Frederick, MD, is so close to Washington, DC, that it has an inexpensive commuter train for residents and guests. But have you ever stopped in the quaint, historic city? From beautiful downtown walking areas to wine tasting, here are 10 creative & fun things to do in Frederick for date night.
Disclosure: I was graciously hosted by the folks of Visit Frederick, MD, to give you the scoop on date night ideas. All opinions are my own! #150milestofun #VisitFrederick
We’ve driven to Washington, DC, plenty of times, but have never stopped in Frederick, MD. Honestly, it’s my “eye on the prize” mentality that had hindered my visit. But no more, my friends. Last month, I hit the road to only visit Frederick and, man, am I happy I did. The city is pristinely beautiful, the locals, welcoming, and the activities fun and affordable. Here are my top picks for your visit to Frederick, MD, especially if you’re looking for date night ideas.
1. Take An Electric Bike Tour of the City
My first time on an pedal-assisted bike was in Frederick last month. And, honestly, I wasn’t sure how it would work for a first timer. But, with a little instruction compliments of Pedego Frederick, my experience couldn’t have been any better. Along with my group, we biked the city – and I barely had to pedal! Similar to a motorcycle, each bike has a throttle and all you need to do is turn it lightly to get a speed boost.
On our tour of the city of Frederick, we stopped at several poignant locations including Francis Scott Key’s resting place. We also had a couple of stops to rest and take a breather, so if you’re not a seasoned bicyclist, no worries. Also worthy of note: Pedego Frederick has the coolest rug that has ties to Ringo Starr. If you love The Beatles, make sure to ask about it.
Pittsburgh, PA, is highly bikeable as well. Here’s the scoop on the best bike tours in Pittsburgh for visitors and locals.
2. Get an Aerial Lay of the Land
When I was a kid, I loved climbing trees. There was something about seeing how close I could get to the top and that feeling of exploration has always stayed with me. These days, I’ve swapped out aerial adventure courses and ziplining for actual tree climbing, but that upward feeling of adventure has stuck with me. In Frederick, TreeTreekers just opened this summer and I had the pleasure of test-driving a couple of its courses before the official opening.
Created for both seasoned adventure course-lovers and families in mind, it offers both advanced and beginner courses. My favorite, however, is the self-led zipline course. After a lesson in how to clip in and out, I headed to the multi-line course. It’s very smooth and easy and hardly any hand breaking was needed. But what I loved the most was the fact that the final line was a zip-to-ground one.
3. See the Lovely Downtown Views
If you visit Downtown Frederick, make walking around the city on your shortlist. There are tons of mom-and-pop stores, really good restaurants (more on those below), and lovely views. My favorite spot, by far, is the Carroll Creek area. You’ll find hand-painted 3-D murals and pristine walkways. During the summer, hit the timing just right and the lily pads explode with blooms.
If you’ve never visited Frederick and want to learn more, just a couple of blocks away from the Community Bridge area is the Frederick Visitor Center. It’s here you can gain some insight into how the city came about and what makes it so special today.
4. Learn About Civil War Medicine
If Mr. Locke would have taken me to a museum about the Civil War, I would have been in high heaven. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that I’m a huge American history buff. But, hey, to each her own, right?
The National Museum of Civil War Medicine is located right in the heart of Downtown Frederick and it’s not only eye-opening, it’s kind of kooky in the best possible way. There are life-sized displays explaining details, many of which I didn’t know. I mean, did you know that getting a doctor’s license in the mid-1800’s was VERY easy? Yep. If you wanted to be a doctor, you went to school until you felt you were fit to practice. It’s these crazy details that make the visit to the museum worthwhile.
5. Taste All the Wine
About a 20 minute drive away from Downtown Frederick is a really fun option for date night, especially if you like wine. Catoctin Breeze Vineyard is just of Roddy Creek Road, and the drive is very pleasant. Once you arrive, there are both indoor and outdoor tasting options.
Catoctin Breeze is very laid back, making it perfect for a first date or an 80th one. Its wine has one plenty of awards, but the most prestigious has to be the 2016 Cabernet Franc “Best in Show” at the 2018 Maryland Governor’s Cup. Also, if you’re a sweet wine (or mead) lover, you’ll find plenty of options to satisfy your palette.
6. Take a Hike – Literally
Not far from Catoctin Breeze Vineyard sits Cunningham Falls State Park. If you’re looking for an outdoorsy date, you really can’t go wrong here. The walk/hike back to Cunningham Falls is well worth it and the view is calming and lovely. Of course, my idea is to make it a picnic date, so pack a dinner and get ready for a scenic drive. There’s a pretty beach area as well – another great spot for a picnic.
Let’s talk amenities for a minute. As a self-professed indoor girl, it’s nice to know the bathrooms are well-maintained and clean. Also, you’ll find picnic tables to sit at, but it does get busy during the summer and on pretty days, so bring a blanket just in case.
Tip: There is an admission fee to enter Cunningham Falls State Park’s Beach area. Cost is $3 per state resident or $5 per out-of-state folks.
7. Tour the Home of an American Saint
About 30 minutes away from Frederick is a unique spot that’s well worth visiting. The National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton is one of a kind and here’s why: she was the first American to receive the title of saint.
The Shrine sits on land that Mother Seton actually lived on, but with plenty of hardships. It’s here where her faith strengthened and her order grew. And, honestly, it’s truly fascinating. If you plan on making the Shrine a date spot, you’ll have to make it an early one, though: it’s opened 10-6pm Monday-Saturday and 12-6pm on Sunday.
Fun Things to Do in Frederick for Date Night: Where to Eat in Frederick, MD:
There’s no way to talk about date ideas in Frederick, MD, without mentioning where to eat and drink. I was very pleasantly surprised on its offerings, both downtown and away from the city proper. Here are my suggestions.
8. Volt Family Meal
I love the name concept for Family Meal, so here’s the 5 cent story. When chefs prepare meals for the entire kitchen and restaurant staff, it;s called a family meal. It’s also a way to taste what’s on the menu or get inspiration for future dishes.
So, it’s here at Family Meal that you’ll get fun spins on home style dishes. Don’t worry if you’re not looking for hearty meals, though: there are plenty of salads and green dishes on the menu, too. If I had to pick, I’m all about chicken for this restaurant. Its Chicken Pot Pie Fritters are delicious, as is Fried Chicken meal.
9. Firestone’s Culinary Tavern & Raw Bar
I had an absolutely delicious last meal of the trip at Firestone’s. Right in Downtown Frederick, it’s vibe is both old school and hip. If you want a street view, ask for a table upstairs near the large picture window.
It’s known for its oysters, but as a gal that doesn’t eat seafood, I happily passed. But, there are plenty of just-as-tasty menu items. You’ll find everything from Foie Gras to Grilled Chicken Sandwiches, so it’s a great choice if you’re unsure of what your date would eat.
10. Rockwell Brewery
Rockwell Brewery started with a couple of friends that love the concept of home brewing. Fast forward to 2017 where that labor of love turned into a craft brewery with a cool, industrial-chic vibe.
When I visited, there were plenty of staples and a few seasonals. But what I found very refreshing is the fact that it offers Beer Cocktails for folks that don’t dig the taste of beer. If you want to make it a meal, it offers plates from Family Meal – it’s just across the parking lot.
There are plenty more craft breweries worth a visit in the Frederick, MD, area. Jeremy Jones from Living the Dream has the scoop on 5 Frederick Breweries worth checking out.