Top 10 Attractions in Annapolis

In a town made for strollers where docking might be more sensible than parking, where they utilize recycled sails and dine in crab and chowder houses, where the uniformed midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy toss their hats in the air, and boaters glide along the Ego Alley nearby, you get a clear sense why they call Annapolis the sailing capital of the country. Here's the list of tourist attractions in Annapolis to enhance your museum-going experience.

Annapolis Harbor & USNA Cruise

Walk down to the waterfront, hop on board the iconic Harbor Queen, and explore Annapolis by water, starting at City Dock. The 40-minute guided cruise of Annapolis Harbor and the U.S. Naval Academy shoreline up the Severn River is a long-standing tradition and one of the top Annapolis attractions for the whole family.

See the hilltop State House and the Naval Academy Chapel and, going downriver, catch the views of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Kent Island from the sightseeing boat's vantage point. Ride the top deck to let the Chesapeake Bay winds accompany you to the history of Maryland's bayside capital.


City Dock, a.k.a. Ego Alley

In the heart of downtown, enjoy people- and boat-watching as you walk along the waterfront, or City Dock, known locally as the Ego Alley. That is because yachters perpetually parade (and show off) their boats in and out of this narrow water passage. After all, the longer the yacht, the more you pay for docking. Get a glimpse of the boaters' routine and see facilities for them, like bathrooms and showers, and themselves on deck.

Flanked with power boats and pleasure boats of all sorts, Ego Valley is a place to savor the nautical charm of Annapolis, as well as famous local ice cream, and to shop — a touristy yet evocative and fun activity.


Kunta Kinte – Alex Haley Memorial

An African enslaved teenager arrived in Annapolis in 1767 by ship to be sold at auction to a planter in Virginia. In the Banneker-Douglass Museum, you can see a reproduction of a local newspaper piece dating back to September 29, 1767, about the arrival of that ship. The teenager's name was Kunta Kinte.

Seven generations later, in 1976, his descendant Alex Haley wrote the unprecedented bestseller Roots on Black American history and the slave trade. Featuring the infamous trans-Atlantic journey aboard the Lord Ligonier that brought his ancestor to the New World, Haley's book bewildered Americans, and the equally popular ABC mini-series followed. The life-sized statues of the Memorial in the City Dock today depict him reading a book to three children.

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St Anne's Church

St Anne's is the first church in Annapolis. It was founded at the dawn of the nation in 1692 and has changed three buildings so far, in 1704 and in 1792. The current one dates back to 1859, and vestiges of the old tower are incorporated in it. The features like the Tiffany stained-glass windows and the intricate needlepoint kneelers, each hand-stitched with a different pattern, adorn the otherwise moderate interiors.

Francis Scott Key, the author of the national anthem of the United States, and local signers of the Declaration of Independence were among the patrons of this historic Episcopal church. On your way out, walk through the churchyard and spot the old graves of the prominent locals, including the last colonial governor, Sir Robert Eden.


Historic London Town and Gardens

On his way to the Mount Vernon estate, George Washington dropped in for dinner in London Town after resigning on December 23, 1783. A private citizen again, he quite possibly dined at the then ornate William Brown House tavern. The London Town now is a living representation of a colonial-era town and gardens that form a 23-acre park in Edgewater, Maryland, on the South River bank.

Drop in to learn the history of this tobacco port town that rivaled Annapolis in the 18th century from costumed enactors. Explore the thoroughly reconstructed and furnished carpenter's workshop, Lord Mayor's tenement, that same 1760 tavern, and the diverse ornamental gardens. Back to the present, you can play musical instruments like outdoor xylophones with kids in the Sound and sensory garden.


O'Learys Seafood Restaurant

At this white-tablecloth restaurant, you can dive in and try the best Chesapeake Bay crab cakes in town. Despite being high-end, it is one of the intimate and friendly places to visit in Annapolis, a wooden cottage tucked in the quiet residential neighborhood of Eastport. Plus, there is a view of Spa Creek and the Ego Alley across it!

O'Learys claims to serve the most sustainable local seafood in Annapolis and has been doing it for decades since 1983. It is a local haunt that repeatedly wins local mass media votes in the best seafood category. Ask your server about their seafood-sourcing practices and try dishes of the local diver scallops and shellfish. Screen the menu for the locals' favorite crispy-fried Rockfish, the grilled Caribbean Mahi-Mahi, and the pan-seared Hawaiian Ahi Tuna from afar.


Chick & Ruth's Delly

They ship their crab cakes all over the United States, which is saying something. Yet, there is more to the bustling, star-studded Chick & Ruth's Delly than just the outstanding local blue crab dishes. The iconic eatery is famous for its sandwiches named after Maryland politicians and the booth, roped off for them to dine on inauguration day.

Grab a milkshake to sip on the go to complement your stroll in the Historic District of Annapolis. Legend has it that their oversized Colossal 6-pound shakes were crafted after mighty midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy noticed the 20-ounce portions being far too small. For more on patriotism, come at 8:00 and listen to the staff reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, which they do daily.

  • 1
    What is Annapolis most famous for?
    For the plentiful and ubiquitous dishes of the Chesapeake Bay blue crab, the beloved and time-honored symbol of Maryland. Out-of-towners follow the locals' footsteps to try the best ones at:
    • O'Learys Seafood Restaurant
    • Chick & Ruth's Delly
  • 2
    What are the best outdoor attractions in Annapolis?
    Waiting in line for a specialty crab cake at the Chick & Ruth's Delly is among the Annapolis attractions on its own. Aside from this rewarding pastime, try these spectacular activities at the waterfront:
    • Annapolis Harbor & USNA Cruise, educational and nostalgic
    • Ego Alley, never-ending and showy (besides, it is free!)
    • Historic London Town and Gardens, vivid and immersive
  • 3
    What are the best indoor attractions in Annapolis?
    Well, apart from all things crab downtown, travel some 15 minutes by car to London Town and browse the interiors of the buildings reconstructed atop their footprints. They are decorated with the original finds unearthed at the site during the archeological dig and look much as they did during the town's 18th-century heyday.
  • 4
    What are the most popular kid-friendly attractions in Annapolis?
    Check out hands-on outdoor fixtures geared towards little visitors at the Historic London Town and Gardens' grounds and let your kids unwind while running along the Ego Alley and dancing to street musicians' performances.

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