10 Top 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

From touring historic sites to getting out on the water, feasting on fresh seafood and shopping the boutiques and specialty shops, there are plenty of fun experiences in Annapolis.

1. Tour the U.S. Naval Academy

The U.S. 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 in Annapolis

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 Chesapeake Bay. Whether you’re a pro at picking steamed crabs smothered with spicy Old Bay seasoning or don’t know the claw from the lump meat, a waterfront patio is the place to experience this delicious local tradition. You’ll find plenty of fresh, seasonal seafood on area restaurants’ menus.

4. Discover Annapolis History

Trace the steps of history at these sites: the Maryland State House, the oldest in continuous use; Banneker-Douglass Museum, which tells the story of African Americans coming to Annapolis as slaves; and 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. Annapolis 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 other Annalpolis events.

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 Things to Do

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 Point Shoal Lighthouse. Or appreciate the beauty of the 18th-century William Paca House and its gardens. 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.

City Adventures
History & Culture