Fun things to do in Annapolis include visiting the US Naval Academy, sailing on the Chesapeake Bay, seeing USA’s first capital, experiencing the Ego Alley spectacle, and savoring amazing crabs, Irish food and fare, and wonderful ice cream. This Annapolis information is my curated list of fun activities, historic destinations, and tasty dining and drink based on many visits to Maryland’s capital city.
My wife and I were fortunate to be included in the #DCTravelBlogger group hosted by the Annapolis Visitor Bureau. Our 24 hour visit included a stay at the luxurious Hotel Annapolis (formerly Loews Annapolis), which featured this amazing stained glass window in our 5th floor lobby.
8 Great Things to Do in Annapolis
Chesapeake Bay Activities
Heck yeah, I can create a separate post of 8 Great Things to Do in Annapolis just on the water. Rent a kayak or SUP. Go fishing or crabbing. Take a boat tour on Harbor Queen. Ride on a classic schooner. Walk the plank and shoot water cannons from a pirate ship. Learn to sail at a sailing school. Ride the water taxi (only $3 across to Eastport, $8 maximum). Sail on a private sailboat (OK, you have to know someone). Swim. Water ski. Windsurf or kite surf. Eat, drink, sun bathe. Hmmm, maybe enough for two 8 great things to do in Annapolis on the water posts.
US Naval Academy
Speaking of water, there is also no denying that Annapolis is a Navy town. While the US Naval Academy is guarded, there are some public entrances and attractions. The easiest and most popular is probably the John Barry gate along Prince George Street near the City Dock area. Commodore Barry was the founder of the US Navy and there is a memorial to him just inside the gate.
The nearby visitor center has a short film on the history of the US Navy and Naval Academy, poignant displays, and a gift shop. The Admissions Office is on the second deck (upstairs level) if you want to scare—I mean encourage—your children. Worship services and three dining options and are available to visitors. Public tours cost $10.50 per adult.
Ice Cream in Annapolis
The only time I did not see at least several dozen people in line at the Annapolis Ice Cream Company was Sunday morning—before it opened. Walking around, I spotted several other ice cream shops. Did I try any? NO! Obviously I must return to Annapolis.
So Many Irish Pubs
Our #DCTravelBlogger group was treated to lunch at Galway Bay Irish Pub and sampled their Irish egg nog—a great thing to do in Annapolis in winter! Walking around town that afternoon and evening, I said, “there’s another Irish pub” more times than I expected. I did not count but, while researching, found four other Irish pubs (and other non-Irish pubs) and one Irish store. Annapolis also hosts an Irish Festival in July.
OK, did you know that Annapolis served as the first Capital of the United States of America? For 9 months at the end of the American Revolution, Congress met at the Maryland State House and Annapolis was the first peacetime capital of the new nation. History oozes from every brick. Visit historic St. Anne’s Church—whose congregation included two Declaration of Independence signers and Francis Scott Key (he wrote the Star Spangled Banner)—the cozy alleys, pre-Revolution taverns, and historic homes.
Sailing Hall of Fame
It certainly makes sense that America’s Sailing Capital hosts the National Sailing Hall of Fame. Personally, I like to visit Halls of Fame to be inspired by persons who excel at their passion.
McCool Travel note: the Sailing Hall of Fame moved to Newport, Rhode Island.
Annapolis MD Winery
Visiting a winery in Annapolis was a pleasant surprise. Our wine flight tasting at Great Frogs was accompanied by local artisanal cheeses, fruit, and marcona almonds. The port wine was my favorite and is sold in cool one quart maple syrup glass containers. I cringed at the $50 bottle price but, you know what, I should have bought one. When I return for my ice cream adventure, I will buy a bottle.
People Watching in Ego Alley and Around Town
Ego Alley, a narrow stretch of water off Spa Creek near the Annapolis City Dock, is among the places to see and be seen. In case it is not obvious, boaters and yacht owners show off their craft along ego alley, especially on brilliant weekend days. Pusser’s Caribbean Grille is a remarkable location (along Ego Alley) for a meal, snack, or drink.
Walking around town, mainly along Main Street, on Saturday night and Sunday morning, we saw countless youngsters dressed in their finest white Naval uniforms. Almost all had “Class of 2019” on their name tags, indicating that they are incoming freshmen. Good luck to the new midshipmen! Look for action near the Alex Haley and Kunte Kinte memorial at City Dock. When the crowd is heavy, at least two men are making balloon animals for kiddies of all ages. Buskers (street performers) further congest the already crowded area.
What are your suggestions for places to visit in Annapolis MD?