The 15 Best Things to Do in Frederick, Maryland

Frederick, Maryland

DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

Frederick, Maryland, is home to a variety of family-friendly attractions, parks, recreational areas, wineries, antique shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. As the gateway to Western Maryland, with its mountainous views and skyline of clustered spires, the city is best known for its Civil War sites and impressive 40-block historic district. Located within an hour's drive of both Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Frederick is a fun and easy place to explore whether you're just visiting for the day or planning to spend some time there.

01 of 15

Go On a Walking Tour of Frederick's Historic Downtown

People on a guided walking tour in Frederick

Visit Frederick

24 E Church St, Frederick, MD 21701-5402, USA
Phone +1 301-663-1188

Stop by the Frederick Visitor Center on South East Street to pick up a brochure for a 2.5-mile self-guided walking tour through Frederick's historic downtown, established in 1745 by settlers from England and Germany. The tourism board's website breaks down different itineraries you can do based on interest, whether you're into public art, architecture, nature, or want to focus on Frederick's African American history.

If you'd prefer to have some explanation of what you're looking at, sign up for a guided walking tour by Heritage Frederick, which last 90 minutes and must be booked at least two weeks in advance. Choose from themed tours including a general overview of the historic district, African American history, art and architecture, or Civil War history. Maryland Heritage Tours' ghost tours and cemetery tours shed light on Frederick's darker history.

02 of 15

Check Out Crystal Grottoes Caverns

Crystal Grottoes Caverns in Maryland

Crystal Grottoes Caverns

19821 Shepherdstown Pike, Boonsboro, MD 21713-2620, USA
Phone +1 301-432-6336

Just a 30-minute drive from downtown Frederick in Boonsboro, Crystal Grottoes Caverns is an interesting place to spend the day exploring ancient underground rock formations. Excavated in 1920 and opened as a tourist attraction in 1922, the family-owned and operated site offers daily guided tours of the cave system. The cave stays at a cool 54 degrees Fahrenheit, making it a fun place to visit all year long. Curious science-loving guests of all ages can learn about the various formations and the carbonation and decarbonation processes the limestone cave's features have gone through over the years, as well as the natural geology of the area.

03 of 15

Visit Catoctin Mountain Park and Cunningham Falls State Park

Cunningham Falls State Park In Maryland

TripSavvy / Rachel Cooper

14707 Park Central Rd, Thurmont, MD 21788, USA
Phone +1 301-663-9388

Located just 25 minutes north of Frederick, Catoctin Mountain Park offers 5,770 acres of natural wonderland to explore on foot, by bicycle, or by car. It also happens to be home to several popular campgrounds and youth camps as well as Camp David, a small military base used by U.S. presidents seeking solace in nature. Enjoy 25 miles of hiking trails, or come for camping and fly-fishing in summer and cross-country skiing opportunities during the winter.

Nearby, 6,080-acre Cunningham Falls State Park features a beautiful 78-foot cascading waterfall, a 44-acre lake, 140 campsites, playgrounds, picnic areas, and heaps of hiking trails, making it a local favorite for outdoor recreation with plenty of things to do for the whole family.

04 of 15

Tour Monacacy National Battlefield

Monocacy National Battlefield in Frederick, Maryland

klaftera / Getty Images

5201 Urbana Pike, Frederick, MD 21704, USA
Phone +1 301-662-3515

This particular Civil War site is one of Frederick, Maryland's most notable historic attractions, as it's where the Battle of Monocacy Junction was fought on July 9, 1864. This site marks one of the last battles that the Confederates carried out in Union territory—and one that essentially saved Washington, D.C. from being attacked. Take a walking tour and stop by the Visitor Center to view electronic maps, historical artifacts, and other interpretive displays, participate in a ranger-guided program, or attend special events.

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05 of 15

Shop for Antiques and Other Treasures

Shab Row in Frederick, Maryland

Tourism Council of Frederick County

112 N East St, Frederick, MD 21701, USA
Phone +1 301-378-8537

If you're into antiquing, Frederick's historic downtown boasts over 200 antique shops, many within easy walking distance of each other. The historic area also includes retail shops specializing in home furnishings, fashion, outdoor gear, toys, specialty foods, books, art, and vintage tea.

06 of 15

Visit the National Museum of Civil War Medicine

Display in the National Museum of Civil War Medicine
Tourism Council of Frederick County, Inc.
48 E Patrick St, Frederick, MD 21701, USA
Phone +1 301-695-1864

Located in downtown Frederick, the National Museum of Civil War Medicine contains five galleries and more than 1,200 artifacts that illustrate the medical story of the American Civil War. Here, guests can learn about the history of medical care and technology as it relates to the military and the wounded via living history exhibits, check out the gift shop, and stop by the research facility.

07 of 15

Attend a Performance at the Weinberg Center for the Arts

Weinberg Center for the Arts

Weinberg Center for the Arts

20 W Patrick St, Frederick, MD 21701, USA
Phone +1 301-600-2828

Looking for something fun to do that will entertain the whole family? The 1926 restored movie palace, located in downtown Frederick, is a thriving state-of-the-art theater that features a variety of concert and theatrical performances. The Weinberg Center for the Arts seats 1,500 and is also available to rent for film festivals, studio screenings, conventions, weddings, and business meetings.

08 of 15

Check Out a Frederick Keys Baseball Game

Baseball player swinging at a pitch
J. Leggett
21 Stadium Dr, Frederick, MD 21703-6553, USA
Phone +1 301-662-0013

Calling all baseball fans: The Frederick Keys are a minor league baseball team that also happens to be a Class A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. Catch a game at Harry Grove Stadium, which seats 5,500 fans and is family-friendly, offering a Fun Zone and postgame fireworks on weekends.

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09 of 15

See Historic Frederick by Bike

View of the Hessian Barracks

Acroterion / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

242 S Market St, Frederick, MD 21701, USA

If you're looking for a fun way to stay in shape while sightseeing, don't miss the Frederick History Bicycle Loop, a 10-mile loop through the City of Frederick with stops at 22 historic sites, including Schifferstadt Architectural Museum, the Francis Scott Key Memorial, the Hessian Barracks (pictured here), and various sites hearkening back to the Civil War era. 

10 of 15

Treat Yourself to Some Fine Dining

Firestone's Culinary Tavern - Frederick
Andrew Murdock
581 Himes Ave, Frederick, MD 21703-6106, USA
Phone +1 301-668-9500

Downtown Frederick offers a variety of great restaurants, including award-winning establishments like Thacher&Rye (formerly known as Volt), Dutch's Daughter, and Firestone's Culinary Tavern. Enjoy a range of cuisine from Italian and Japanese to seafood to Spanish-style tapas. Try to plan your visit during Frederick's Restaurant Week, when many eateries offer prix-fixe menus at discounted prices.

11 of 15

Explore Baker Park

View of a pond and man-made waterfalls and a tower in Baker Park

Jennifer Boyer / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Baker Park, Frederick, MD 21701, USA

In downtown Frederick, Baker Park is home to a carillon, lake, public swimming pool, tennis courts, athletic fields, pavilions, picnic areas, and several playgrounds. This popular 58-acre green space also serves as a venue for summer concerts, children’s theater, sports, festivals, and other outdoor events. If you're visiting around the Fourth of July, stop by Frederick's Fourth for fireworks and other family-friendly fun.

12 of 15

Take a Day Trip to Local Wineries

Linganore Winecellars
Tourism Council of Frederick County
13601 Glissans Mill Rd, Mt Airy, MD 21771, USA
Phone +1 301-831-5889

About 20 minutes from the city center, the Frederick Wine Trail is made up of 15 wineries—Black Ankle Vineyards, Catoctin Breeze Vineyard, Celebration Cellars Winery, Distillery Lane Ciderworks, Elk Run Vineyards, Hidden Hills Farm and Vineyard, Links Bridge Vineyards, Loew Vineyards, Mazzaroth Vineyards, Orchid Cellar Meadery and Winery, Springfield Manor Winery Distillery Brewery, Willow Oaks Craft Cider and Wine, Big Cork Vineyards, Linganore Winecellars (pictured here), and New Market Plains Vineyard. Enjoy a ride through the Maryland countryside and discover some of Frederick County's best agricultural bounty, beautiful vineyards, and outstanding wines.

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13 of 15

Visit the Rose Hill Manor Museum

Rose Hill Manor Park and Museum
Frederick Visitors Bureau
1611 N Market St, Frederick, MD 21701, USA
Phone +1 301-600-1650

The Rose Hill Manor Parl & Museum provides a look at early American life, transportation, and the agricultural history of Frederick County, featuring a manor house, icehouse, log cabin, blacksmith shop, carriage collection, and two barns. Guided tours are offered daily, while special programs are available for children and groups.

14 of 15

Ride on a Vintage Train With Walkersville Southern Railroad

Historic railroad
  Alexander Spatari / Getty Images
34 W Pennsylvania Ave, Walkersville, MD 21793, USA
Phone +1 301-898-0899

Located just 10 minutes northwest of Frederick, Walkersville Southern Railroad offers a variety of leisurely rail excursions aboard its historic 1920s-style coaches. Dinner trains are available from May through November, while other railway adventures feature Jesse James and his infamous gang, as well as kid-friendly rides with teddy bears and superheroes. For a real treat, plan your visit to coincide with the Santa trains during the holiday season, the Bunny trains in springtime around Easter, and the Fourth of July, when fireworks can also be seen.

15 of 15

Stop by the Schifferstadt Architectural Museum

Schifferstadt Architectural Museum
Tourism Council of Frederick County, Inc.
1110 Rosemont Ave, Frederick, MD 21701-4127, USA
Phone +1 301-663-3885

The Schifferstadt Architectural Museum is an 18th-century museum and garden that's home to one of the oldest and most historic buildings in the City of Frederick. It also happens to be among the best examples of early Colonial German Architecture in the country. Stop by on weekends to take a tour or during special events, held onsite throughout the year.

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The 15 Best Things to Do in Frederick, Maryland