11 Things to do in College Park, Maryland
Because of its proximity to Washington, D.C. and the fact that it’s home to the University of Maryland, it might be tempting to assume College Park is just another suburban college town.
But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The rich history of the University of Maryland makes the school a tourist attraction in and of itself, and the large number of visitors to College Park each year will tell you that the town has so much more to offer than college sports and dive bars.
This vibrant bustling town is full of places to go and fun activities for every member of your family.
Here are 11 things to do in College Park, Maryland during your stay.
1. University of Maryland
Of all the things to do in College Park, The University of Maryland is a great place to start. The University Welcome Center is now located in the lobby of The Hotel and the starting point for campus tours.
If you are a little fatigued from all the walking, you can head over to The Stamp, the hub of activity on campus.
Be sure to rub the nose of Testudo for luck on your way into the McKeldin Library. Some other familiar faces join the bronze sculpture of the university’s mascot in the gardens outside The Stamp, including none other than the master of Muppets himself, Jim Henson and his most famous creation, Kermit the Frog.
Head inside for lunch at the food court, or indulge your sweet tooth with a few scoops of Fear the Turtle from the famous Maryland Dairy Ice Cream Parlour.
2. The Clarice
Located in the College of Arts and Humanities, The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, or “The Clarice,” is named after UMD Alum and a Washingtonian painter, Clarice Smith.
Showcasing local, regional, and national art, this venue features every type of performance imaginable, the Clarice is committed to creating and supporting new work from within the local community.
3. National Archives
Ever wonder what it was like during the infamous Watergate scandal? Want to peek at the JFK assassination records? Interested in viewing historical railroad or war maps?
The National Archives in College Park is the place for you.
Start planning your visit with a few clicks via their information page, where you’ll find the types of records you can access, pull times, and contact information as well as an orientation.
4. College Park Aviation Museum
A must-see for anyone who has even a small interest in the science of flight is the College Park Aviation Museum.
It is located on the grounds of the world’s oldest continuously operating airport and is also where Wilbur Wright taught military flyboys how to soar among the clouds back in 1909.
The museum is dedicated to preserving and promoting aviation innovations and fostering a curiosity about the history of aviation. The nearly two story exhibit space houses a unique display of aircraft and historical artifacts, making this one of the coolest things to do in College Park, MD.
5. Goddard Space Flight Center
The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is the perfect activity for science-lovers.
Named for rocketry pioneer Dr. Robert H. Goddard, the space flight center is a hub of NASA’s tracking activities, and home to incredible exhibits involving spacecraft, instruments, and technology to study our solar system.
Don’t miss out on the “moon tree,” which was transported on Apollo 14 as a seed and then planted in the middle of the front traffic circle at the visitor’s center.
6. Riversdale House Museum
History buffs are never at a loss for things to do near College Park, MD, and a visit to the Riversdale Estate is one of them.
Contained in a lavish mansion of Flemish and 1800’s American styles, there are over 200 years of history and stories within the walls of the Riversdale House Museum. Upon its establishment, Riversdale was over 2,000 acres and encompassed many of today’s surrounding towns.
The letters of Rosalie Stier Calvert, the original Mistress of Riversdale, provide the primary source of interpretation for the museum, allowing visitors to explore African American, Prince George’s County, and women’s history all in one place.
7. Lake Artemesia Natural Area
Located on land formerly used as a goldfish farm (yes, you read that right!), the Lake Artemesia Natural Area was developed while the D.C. Metro System was built in the 1970s.
Builders removed sand and gravel from the park to use for their construction, and in return established this natural recreation area.
Today, the park is the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors in College Park, Maryland. Things to do include fishing from the pier on the 38-acre lake, hiking and biking the many trails, and bird watching from anywhere on the park grounds.
8. Pinball Parlor at MOMs Organic Market
A Secret Pinball Room? Yes siree! If you’re looking for fun things to do in College Park, Maryland, you’ve got to check this out. An unexpected hidden gem in the college park area can be found in a local organic grocery.
The owner of My Organic Market (MOMs) is a huge fan of old school pinball machines. So when he opened this, his 19th grocery store, he thought “why not make it fun?”
He has dedicated a portion of the store to display his personal collection of vintage pinball machines, all available for his patrons to use for about $0.50 per game.
9. University of Maryland Golf Course
The full-service University of Maryland Golf Course is open every day of the week, and offers equipment, apparel, and accessories for both members and the general public.
The golf club hosts a tournament throughout the spring and summer, which is open to anyone who maintains a USGA handicap at UMD, and students can take advantage of special rates for lessons, clinics, and tee times, year round.
10. The Hall CP
This open-air space is an experience rather than a destination. Part restaurant, part bar, and part entertainment venue, The Hall CP is your one stop shop for food, drinks, and fun in College Park, Maryland.
Things to do during the day range from catching a game on the big screen to people-watching from the patio. Evenings bring comedy shows, live music, and reality TV watch parties, among other forms of entertainment.
With a menu full of crafty cocktails, eclectic eats, and classic favorites, everyone is sure to find something they love at The Hall.
11. Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail
Of everything on our list of things to do near College Park, Maryland, this has got to be the most relaxing.
The majority of the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail is shaded by the walnut and maple trees which line the yards of nearby quirky bungalows and impressive colonials, whose owners take great pride in showcasing their green thumbs.
A recently constructed segment of the trail links Riverdale Park and nearby Hyattsville, making the trail an easy route for local commuters, as well.
Book Your Stay at the Hotel at the University of Maryland in College Park
There are so many things to do in College Park, Maryland and the Hotel at University of Maryland is the perfect home base for your visit.
With the University’s main entrance just across the street from our lobby, you’ll have easy access to all of the attractions on our list.