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February 19, 2021

12 Things to do When Visiting Ellicott City, MD

There are so many things to do in Old Ellicott City that you could easily spend a week exploring, shopping, and dining your way through this charming little town, located just about 10 miles west of Baltimore. Here are 12 things to do when you visit Ellicott City, Maryland.

Ellicott City Bridge

Parks

Included on our list of fun things to do in Ellicott City are visits to some of the most noteworthy outdoor locales Maryland has to offer.

Centennial Park

Located to the west of Old Ellicott City, Centennial Park is home to 337 acres of natural beauty. The park includes 2.6 miles of paved path surrounding a 54-acre lake as well as a variety of recreation opportunities from boating to tennis courts to horseshoe pits.

Centennial Park in Columbia, Maryland

Patapsco Valley State Park

Originally established in 1907 as the Patapsco Forest Reserve, the oldest state park in Maryland follows 32 miles of the Patapsco River, and each entry point is within easy driving distance of Ellicott City. Enjoy the great outdoors as you hike, fish, camp, canoe, or bike within the 16,000 acres of Patapsco Valley State Park.

<Patapsco Valley State Park

Font Hill Wetlands Park

Font Hill Wetlands Park was established in 1997 as the first State/County/Private Sector cooperative wetland project in Maryland. In addition to strolling the boardwalk and pathways which surround three interconnecting ponds, the park is home to a plethora of wetland wildlife. During your visit you could potentially lay eyes on 104 species of birds, 53 species of dragonflies, and at least 7 different species of amphibians.

Historic Sites

With its lengthy history, Ellicott City boasts several sites of historical significance. Here are a few of them.

Clark’s Elioak Farm

While Clark’s Elioak Farm, who’s history dates to 1797, is now full of activities for kids of all ages (including a petting zoo, pony rides, geode mining, and a fall pumpkin patch), perhaps its most noteworthy attraction is the Enchanted Forrest Pine Tree Maze. The maze is dotted with dozens of items relocated from the Enchanted Forrest Storybook Theme Park – a local favorite for nearly half a century before it closed in the early ‘90’s. Open spring through fall each year, Clark’s Elioak is a wonderful spot for a family day trip in Ellicott City.

B&O Ellicott City Station Museum

The B&O Ellicott City Station is the oldest surviving railroad station in the country. Located 13 miles outside of Baltimore, the station was the first stop on the B&O main line. After freight service was discontinued in 1972 the station was preserved and restored, and now houses the B&O Ellicott City Station Museum. Inside you’ll find the freight agent’s living quarters, a model of the first 13 miles of track from Baltimore to the station, a 1927 caboose, and more.

Ellicott's Mills

Firehouse Museum

Ellicott City’s sloping streets are tightly lined with wooden buildings, which created prime conditions for spreading fires while inhibiting the transport of water. It is for this reason that the original Ellicott City Firehouse was built by a group of volunteers in 1889. The firehouse operated until 1924, and the building served several purposes until the Firehouse Museum was established in 1991.

Shops

Boutique shops, both new and old, can be found up and down Main Street, making this Ellicott City attraction one of Maryland’s most popular destinations for shopping local.

Antique Depot

A must-visit for seasoned collectors and flea market treasure hunters alike, The Antique Depot houses nearly 70 small antiques, vintage, and collectibles businesses in Old Ellicott City. The 30-year old, four-story shop is sure to have something for everyone.

E.C. Pops

Among the fun things to do in Ellicott City is a visit to E.C. Pops, who’s creative take on gourmet popcorn and quirky Maryland-themed gifts made this shop a quick favorite among the locals. While we highly recommend their specialty flavors, don’t worry if Dill Pickle, Old Bay Cheddar, or Birthday Cake popcorn aren’t your thing. E.C. Pops stocks delicious “classic flavored” popcorn, too – think caramel, kettle, or butter. Whatever your preference you can’t go wrong with this E.C. shop!

The Archive Music & Games

Owner of the Archive, Jason McMillan, has a passion for music that’s easy to spot. While he may buy and sell used records and video games, he thinks of himself as more of a musical archeologist whose job it is to preserve music’s history. Jason is committed to providing the ultimate experience to his patrons and guests, making him a rare holdout who chooses to sell his favorite items in the shop instead of online.

Restaurants

If you’re ever at a loss for what to do in Ellicott City, look no further than the food scene. Old Ellicott City is home to several unique restaurants and eateries. Here are a few of our favorites.

Ellicott Distilling Co.

Ellicott Distilling Co. isn’t just a micro-distillery. It’s a tasting room, full bar, and restaurant, featuring its own spirits in creatively crafted cocktails paired with fine light fare. Spirits are made with locally sourced grains and include: young bourbon and Maryland rye, dry gin, Caribbean-style rum, barrel-aged brandy, unique liqueurs, and so much more!

La Palapa Grill & Cantina

The relaxed Hacienda setting at La Palapa Grill and Cantina makes it easy to kick back and enjoy the flavors of Mexico. Their menu is built upon original recipes and includes creative Mexican cuisine above and beyond the typical tacos and enchiladas. Try ceviche, mole, or tamales, and wash it down with a refreshing classic margarita from the bar.

Phoenix Upper Main

The news that the Phoenix Emporium would be closing its doors in early 2020 was not well-received by the locals. The restaurant had been a mainstay in downtown Ellicott City for nearly 20 years.

However, Phoenix owner, Mark Hemmis, purchased another popular Ellicott City Restaurant, Ellicott Mills Brewing Company, at the same time. With the help of Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay and his show 24 Hours to Hell and Back, the two businesses were combined, and Phoenix Upper Main was born. This is one Ellicott City attraction you won’t want to miss.

Book Your Stay Near Ellicott City, Maryland

There are so many things to do in Ellicott City that you won’t want to leave after just one day. The Hotel at Arundel Preserve, located just a short drive from Old Ellicott City, is the perfect place to lay your head as you rest up for the day ahead. Take advantage of our Get Away from Home Package, for 10% off any of our stylish guest rooms, early check-in and late check-out so you can make the most of your visit, and vouchers for breakfast to fuel your adventures. Contact us today to book your stay!

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