Hagerstown, MD, is a city in the center of it all. Nicknamed the Hub City for its abundance of railroad tracks, this Western Maryland town is a hidden gem nestled in the heart of the Old Line State. Known for its rich history, community spirit, and natural beauty, Hagerstown offers a delightful mix of urban amenities and small-town charm.
But what is Hagerstown, MD, known for? If you’re looking at homes for sale in Hagerstown or are just curious about what the city has to offer, this Redfin guide has everything you need to know. To give you a taste, read on for 10 things to love about Hagerstown.
1. Historic downtown
Hagerstown’s historic downtown is a picturesque blend of old-world charm and modern amenities. As a designated Main Street, downtown is the beloved home to well-preserved architecture, charming boutiques, cozy cafes, and cultural attractions. Popular spots include numerous eateries, parks, museums, religious houses, and more.
For a different view of the city’s history, take a walk along the Hagerstown Cultural Trail. This pedestrian-friendly path weaves through downtown and connects historical sites, art installations, and architectural landmarks throughout the area. This trail offers a unique way to explore the city’s rich cultural heritage on foot, with informative markers and stunning views.
2. Arts and entertainment
Hagerstown features a huge number of arts and entertainment opportunities, which is surprising for a city of its size. The primary artistic hub is the vibrant Art & Entertainment District, which is where most theaters, art installations, and historic architecture live. This designated district hosts live performances, art exhibitions, and cultural events, showcasing local talent and creativity.
The most popular place in the district is the historic Maryland Theatre. As a designated historic landmark, the theater is a cultural hub for the city and is home to the famous Maryland Symphony Orchestra, the City Ballet School, Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, Broadway shows, and much more. The beautifully restored venue adds a touch of sophistication to Hagerstown’s arts and entertainment scene
3. Hagerstown’s Farmers Markets
Hagerstown loves its farmers, and celebrates them with a plethora of markets and produce stands around the area. The city features three farmers markets: The Historic City Farmers Market, Greensburg Farm Market, and Washington County Farmers Market (also known as Elks Farmers Market). All are well-loved, but the most popular is the Historic City market, which is open every third Thursday from May to October. The market features fresh produce, handmade items, food trucks, and much more.
4. Outdoor recreation
Located near an abundance of state parks, famous trails, dozens of rivers, lakes, and more, Hagerstown is a haven for outdoor recreation. Most important is the city’s proximity to the Appalachian Trail, which traverses nearly 2,200 miles from Maine to Georgia. The closest entry points are at South Mountain State Park and Greenbrier State Park, although there are plenty of others nearby as well.
Other popular trails include the historic Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Trail, which follows the Potomac River for 184.5 miles, and the 26-mile Western Maryland Rail Trail, which runs adjacent to the C+O Canal Trail and connects Fort Frederick State Park and Little Orleans. These trails are perfect for running, cycling, strolling, and commuting.
5. Gorgeous city parks
The city takes pride in its well-loved parks, all of which play a pivotal role in enhancing the quality of life for its residents. The crown jewel of the park system is City Park, which is a historic site home to multiple museums, wooded walking trails, lakes, and recreation facilities. It’s a well-maintained park that offers events year-round. However, fishing is prohibited.
Other popular parks include Pangborn Park, which is known for its playgrounds, tennis courts, and sports fields, Martin L. Snook Memorial Park, which has a disc golf course and a dog park, and Fairgrounds Park, which is home to soccer fields and a skate park. No matter where you live in Hagerstown, there’s sure to be a park nearby.
6. Rich history
Founded in 1762 by German immigrant Jonathan Hager, Hagerstown boasts a storied past that dates back to the colonial era, playing host to numerous events in the US Civil War. Most importantly, the city served a major role in the Confederate army’s retreat from Gettysburg in 1863, and was later ransomed by the Confederate army in 1864.
After the Civil War, the area became a principal stop for many railroads, which brought industry and expansion to the city. This history is celebrated today and is part of what makes Hagerstown a unique place to live.
7. Abundance of museums
Hagerstown is known for its museums that celebrate local and national history ranging from early aviation, to railroads, to art through the ages. Most museums are located at City Park.
The most popular museum is the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, which houses an extensive collection of American, European, and Asian art. The museum also regularly hosts special exhibitions and educational programs.
For a more in-depth look into early aviation, visit the Hagerstown Aviation Museum, which showcases the region’s contributions to the aviation industry, particularly during World War II. And for railroad enthusiasts, the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum is the place to go. This museum has historic cabooses and locomotives, as well as replicas of the five railroads that gave Hagerstown its nickname as the Hub City.
Lastly, the Jonathan Hager House & Museum offers an immersive historical experience celebrating the founder of Hagerstown. Built in 1739, visitors can take guided tours of Jonathan Hager’s home, gaining insights into the city’s early days.
8. Community festivals and events
Hagerstown’s community shines through its diverse festivals and events, ranging from weekly markets, to monthly speaker series’, to huge, single-day extravaganzas.
The most well-known event is Augustoberfest, inspired by the area’s German heritage. This is a yearly celebration that transforms the downtown area into a vibrant Bavarian-style festival. Complete with traditional music, dance, German cuisine, and plenty of beer, attendees can savor bratwurst, pretzels, and schnitzel while enjoying live polka music and folk dancing.
Meanwhile, the largest annual event is the Mummers’ Parade. Held on Halloween, this grand procession features colorful floats, marching bands, costumed performers, and thousands of illuminated pumpkins.
If you’re a newcomer or have lived in Hagerstown for decades, you will never run out of things to see; there are events, festivals, art shows, performances, and more nearly every day of the year.
9. Local wineries
Western Maryland is known for its wine country, and Hagerstown is no exception. Wine enthusiasts can savor the local flavors at wineries like Big Cork Vineyards, Cool Ridge Vineyard, and Antietam Creek Vineyards. These picturesque vineyards offer tastings and events against a backdrop of rolling hills and scenic vistas.
Additionally, if you aren’t in the mood for wine, consider visiting Antietam Brewery, which is a local hotspot. It was the first craft brewery in Western Maryland and offers quality beer flights alongside great food.
10. Strong sense of community
Above all, Hagerstown is known for its warm and welcoming community. The residents of Hagerstown take pride in their city, and their hospitality and sense of belonging create a friendly and tight-knit atmosphere.
What is Hagerstown, MD, known for? Final thoughts
Hagerstown, MD, may be Maryland’s railroad hub, but it’s also a hub of culture, history, and community spirit. Whether you’re exploring its historic downtown, indulging in cultural experiences, or simply enjoying the scenic beauty of the region, Hagerstown offers a unique blend of past and present that makes it a cherished destination for residents and visitors alike.So, if you’re considering living in Hagerstown and want to buy a home or rent an apartment, you’re sure to find something to love.