8 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Annapolis

Located on Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis is a picturesque community with lovely old buildings and scenic views out over the ocean. As the state capital, Annapolis is also home to some of the best museums and historic sites in Maryland. Among the highlights are the U.S. Naval Academy and the associated Academy Naval Museum, the Old Senate Chamber in the State House, the Governor's Mansion, and the William Paca House and Gardens. The city also has a vibrant theater scene, some lovely parks, and opportunities for watersports, particularly during the summer months.

1 William Paca House and Garden

William Paca House and Garden
William Paca House and Garden dbaron / photo modified

This grand colonial era home was completed in 1765 for William Paca, a wealthy young planter who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. It has a 2 acre garden with five terraces, a fish-shaped pond, and a wilderness garden. The William Paca House has two floors furnished with a collection of antique furniture, Paca family silver, and decorative arts. The property is a National Historic Landmark.

2 U.S. Naval Academy Museum

U.S. Naval Academy Museum
U.S. Naval Academy Museum

The U.S. Naval Academy Museum was established in 1845. On display are exhibits related to naval history and the training of sailors and marines by the US Naval Academy.

Address: 118 Maryland Avenue

3 Maryland State House

Maryland State House
Maryland State House

The Maryland State House is loaded with history, having once served as the capital of the USA. It is the oldest state house still in continuous legislative use. The construction of the building began in 1772 and was completed 7 years later. The wooden dome of the State House was completed in 1794, making it the oldest and largest wooden dome of its kind in the United States. The interior of the original portion of the Maryland State House is constructed of wood and plaster. The newer section, added between 1902 and 1906, features Italian marble walls and columns.

Address: 100 State Circle, United States

4 Annapolis Maritime Museum

Annapolis Maritime Museum
Annapolis Maritime Museum Mr. T in DC / photo modified

The Annapolis Maritime Museum is located on the shores of Back Creek in the last oyster packing plant to operate in Annapolis. It highlights the history of boat building and the local oyster industry. Annapolis was dependent upon necessities coming by boats of all types from small craft to coastal vessels.

Exhibits include maps, photographs and documents that describe the business and culture of the area. Special exhibits feature various topics related to local maritime history.

Address: 723 Second Street

Official site: http://www.amaritime.org

5 Governor's Mansion

Governor's Mansion
Governor's Mansion

Government House has been the official residence of the Governors of Maryland since 1870. This Georgian-style country house was built in the style of the period and features portraits by Charles Willson Peale, one of America's foremost portrait painters. There are also furnishings by Potthast, eminent Baltimore furniture makers of the 19th century.

Address: State Circle, Annapolis, MD 21401, United States

6 Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial

Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial
Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial Mrs. Gemstone / photo modified

The Kunta Kinte-Alex Haley Memorial marks the arrival location of Alex Haley's African ancestor, Kunta Kinte, as told in the book "Roots". The Memorial features a seated Alex Haley reading from a book to three children of different ethnic backgrounds.

Address: City Dock

7 St John's College

St John's College
St John's College A Name Like Shields Can Make You Defensive / photo modified

The original focus of St John's College was the traditional liberal arts, but it switched to a classics based curriculum. St. John's College was chartered in 1784 and housed in a building completed in 1789. This building is now known as McDowell Hall, the third oldest academic building in continuous use.

Address: 60 College Avenue

Official site: http://www.sjca.edu/

8 Thurgood Marshall Memorial

Thurgood Marshall Memorial
Thurgood Marshall Memorial jimbowen0306 / photo modified

This memorial honours Thurgood Marshall, who became the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice in 1967. The memorial, featuring a statue of Marshall, stands outside the Maryland State House.

Where to Stay in Annapolis for Sightseeing

We recommend these excellent Annapolis hotels near top attractions like the Maryland State House and the US Naval Academy Museum:

  • Westin Annapolis: 4-star luxury, green hotel, comfortable bed, indoor pool, Aveda spa complimentary downtown shuttle.
  • Loews Annapolis Hotel: mid-range pricing, wonderful staff, contemporary decor, Keurig coffeemakers, 24-hour gym.
  • Historic Inns of Annapolis: 3.5-star historic hotel, amazing location, period-style furnishings, valet service, free coffee and local shuttle.
  • Comfort Inn Annapolis: budget hotel, comfortable rooms, free hot breakfast, fitness center.

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