Now Reading
A Delightful Day in Downtown Sykesville

A Delightful Day in Downtown Sykesville

Festive. Scenic. Welcoming. All those adjectives belong to Downtown Sykesville, named “Coolest Small Town in America” by Budget Travel in 2016.

Sykesville is an easy drive west from Baltimore or north from D.C. Its storybook main street stretches for less than a mile, offering the daytripper a walkable promenade of dining, art, and shopping.

Sykesville Street with shopping
Photo Credit: Downtown Sykesville Connection

When I visited for the first time, I was pleased to find that this historic, artful corner of Carroll County has a lot of old-fashioned small-town heart, too. All credit goes to its friendly citizens and business owners.

Enjoy this list of unmissable stops and #GetSyked for Sykesville!

Festivals & Holidays

  • Art & Wine Festival—Sample wines and spirits from around Maryland and the world alongside live entertainment, local artists, and food at this annual spring fête.
  • Ghost & Legends Tour—Lovers of lore and paranormal activity: don’t pass on this popular Halloween event. Walk through haunted sites and hear of Maryland myths like the Snallygaster and the Sykesville Monster. 
  • Holiday Delights—Like many Maryland small towns, Sykesville’s cup runneth over with cheer every December. Add 12 Hours of Christmas, Merry Main Street, and the Cocoa Crawl to your list.

Outdoors & Kid-Friendly 

  • Sykesville Farmers’ Market—Support local farmers, artisans, and vendors in the heart of downtown. The outdoor market operates every Sunday from May to October.
  • Little Sykes Railway Park—Kids ride free on this mid-century miniature train. It only runs on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., weather permitting, and pairs well with a stop at the farmers market. Call ahead to confirm.
  • Piney Run Park and Nature Center—This park isn’t in downtown Sykesville, but I recommend it for its open spaces and clean amenities. The 300-acre lake is popular with kayakers and boaters. Stop by the Nature Center for one of the naturalist-guided programs.

Food & Drink

  • The Big Belly Deli—Bring your empty belly to this no-frills deli, which offers an impressive menu of huge sandwiches and yummy sides. Locals rave about the fresh donuts, which quickly sell out in the morning.
  • The French Twist Cafe—This darling cafe is an ideal spot to brunch before launching yourself on a Main Street stroll. The traditional French savory and sweet crêpes are the big draw. My favorite is “The Maryland”—it’s loaded with a generous portion of Chesapeake blue crab meat.
Patapsco Distilling Company
Photo Credit: Patapsco Distilling Company
  • Patapsco Distillery—This distillery in a historic stone house is operated by a microbiologist and a chemist. They use that background to distill spirits—including vodka, bourbon, and whiskey—from Maryland-grown grains. I adore the nocino liqueur produced with locally harvested black walnuts. Bonus: the bartenders mix up great cocktails!


  • BotaniGal—Stepping into BotaniGal is health-giving. The shop is adorned from floor to ceiling with affordable houseplants, pretty pots, and useful plant care items. And the therapy doesn’t stop with shopping. BotaniGal’s owner is a Certified Horticulture Therapist who offers offsite sessions and onsite classes in horticulture therapy. 
  • Tidal Salt on Main—This store houses a distinctive inventory from 30+ local artisans and makers. The gift hunter should be prepared to find something for every person in their life here. I was drawn to the collection of personalizable items, the front window full of Maryland keepsakes, and the sticker wall!

    Photo Credit: Chelsea McCallister
  • Cowboys & Angels Boutique—If you like cowboy boots, you’ll probably find a pair here for your next boot-scootin’ boogie. The very friendly boutique owner sells bejeweled Western chic apparel, leather goods, and custom jewelry, too. 

Discover more Sykesville recommendations, events, and history through Downtown Sykesville Connection.

Feature Photo Credit: Chelsea McCallister

About the Author

Chelsea Milko McAllister

A native of Las Vegas, NV, Chelsea Milko McAllister resides in the historic Baltimore neighborhood of Charles Village with her new husband and stepson. Her foreign policy career and travel obsession have taken her to over 50 countries, including Uganda, where she served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer. Chelsea loves documenting her Maryland adventures through writing and photography. Follow her on Instagram @themilkoway.

Maryland Road Trips is a part of Postern Publishing.
© Copyright 2023 Postern Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

Scroll To Top