Sometimes it can feel like all there is to do in this town is lay in bed and watch Netflix. When it comes to having a day off from school, it can feel like sleeping in and lounging around is the best use of your time. But that’s probably just because you can’t think of anything better to do, which is where I come in. Whether you’re off for a holiday, or just sick of doing nothing when you don’t have class, here are eleven things you can do in and around College Park.
In College Park
Visit a museum or art gallery
College Park has some great museum and gallery options, such as the University of Maryland Art Gallery (free) and the College Park Aviation Museum ($5 admission). They offer very different experiences and can be fun adventures to fill a few hours out of the day. Each has a calendar of events, if you’re looking for an interactive experience. Otherwise, you can walk around the regular exhibits to your heart’s desire.
Walk around the lake
If it’s a nice day out, take a walk around Lake Artemesia. Right on the border of College Park and Berwyn Heights, it’s a great place to get some exercise or just take in the view. You can bring a book to read while sitting on a bench by the trail or in one of the gazebos located around the area.
Find some historic sites
For a college town, there are about a dozen places scattered around the city to visit if you’re looking to discover the past. From the College Park Woman’s Club (4711 Knox Road) to the Rossborough Inn (Baltimore Avenue), most will have a placard in front explaining its significance.
Between TerpZone and Bowlero College Park, there is no scarcity of bowling alleys in this town. Bring a friend and play a couple of rounds before grabbing some food and then finish it off with some games in Bowlero’s arcade or TerpZone’s gaming area.
Around College Park
As someone who loves to peruse around malls like it’s nobody’s business, I feel that the amount of shopping centers in this area is wildly downplayed. Between Uptown Cheapskate (actually in College Park), the Mall at Prince George’s (which has H&M, Express Outlet, Old Navy and Target, among other stores), the Westfield Montgomery Mall (my personal favorite) and Pike & Rose in Bethesda, there are plenty of good options for whatever mood you’re in. Pro tip: if you’re off for a holiday, check out any sales or deals happening that day.
See a movie
During the semester, it might seem like there’s never a good time to catch the latest flick, but on your day off, you make the calls. With an AMC theater in Greenbelt and a Regal theater in Hyattsville, there’s no excuse not to treat yourself to two hours of comedy, thrill or romance.
Find a new restaurant
A day off is the perfect time to try something new and head out to that restaurant you’ve been dying to try. Go out to lunch by yourself (pro tip: bring a book) or with a friend and enjoy. Some suggestions include, but definitely aren’t limited to: Founding Farmers, True Food Kitchen, Silver and Summer House.
Go on a tour
If you’re a newcomer to the city, check out tours for the major monuments, like this one from the Education Commission of the States. Or if you’re ready to dive deeper into the city, book something more geared toward your interests, like a food tour through the historic Eastern Market. You can find guided or unguided tours by foot, bike, bus or segway.
Sure, you probably went to the Smithsonian National Museum of History for extra credit for a class, but there are so many cool (and free) museums to see around the city. Head over to the National Mall and check out the National Gallery of Art or the Botanic Gardens. Or if you’re more interested in culture, there are just as many museums focused on heritage like the Mexican Cultural Institute or the National Museum of African American History and Culture. You can even hit something as niche as the International Spy Museum.
Walk around a waterfront
There’s the District Wharf, the Georgetown Waterfront Park and the Capitol Riverfront near the Navy Yard. All offer a great view of the Potomac River and some offer boating experiences. All three have bustling areas around them to grab a snack, buy a cup of coffee or do some shopping along the way.
Find any event
Depending on when your day off is, you can look up a calendar of events for the city. You can search by month or season. The city offers events ranging from the Official DC Cocktail Festival (must be 21+) to Passport DC.
Whatever your activity level, budget or mode of transportation can allow, there’s definitely something better to do on your day off than sitting around doing nothing. Take the time to explore your surroundings and see what’s out there.