10 Things to Do in Annapolis

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

From touring historic sites to getting out on the water, feasting on fresh seafood and shopping the boutiques and specialty shops, here are the top experiences to seek out on your visit to Maryland’s capital city. 

1. Tour the U.S. Naval Academy

The Naval Academy has been preparing officers of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps since 1845. Glimpse monuments to navy heroism, visit the Naval Academy Museum’s world-class exhibits and catch one of 50-plus Navy sporting events: football, lacrosse, hockey, baseball, water polo and more.

2. Get On the Water

Annapolis is surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay, four rivers and more than 400 miles of shoreline. There are many ways to enjoy these waterways: attend a sailing school; enjoy a historical, sunset, pirate or overnight cruise; charter a fishing boat in a maritime village; rent a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddleboard or take the Water Taxi between neighbourhoods.

3. Feast on Chesapeake Bay Bounty

A visit is not complete without seafood fresh from the bay. Whether you’re a pro at picking steamed crabs smothered with spicy Old Bay or don’t know the claw from the lump meat, a waterfront patio is the place to experience local tradition. You’ll find plenty of fresh, seasonal seafood on area restaurants’ menus.

4. Discover the Area’s History

Trace the steps of history at these sites: the Maryland State House, the oldest in continuous use; the Banneker-Douglass Museum, which tells the story of African Americans coming to Annapolis as slaves; maritime heritage and Chesapeake Bay ecology at the Annapolis Maritime Museum. Take a walking tour (stop in the visitors centre for maps) and learn more about the town's history.

5. Explore Parks & Natural Landmarks

The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, home of research on global coastlines, doubles as a nature and cultural centre, and details how Native Americans once used the land. Another must-see is Historic London Town and Gardens to visit a house from 1760 and glimpse an archaeological investigation into a “lost town.” Find other outdoor activities

6. Shop ‘Til You Drop

For one-of-a-kind boutiques, head to downtown Annapolis. Find big-name retailers and specialty shops at Westfield Annapolis Mall. For the largest outlet and value retail-shopping destination in Maryland, go to Arundel Mills Mall. The Towne Centre offers high-end shopping and fun food options. Get more information on shopping.

7. Enjoy a Local Festival or Event

First Sunday Arts Festival is a street festival/art market/fair held each month, May­–October. Quirky, unique events include the longest tug of war across any body of water and Sock Burning, a spring tradition from sailors of yore. Learn about the Annapolis Film Festival, one of the world’s biggest crab feasts, a St. Patrick’s Day Parade and so much more.

8. Experience the Countryside

Minutes from the centre of Annapolis, scenic bypasses lead to maritime villages, where fishermen still ply the waters of their ancestors and heritage sites shed light on the ways of the watermen through the decades. 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. Visit the BWI-Arundel Mills Region

The BWI-Arundel Mills Region boasts Arundel Mills Mall, the largest shopping outlet in the state, and Live! Casino and Hotel, featuring slots and table games, a selection of acclaimed restaurants and a live entertainment venue. For family fun, head to Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, featuring jousting and horsemanship dinner show set inside an 11th century-style castle.

10. Other Favourite Spots

Visit Ego Alley, where City Dock meets the water’s edge and pleasure boaters gather in the warm weather. Take a boat to the mouth of the South River for a tour of the Thomas Shoal Lighthouse. Or appreciate the beauty of the 18th-century William Paca House and pleasure garden. Learn more about special attractions in and around Annapolis.

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

Related: 
History & Culture
City Adventures