Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Greenbelt, MD

  • Published 2022/11/05

​​A “National Historic Landmark.”

That’s how the city of Greenbelt in Maryland entices tourists to come into the area.

As a planned community in Prince George’s County, the city has an extensive network of walkways, underpasses, and inner courtyards.

It’s also among the first areas to have a shopping center built in the style of a mall across the United States—which you will find later in the article.

Strap on as you read through the 15 best things to do in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Relive the Legacy of Greenbelt at the Greenbelt Museum

Exterior view of Greenbelt Museum

ArtistsInResidence, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Greenbelt Museum records Greenbelt’s rich history and legacy as an experimental community created in the 1930s.

You’ll find the Greenbelt Museum along Crescent Road.

Admission is $5, sometimes even less.

Greenbelt was created as part of President’s Roosevelt’s New Deal administration.

Entrance to Greenbelt Museum

Rebeccagale, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It was designed as a garden suburb, a blueprint for what modern towns (at the time) would be.

Because of this, many items from the period up to the present are preserved and are available for viewing.

For many visitors, you’d want to secure tickets to tour the historic house with many artifacts and items from Greenbelt’s past.

There’s also a separate exhibit gallery managed by the museum staff at Greenbelt’s Community Center.

Watch Your Favorite Movies at the AMC Academy 8 Theater

The AMC Academy 8 Theater is located along Greenbelt Road.

It is one of the many movie theaters of the American Multi-Cinema, Inc. (AMC) across the United States.

The AMC Academy 8 Theater boasts the best equipment with visual fidelity and audio quality to immerse the audience when watching their favorite movie.

A wide selection of movies is up regularly, with reasonable ticket prices for each show.

Buying a ticket can be done on AMC’s mobile app, allowing you to buy add-ons to enhance your movie viewing experience.

Support the Local Talents Grown at the Greenbelt Arts Center

The Greenbelt Arts Center is Greenbelt’s community theater company known for showcasing high-quality shows.

These shows feature the experience and talent of local talents who love performing arts in the middle of their busy lives.

Located along Centerway, the Greenbelt Arts Center is a “black box” theater where people may rearrange seats depending on the production and how flexible the directors are regarding the number of viewers.

You might be seated in a three-quarter thrust arrangement on most production shows.

In others, it’s possible to arrange seats in a proscenium arrangement, depending on how the directors want to showcase their shows.

The theater can hold up to 100 audience members and all seats are bought as general admission.

You just have to come early as there is no seat assignment.

Note the lack of assigned seating and that you must buy tickets in advance as the arts center doesn’t make door sales.

While waiting for your show to start, why not enjoy the displays in the center’s lobby gallery?

The gallery features works from artists and photographers from Greenbelt.

Take a Look at the County’s Unique Non-Profit Cinema, The Old Greenbelt Theatre

Entrance to Old Greenbelt Theatre

ArtistsInResidence, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Old Greenbelt Theatre is located at the heart of Greenbelt and is a one-screen movie theater.

Located at Centerway, the Old Greenbelt Theatre, at the time of its construction, would later pave the way for modern theatre entertainment.

The establishment is a cultural and social hub that aims to become a center for film culture in the county.

Contemporary shows, combined with diverse and community-based films, entertain viewers through a digital projector with 35mm reel-to-reel capabilities.

Check out the theatre’s website to learn which films will be shown, their run time, and available time slots.

Ticket prices for each film showing are affordable since the organization behind the theatre is a non-profit.

The theatre runs on the support and kindness of the community to help run its diverse programs.

Grab Some Food and Drinks at This Award-Winning Music Venue in Greenbelt, the New Deal Cafe

You’ll find the New Deal Cafe at the Roosevelt Center at Centerway, Greenbelt.

The New Deal Cafe calls itself “Greenbelt’s living room.”

Its name is a callback to the Roosevelt administration’s Depression-era New Deal project, which paved the way for constructing the city of Greenbelt.

This cafe opened in 1995 and entertains visitors with live music every night and features exhibits by local artists each month.

How this award-winning establishment came to be is an interesting story on its own.

The New Deal Cafe came as a vision for building a coffee house in Greenbelt where people can have extended periods to enjoy talks with each other.

Greenbelt was simply a town back then with cooperative housing, a grocery store, a nursery store, and a local newspaper.

It was intended that the coffee house is built in a similar way, where volunteers manage the coffee house using the goods and services of other cooperatives in the area.

The cafe’s vision was realized on November 5, 1994, when over 600 people went to the open house set to check if this idea was viable.

Since then, volunteers worked on New Deal, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Take a Dip at the Greenbelt Aquatic & Fitness Center

Exterior view of Greenbelt Aquatic & Fitness Center

ArtistsInResidence, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Greenbelt Aquatic & Fitness Center is an aquatic facility located along Crescent Road.

This aquatic facility is open to the general public on weekdays, but it also has a membership card that’ll admit pass holders on the weekends and holidays.

This establishment also houses the Greenbelt Municipal Swim Team.

Though it’s more prominent because of its indoor and outdoor pools, it also has a gym for people who prefer to keep in shape without getting wet.

The Fitness Center prioritizes its swimming classes over recreational swimming, so if you plan to visit, you might be instructed to use a different pool.

The center maintains three swimming lap lanes for the public unless the swim team uses them.

Alternatively, you can join these classes yourself.

Check out the official page for more information and a list of admission prices.

Family Fun is the Focus of Springhill Lake Recreation Center

If enjoying with the family is what you’re looking for, the Springhill Lake Recreation Center is the place to be.

The Springhill Lake Recreation Center is on Crescent Road and is open for families and groups of people every Sunday afternoon in spring.

Most of the recreation center’s bustling activities occur during the spring season.

Recreation equipment is found on-site, but facility IDs are required to participate in some activities.

Aptly named “Celebration of Spring,” it allows people to enjoy the arts, crafts, performances, food, music, and other activities.

Give a Round of Applause to the Performances of the Greenbelt Youth Musical

The Greenbelt Youth Musical is a local program for young actors and actresses between grades seven and twelve.

This program provides opportunities for these youth to work with professionals in the field of theater.

The Greenbelt Youth Musical builds up confidence and community among teens and to show off their skills.

It culminates in an annual musical production that varies each year.

If you have kids who want to nurture their inner actor, allow them to audition in the program so they can boost their confidence.

That said, you’d have to check their registration schedule, as they have to keep classes at a manageable size.

Take a Quiet Picnic with Friends at the Buddy Attick Lake Park

Scenic view of Buddy Attick Lake Park

Andrew Bossi, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Imagine a picturesque lake where you can enjoy the peace and quiet with your family.

That’s exactly what the Buddy Attick Lake Park is known for.

Find the 23-acre lake park on Crescent Road.

The lake is surrounded by dirt and stone path that winds through trees in the park, making it an ideal place to stroll and take your mind off things.

This path surrounding the lake is about 1.25 miles in length.

Trail along the Buddy Attick Lake Park

Andrew Bossi, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Note that swimming and any motorized boats aren’t allowed, although kayaks and canoes are.

The Buddy Attick Lake Park also allows fishing but for individuals 16 years and older with a fishing license obtained in local sporting shops in the community.

This park is open to the public daily, but restrooms close at dusk.

Parking is limited and requires a permit you can obtain at the community’s Department of Planning and Community Development office.

Picturesque view of the lake at Buddy Attick Lake Park

Andrew Bossi, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Do a Kick-Flip at the Greenbelt Skate Park

If you’re planning to bring your skateboard, check out Greenbelt Skate Park.

The Greenbelt Skate Park is a 7,000-square-foot park with various street and vert elements.

Among the park’s most prominent structures is the 10.5 feet deep bowl with a ceramic pool coping that accommodates a lot of skaters.

You should register so the park administration can manage the flow of people, especially if you have a minor with you.

Bring your skate helmet, as the registration process includes a membership card and a sticker to put on the helmet.

Be aware that skaters have to follow skate park rules.

Spooks and Scares Are up for the Young at Heart at the Wild Rumpus

Who doesn’t want to trick-or-treat during the Halloween season?

Among Greenbelt’s most energetic events is The Wild Rumpus, a Halloween celebration for children and the young at heart.

Locals used to know it as the Costume Contest and Parade, but it doesn’t have a nice ring and spookiness like its new name, The Wild Rumpus.

Imagination, creativity, and a little elbow grease can help bring out children’s creativity.

As this is mostly a children-oriented event, you might want to tone down the gore and violent imagery.

Children can also join the Pre-Rumpus Workshop to work on their costumes.

Get a Grasp of Greenbelt’s History at the Roosevelt Center

Exterior view of Roosevelt Center

Payton Chung from DCA, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Roosevelt Center is one of the first shopping centers in the United States.

Established in 1937, the Roosevelt Center embodies what the New Deal project idealized.

The Roosevelt Center isn’t just a shopping place but a gathering area that aims to foster community spirit.

The center has hosted many stores over its long history.

The Greenbelt Co-op Supermarket and Pharmacy is located on its premises.

Moreover, the center also houses two entries listed previously, the Greenbelt Theatre and the New Deal Cafe.

Because of its significance to the community, it was later incorporated into Greenbelt’s Historic District.

It has also welcomed businesses, start-ups, and remote workers.

You’ll find this historic landmark at the heart of Old Greenbelt.

Breathe in the Fresh Air at the Greenbelt Forest Preserve

A forested land, a little over 250 acres wide, is the Greenbelt Forest Preserve.

This is a protected area that links residents of the city with nature.

The Greenbelt Forest Preserve improves the city’s air and water quality, ultimately contributing to the nearby Chesapeake Bay.

This piece of land, therefore, contributes to the wellness of the residents.

Choose to walk through one of five forested areas: North Wood, Hamilton Woods, Boxwood, Belle Point, and Sunrise.

Wildlife will greet you in whatever area you explore, making it a lovely location for people who are into wildlife photography and videography.

For the most part, enjoying the cool shade of the trees is enough for people who want to take some time off the daily grind.

Dance to the Beat at the Greenbelt Dance Studio

Greenbelt Dance Studio is one of many recreational facilities at the Greenbelt Community Center on Crescent Road.

The dance studio is part of Grennbelt’s recreation program, offering affordable dance instruction.

The Greenbelt Dance Studio is youth-oriented; the administrators want their students to enjoy the joyful art of dancing.

Dance instructors at the studio teach various dance genres to all ages year-round.

These trained professionals are adept at teaching multiple levels of ballet, tap dancing, hip-hop, contemporary, and even modern dance styles.

If you like to move to the beat, you can visit their webpage to learn the courses they offer.

And if you want to join their class, follow their studio rules and learn about their dance attire requirements beforehand.

Dream of the Stars at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Signage of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Mark Van Scyoc /

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center is one of NASA’s space research laboratories in the U.S.

It is the first space flight complex established in 1959, named after Dr. Robert Goddard, and established on Greenbelt Road.

For many people interested in what astronauts, physicists, and scientists of NASA work on, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center has a dedicated Visitor Center.

Space telescope at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Nicole Glass Photography /

The visitor center (whose admission is free) contains exhibits from Goddard’s work.

The center offers field trips and facility tours to groups with reservations; reserve a guided tour if you’re going with a large group.

It’s not rocket science; drop by Goddard Space Flight Center and reach for the stars.

A women explaining about space to a visitor at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

What started as a plan to bounce back from the Depression Era is now a full-fledged city.

While the community was originally built to recover from the Depression Era, it’s understandable that its planners prioritized bringing money into the town.

So next time you visit Maryland, armed with this list of the 15 best things to do in Greenbelt, take a detour and visit the city.

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