15 Best Things to Do in Bel Air, MD

Bel Air, MD
zachmaclellan4 / shutterstock.com

From the romantic, rich soil and Bel Air’s bountiful historic old-growth forests to its burgeoning art scene and new luxury villa, this divine community is truly a remarkable place worth visiting.

Bel Air is one of the most beautiful and sought-after towns in Harford County and is the county seat of Harford County, Maryland, United States.

Originally named Scott's Improvement Enlarged, and later Scott's Old Fields, the town got a more appealing name when it came to be called "Belle Aire."

It went through another change of identity years later when court records dropped two letters, becoming Bell Aire, and then in 1798, they shortened the name to Bel Air.

The array of activities available in Bel Air is incredibly diverse, making it one of the most desirable communities in the region.

Whether you want to hear live music, play golf on one of the top courses in the state, or see a fun film in the town’s independent theater, Bel Air offers it all.

If you need help deciding what to do on your visit to Bel Air, here are 15 of the best things to do in Bel Air, MD:

Visit and Explore Tudor Hall

Beautiful white building of Tudor Hall surrounded by colorful flowers
Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Tudor Hall is a spectacular, historic home.

It's a one-and-a-half-story Gothic Revival cottage located at Bel Air, Harford County, Maryland, United States.

Built entirely in brick, the historic home has been renovated and updated to include all the necessary features of a modern home while keeping true to the original architecture of the Gothic Revival style.

Closer view of the architecture in Tudor hall
Preservation Maryland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It was architect William H. Ranlett who designed the house from Plates 44 and 45 of his design book "The Architect," published in 1847.

In 1973, the National Register of Historic Places finally listed Tudor Hall.

These days, Tudor Hall is under the management of the Junius B. Booth Society, a group dedicated to preserving its architectural character and ensuring that every last bit of its historical significance stays alive.

Tudor Hall is open for tours most Sundays from April until November and hosts events during special occasions.

If you're in the mood for some cool, funky, and thought-provoking art, then a trip to Harford Artists Gallery is what you need.

Located in downtown Bel Air, Maryland, the Harford Artist Gallery is not a public gallery like other well-known and visited galleries.

This one is home to more than 280 artists who express their passion through pottery, painting, jewelry, photography, and a whole lot more.

The gallery is located at the east end of Main Street, where members of the Harford Artists’ Association display their work.

Membership meetings and watching lectures, critiques, and demonstrations are some big parts of being in the Association.

If you have time, by all means, stop by on their rotating exhibitions, which change bi-monthly at their gallery space.

This is also free for anyone who'd like to come to check out/contribute in any artistic ways to their gallery space — so stop by if you're able!

Grab Some Fresh Produce at Bel Air Farmers' Market

The Bel Air Farmers' Market started with a humble beginning as just a small parking lot lined with fresh, sustainable produce, and later grew to include over 50 local vendors who provide organic goods and products to consumers within the market's vicinity.

Besides being a place that brings together local artisan food providers, the farmers market also offers live music at critical periods throughout the year, such as during Art Month in April and during December, where they are typically held each year.

The Pairings Bistro is a featured food truck at the Bel Air Farmers' Market.

They will be there all season long, and you can try their breakfast burritos using locally grown produce from local producers.

The market also has rotating spaces for wineries, breweries, and distilleries that have products that meet an exceptional quality standard.

If you bring your dog with you to the market, please keep them on a short leash or leave them at home because they are not permitted (this goes for all farmers' markets, by the way).

Vist and Tour Hays House Museum

Hays House Museum at Bel Air, MD
Jerrye & Roy Klotz, MD, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As one of the oldest houses in Bel Air, the Hays House Museum is truly an amazing ancient site.

Located at 324 Kenmore Avenue, Hays House Museum is a small, family Georgian-style home.

John Bull built the home and owned it for many years before selling it to Thomas Hays, who became its second owner in 1811.

The home remained in the Hays family for 146 years and was known as the Hays House because of this fact!

The Historical Society of Harford County now operates the small museum after they've acquired and restored it.

As a living history museum, the Hays House Museum offers popular events that allow people to see and experience social, domestic, and cultural aspects of life from early American culture.

You can enjoy special events here, such as the Learning Bee series, an exhibit of vintage and antique clothes and textiles from their collections, and hearth cooking.

There are guides who will take you on a tour of Mr. Hays’s beautifully restored townhouse home here at the Hays House Museum.

Shop at Harford Mall

Harford Mall is a wonderful shopping mall and the only one in Harford County owned by CBL & Associates Properties in Belair Road, Bel Air, Maryland.

Originally founded by Mid Atlantic Realty in 1973, Harford Mall was a staple when it first opened.

This original owner provided small-town shoppers with Montgomery Ward and E.J. Korvette for their shopping needs as the anchors of this mall.

Now, Harford Mall is still under the care of Mid Atlantic Realty Trust but has been expanded to include Sears and Macy's.

If you're around the Bel Air area, you might want to make a visit to Harford Mall.

It's clean, bright, tall, and full of stores that make shopping fun.

And you're gonna like that it has a trampoline park, a cinema, an outdoor park, a soft area play, and plenty of parking, which will be great since it means you won’t have to worry about your car.

The concierge is also helpful if you are looking for any information on or around the mall premises.

Catch a Play at Abingdon Community Theater

Located at Old Emmorton Road, Bel Air South, Maryland, Abingdon Community Theater is a performing arts theater.

You'll find Abingdon Community Theater in the Emmorton Recreation Office, and it's totally awesome because it's an initiative created by Emmorton Parks And Recreation Council.

Past performances have included everything from Frozen, Hairspray, Mary Poppins Jr., Alice in Wonderland to Beauty and the Beast and more!

And each performance benefits local charities and ACT itself.

Donations are welcome at every show, and theater members get discounted tickets.

Check their website to find out which play they will be performing next.

Enjoy the Tuna Bites at Looney's Pub

Looney's Pub is a spacious branch of an exceptional Irish bar and grill serving sumptuous pub food and delicious amusement.

The pub has high security (something everyone here can appreciate) no concerns about ever losing your valuables or getting waylaid at the bar.

It's refreshing to know there are sorts of establishments in Bel Air like Looney's that go out of the way to make sure their clientele feels welcome and appreciated.

There's no doubt that Looney's provides a good spot for hanging out with friends and family.

Yes, the restaurant can get a little loud, but that is because most people love to watch the game here while they eat.

The food is "mostly" good, and you'll personally enjoy the Tuna Bites!

Roam around the Liriodendron Mansion

Front view of Liriodendron Mansion
Preservation Maryland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Liriodendron Mansion in the Bel Air North, Maryland, is a one-of-a-kind venue for everything, from weddings, business conferences, corporate events to family reunions and other social gatherings.

The mansion's 2nd floor is home to a lively art gallery showcasing local artists in a wide array of exhibits and archival collections throughout the year.

The mansion houses a lively art gallery on the second floor filled with works by local artists who want to share their talent and artistry with other people.

Portico at Liriodendron Mansion
Preservation Maryland, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There are archival collections and educational exhibits as well.

The Liriodendron Mansion holds one of the best history museums in the region and is a tribute to Dr. Howard A. Kelly's commitment to learning about the country's past.

The non-profit Liriodendron Foundation takes care of all maintenance work for the mansion and its gardens in order to keep it looking as amazing as it does.

Play Miniature Golf at Jurassic Golf and Arcade

Jurassic Golf and Arcade is a fantastic miniature golf course in Baltimore Pike suite 8, Bel Air, Maryland.

Harford County’s Jurassic Golf and Arcade boast 4,500 square feet of dinosaur-themed mini-golf and animated dinosaurs, and the entire course comes to life with CGI effects, fossils, and much more!

It offers Blacklight Mini Golf, where you can go on an adventure as you play your way through 18 holes of black-light indoor mini-golf, with dinosaur-themed obstacles, including a Stegosaurus feeding ground, a dino research lab, T-Rex stomping grounds, and a prehistoric underwater aquarium.

Jurassic Arcade and Golf presents a state-of-the-art arcade featuring more than 20 new and old games.

Their extensive arcade features several engaging games that dispense tickets to be redeemed in the large redemption center packed with exciting prizes.

They also feature two party rooms for rent if you need somewhere to host a birthday or special event for the kids.

Get Your Mind Racing at the Great Escapes Harford

Escape rooms are a new type of entertainment that has been taking America by storm.

They encourage teamwork and self-reliance while challenging minds to problem-solve and increase brain activity in amazingly fun environments.

People of all ages can participate in the challenge, whether alone or with a group.

It’s an activity that is increasingly popular among corporate team builders and with families who have groups of friends that enjoy spending time together.

Anyone from experts who like solving puzzles to someone looking for something to do in Bel Air, Maryland, will surely find enjoyment with Great Escapes Harford!

This entertainment venue has themed game rooms for ages 14 and up that put participants together inside a room, where they work together in search of clues and tools that can help them crack puzzles to find the hidden keys.

They need to find the keys to open the door and escape from the room.

Walk, Jog, and Bike at Ma & Pa Heritage Trail

The MA & PA Heritage Trail is found on parts of what used to be the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad corridor in Forest Hill and Bel Air, Maryland.

Because the best way to discover Harford County is through the MA&PA Trail!

The MA & PA Heritage Trail, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that works diligently to make the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad Trail a place you can enjoy.

Whether it's walking, running, or biking, you'll find that it provides an enjoyable outdoor experience for people of all ages.

The Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad has had a historical presence in Bel Air and Forest Hill for years, both having been named after connecting cities in Pennsylvania.

At the moment, it comprises a 3.3-mile section of land in eastern Bel Air and a 1.7-mile trail segment in historic Old Forest Hill (both of which are town centers).

While technically not yet complete, the trail will eventually link its two parts for an overall distance of nearly 8 miles through scenic downtown Bel Air, where there's plenty to do and see!

Meet the Geese and Ducks of Bynum Run Park

Ducks swimming in a pond at Bynum Run Park
Chris Burkins Photography / Shutterstock.com

Bynum Run Park is an amazing park in Churchville Road, Bel Air South, Maryland.

This unique park comes with an incredible walking loop that surrounds the whole area and has benches right next to it.

The pond itself is very peaceful, packed with geese, ducks, and other wildlife you can watch while you're taking a walk.

For those who like to grill out and hang out with friends, there’s also room for that, too, as this place boasts both a grilling pavilion and ample parking.

Creek flowing through the woods at Bynum Run Park during Autumn
zachmaclellan4 / Shutterstock.com

Located next to Bynum Run Park is Rockfield Playground.

If you decide to visit the park, you'll walk past an assortment of waterfowl, reptiles, and fish, all living in the pond together.

Taste Craft Beers from Independent Brewing Company

Bel Air’s Independent Brewing Company is a new addition to the Harford County community, serving as a unique production brewery in 2015.

It features brewery tours and 'liquid alchemy' classes in its large taproom and patio at the heart of historic downtown Bel Air.

Independent Brewing Company serves up delicious craft brews and has plenty of space to mingle with friends.

They're open late, too, making them perfect for a night out on the town or after enjoying the nearby Ma and Pa Trail.

The Independent Brewing Company is a bit of a traveling establishment that brings the feel of brewery hops to neighborhoods across the nation.

Beer enthusiasts are welcome to come in, relax and enjoy the incredible beer brewed onsite as well as local food truck offerings prepared by master chefs. ​

The community atmosphere found here tends to lure patrons who appreciate beer culture, and their respectful employees will ensure everyone has a great time.

Taste the Sweet Treats from Newberry Café & Bakery

Barbes' Bakery & Cafe is the brainchild of Nichol Barbes.

The cafe is home to some New Jersey favorites, such as The Jersey eggs and cheese sandwiches and pastries/donuts freshly made daily.

Coming to Barbes', you can expect delicious meals for breakfast and lunch, excellent Lavazza coffees, and a colorful selection of cakes, wedding cakes, cupcakes, cookies, and pies.

The place also boasts of its indoor lounge area, which has comfortable seating for weary travelers.

Next time you're visiting Harford County or just passing through the town of Bel Air, be sure to stop by Newberry Cafe & Bakery for a sweet treat you won't soon forget!

Stroll the Harford Glen Park

Located at Wheel Road, Bel Air, Maryland, Harford Glen Park is a walker's paradise situated at the elevation of 59m.

The park is rich with well-maintained flowers that adorn the park’s tranquil atmosphere.

As you walk across any one of the park’s footpaths, you can opt to sit on benches located along the route where you can enjoy looking out into the scenery.

You may also visit the facilities set up in this area to engage in group activities such as lectures and business conferences.

Fishing spots are easy to access via trails in which there are plenty of activities to partake.

Harford Glen Park's trees and open spaces have helped create a permanent home for owls and hawks.

These trails will take you out to Atkins Dam, which is a sight sure to inspire awe into even the most distasteful soul at heart!

Final Thoughts

From historical locations to countless activities and attractions that you can check off your bucket list, Bel Air is one of the most charming towns in Maryland!

The town will live up to its slogan: “The Heart of Harford” – proof that there’s never a dull moment here because the place has so much going on.

There are lots of interesting sites in this historic town waiting for you to explore and fall in love with.

Don’t keep them waiting!