Until my recent visit, I had no idea there were so many things to do in Frederick, Maryland! It’s the perfect place for a day trip or even a long weekend! My stay was hosted by Visit Frederick, but all opinions and fun are 100% genuine!
In fact, my recent visit there was almost a bit frustrating, because I just could not believe that I have lived an hour away for my entire life and this was my first visit ever! Seriously. How is that possible that it’s taken me 40 years to experience Frederick, MD?
I’ve been home now for about 5 days and cannot seem to stop gushing over how much I loved it! And every single person that I’ve run into has said that they also have never visited there! Where is the gasping emoji when I need it??
I’m currently on a mission to convince every single person in my life that they need to schedule a visit to Frederick asap. And you guys are all included. If you’re local, make a day trip and soon you’ll be planning for a long weekend.
If you aren’t local, you’re in luck because it’s extremely close (and easily accessible) to Baltimore and D.C.! You can plan an entire week’s vacation to hit all three of my favorite cities and then come back and thank me!
Things to do in Frederick, MD
I’m a history buff and get chills just thinking about Civil War troops marching on the same streets I’m standing on or signing documents in the building right before. Frederick is filled with such a rich history that it’s hard to go more than a few buildings without seeing something of historical significance.
One of my favorite things about Frederick is the way the history is intermingled with modern day life. It isn’t a separate area of town that is roped off. It’s there amidst the current ice cream shop and in the background of a musician playing in a park. It’s part of the fabric of the city itself and everywhere you look!
Steps away from a quaint, modern storefront is an architecturally-stunning building with stories dating back to Francis Scott Key.
There are so many historical sites mixed in with the modern city, that it is well worth it to get a guided walking tour. I highly recommend going through the Frederick Visitors Center and asking to book Jack! He was engaging, knowledgeable and I so enjoyed some of his behind-the-scenes stories about the history of Frederick!
The city is also known for its clustered spires on churches. There are so many churches scattered throughout the downtown, and each one seemed to get progressively more breathtaking.
The architecture is just stunning. Can you even imagine this level of craftsmanship and detail on a modern church??
We also enjoyed a visit to the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. I know… it doesn’t exactly sound like the most thrilling way to spend an hour or so. But it truly was captivating! I highly recommend walking through with a tour guide if possible.
The exhibits are a fantastic peak inside what it was like for wounded soldiers at the time, but the stories and the history that the guide provides really makes it come to life!
While you’re downtown sightseeing, be sure to allow some time to shop! The term quaint seems inadequate to describe the downtown. It truly is charming and will just captivate you!
Just a few storefronts away from the museum I mentioned above, is a modern shop called Relish Decor.
I fell in love with this store. Gorgeous home pieces, but also some that were quirky and full of spunk! Totally regretting not buying a few things now that I’m home… which only means I need to plan my next trip back to Frederick!
The downtown shopping district tries its best to limit how many chain stores are able to be located downtown so that they can promote independent artists and shop owners. And it shows! The variety of stores is such a breath of fresh air from most cities I have visited!
I promise you, you will not go hungry during your time in Frederick! I am still dreaming about these crab cakes we had at The Tasting Room, located right in the middle of the shopping district.
If you’re looking for something a bit more casual, Brewer’s Alley was the perfect lunch spot. Plenty of seating (indoor and out), and a casual menu that would be perfect for families! Plus, you’ll get a great view of some dinosaur murals on the adjoining building!
There’s something magical that happens when a restaurant doesn’t only serve delicious food, but is in a perfect location and has a wonderful ambience. It’s the dining out trifecta and The Wine Kitchen hit it perfectly for me!
It had gorgeous rustic wood throughout the interior, was located right on the waterfront and I ordered this incredible Icelandic Cod over Maine Lobster. My husband might just be a little tired of me trying to describe this to him, but it was seriously one of the best things I’ve tasted in a long time! I also highly recommend the fried green tomatoes!
When I say that The Wine Kitchen is right on the waterfront, I’m referring to Carroll Creek. A 1.3 mile waterway that runs through the city and provides a scenic view for restaurants, condos, shops and an open-air amphitheater for concerts.
It’s a fascinating story about how the city of Frederick flooded in 1976, and Carroll Creek was built to remove it from the floodplain. Virtually eliminating the chance of Frederick flooding again!
Now it boasts varied bridges with artwork and paintings!
and stunning plant life! It’s just a gorgeous part of the city that is alive with people walking their dogs, local artists’ work, wildlife and more! I could have spent so long just walking along exploring!
But the artwork extends beyond Carroll Creek into other parts of the city. There is just so much vibrancy to this town, that even someone’s parked bike looked like art to me!
Numerous homes have dog statues gracing their front porch! And that door!!
More sculptures wrap themselves around the street lights:
But the real show-stopper when it comes to the Frederick art scene is the trompe l’oeil paintings that you will find randomly scattered through the city. We turned a corner and stumbled on this one and I literally gasped out loud! The talent it takes to make a painting look so realistic is astounding!
And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the historic Weinberg Center for the Arts. A former silent movie theater, the art deco styled theater now hosts world-renowned artists, speaker series, film screenings and more!
If you’re able to get out of the city for a little bit, I highly recommend visiting Cunningham Falls State Park. Not only does it have a gorgeous 78′ cascading waterfall, but it was such an easy 1 mile hike to reach it!
There is a more challenging path you can take if you’re up for it. Both paths are clearly marked and lead you to the same spot at the end.
My favorite part, though, was that there is also a separate parking lot for handicapped visitors with a walkway that led straight out to a gorgeous view of the waterfalls! We go hiking in nearly every city we visit, and it is not often that they are so handicapped-accessible! I absolutely love this!
You also might want to swing by Springfield Manor Winery & Distillery. It was only about a 10 minute drive from downtown Frederick and it had the most gorgeous lavender fields!
If you check their website for the schedule, try to plan it to stop by when the winery is open and there is live music playing. It’s such a gorgeous setting with the mountains behind you and the lavender fields in front of you!
If you’d rather stay in downtown Frederick, there are plenty of options to grab a drink or hear live music. We had the opportunity to swing by McClintock Distilling and talk with the owners.
Located right off the Carroll Creek walkway, it was a fully-renovated building that used to house a garage! Take some time to talk to the owners if you can. Their knowledge and pride in their work is just infectious!
And I may or may not have enjoyed their products so much that I went home with a bottle! I am a light beer or wine drinker normally, so this is saying a lot! My husband’s mouth dropped open when I told him I actually tried a few shots! And then that it was so good that I bought a bottle!
It’s just such an enjoyable town where I felt completely safe walking around at night and enjoying everything that Frederick had to offer!
Be sure to take a look at some of their upcoming events so you can plan your trip accordingly!
The Visit Frederick site is full of visitor information and even provides itineraries depending on the type of visit you’re planning (historical, girls’ weekend, winery tours, etc.). You can also request a travel packet with free guides on some of the must-see items while you’re in the area!