Annapolis, Maryland, is the state’s capital. The city offers a fantastic vibe, intriguing history, and plenty of opportunities for fun. However, if you’re a budget-conscious tourist or resident who doesn’t want to break the bank on an outing, you may assume that there aren’t many options. In reality, that isn’t the case. If you’re looking for free things to do in Annapolis, Maryland, here are some destinations and activities that are worth checking out.
United States Naval Academy
If you appreciate military history, a trip to the United States Naval Academy is an excellent option. The campus features immaculate grounds, an informative visitor center, a curated museum, and much more. Plus, entry onto the property is free, and you can take a self-guided tour without any admissions costs along the way.
Before you head over, it’s best to make sure you have an approved ID card. Based on the REAL ID Act, not all state or territory IDs meet the requirements, so it’s wise to see what’s accepted before you arrive.
It is important to note that while a self-guided experience is free, if you want a guided tour, that does come with a price. However, this is optional, so it is possible to enjoy the grounds, museum, and more without paying a dime.
Annapolis Historic District
If you’re looking for a place where you can stretch your legs and enjoy the local architecture, the Annapolis Historic District is an outstanding destination. You can wander among hundreds-year-old mansions – including the Hammond-Harwood House and the William Paca House & Garden – as well as lovingly maintained row houses and townhomes.
Overall, the Historic District is great for casual exploration. Plus, you’re close to many amenities, making it easy to stroll your way to a great snack or meal.
Annapolis Arts District
Another great option for exploring the city is the Annapolis Arts District. Along with intriguing architecture, you can take in the neighborhood galleries and artist studios. Some welcome visitors, allowing you to explore the artwork up close. Others aren’t open to the public but do have amazing window displays.
Plus, there are outdoor art installations and fun events throughout the district. As a result, it’s a perfect place to enjoy creative works while spending some time out in the fresh air.
Maryland State House
No trip to Annapolis is complete without a tour of the Maryland State House. It’s the oldest state capital that’s been in continuous legislative use and is also the only state house that has ever served as the nation’s capital. Plus, it was the stage for many historical moments, including President George Washington resigning from the post of commander-in-chief over the Continental Army and the ratification of the Paris Treaty.
Even if you don’t head inside, a trip to the building is worthwhile. The architecture and grounds are stunning, giving you an immediate reward upon arrival.
Annapolis is a sailing and boating mecca, and that plays a big role in the city’s culture. If you want to spend some time relaxing near the waterways and enjoying boats as they cruise by, consider making your way over to Ego Alley. There, you can watch area boat enthusiasts as they glide across the water, all while being right on the City Dock and adjacent to historic downtown.
As a bonus, this area plays host to many fun events during the year. Along with the world’s largest in-water boat show, there are amazing fireworks displays on Independence Day and New Year’s Eve held here. On St. Patrick’s Day, you can enjoy a parade, and there’s also a Military Bowl Parade in December.
The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial
Located just off of the City Dock, the Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial features lifelike statues that simply must be seen in person. Plus, theirs is a story wall made of bronze plaques that is nothing short of inspiring, as well as a magnificent Compass Rose.
The memorial is located in a completely public space, so it never has an admissions fee. Additionally, since it’s always accessible, you can take a trip to it at any time.
If you’re curious about African American history, particularly in the Maryland area, then the Banneker-Douglass Museum needs to be on your list. It’s the state’s official museum of African American heritage, providing insights and showcasing items that outline the African American experience in Maryland during the slave trade era, through the civil rights movement, and into modern times.
While the museum is smaller, it is nonetheless educational. Additionally, self-guided tours are completely free, allowing you to explore the museum without having to worry about the cost.
If you’re looking for an easy way to get some exercise while being out in nature or while crossing town, the B&A Trail is where you should head. It’s approximately 13 miles long and is available from dawn to dusk, giving you a place to walk, bike, rollerblade, or otherwise travel the paved path.
One nice feature of the trail is that there are benches and open lawns regularly available. This can give you excellent spots for a quick rest or a nice picnic lunch
Maryland World War II Memorial
Located near the water’s edge, the Maryland World War II Memorial recognizes the sacrifices of the many Marylanders that died during the war, as well as outlines the state’s role in the events. It’s all positioned around a large amphitheater, giving the entire memorial a sense of greater presence within the landscape.
The memorial is easy to access and is open to the public. From here, you also get exceptional views of the Naval Academy, as well as out over the water.
Jonas and Anne Catharine Green Park
If you’re looking for a lovely park to relax or play in, Jonas and Anne Catharine Green Park is worth the trip. There are well-manicured open areas, a nearby walking trail, and an excellent view of the water nearby. You can also fish from a pier in the park or simply kick back and watch the boats cruise by while you soak up some sun.
There is no cost to enter the park. Additionally, there are many simple amenities, like public restrooms and water fountains, to ensure you are comfortable during your visit.
Do you know of any more free things to do in Annapolis, Maryland? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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