If you are looking for the best things to do in Frederick Maryland you are in the right place! Located on the western side of the state, Frederick, MD is a charming and historic city waiting for you to come and explore. Whether you’re a history buff, an art lover, or just looking for a fun day out, you will enjoy exploring the city’s rich history and culture.
There are multiple historical sites that date back to the civil war era that will make you feel like you stepped back in time. Some of the best Frederick activities are family-friendly and stay open all year round. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is very interesting to tour and downtown is full of surprises! This is one of the best small towns in Maryland and makes for an awesome day trip, or weekend away.
15 Best Things to do in Frederick Maryland You Shouldn’t Miss
Visit the National Museum of Civil War Medicine
The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is one of the best things to do in Frederick MD for history buffs and anyone who is interested in medicine. This famous museum is housed in the same 19th-century building that it was during the war.
The most popular exhibit inside the Civil War Museum is the Surgeons at Work exhibit. Here you can see a detailed recreation of the practices and producers that took place back during the civil war. The exhibit has not only an operating room but also popular surgical tools and journals from the era.
Another exhibit to check out is the Civil War Hospitals room. This exhibit shows how they tried to care for the high volume of soldiers that needed treatment. You will see the recreation of what the hospital ward looked like at the time and even a few journals from real patients.
Explore the Historic Frederick Downtown
Step back in time and explore the historic downtown in Frederick. This is one of the most vibrant areas in town and sprawls over 40 blocks with a little something for everyone to love. Most of the buildings have been restored but are originally from when the town was founded back in the 19th century.
You will find all types of restaurants in downtown Frederick from fine dining to mom-and-pop diners. Check out the local boutiques for shopping, or just stroll along and take in the beautiful sites. If you are looking for what to do in Frederick Maryland, it is always a good idea to start downtown.
Visit the Schifferstadt Architectural Museum
Up next is a visit to the Schifferstadt Architectural Museum. This museum’s mission is to show people the history of the architecture in the area. The museum itself is inside an old farmhouse that is one of the best examples of German colonial architecture in America.
When visiting you will be taken on a guided tour of the old home and they will point out interesting artifacts and show the techniques that were used to build back in the 19th century. The gardens on the grounds are also worth a tour. You will only find date-appropriate fruits, veggies, and flowers. During the warm months, they demonstrate what the best gardening practices used to be.
If you are looking to learn a little about how life was back in the day then this is one of the most fun things to do in Frederick Maryland.
Visit the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
If you are in Frederick Maryland, you must go take a day trip and visit the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. Frederick was born in Maryland into a life of slavery, but he escaped and became a free man. He went on to do amazing things and is best known as an African American abolitionist, author, and inspirational speaker.
You can do a self-guided tour with the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site mobile app. Just download it on your phone before heading out. Or opt for the guided tour where you can explore his parlor, kitchen, and bedrooms. They have resorted to his 19th-century home to resemble what his life would have been like back then. There is also a garden and barn on the grounds to explore.
At the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site, they gathered historic artifacts and photographs on display. This is one of the best things to do nearby Fredrick Maryland for all ages.
Take a Hike on the Cunningham Falls State Park
When thinking about hiking through the beautiful Cunningham Falls State Park there are two very popular hikes to choose from. The first one will take you to the base of the 78-foot waterfall, which is the largest in all of Maryland. This hike is moderate to hard, but the payoff is a gorgeous view of the forest.
The second hike is the Catoctin Trail. Which is a 9.5-mile hike that ends on the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This hike is also a bit hard with steep and rocky terrain throughout. The views you get at the end of the trail are so remarkable that you will be glad you made it to the top and did one of the best activities in Frederick, Maryland.
You could also visit the State Park for a picnic, try your hand at fishing, or just relax in the great outdoors. There is a small campground at Cunningham Falls where you reserve a tent spot, or bring your RV.
Enjoy a Wine Tasting Tour at the Linganore Winecellers
One of the most romantic things to do in Frederick is to enjoy a wine tasting at the Linganore Winecellers. When you arrive you will immediately be greeted with beautiful views of the lake and vineyards. On the weekend you can relax outside in the courtyard and listen to live bands, or order lunch from one of the food trucks, and enjoy your freshly bought bottle of local wine.
During your wine-tasting tour, you will be able to taste wines from the local region. The tour allows you to pick your favorite between reds, whites, and even a few fruit blends. If you are not a wine lover but you enjoy a good view, this is still an excellent place to come and take in the picturesque views.
Tour of the Monocacy Battlefield
The battle of Monocacy Battlefield took place on July 9th, 1864 between confederate and union soldiers. It was one of the most pivotal battles of the civil war. When visiting you can book a private, guided tour where you will be taken around the battlefield and shown the epic monuments of a few soldiers that are honored there.
This is one of the best things to do in Frederick Maryland for history buffs and anyone who has been interested in the Civil War. If that doesn’t sound like you there are also a few hiking trails and it is an amazing place for bird watching as well.
Take a Walk or Bike ride on the Carroll Creek Linear Park
The Carroll Creek Linear Park is one of the best things to do in Frederick with kids. This beautiful park is located in the historic downtown area of Frederick MD. The creek runs about a mile through the heart of the city, with cement paths that are perfect for biking or walking around.
Be sure to make a stop by the Musical Fountains, it is always a crowd favorite. The water fountain is programmed to choreograph the water jets with the music. It is stunning and mesmerizing to watch the colorful water splash around. There are also plenty of sculptures, art exhibits, and picnic areas to relax in. You can visit all year round from sunrise to dusk.
Visit the Frederick County Historical Society
One of the best places to visit in Frederick MD to learn a little more about the history of the town is the County Historical Society. They are an organization that specializes in preserving and sharing the interesting history of Frederick. You can view historical photographs, maps, and artifacts from colonial times to the present day.
There is also a research library to explore where you can find old manuscripts and historical books. Be sure to check their website where you can sign up for events and lectures to learn in exciting and interactive ways.
Take a Guided Tour of the Clustered Spires High Wheel Race
One of the best attractions in Frederick Maryland is the High Wheel Race. This is an event that takes place annually where you will be given a tour on an old-school penny-farthing bicycle throughout downtown. A Penny-farthing is a vintage bicycle with one big wheel in the front and a small one in the back.
You can book a tour to ride on the bike with an experienced penny-farthing bike rider or watch from the sidelines. The whole town comes together and puts on live music with street food and drinks to purchase. If you thinking about checking out Frederick doing it during the Clustered Spires High Wheel race is one of the best times of the year. This year the event takes starts in February and ends at the end of April.
Hood College for Events and Lectures
Up next is one of the best things to do in Frederick for adults. Hood College is a local liberal arts college that opens its doors to visitors who are interested in learning. You can sign up for lectures on many different subjects from local experts. Some of the most popular are art, science, and literature.
While on campus check out the Tatem Arts Center. Here there are exhibits displaying contemporary art from artists from all over the world. After you view all of the beautiful masterpieces taking a stroll around the grounds is always a treat too. There is beautiful architecture and flowers throughout the campus.
One of the best times to visit Hood College is during its literary festival. This is an event where some of the best poets, writers, and authors gather in Frederick to share their art and give lectures and readings.
Explore the Catoctin Mountains
If you are looking for free things to do in Frederick the Catoctin Mountains offer plenty of free outdoor activities with breathtaking backdrops. Take your pick between fishing, camping, hiking, and exploring the natural beauty of Maryland. The Catoctin Mountain Park is one of the most popular places to start. There are easy to moderately hard hikes in this area.
Camp David, the famous presidential retreat, is located within the Catoctin Mountains. You are not allowed to tour Camp David, but you can get a close-up look by exploring the nearby area. You know it is a special area when the presidents past and present go to the Catoctin to escape.
Take a Trip to the nearby Gambrill State Park For Hiking and Camping
Checking out the Gambrill State Park is on top of the list for thing things to do near Frederick, Maryland. It is only about a 15-20 minute drive away and is known best for the stunning views of the area. They offer several different campsites and cabins for visitors who want to spend a few nights in the great outdoors.
There are a variety of trails from easy family-friendly strolls to hard strenuous hikes to the top of the mountain range. The Black Locust Trail is recommended for a moderate hike. It is a 3-mile loop trail passing all the scenic overlooks of the park. The park and campground are open all year round and it is one of the best places to go when you want to try one of the day trips near Frederick MD.
Check out the Frederick Fairgrounds for Events and Festivals
It doesn’t matter what time of the year you are visiting Frederick, there is always something fun going on. Check out the Frederick Keys, the local AAA baseball team for an all-American day at the baseball field. During the fall the Oktober fest is always a crowd favorite for beer lovers and history buffs.
And during the winter months, the historic downtown comes to life with thousands of twinkling lights. During the season one of the things to do in Frederick at night is to take one of the museums by candlelight tour. This is an annual, free event that has been happening in Frederick Maryland for 275 years.
Visit the Frederick Arts Council
When you visit the Frederick Arts Council, you will find a wide range of exhibits and events that showcase the work of local artists. The council regularly hosts art exhibitions, performances, and workshops for visitors. Be sure to stop by the gift shop. Here you can buy local art and crafts made by Frederick artists.
The highlight is the performance space. Here you can catch a play, a concert, or watch a dance performance. The council also offers a wide range of classes and workshops for those who are spending a few more days in town. This is one of the best things to do in Frederick Maryland for all the art lovers out there.