The capital city provides a rich cultural life, with the Kennedy Center, National Symphony Orchestra and the National Opera, alongside many casual venues for theater and popular music. At the heart of it are the many world-class (but free!) museums of the Smithsonian Institution – including the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, the Freer and Sackler Museums of Asian Art, the National Museum of the American Indian, the National Museum of American History, the National Air and Space Museum, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture – as well as the National Gallery of Art.
Nearby outdoor activities include the many attractions of the National Mall (satellite) – including the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Martin Luther King Jr Memorial , as well as the National Zoo, hiking and biking at the nearby Great Falls National Park and Rock Creek Park, and further away the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland or Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.
The City of College Park itself is primarily a small college town, but it is increasingly attracting a diverse and educated population, due to nearby centers such as the National Archives at College Park, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and the new headquarters of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and due to the many expanding cultural, sporting and recreational activities available in and around the University of Maryland.
Cultural and sporting activities in College Park are dominated by the University. The university's Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center hosts an expansive program of theatrical, musical,and dance productions by nationally renowned performers. Maryland's sports teams in football, men's and women's basketball, soccer and lacrosse are hugely popular, and on game days the 18,000 seat Comcast Center or 55,000 seat Byrd Stadium are filled to capacity.
Recreational opportunities in and around the town include an extensive network of biking and running trails, Lake Artemesia, ice skating, and the superb AFI Silver Theater in nearby Silver Spring. College Park also is home to the College Park Aviation Museum, which focuses on the early days of aviation when College Park Airport, now the oldest continuously operated airport in the world, was an important flight center.