What to Do in and Around College Park
College Park has been undergoing some radical change. As recent as 2015, the area has seen no less than 20 new projects fostered by both government and private developers. The revitalization effort is dubbed, “Greater College Park,” which sees several development projects such as dynamic academic spaces, a research hub for both private and public interests and a reimagining of a more vibrant downtown with cafes, restaurants, and gaggle of fun things to do.
Here are a few of the highlights you won’t want to miss:
The University of Maryland
The University of Maryland is a great place to start your College Park adventure. The campus is a whopping 650 acres, and that isn’t including the sprawling woods or 18-hole golf course. There is a tour that starts at Turner Hall, just across the street from the hotel. If you are a little fatigued from all the walking, you can head over to The Stamp, the hub of activity on campus. If there is one place that students think of as “home base” it is the Stamp Student Union.
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 style area, or indulge your sweet tooth with a few scoops of Fear The Turtle from the famous Maryland Dairy Ice Cream Parlour.
Get in the Team Spirit
Athletics are a huge part of the culture around the University, and supporting the school’s football and basketball team is an experience in itself. Take in a game and enjoy “The Mighty Sound of Maryland” as the school’s marching band performs. Or enjoy some Potomac Pizza, which is the official sponsor of athletics and UMD and can also be found right in the hotel!
Art, History, and Entertainment
If there is one thing that College Park has in spades, it’s art and history. No better way to share this rich culture than the various museums and art houses in the area. The MilkBoy Arthouse, for example, is one part live music venue, one part restaurant with a little craft bar on the side. It also has a theater for films.
The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center is also a great arts venue named after one of UMD’s alumni and a Washingtonian painter, Clarice Smith. Showcasing local, regional, and national art, this venue features every type of performances imaginable.
Ever wonder what it was like during the infamous Nixon/Watergate scandal? You can have a listen to the famous tapes at the National Archives. While the public is welcome, you’ll need to call head first as access is by reservation only.
Then just a short drive from the hotel is the College Park Aviation Museum. This is where Wilbur Wright taught military flyboys how to soar among the clouds back in 1909. This is where it all began and is the world’s oldest airport still in operation.
The NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is the perfect activity for science-lovers. As a hub of NASA’s tracking activities, you will enjoy incredible exhibits. Don’t miss out on the “moon tree,” which was transported on Apollo 14 as a seed and then planted in middle of the front traffic circle at the visitor’s center.
Lastly, but not least, is the Riversdale House Museum. Contained in a lavish mansion of Flemish and 1800’s American styles, there are over 200 years of history and stories within the wall of this national landmark.
Walk the Park and Enjoy!
There is always something new at College Park. New venues and stores and restaurants seem to pop up overnight, offering a diverse and exciting mix of education, culture, and fun. The best way to enjoy College Park is to explore on foot. Sit at a cafe, take in a show or have a bite from a gourmet food truck. Be adventurous and explore all College Park has to offer when you stay at The Hotel at UMD.