Top 10 Things to Do in Cumberland Maryland

Published: 28th August 2009
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Cumberland Maryland, nestled in the "Narrows" of the Western Maryland mountainside, is an up and coming travel destination for those looking for exciting dining, shopping, sightseeing, arts, theatre and outdoor activities. A quaint and historic city, Cumberland, also known as the "Queen City", has a rich history stretching back to early American history; at one time a stronghold for Union forces during the American Civil War and later evolving into a major industrial and transportation hub. Once the second largest city in Maryland (after Baltimore), Cumberland went into a period of decline as industries closed, jobs were lost and the city had to reinvent itself. Now, Cumberland is a vibrant urban center enjoying a renaissance in part due to a growing arts, theatre and tourism community. In addition, Cumberland has become a destination for outdoor enthusiasts anchored by a the cities geographical position at the center the Great Allegheny Passage biking and hiking trails which connects Washington, DC to Pittsburgh, PA. The growing popularity of biking on the trail has seen a niche support industry born in the area catering to the needs of outdoor enthusiasts looking for tours, hiking and biking equipment as well as related supplies. Beyond tourism, which is arguably becoming Cumberland's next major industry, the region is also a growing hub for medical care, is the seat of the Allegany County Government and is home to many regional businesses based in the downtown and surrounding area. Cumberland Maryland Things to Do Cumberland Maryland is rich in options that can suit any taste, budget or lifecycle. The Cumberland region offers all the amenities including first class hotels, spas, golf courses, outdoor adventures, shopping, dining and culture. Spend a day or stay a week just to try and explore it all.

    1. Visit an Art Gallery or Museum. In addition to traditional Art Museums, Cumberland now offers first class art galleries displaying works from local, regional and national artists. At last count more than 20 galleries displaying visual art call the Cumberland region their home. Baltimore Street in Downtown Cumberland is the hub of the local art scene but galleries can also be found along its side streets, at Canal Place and in the nearby college town of Frostburg. The Saville Gallery, operated by the Allegany Arts Council, is located in downtown Cumberland and displays a wide variety of artwork including photography, painting, ceramics and more. Call 301-777-2787 for more information and schedules.

    2. Buy tickets and enjoy an evening of theatre. Don't be surprised if you see some Broadway type shows such as Fiddler on the Roof or a Neil Simon comedy stop in town. Of the three traditional marquee front type venues in downtown alone, the Cumberland Theatre hosts professional casts performing drama, comedies and musicals scheduled June through December. Call 301-759-4990 for more information. Also check out what is playing at the Palace Theatre or the New Embassy Theatre as well as at the area's half dozen or more performing arts arenas. During the summer months many outdoor performing arts events are presented downtown and at Canal Place.

    3. Go on a history kick. History abounds at every turn and alleyway as you explore Cumberland Maryland. For the history buff at heart, visit the single log cabin that was George Washington's headquarters located on Greene Street a short walk from downtown. There are many museums to choose from, themselves hosted in historic buildings and former grand residences, offering an abundance of views into Cumberland's past. Recently relocated to Baltimore Street in downtown Cumberland is the Allegany County Museum. Explore the many exhibits highlighting Cumberland's past industrial, transportation and cultural history. Canal Place is a good starting point to get oriented and offers historical markers and information throughout the complex. The National Park's Visitor Center, located on the 1st floor of the Western Maryland Railway Station at Canal Place, offers maps, brochures and additional information about sites in the area.

    4. Bike the C&O Canal and Great Allegany Passage. People from all over now come to the Cumberland region to enjoy the hundreds of miles of biking trails and paths. The most popular trail is the Great Allegheny Passage which marks the transition from the C&O Canal tow path to the rail trail section of the passage. Experience the beauty and sights riding through the Narrows, Helmstetter's Curve, Bone Cave and Brush Tunnel as you make your way between Cumberland and Frostburg. Many local businesses offer tours, guides and bike rentals.

    5. Shop until you drop. Whether its window shopping or you're on a mission to buy out the town, Cumberland Maryland will not disappoint. Antiques, keepsakes and collectables are almost a natural resource in this region and as a result you can find an antique or collectables store at almost every corner. Explore the side streets off Baltimore Street in downtown Cumberland as well as the main drag in Frostburg. If you're looking for more modern items; art stores, souvenirs and clothing boutiques abound. Country Club Mall in La Vale serves up the national chain names to round off your shopping excursion. Visit to view a list of local businesses and shops.

    1. Dine Al Fresco on Baltimore Street. Whether it is Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner, dining outdoors on Baltimore Street and watching people walk by is the entire rave. The Baltimore Street pedestrian walkway creates a pedestrian friendly corridor on what was once the town's busy main street. Enjoy the landscaping, water fountains and regularly scheduled entertainment and events as you dine at the popular Manhattan, City Lights or Oxford House restaurants just to name a few of the many options. Beyond Baltimore Street many dining options from casual, national chains, fast food and pub fare are also available. Visit to view a list of restaurants in the Cumberland area.

  1. Take the Western Maryland Railroad to Frostburg. Make it a round trip or bring your bike onboard and return on your own wheels on an exciting downhill bike ride back to Cumberland via the Great Allegany Passage. As soon as you enter the restored terminal you will be brought back in time to when the train travel was the backbone of the nation's transportation system. The Western Maryland Railroad brings you back to the day of steam engines and its role on moving people west and beyond. Enjoy the scenic mountain beauty of winding and weaving through the Narrows up to Frostburg. Choose from many different packages and options including First Class car Lunch or Dinner, Rail to Trail packages and Murder Mysteries. Enjoy lunch and shopping in Frostburg and then watch the train spin around a large rotating platter to prepare for its return trip to Cumberland.

  2. Take a day trip. Cumberland Maryland is an excellent launching point to plan trips to sites and cities not too far away . Make a day of it to drive to Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD or Pittsburgh, PA, all within 130 miles and only 2.5 hours away! Checkout the college town of Frostburg, offering a quaint downtown area lined with shops, restaurants and art galleries. Head out to Deep Creek Lake, the areas playground, and enjoy boating and water sports in the warm months or skiing in the winter. Civil war buffs visit the Antieum Battlegrounds or check out the attractions just over the border on Pennsylvania such as the coral caves, nemacolin and many other national parks.

  3. Go Camping. Pitch a tent, hike the trails and enjoy the great outdoors. Only miles from the urban yet quaint hustle and bustle of downtown Cumberland exists the natural beauty of state parks, lakes, rivers and campgrounds. Green Ridge State Forest in Flintstone, MD is just a few exits from Cumberland yet a world away. The public park offers biking trails, hiking, canoeing and kayaking on the Potomac River. The nearby Hidden Springs Campgrounds offer full hookups and many amenities. Other parks and camping sites nearby include Rocky Gap State Park, Allegany Fairgrounds and Little Orleans Campground and Park Area.

  4. Become a local. See a High School football game, eat a hot dog, and bring a lawn chair to downtown Cumberland's popular Friday's After Five festivities. There is nothing better when visiting a new destination then to experience it as a local. Cumberland loves its local sports scene, visit in the fall and attend a High School Football game to watch Fort Hill High School take on cross town rival Allegany High School. Eat where the locals eat? Visit Curtis's Coney Island Wieners on North Centre Street in downtown for a hot dog with a secret meat sauce to die for. Check out D'Atris Restaurant in La Vale and order a cheese steak sub, like no sub you will find anywhere else. Every Friday in the summer starting at five, bring your lawn chair and find a good spot to take in the scene while enjoying musical performances, outdoor vendors, food and, most important, cold beer that can be bought at the event.

Whether it's an outdoor adventure, soaking up the art scene, becoming a local for the day or just enjoying a relaxing dinner, Cumberland Maryland offers something for everyone's taste and budget. Visit where you can plan and even book your next trip to Cumberland Maryland online.

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