Germantown has a rich history dating back to the 1830s. Although the city name honors the first German businessmen, most of the early settlers were of English and Scottish origin. Germantown thrives as a bustling suburb of Washington D.C., and it offers its residents good public schools, great restaurants and plenty of cultural activities, such as the BlackRock Center for the Arts.
Gaithersburg, once a rural farming community, ranks as the fourth largest city in Maryland. Residents here enjoy premier shopping venues, fine dining and close proximity to Washington D.C. The community still retains its small town feel with community festivals while it enjoys all the amenities found in larger cities.
Restaurants & Nightlife
A favorite restaurant of residents in the Germantown and Gaithersburg area, Coastal Flats serves fresh seafood, burgers, steak and ribs. Two great side dishes to order with your entrée include the mashed cauliflower and sweet potato fries, both highly recommended by local diners. The Coastal lobster roll comes with 1 pound of fresh lobster on a grilled roll with corn on the cob as its side, all perfectly prepared.
When the locals want authentic Italian fare, they head to Gemelli’s Italian Market. The market features a small indoor dining area if you want to eat-in, but Gemelli’s also does take-out orders for sandwiches. It also boasts a nice specialty foods shop where customers can buy olives, aged balsamic vinegars, Italian wines and cheeses. Don’t forget to pick up dessert with your sandwich order, as the homemade cannoli tastes fantastic.
Jazmin Cuisine Tex-Mex Grill cooks up authentic southwestern food and remains a favorite place to dine for local residents. The restaurant serves up huge portions with every entrée, with the burritos and grilled chicken crispy tacos rising to the top of menu options. The restaurant opens for breakfast as well, with tasty offerings such as a carnitas omelette and burrito al gusto, a make-it-yourself burrito.
Grab your friends and head to Dogfish Head Alehouse to watch the game and grab a bite to eat. Happy hour specials and great food, such as wings, nachos and burgers, make for a fun night out on the town. Diners can also choose the burger-of-the-week special, which comes with fries. Several kinds of beer can be found on tap as well as imported ales, seasonal beers and strong fruit beers. Bands provide entertainment on the weekends, and there proves to be plenty of room for visitors to kick up their heels to the music.
Quincy’s Bar and Grill acts as the quintessential neighborhood bar, complete with cheap beer, great pub food and friendly locals. The bar has a small variety of beer on tap and in bottles that pair nicely with the freshly made pizza, burgers and wings. Visitors enjoy the live music from local bands that play on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
History & Culture
First known as Log Town, Gaithersburg was established in 1765 as a farming community. When the city incorporated in 1878, the name changed to Gaithersburg. The town remained a rural town until the 1970s when more residents moved to the area and the city took on a more suburban feel.
In 1899, Gaithersburg became home to the International Latitude Observatory, one of six in the world. This institution gathered information regarding the Earth’s axis and studied orbiting satellites. This observatory operated until 1982 when computer modernization negated the need for manual observations.
The Gaithersburg-Washington Grove V.F.D. Fire Museum opens on Saturdays to visitors. The museum includes a restored 1941 engine and other fire equipment, some of which dates back to the 1920s.
Arts on the Green at Kentsland Mansion produces theatrical and musical performances year round. Visitors can view work from the region’s best artists in the art gallery.
Getting around the Germantown and Gaithersburg area proves easy thanks to the variety of transportation options available. Interstate 270 connects residents to Interstate 495 and Interstate 70, making traveling to Washington D.C. convenient. The Shady Grove Metro Station services the city with Metro bus connections. The MARC commuter train provides another option for residents who live in Gaithersburg, and Amtrak connections can be made through the MARC system. Bicyclists share both roadways and sidewalks with cars and pedestrians in Germantown and Gaithersburg, and residents have plenty of bike trails to ride when commuting or riding for exercise. Residents can easily to walk from home to local businesses, but most residents find it easier to drive to shopping and restaurants destinations.
The cost of living in the Germantown and Gaithersburg area averages 10 percent higher than the Maryland average and 27 percent higher than the national average, with a one-bedroom apartment costing approximately $1,250 per month. A one-way, regular bus pass costs $1.75, and a monthly pass for unlimited rides is only $45. Gasoline costs 8 percent more in Gaithersburg than the national average, and a beer can cost $8 to $10 for an IPA.
Gaithersburg’s premier shopping area, RIO Washingtonian Center, features 76,000 square feet of retail shopping. Residents and visitors can find Barnes & Noble, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Target among the 50 shops and restaurants in the open-air shopping center.
Shoppers can also find plenty to do at Lakeforest Mall, which houses over 100 stores and restaurants, such as Lord and Taylor, Macy’s, and Sear’s. Visitors can grab a bite in the food court or enjoy a sit-down meal at Red Robin or Ruby Tuesday.
If you love getting lost in a bookstore, then you must visit Wonder Book. Books can be found stacked from floor to ceiling, and the store has every genre imaginable. The shop buys used books as well.
Becraft Antiques and Craft Shop has quality treasures and antiques, such as glassware, furniture and so much more, tucked into every nook and cranny of the store. The business has been in operation over 60 years, and antique lovers can find something they love in this huge collection.
Residents have several options when it comes to groceries and farmers markets in the Germantown/Gaithersburg area. The Main Street Farmers Market operates every Saturday year round, and the associated artist market participates from May through November. The Fulks Corner Farmers Market has Thursday afternoon hours, and it operates from May until November. For other grocery items, residents shop at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Harris Teeter.
During December, residents enjoy the Winter Lights Festival, which showcases illuminated holiday displays in Seneca Creek State Park. Admission is charged per car to enter the festival area. The 3.5-mile drive features themed areas throughout the park, such as Winter Woods, the North Pole and Victorian Village. The park provides a beautiful backdrop for the 5K run/walk that takes place during the festival.
Dogs and their owners enjoy the 1-acre, fenced-in exercise area in Green Park. Dogs can run leash-free, and residents must have a city pet license to use the park.
Griffith Park at City Hall has everything a family needs to enjoy an afternoon at the park. There are plenty of picnic tables, so be sure to pack a lunch. The park features two playground areas for children, tennis courts and a large open field just perfect for playing Frisbee.