Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Annapolis, MD

  • Published 2022/06/12

The Sailing Capital of America, Annapolis has quite a lot of history attached to its name.

Being home to several structures that have earned a page or two in history books, Annapolis attracts a lot of tourists every year.

History buffs love this location, as there is no shortage of places of interest to them here.

Here are the best things to do in Annapolis, Maryland:

Take a Stroll around Annapolis Historic District

Buildings along Annapolis Historic District

Keri Delaney /

No trip to Annapolis is ever complete without a stop at its historic district.

You’ll come across a lot of historic sites on your trip, as many important events in Maryland’s history took place right within Annapolis.

Old door of a building at Annapolis Historic District

George Wirt /

One of the best ways to get to know the city is to tour its historic district.

There are a lot of expert tour operators within the city who are ready to help you visit all the must-see spots.

If you do so, there will not be any chance of missing out on any important places.

Beautiful flowerbed along Annapolis Historic District

Christian Hinkle /

Roam around Quiet Waters Park

Trees surrounding the waters of Quiet Waters Park

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One of the most important natural attractions in Annapolis, Quiet Rivers Park draws a lot of tourists.

The park is built on a land of almost 360 acres, and there are more than 6 miles of hiking trails within the park.

A dog swimming at Quiet Waters Park

JoshuaCrawford, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are also a lot of other fun-filled activities you can check out.

This park is mainly used for weddings.

It has a lot of splendid sceneries and is a visual treat to the people of Annapolis and tourists as well.

Take a Walk through History at the U.S. Naval Academy Museum

Exterior of U.S. Naval Academy Museum

Sandra Foyt /

The U.S. Naval Academy Museum is entirely dedicated to the marines and the navy.

It stands there proudly as an epitome of all the traditions and ceremonies of the navy and marines of the U.S.

The museum’s permanent collection is majestic.

You also get to see a lot of model ships, which are quite interesting.

Additionally, you’ll find a lot of documents related to the navy, along with their old personal items, memorabilia, and photographs.

Explore the William Paca House

Exterior of the William Paca house in Annapolis

Yginger Lee /

There is no shortage of charming historic homes in Annapolis.

Built in the Georgian style, the William Paca House is exceptionally alluring.

The construction of the house dates back to the 1700s.

Aerial view of the William Paca House and gardens

Nicole Glass Photography /

It was in the 1900s that the house was closed, and in its place, a hotel came into being.

It quickly became one of the most luxurious and famous hotels in America.

Eventually, the government decided that such a treasure should not be wasted, and the hotel was closed.

The site was restored to its former glory and made open to the public so that people could visit this marvelous home.

Tour the Historic Maryland State House

Exterior of the Maryland State House

Mihai_Andritoiu /

Annapolis is quite an interesting historical place with many ties to the great American past.

Every spot has one or more contributions to American history.

The Maryland State Home is another beautiful house with deep connections to American history.

Steps leading to the entrance door of Maryland State House

Jon Bilous /

George Washington was the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.

It was in this house that he gave his resignation.

It was also here that the famous Treaty of Paris took place.

This is where most of the important public servants stay, too.

Senate chamber in the Maryland State House

Regine Poirier /

See the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial

Daytime view of the Kunta Kinte Memorial

Nicole Glass Photography /

You might be familiar with the works of the great author Alex Haley.

If you have yet to hear about him, Alex Haley is a person who wrote extensively on the horrible struggles of enslaved Africans.

He portrayed the brutality of racism in his famous works.

Roots was one of his most iconic novels that won a lot of prizes and touched many people.

Kunta Kinte was the protagonist of this novel.

He was a slave who was sold.

Close view of the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial

J Cardamone /

The memorial, remembering both Kunta Kinte and Alex Haley, stands proudly as a symbol of brotherhood and a reminder of the slaves’ horrible past.

The memorial comprises story walls where you can stand and read the entire story.

There are also sculptures that contain lines from Roots.

Visitors love this concept.

You can see many people standing there and reading the statues for hours.

It is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon and learn about an important point in history.

People admiring the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial

grandbrothers /

Visit the Stunning Hammond-Harwood House

Exterior of the Hammond-Harwood House

Joseph Sohm /

Do you want to look at some fine architecture?

The Hammond-Warwood house was ranked one of the best in all of Maryland.

It’s a fine example of colonial-style architecture.

Not only is the house intricately detailed, but the items inside are also quite vintage and very expensive.

The carvings will remind you of the works of colonial times.

There are also some state-of-the-art paintings hung on the walls that will blow your mind.

For a grand evening, do check out this historic treasure.

Admire the Beautiful Interiors at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church

Interior of St. Anne's Episcopal Church

Nagel Photography /

St. Anne’s Episcopal Church was constructed back in 1704.

Unfortunately, it got damaged and had to be reconstructed several times.

What you can see today happens to be the third version of the church.

The current architecture is in the stunning Romanesque Revival style.

Exterior of St. Anne's Episcopal Church

Kosoff /

St. Anne’s Episcopoal Church is well-known as one of Annapolis’ most iconic attractions.

The tinted glass, the architecture, and the interior decoration win the hearts of many tourists.

King William gifted this gorgeous work of architecture to the people of Annapolis so they could have a quaint location to pray.

A pipe organ in St. Anne's Episcopal Church

Nagel Photography /

Walk around Annapolis Town Center

Shops along Annapolis Towne Center

Wangkun Jia /

Annapolis Town Center is located on the modern Annapolis side of the city.

It is not far from the historic downtown, and yet it has no similarity to the older parts of the city.

This is where Annapolis is the most happening.

You might not find a lot of tourists roaming around this part of the city—but what you will find is innumerable good restaurants.

There are more than 20 excellent restaurants in this part of Annapolis.

Want to go shopping?

This is your go-to location for that, too.

Check Out the Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park

Exterior of the Annapolis Maritime Museum

Preservation Maryland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Did you know Annapolis was once known for being home to some of the biggest oyster industries?

If you’re interested in learning more about this aspect of Annapolis, check out the Annapolis Maritime Museum.

This museum is where you can get to know everything about the city’s striving history.

An exhibit in Annapolis Maritime Museum

Preservation Maryland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can get to know all about Annapolis’ marine-related industries and how they significantly contributed to the economy.

Did you know Annapolis faced something known as the Oyster War?

Find out all about it in the museum.

The assembly hall of Annapolis Maritime Museum

Preservation Maryland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Pay Your Respects at the Maryland World War ll Memorial

Daytime view of the Maryland World War ll Memorial

Felix Lipov /

Secundino Fernandez was the brilliant architect who planned out this entire memorial design.

This is quite a new structure and was put up in 1998, paying respect to all those who lost their lives in the Second World War.

If you take the time to count, you will easily spot all 48 marvelous granite pillars.

Night view of the Maryland World War ll Memorial

Something Original at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You will also see the names of all of the brave-hearted 6,454 residents of Maryland who fought until their last breath.

There is a lot of engraving where you can read a detailed account about the war, its timeline, and how they lost their lives.

It is a nostalgic place where one can learn a lot about the war like never before.

Buy Amish Products at PA Dutch Farmer’s Market

Most of the goods sold in this market, affectionately referred to as the “Amish Market” by locals, are manufactured in Lancaster County using family traditions that date back generations.

Fresh fruit, salads, candies, pastries, cheeses, handmade snacks, chemical-free meats, fowl, and bulk items are available here.

Amish vendors from Lancaster County, the center of Amish country, set up shop at the Annapolis Harbor Center for this market.

For on-the-go consumption, smaller quantities are available and bigger ones for takeout.

For breakfast, lunch, and supper, the Amish cooks at the Dutch Market Restaurant use exclusively traditional recipes.

Customers may also purchase a wide variety of handmade hardwood furniture from the Millwood Furniture shop.

Drop by the Annapolis Harbor

Boats docked at Annapolis Harbor

Sean Pavone /

Annapolis Harbor once used to be one of the most popular spots in the city.

Annapolis depended on a lot of marine industries, but as time passed by, all of those were gone.

What now remains are beautiful remnants of those memories.

From the harbor, you can go boating.

Sailing along chesapeake bay

Erin McGrady /

Chesapeake Bay is one of the best places to enjoy some time in the water.

You will be able to find a lot of boating tour operators.

With their help, you can embark on a boat journey.

The views are quite gorgeous.

Boats on the water of Annapolis Harbor

Keri Delaney /

Look around the Elizabeth Myers Mitchell Gallery

To visit this attraction, you’ll have to enter the campus of the iconic St. John’s College.

The Elizabeth Myers Mitchell Gallery is one of the most well-renowned galleries in Annapolis.

It might look like a small one from the outside, but you’ll be astonished to see the number of people visiting the gallery.

The works and paintings that are displayed here are quite extraordinary.

Go on a Day Trip to Historic London Town and Gardens

Daytime view of Historic London Town and Gardens

Acroterion, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Historic London Town and Gardens is situated in Edgewater.

Its creation dates back to the 17th century.

You can still find some of the remnants of the settlement that occurred there.

There are a lot of gardens that are said to be some of the most charming attractions in Maryland.

You can still see some of the structures that date a couple of hundred years back.

Snap Pictures at the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse

Waters surrounding the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse

Malachi Jacobs /

Situated in the Annapolis Maritime Museum, the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse is just one of its kind.

Close view of the Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse

Milton A. Rodriguez /

The lighthouse is magnificent and is one of the most picturesque scenes in all of Annapolis.

There are many guides who will take you inside the lighthouse if you want to know more about it.

Watch Performances under the Stars at Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre

Exterior of the Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre

Nicole Glass Photography /

The Annapolis Summer Garden Theatre puts on a show beneath the stars on weekend nights for several months a year.

Since 2006, all featured productions have been musicals, including numerous Broadway and non-Broadway performances. The shows run for five weeks, with three showings each weekend day.

Guests should bring a blanket and be prepared for inclement weather by having a sweater or an umbrella on hand.

For Annapolis, this theater serves as a symbol of the city’s vibrant cultural culture.

The theater was built and maintained by volunteers for the past 50 years.

Unwind at Helen Avalynne Tawes Garden

This garden, named for Maryland’s first lady from 1959-to 1967, Mrs. J. Millard Tawes, is hidden among government buildings.

This five-acre vegetation is ideal for a leisurely stroll or quiet contemplation.

An Eastern Shore peninsula, an eastern stream, and various ponds make up the garden’s landscape.

The park is available from sunrise to sunset for free guided tours every day.

The gift store and café are open daily as well.

Listen to Stunning Performances of Annapolis Symphony Orchestra

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra calls Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, which opened in 1979, home.

Thanks to recent improvements, audience members in the 750-seat theater may enjoy the outstanding sound quality.

José-Luis Novo conducts a wide variety of classical and contemporary works in 5-7 concerts per year.

What distinguishes the Annapolis Symphony from other venues is the context these events give for the evening’s musical, artistic, and historical offerings.

A yearly concert at Quiet Waters Park is only one of several outreach events throughout the year.

Cool Down at Always Ice Cream Company

Everyone knows that ice cream may be enjoyed at any moment.

Always Ice Cream is the place to go if you’re in Maryland. Since 2004, the firm, formerly known as Annapolis Ice Cream, has been a Main Street favorite.

More and more ice cream lovers may now be supplied by the company’s recent expansion.

Incredibly delicious ice cream is created with just natural and organic ingredients.

If you’re in the mood for some ice cream, stop by Always Ice Cream and sample some of their imaginative and delicious concoctions.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a place to call home, this is the place to be.

Annapolis is a vibrant, happy, modern city where the architecture of four centuries coexists with the conveniences of the 21st century.

Almost every street in this seaside community has a connection to the Chesapeake Bay and its rich maritime history.

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