Top 10 Things to Do in Annapolis, Maryland

Here are some of the best things to do on your visit to Maryland’s capital city.

Maryland State House in Annapolis
The Maryland State House is the oldest state house in the US in continuous use.
Shopping in Annapolis
For one-of-a-kind boutiques, head to downtown Annapolis.
Cantler's Steamed Crabs
A visit is not complete without seafood fresh from the bay.
Sailing on the Chesapeake Bay
Annapolis is surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay, four rivers and more than 400 miles of shoreline.
Historic London Town and Gardens
Historic London Town and Gardens
Maryland State House in Annapolis
Shopping in Annapolis
Cantler's Steamed Crabs
Sailing on the Chesapeake Bay
Historic London Town and Gardens

Here are some of the best things to do on your visit to Maryland’s capital city.

From getting out on the water and touring historic sites, to feasting on Chesapeake Bay seafood and exploring boutiques and speciality shops, a host of fun experiences awaits you in Annapolis!

1. Tour the US Naval Academy

The US Naval Academy has been training officers for the US Navy and Marine Corps since 1845. Watch the midshipmen in noon formation; explore the US Naval Academy Museum’s world-class exhibits; dine with midshipmen at the Drydock Restaurant; and catch a Navy sporting event: American football, lacrosse, hockey, baseball, water polo and more.

2. Get Out on the Water

As the gateway to North America’s largest estuary — the Chesapeake Bay — Annapolis and the surrounding countryside boast more than 500 miles of shoreline. Learn to sail from the best of the best; unwind aboard a public sail or cruise; charter a fishing boat; or hone your stand-up paddle boarding, canoeing or kayaking skills. Want to get around like the locals do? Ride the water taxi to your favourite restaurant or attraction.

3. Feast on Chesapeake Bay Bounty

America’s Sailing Capital is famous for its fresh-from-the-bay seafood. Known by many as striped bass, rockfish is a prized local favourite, as are crabs — served in a variety of delicious regional dishes. Whether you choose roll-out-the-paper and roll-up-your-sleeves outdoor dining where you can watch water men bring in their catches, or an elegant indoor setting with a window’s view of the water, Annapolis is the perfect place to indulge in the bounty of the Chesapeake Bay.

4. Discover Annapolis History

Called “a museum without walls,” Annapolis has more 18th-century brick buildings than any other city in the nation — four of which are the homes of Maryland’s signers of the Declaration of Independence. The Maryland State House is the oldest state capital in continuous legislative use. The Banneker-Douglass Museum documents Maryland’s African American history from slavery to the present day. Housed in an old oyster-packing plant, Annapolis Maritime Museum chronicles life on the Chesapeake Bay, then and now.

5. Get Back to Nature at Our Parks & Natural Landmarks

Home to global research on coastal ecosystems, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center invites guests to visit its 2,650-acre campus that spans forests, wetlands, marshes and 15 miles of protected shoreline. Learn about archaeological finds and the ongoing reconstruction of the “lost” town of London at Historic London Town & Gardens. To maximise your enjoyment of the sea air, hike or bike our trails and picnic at our parks.

6. Shop ’til You Drop

In search of the perfect gift? For one-of-a-kind boutiques, stroll the Annapolis city centre. Find big-name retailers and speciality shops at Westfield Annapolis. For the largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in Maryland, head to Arundel Mills. Annapolis Towne Centre at Parole offers high-end shopping and fun dining options. Discover hidden gems in Eastport and West Annapolis.

7. Meet the Locals at Our Festivals & Events

No matter the season, festivals and events abound in Annapolis and surrounding areas, entertaining visitors and residents alike. From the First Sunday Arts Festival, Dinner Under the Stars, the world's largest crab feast and Wednesday Night Sailboat Races of Annapolis, to the Maritime Republic of Eastport’s quirky Oyster Roast & Sock Burning, .05K run, and self-proclaimed longest international tug of war over water in the world, there are plenty of ways to have fun as the locals do. West Annapolis’s Oktoberfest isn’t to be missed, and the same is true of the area’s Winterfest and European Christmas Market. The nation’s second-largest renaissance festival in the Annapolis countryside is another lively setting where travellers and local characters revel together.

8. Celebrate the Countryside

Minutes from the heart of Annapolis, scenic bypasses lead to maritime villages, where fishermen still ply the waters of their ancestors and heritage sites shed light on the lives of water men through the centuries. The rhythm of life in the Annapolis countryside moves to the tides and the seasons. It’s quaint and quiet out here, but there’s luxury too. A modern waterfront resort and marina is the perfect spot for an overnight stay.

9. Experience the BWI-Arundel Mills Region

Anchored by BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, the BWI-Arundel Mills Entertainment District boasts the largest retail shopping outlet in Maryland as well as Live! Casino & Hotel, featuring slots and table games, a selection of acclaimed restaurants and a live entertainment venue. For family fun, head to Dave & Buster’s, Mission Escape Rooms and Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, featuring jousting, horsemanship, chivalry and a medieval feast in an 11th-century-style castle.

10. Explore the Nooks & Crannies of Annapolis

Annapolis has a host of fun activities and experiences to choose from. Here are some insider favourites: Hang out at City Dock, the heart and soul of Annapolis — a place to see and be seen! Enjoy homemade ice cream while watching boats strut their stuff at Ego Alley. Tour the last screw-pile lighthouse to remain in its original location on the Chesapeake Bay. Enjoy a free summer evening concert. Spend an afternoon on Maryland Avenue. Learn about life in colonial Annapolis at the home and reconstructed 18th-century pleasure garden of Declaration of Independence signer William Paca. Feast your eyes on the “most beautiful door in America” at the Hammond-Harwood House. And that’s just the beginning!

For more on all there is to see and do in and around Annapolis, go to visitannapolis.org.

Related: 
History & Culture
City Adventures

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