Recreation, Tourism & Retail

Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventure, endless activities await you in Howard County.

Take an afternoon stroll, enjoy a world-class shopping experience, spend a day at the park, discover the area’s rich history, pick your own produce, play a round of golf or relax at one of our numerous premier spas. There’s something for everyone to see and do in Howard County.


Howard County’s wide network of trails, playgrounds, bike lanes, reserved farmlands, waterways, and parks inspires all kinds of outdoor activities. The county features five annual triathlons and other running events. All of Columbia’s neighborhoods offer local gyms, outdoor swimming pools, and paved trails that attract walkers and bikers. Plus the Howard County Recreation and Parks Department offers a wide variety of sports, from instructional to competitive, and outdoor adventure services, such as hiking and kayaking, for citizens of all ages.

Choose from these great year-round programs:

Howard County was honored with “Best Park Playground” in the 2012 Maryland Family Readers’ Choice Awards and Maryland “Sports Town” by Sports Illustrated in 2003

Arts & Entertainment

Howard County is rich with entertainment options. We have a nationally renowned outdoor amphitheater that hosts first rate musical performances, a nationally acclaimed dinner theater and an abundance of festivals and fairs.

Museums & Tourism

Howard County is rich in heritage and offers a number of fascinating museums to visit. Historic communities include Ellicott City’s Main Street and Elkridge’s Lawyer’s Hill. More information on Howard County’s unique history:


Howard County’s abundance of retail establishments reflects our exceptional quality of life. You’ll find everything from world-class malls to quaint antiques shops, upscale grocery stores to ethnic grocers, and mass retailers to specialty stores. You also can taste nearly any kind of cuisine at our wide selection of restaurants, ranging from trendy to family-friendly.

Columbia was built around its Village Centers, which offer both local shopping and a community hub for residents. Other attractive local shopping spots include the Historic Savage Mill and Historic Main Street in Ellicott City.