If you have any extra time before or after ACHA 2018, you may want to consider expanding your range to the wider DC, Maryland, Virginia (DMV) region. About an hour outside of the District, Annapolis, Maryland is just waiting to be explored.
Situated on the beautiful Chesapeake Bay, charming Annapolis is the capitol city of Maryland. It’s the perfect blend of history, modern life, art, and trendy eateries to fit every interest and personal taste. Annapolis is about a 40-60 minute drive from DC, and the closest metro station, New Carrollton, is still about 20 minutes away. The best way to access the city from DC is by car. Ubers or taxis can also work, but you’ll expect to pay about $50-60 per way.
There’s plenty to see and do here, but if you only have one day, Main Street is the place to be. Downtown Annapolis is the heart of this city and the hub for shopping, dining, sightseeing, and nightlife. It’s also smack dab between Church Circle which surrounds the capitol building, and the City Dock on the Chesapeake, making it the perfect launching point for your day.
If you’ve come for the history:
With more surviving 18th Century buildings than any other city in the country, Annapolis truly feels like a step back in time.
No historical tour of Annapolis is complete without a visit to the Maryland State House, which happens to be the oldest state house still in continuous legislative use. The Capitol building is open to the public most days from 9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., and within the walls you’ll see the room where George Washington resigned his military commission to the Continental Congress.
The William Paca House, just a few blocks north of Main Street, is also worth a visit. Open most days, the site features the mansion of William Paca, recognized as one of the best-preserved 18th century homes in the country, and his extensive garden. Today the house has been lovingly restored and the gardens meticulously maintained to serve as a beautiful window to the past.
Lastly, the Historic Annapolis Museum and Store can’t be missed. This small museum has rotating interactive exhibits and a great gift shop full of fun Maryland Souvenirs.
If you’ve come for the arts:
There are dozens of art galleries in Annapolis, and 25 are within walking distance of Main Street. Whether you are looking to purchase or just browsing for fun, there are plenty of options to pique your interest.
If you happen to visit Annapolis on a Sunday, the First Sunday Arts Festival can’t be missed. Literally. It’s impossible to drive downtown without running straight into it! West Street, home of Annapolis’ Arts District, completely shuts down to allow vendors and attendees to take over the road. Over 130 vendors are on hand every month with live music and food trucks. Perfect way to spend a day in Annapolis.
Looking for local performing arts? Look no further than Rams Head On Stage, featuring standup comedy, musical performances, and improv.
If you’ve come for the shopping:
Main Street Annapolis is the place to be for the shopaholic. There’s everything from boutique stores, to souvenir shops, to mainstream retailors. Here are our favorite spots:
- Capital Comicsfor all the comic book lovers out there.
- Lilac Bijoux for jewelry and women’s clothing.
- The Spice & Tea Exchange for those who crave exotic loose teas.
- Historic Annapolis Museum and Store for the best Maryland souvenirs.
If you’ve come for the food:
Any good day starts with coffee, right? If coffee is your drink of choice, there are several little coffee shops up and down Main Street (including a neat Starbucks in the basement of The Maryland Inn of the Historic Inns of Annapolis), but our favorite is City Dock Coffee. They have all the traditional coffee drinks, as well as unique flavors such as Jamaican iced tea and coffee drinks based off candy bars such as Milky Way and Almond Joy. Plus the views of the Bay are a great bonus.
There are so many eclectic cafes and eateries on Main Street it’s hard to pick a favorite for lunch and dinner. A little gem slightly off the beaten track is Sofi’s Crepes, featuring sweet and savory crepes made to order. There’s also Chick and Ruth’s Delly, famous for their old fashioned milk shakes and delicious crab cakes. We also like Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls, Red Wine Bar, and Vida Taco Bar for some quick and delicious eats.
For dinner, the best place for crab cakes in Annapolis (and arguably in Maryland) is Boatyard Bar & Grill. Just go ahead and order the crab cake dinner over the sandwich (you get two full cakes instead of one, and trust us, you’ll want two after your first bite). Another excellent option is Vin 909 Winecafe. It’s perfect for groups who don’t mind eating family-style because once you see their menu of small plates, you’ll want to try everything.