All Aboard: 3 Awesome Activities in Historic Ellicott City

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Ellicott City Station, with its 183 year-old train depot is the draw, but a quick stroll around Main Street and you’ll soon find that trains aren’t the only things that go vroom on this block. Just 45 minutes north of Washington, DC, this quick day trip caters to all of the engine-loving kids (and adults) in your family. Start your visit with pizza and paninis at the no frills Johnny’s Bistro on Main Street.  A free soup de jour sample is delivered with the menu and Johnny himself comes through to say hi, and—if you ask nicely—give the kiddos a tour of the kitchen. Then, it’s off to the races.

The B&O Railroad Ellicott City Station Museum is the oldest station in America. Built by the Ellicott Family and in operation since 1972, the museum is a vat of historical information. Swing younger kids by  the well-appointed Station Office, Telegraph Ticket Office and Car Barn where they can pretend they’re running the decades-old station. While there are no actual train rides here, it’s worth the wait to see a freight train roll by. Splurge on the $16 Lil Engineer Kit with bandanna, train whistle and engineer cap!


Ellicott City Station
2711 Maryland Avenue
Ellicott City, Md

Ellicott City’s downtown is quaint with antique shops and boutiques, including funky, non-traditional toy stores like Little Sunshine Trading Company. Stocked with unique giftables—hand-crafted baby clothes and name plates, plus wood-carved airplanes and other toys—you and your crew could spend hours window shopping.


Little Sunshine Trading Company
8129 Main Street
Ellicott City, Md

Before heading back to the car hit one more kid friendly spot—the Ellicott Fire Station Museum at the top off the Main Street hill. It’s free and has an up-close view of old hoses and carts. A tiny place that will engage the kid who likes to hear a good story, including the one about how the fire trucks of the past weren’t even trucks at all (!!!); rather, hoses attached to pushcarts that were wheeled by hand to fires.


Ellicott City Fire Station Museum
8398 Main Street
Ellicott City, Md

What’s your favorite thing about Ellicott City? Share it with us in the comment section below.

Copy and photos by: Sonya Gavankar