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About the Area

About Frederick and the surrounding area

College towns are known for their youthful, intellectual energy, and Hood's community of Frederick, Md., being no exception, boasts a modern sensibility, a love of learning, a diverse population and a vibrant cultural scene. But Frederick, considered one of America's great small cities, is also part of the Catoctin Mountain National Scenic Byway and a certified Maryland Heritage Area. Established as a frontier town by English and German settlers in 1745, Fredericktowne, as it was first known, served wagon train parties crossing the as-yet unexplored Allegheny Mountains. Architecture in the city's 50-block historic district is nationally renowned.

In this city, brimming with such an unusual mix of heritage and youthfulness, entertainment, cultural, historic and recreational options are vast. Students head downtown to shop, sample fare at any number of eclectic restaurants and cafés, hear local bands, attend special events hosted by the City of Frederick and visit the Weinberg Center for the Arts, the Maryland Ensemble Theatre or the Delaplaine Visual Arts Center for performances and art exhibits. 

The Frederick community has been nationally recognized in a number of categories, including

  • In 2002, Frederick was recognized as one of "America’s Dozen Distinct Destinations" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
  • In 2005, Frederick was named one of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s "Great American Main Street."
  • In 2007, the City of Frederick was designated a Preserve America Community, a White House initiative.
  • In 2007 downtown Frederick was named one of the "Great Places in America" in the neighborhood category by the American Planning Association.
  • In 2010, the Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick area was recognized as one of the 10 most secure communities among the nation's largest metropolitan areas by Farmer's Insurance Group Companies; in 2013 that metropolitan area was ranked number one in the same category.
  • In 2010, Frederick was named as one of the top 10 great neighborhoods by the American Planning Association.
  • In 2011, Frederick was ranked number eight in the Top 25 Small Art Cities in the United States by AmericanStyle magazine.
  • In 2012, Frederick was recognized as a bicycle friendly community by the League of American Bicyclists.
  • In 2012, Frederick was named to the Maryland Green Registry by the state of Maryland.
  • In 2013, CNN named Frederick among America's best resurging small-towns, noting its nearly chain-proof red brick commercial district lined with indie shops and destination restaurants.
  • In 2013, Frederick was awarded a Community Excellence Award for the Frederick History Bicycle Loop Program by the Maryland Municipal League.
  • In 2013, Frederick was ranked number one in Forbes Magazine's "America's Safest, Most Secure Places to Live."
  • In 2013, Frederick was named as one of the Top 100 Best Places to Live by
  • In 2013, Frederick earned Sustainable Maryland certification by the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland for its efforts to seek cost-effective and strategic ways to protect its natural assets and revitalize the community.
  • In 2014, Frederick County was named the ninth best county in the nation by Movoto Real Estate. The ranking was based on unemployment rate, median household income, median rent, median home price, percent of families below the poverty line and high school graduation rate.
  • In 2014, the Frederick-Rockville-Silver Spring area was named the fourth healthiest metropolitan area in the nation by The ranking was based on a survey that rook into consideration physical activity; active smokers; body weight; incidence of heart disease, diabetes and depression; and fruit and vegetable consumption.

The city of more than 65,000 is the seat of government of Frederick County (the largest of Maryland's counties), the eighth-largest city in Maryland and an hour's drive from the busy cities of Washington, D.C., and Baltimore—all of which make Hood's location an asset to students' educations, as opportunities for internships, experiential learning and research abound.

In this setting—among mountains, rolling farmlands and rivers—students enjoy the outdoors in all seasons. Popular activities include camping, hiking, boating, swimming, biking, picnicking, playing tennis and other sports, or just people watching.

For information on Frederick County attractions, stop by the Visitor Center at 19 East Church St. (located across the street from Winchester Hall), call 800-999-3613 or visit the Frederick Tourism website.