America’s Best Downtowns: Frederick, Maryland

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Historic Architecture in Frederick

The phrase, “a great downtown” often tops the lists of apartment hunters. But what makes a downtown great? Locally-owned shops and boutiques? Coffeehouses and sidewalk cafes? Pedestrian-friendly, brick-lined streets? A terrific public square where concerts, events, and a farmer’s market are held? Historic architecture? All of the above?

America has many amazing downtowns from coast-to-coast — and one of the top 10 downtowns in the nation (according to is Frederick, Maryland.

Frederick is gorgeous – tree-lined streets, brick sidewalks, some of the country’s best-preserved historic districts, gorgeous bridges, and a terrific blend of boutiques, art galleries, antique stores, restaurants, wineries, pubs, and cafes. Historic Downtown Frederick is home to hundreds of retailers — including more than 200 antique shops. South Market Center is a mixed-use area featuring shops, restaurants, outdoor cafes, offices, and condominiums.

Festivals and events are plentiful, ranging from the Frederick Festival of Arts and the Great Frederick Fair to Frederick Oktoberfest and various other seasonal events.  There’s even a historic theater – the Weinberg Center for the Arts was built in 1926. Today, it hosts a variety of concerts, theatrical performances, and film screenings and conventions.

Baker Park is a popular Downtown Frederick gathering place. This 54-acre park includes a lake, a carillon, a swimming pool, tennis courts, and playgrounds. It is the location of weekly summer concerts, monthly gallery walks, and other outdoor events. Carroll Creek Park, located in the heart of downtown, is a gorgeous park featuring an outdoor amphitheater, pedestrian bridges, and brick pathways. Downtown Frederick is pet-friendly and even has a downtown Dog Park. Your pet is welcome in many of Downtown Frederick’s stores and even some restaurants.

Downtown Frederick is so beautiful, it even inspired poet John Greenleaf Whittier to write the “Clustered Spires of Frederick” about the beautiful church spires that dot the downtown skyline. The downtown area is home to more than 2,500 historic buildings – many renovated into mixed-use properties. Add in a variety of outdoor murals, and the fact that Frederick is an arts and entertainment hub, and it’s easy to see why Downtown Frederick’s awards include titles such as a “Distinctive Destination,” one of America’s “Prettiest Painted Places,” and a “Great American Main Street.”

Frederick was founded in 1745 by German immigrants. The city played a major role during the Civil War because of its strategic location, which put it at the center of the Maryland campaigns. The historic landmarks located throughout Frederick detail the history and importance of the city. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine, which contains exhibits detailing the medical and surgical techniques during that period, is located downtown.

Frederick is a short distance from Washington DC and has a strong economy – another important factor in a great downtown. Frederick’s largest employer is Fort Detrick. It is also home to research labs, the National Cancer Institute, and is the county seat of Frederick County. Tourism is also a major industry. Visitors come to enjoy the local wineries, explore the county’s covered bridges, tour historic battlefields, and take part in outdoor adventures in nearby state parks, including South Mountain State Park, Greenbrier State Park, Cunningham Falls State Park, and Catoctin Mountain Park.

Are you ready to live in a fantastic city with a vibrant, fun-filled downtown? Then check out apartments for rent in Frederick and start enjoying one of America’s best downtowns.