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What is your favorite thing about raising kids in Rockville, MD?
Twelve years ago, my husband and I were looking for our first home and we had a long laundry list of what we wanted in our new neighborhood. Safety, strong community, diversity, easy commutes including access to the metro, good schools and lots of nature and trees. We feel like we hit the jackpot with Rockville! We have been in our “starter” home for twelve years and have welcomed all four of our kids here (literally with four home births!) and can’t imagine living anywhere better.
We love raising our family here where our kids are surrounded with friendly faces and endless opportunities. We enjoy hopping on the Rock Creek trail in our neighborhood and biking to local parks, tasty restaurants in Bethesda or into DC to hit up museums and cultural events.
What makes Rockville, MD family-friendly and unique?
The Rockville Town Center is fun in all seasons with concerts and a splash pad in the summer and an outdoor ice skating rink in the winter. It’s easy to grab a meal at kid-friendly restaurants like First Watch and Woodside Deli. Rockville has awesome nature centers like Croydon Creek and Meadowside with fun family hikes and events like stargazing and s’mores around the campfire.
What community events or local attractions are there?
The new Pike and Rose District features live music at Strathmore’s AMP venue, a luxury movie theater, a swanky bowling alley, weekly farmers markets, and free family festivals and events. It also has an incredible beach and grassy area full of young families hanging out after hitting up the great restaurants like Summerhouse and Taylor Gourmet and shops like REI, Uniqlo, Gap, and L.L. Bean.
Why would you recommend Rockville to families?
I would recommend Rockville to families because it has the best of both worlds. There is a real community, neighborhood feel throughout, but there is also a fun, city element because of Pike and Rose. We love schools and the proximity to the city is great. Lots of families live here and commute to DC for work.
What nearby schools or childcare places to kids go to?
The schools in and around Rockville are fantastic. There is a huge variety of preschools from small, homey co-ops like Rockville Community Nursery School unique and special schools like the close-by Audubon Nature Preschool where the preschoolers and kindergarteners spend each day hiking and exploring an amazing nature sanctuary. Rockville’s public elementary schools like Fallsmead, Beall, and College Gardens boast a high level of parent involvement, active PTAs, and top-notch teachers and administrators which make each school warm, friendly, and awesome for our kiddos. Rockville is also home to a county French Immersion school and isn’t far from the Spanish immersion school.
Where are your favorite places to shop?
Rockville Pike is loaded with shopping plazas to find just about anything. And the grocery stores are amazing. There is Trader Joe’s, Aldi, Whole Foods, Dawson’s Market and The Fresh Market as well as Chinese, Japanese, Asian, Latin, European and Indian markets. You really can find any ingredient to any recipe you want to make. Last but not least, there is My Organic Market (MOMs) which is my personal favorite. Shopping there is a treat – it’s small but and has everything you need including free fair trade coffee to sip while you shop as well as the Naked Café for healthy and fresh take out meals, juices, and kombucha on tap. Bonus is the wonderful staff that know my kids by name and carry my bags to my car. We always pop into Spring Mill Bread Company next door for the best fresh bread and treats. Also, Congressional Plaza offers Child’s Play toy store.
What are some of your favorite places to eat?
Silver Diner and Chuy’s on Rockville Pike are two super family-friendly restaurants. Congressional Plaza offers Lebanese Taverna Café, Matchbox pizza, and more. As mentioned, at Pike and Rose, we love Summerhouse and Taylor Gourmet. And of course there is the incomparable Baked Bear which has deluxe made-to-order ice cream cookie sandwiches with a crazy assortment of flavors and options to make your sweet tooth sing.
What places make Rockville feel kid-friendly?
The libraries are lovely and offer lots of story hours for young children as well as chess, knitting, and lego building groups for older kids. There is a fun pottery studio as well as really great art classes for children of all ages. Lots of activities are offered through Rockville Parks and Rec as well.
What advice would you give to families who are new to Rockville, MD?
Rockville has something for everyone and this midwestern girl feels so at home with the friendly vibes and inclusive neighborhoods. I love calling Rockville our hometown. My advice would be to get outside and go explore. There are so many great outdoor spaces to enjoy as a family and it’s a great way to meet new families!