15 Best Things to Do in Frederick, Maryland

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Carroll Creek, Frederick Maryland
Photo credit: Acroterion via Wikimedia Commons

Like many cities in Maryland, Frederick is rich in history and culture. Battlefields, historic sites, museums, war monuments and beautiful architecture adorn this vibrant city. Even the city’s name is inspired by history. Take a tour through American history while exploring some of Frederick’s most popular attractions, including the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and the Schifferstadt Architectural Museum. Those are just a few of the things to do in Frederick, Maryland.

Return to the 21st century by relaxing at one of the downtown wineries and distilleries. To enjoy the city’s natural spaces, spend a day in Gambrill State Park and enjoy one of many recreational activities, including hiking, biking, camping or golfing.

Only about an hour from Baltimore or Washington DC, this historic Maryland town makes for a great day trip. When planning your trip, state with this roundup of the don’t-miss things to do in Frederick, Maryland.

1. Explore Downtown Frederick

Start off your visit with a stroll through historic downtown Frederick. Here, you’ll be greeted by more than 200 boutiques, museums, art galleries, award-winning restaurants and historic buildings across 50 blocks. There is an escape room, a pottery studio and an arts center. To dive into the area’s history, take a self-guided tour or pick from a selection of guided walking tours by Heritage Frederick.

If you’re not sure where to start, pop in at the Frederick Visitor Center, located in the heart of this historic district. Here, you can pick up a welcome bag, which includes lots of helpful information and a map to help you find the best things to do in Frederick.

2. Visit the National Museum of Civil War Medicine

The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is a Frederick must-see. This museum sheds light on the medical side of the Civil War.

Learn about the doctors and surgeons who worked during the war, the conditions they worked under and the medical innovations born during that time. The museum also features a number of recreated scenarios, such as a field dressing station and a military hospital ward, to help transport visitors back in time.

The museum is open Thursday through Sunday and is free for children under 10.

Schifferstadt House. Photo credit: Pete Giove-Fourwinds via Wikimedia Commons

3. See the Schifferstadt House

Learn about the history of one of the oldest buildings in Frederick County at the Schifferstadt Architectural Museum. This museum’s stone manor house is a prime example of German-Georgian colonial architecture. Built by the son of a German immigrant more than 300 years ago, the home showcases beautiful stone arches, thick walls and a five-plate stove.

The museum offers guided tours for those looking to learn more about home’s history and architecture. Visit the home between 2 and 5 p.m. on the weekends.Children under 12 enter for free.

4. Explore Gambrill State Park

Gambrill State Park is only a short drive from downtown Frederick.

Located on Catoctin Mountain, this beautiful state park is made up of two separate areas: the High Knob area and the Rock Run area. At 1,600 feet, the High Knob offers stunning aerial views of the Frederick and Middletown Valleys. The Rock Run area is home to campsites, picnic areas and a pond. Check out both areas while exploring the park’s 16 miles of hiking trails.

Rose Hill Manor in Frederick, Maryland
Rose Hill Manor. Photo credit: Acroterion via Wikimedia Commons

5. Visit Rose Hill Manor Park and Museums

Built in the 1790s, Rose Hill Manor served as a retirement home for Thomas Johnson, Maryland’s first elected governor. Now, the property acts as a children’s museum that demonstrates what life was like in Colonial America. This hands-on museum gives visitors a chance to grate spices, play with antique toys and card wood. The museum also features an ice house, a log cabin, a blacksmith shop, a farm museum and a carriage museum.

The museum is open Thursday through Sunday.

6. Experience History at the Monocacy National Battlefield

Exploring history is always one of the best things to do in Frederick, Maryland, and the Monocacy National Battlefield is one of the best places to do that. It’s the site of the Battle of Monocacy, which halted a Confederate effort to capture Washington DC. Known as “The Battle that Saved Washington,” this battle changed the tide of the war, and is considered one of the Civil War’s most influential battles.

Now, the battlefield is home to seven walking trails, varying in length and level. Stop at the visitor center beforehand and pick up a trail guide to learn more about the 1864 battle along the way.

7. Check out the Community Bridge Mural

Once a plain traffic bride, the community bridge is now a popular Frederick attraction and beautiful piece of public art. It was created by artist William Cochran in 1993, who used a technique called “trompe l’oeil” or “fool the eye,” to make the structure look like an old stone bridge.

If you look closely, you’ll see small symbols and carvings, which are meant to represent unity. Check it out for yourself and then explore Carroll Creek Linear Park, a beautiful public park surrounding the bridge.

8. Catch a Game at Harry Grove Stadium

Calling all sports fans! During the summer, the Harry Grove Stadium is the place to catch a baseball game. The stadium is the home of the Frederick Keys, a collegiate summer baseball team and member of the MLB Draft League.

Harry Grove Stadium can seat up to 5,400 fans and games typically run between June and September. The schedule is available here. In true Frederick Keys fashion, get ready to shake your keys!

9. Catch a Show at the Weinberg Center for the Arts

Once a silent movie theater, the Weinberg Center for the Arts is now a 1,143-seat multi-use theater for performing arts that hosts movies in addition to shows, live music, speeches, studio recordings and events of all kinds.

Built in 1926, this historic theater also offers backstage tours where visitors can admire the building’s Art Deco architecture. Tours are free and take about 45-60 minutes.

10. Have a Beer at the Flying Dog Brewery

After a long day of sightseeing, treat yourself to a craft beer at the Flying Dog Brewery. This brewery opened in 1990, and is a popular Fredrick hotspot.

Take a tour of the brewery or simply enjoy its selection of more than 20 beers on tap. If you’re hungry, order from the tasty Roasthouse Pub food truck.

Baker Park in Frederick Maryland
Baker Park. Photo credit: Jennifer Boyer via Wikimedia Commons

11. Stroll through Baker Park

When this popular 58-acre park isn’t hosting a special event or concert, it’s the perfect place for an afternoon hike or bike ride. Located in downtown Frederick, Baker Park is home to biking and walking paths, playgrounds, ballparks and a lake.

Open year-round, the park is carefully maintained and an important Frederick asset.

12. Drink and Dine at Dragon Distillery

Check out Frederick’s first distillery, Dragon Distillery. This Dungeons & Dragons-themed distillery offers tasting and tours.

If you’re not in the mood for the hard stuff, order one of the specialty cocktails, such as the “Dragon’s Blood,” made of Joust Gin and blood orange sours or the “Elvish Suicide,” with citrus vodka, sours and lime juice. If you’re hungry, check out the menu, which includes sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and tasty appetizers.

13. Visit the Delaplaine Arts Center

There’s lots to do at the 40,000-square-foot Delaplaine Arts Center. See one of the five art galleries, take an art class in one of eight different studios, shop at the gift gallery or spend some time in the Etchison Davis Library.

Located in downtown Frederick, the center draws more than 80,000 visitors each year and is free for all.

14. Mount Olivet Cemetery

Mount Olivet Cemetery is the final resting place of many historic figures, including former Maryland governor Thomas Johnson; Francis Scott Key, who wrote the USA’s national anthem, The Star Splangled Banner; and Barbara Fritchie, a heroine of the Civil War. The cemetery spans 130 acres and contains more than 40,000 grave sites. Visitors are invited to walk, bike, jog or bird watch in the cemetery, while being respectful of those who rest there.

15. Shop at Emporium Antiques

If you love anything vintage, you’ll love Emporium Antiques. Located in a 55,000-square-foot warehouse built in 1912, this antique shop is in the heart of downtown Frederick. More than 130 antique dealers sell anything from 18th century furniture to antique glassware to vintage cameras.

Where to Stay Near Frederick, Maryland

There are lots of options for hotel stays near Frederick. Use this interactive map to help you find a place to stay in the area.


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