Located in Gaithersburg, the Rio—known as the Rio Washingtonian Center—is a shopping and dining destination that isn’t for just the adult’s only crowd. This ever-expanding all-ages hot spot is filled with family fun. If you haven’t been to the picturesque hot spot, complete with its own lake, then it is time you and the kiddos check it out. Don’t be surprised when you find the hours slip away. You won’t be sorry, it is a day well-spent.

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Have a Good Morning
Early morning risers are in for a treat when you take them for a stroll along the sidewalks and stop in at the Corner Bakery for a muffin and fresh-squeezed juice. The free parking at this sprawling outdoor mall makes it an easy a.m. transition.

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Walk It Out
Whether you are chasing a toddler or pushing a carriage, a stroll around the lake (.9 miles) is just what the day ordered. The Rio has its own track that offers a gorgeous view, a chance to chase some geese or just feed them. Wellness tips along the way will keep you stepping.

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Playdate Ready
Rio has a lakeside playground and a train that runs without a track. Take your time and do both! The train, the Washingtonian Express, runs all day (weather-permitting) and is located right next to California Pizza Kitchen—family-friendly noshing right around the corner. Run, skip or hop your way to the Adventure Playground for a swing, slide or climb. It’s highly interactive and a great way to pass the time. Wrap it all up with a ride on the new American-theme carousel. Dancing horses, two chariots and a many whimsical creatures offer seats for 30 tots and 38 adults to go for a spin.

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Datenight Ready, Too
Love is in the air; better yet, on the water. Hop aboard a swan, pirate ship, dragon or pink flamingo paddle boat for an easy-going jaunt around the lake. The half-hour excursion begins by the patio near Guapo’s restaurant. Don’t worry if the weather has a chill or the rain falls down. The Rio has a Barnes & Noble and a Loew’s Cinema to duck into for a quiet moment.

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Getting Hungry?
Before heading home, walk to dinner for a bite that is sure please everyone’s palate. The offerings include Mexican at Uncle Julio’s where tykes can see tortillas being made or crack a crab leg at Joe’s Crab Shack are a good bet.In addition to over a dozen eateries the Rio can handle any sugar attack. If a cupcake is in order Lilly Magilly can serve it up right. It’Sugar can compete with its giant array of sugary treats.

Do you have a favorite spot on the Rio in Gaithersburg? Tell us about it in the comments section below. 

Rio Washingtonian
231 Rio Blvd. (Gaithersburg, Md)
Open: 10 am-9 pm
Online: riowashingtonian.com

—Victoria Mason

Photos: Rio Washingtonian via Facebook and Lilly Magilly’s via Facebook