini bowling, a laser maze, virtual reality games, and an arcade nearby. The more daring might want to try the SkyZone Trampoline Park and iFly Montgomery, an indoor skydiving experience.


Facade of multi-colored homes in Gaithersburg

With everything Gaithersburg has to offer, including numerous things to do, real estate in the city is always in high demand. There’s a wide variety of Gaithersburg homes for sale to match different homebuyers’ budgets and preferences, including single-family homes, condos, and townhomes.

Condominiums and Townhouses

Gaithersburg condominiums and townhouses typically range from 1- to-2-bedroom units with square footage from 758 square feet to 1,506 square feet, while a 3-bedroom townhouse can be as large as 2,020 square feet.

Common features include updated kitchens with high-quality appliances and premium finishes, high-end security, and amenities such as swimming pools, gyms, shared gardens or outdoor areas, a community center, and tennis courts. 

Single-family Homes

Single-family homes are the dominant property type in Gaithersburg, MD, and include existing and newly built properties. The number of bedrooms typically range from 2 to 5, with lot sizes falling anywhere between 1,127 square feet and 3,392 square feet. You can also choose from a variety of architectural styles, such as modern farmhouses, craftsmen, and traditional. 

The mix includes a number of historic properties that are at least 75 years old and in such timeless architectural styles as Victorian Picturesque and Colonial Revival, as well as mid-century modern homes that are at least 50 years.

Comment features and amenities include spacious open floor plans, main-level master bedrooms, and formal dining rooms with built-in shelves and storage. Many homes come with a patio, porch, or deck with lots of backyard space.

Luxury Properties

Many luxury homes for sale in Gaithersburg, MD are newly built or renovated custom-built homes, so they usually have the latest home technology and appliances as well as opulent finishes. These properties typically feature a large number of bedrooms and bathrooms, such as 7 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. They’re built on large lots spanning over 5,000 square feet. Expect airy living spaces and special features and amenities such as lap pools and home theaters. Popular architectural styles for luxury homes include Storybrook, Craftsman, Mission Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, and Modern.  


Whether you’re looking for a condo, a single-family home, or a luxurious getaway in Gaithersburg, Judy Martin has the expertise and network to help you find the right property. With over 30 years of local experience, Judy is a top Realtor in Gaithersburg, MD who has built a reputation for her honesty, loyalty, and professionalism. She is the agent to call for all your real estate needs in Gaithersburg, MD, as well as the perfect guide to things to do and the lifestyle in the area. 

Judy specializes in all residential property types in the Washington Metropolitan Area, including condominiums, single-family homes, luxury properties, and residential land.  She will be more than happy to help you find your dream home

Give Judy a call today at [ai_phone href=”+1.301.379.1700″]301.379.1700[/ai_phone] or send her an email at [mail_to email=”[email protected]”]this address[/mail_to]

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