25 Top Arts and Culture Things to Do
This smorgasbord of arts and cultural offerings serves up something for every taste.
Find African-American artifacts, symphony orchestras, woodcarvings, poetry slams, sculptures, Shakespeare, stoop storytelling and more in the diverse arts and culture scene of Maryland.
Glenstone hosts changing exhibitions of modern art in generously proportioned spaces that open up to a terrace overlooking a pond. A limited palette of materials—zinc, granite, stainless steel, and teak—allows the architecture to exist in harmony with the surrounding landscape and the art it houses. Please make reservations in advance for an unhurried, uncrowded experience with the art, architecture and landscape.
Downtown Frederick is a unique outdoor gallery of diverse and exquisite artwork. Frederick’s public art sheds light on the city’s history, as well as the personal dreams and ambitions of its citizens. Life-like murals reside on the sides of historic buildings waiting to be discovered.
Check out Visit Frederick's online interactive map and to learn more about all of the art, or pick up a brochure and map at the Frederick Visitor's Center.
Cinephiles and all those searching for an alternative to mainstream movie-plexes, you can thank Montgomery County and the American Film Institute who partnered to redevelop this historic 1938 theater into a state-of-the-art complex, where you can take in programming largely unavailable elsewhere. See independent features and documentaries, attend a foreign film festival, or watch a series of classic movies, then discuss what you saw at a post-screening reception.
Visit The Maryland Theatre to enjoy the big and bold sounds of this orchestra that regularly draws audiences from surrounding states. The Maryland Symphony Orchestra plays everything from classics to popular to traditional holiday tunes, so you’re sure to find music you love.
Fittingly situated next to Schumaker Pond, this popular museum features the world’s largest collection of antique and decorative decoys. Traverse 12,000-square feet of gallery and theater space for a primer on wildfowl and the chance to marvel at the realistic beauty of some of the best wildfowl wood carvings in the world.
If modern and contemporary art is your passion, don’t miss the exhibitions and collections at this museum, home to the world’s largest collection of Matisse, plus 90,000 other works of art. Special activities include drop-in tours, Family Sundays and other events. Admission is free.
Parting is such sweet sorrow, so this company is making sure you don’t have to say goodbye to its engaging Shakespearean works just because the weather’s changing. An indoor cultural center near the Inner Harbor keeps its performances going all year, while the Company-In-The-Ruins continues its under-the-stars summer performances at Patapsco Female Institute Historic Park, Ellicott City.
You’ll appreciate today’s cars, trains and planes even more after a visit to this restored 19th-century warehouse where the horse-drawn carriages on display harken back to a time when transportation wasn’t so simple. See funeral wagons, sleighs, milk carts and more, as well as the travel accessories of the day, like bearskin lap covers and charcoal feet warmers.
This multipurpose space in the Arts District will satisfy your taste for art and culture, as well as dinner. Order from an eclectic menu with plenty of drink specials, then feast on exhibits of local and regional artists, poetry slams and open mic nights held throughout the year.
The shows of the Great White Way make their way to this theater in Western Maryland, a multi-purpose community arts facility that has hosted more than 100 productions, including recent favorites such as Happy Days, the Musical; On Golden Pond; Monty Python’s Spamalot; and the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Fun fact: Emmy Award-winning, Academy Award-nominated actor William H. Macy serves on the theater’s Board of Trustees.
On Saturday summer evenings, listen to classical and pop music performances at the Great Hall, part of the Penn Alps Restaurant and Crafts Shop complex that also houses the Spruce Forest Artisan Village, home to a cooperative community of artists and artisans.
There's always an outstanding line-up of musicians at this Memorial Day Weekend celebration at Allegany County Fairgrounds centered around one of America’s most iconic musical genres — bluegrass. In addition to incredible music on the Grandstand Stage you will find intimate Artist Playshops, Late Night Shows, a Kids Area, Art & Craft Fair and great food and drinks ... plus plentiful camping space and RV hookups.
A variety of performing art shows take the stage at three venues: the Music Center, the mansion, and 16 acres of outdoor space. See internationally-renowned acts at the Music Center, attend a more intimate performance in the mansion or listen to a free concert under the stars. Stop by for afternoon tea in the Tea Room or to see one of the many art exhibits on display.
Presenting world-class live events in a landmark 1926 venue, the Weinberg enhances Frederick's cultural scene and strives to entice, educate, and enchant patrons of all ages and interests.
Known for some of the best examples of woodcarving and plasterwork in the country, the architecture of this historic circa-1774 house has earned it the nickname “the jewel of Annapolis.” Make an appointment for the two-hour tour to get an in-depth look.
More than 500 stories have been told about the highs and lows of city living in this popular series named after the famous marble “stoops” or steps that front many of the city’s iconic rowhomes. A theme is chosen and seven people share a true, personal story in seven minutes to the listening audience.
Follow the walking path that winds through the garden alongside St. John’s Creek, past the collection of permanent sculpture and loaned works from the National Gallery of Art and Smithsonian Institution. Then put all that inspiration to good use in the Center’s creative reuse artLAB, which also hosts Moms’ Club classes for the littlest art lovers.
Reclaimed from a historic neighborhood movie theater, the Creative Alliance at the old Patterson Theater has become Baltimore's cozy home for the funky, fun and fabulous. Home of the annual Maryland Folklife Festival, the Creative Alliance has hosted everything from polka to punk-rock and rock operas to Tibetan throat singers. And did we mention the top notch artisanal cocktails? It's a can't miss!
Broadway classics like Oklahoma! and Much Ado About Nothing mingle with contemporary and family fare at this theater that has been putting on shows for 65 years. See one of their performances on their home stage inside a former 1940s-era movie theater, or catch a traveling production by their Encore and Encore Kids touring companies.
If the purple stairs and green awning at the entrance didn’t tip you off to the creativity happening inside, all it will take is a step in the door to clue you in. At this colorful building you can view exhibits, purchase hand-crafted items, and watch artists at work, or even meet the painters, sculptors and jewelry-makers who call this studio space “home.” The St. Mary's County Arts Council is located here as well.
You may know that Harriet Tubman served as a “conductor” in the Underground Railroad to lead other slaves to freedom. But did you also know she was a Civil War Union Army nurse and spy? Learn about Tubman’s fascinating life at this museum that chronicles her early years and escape from slavery, and is part of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway.
Dive right in to maritime history at this 18-acre waterfront museum, which in addition to traditional indoor exhibits gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in nautical life. Chat with a master decoy carver, retired crab picker or visiting shipwright, tour the Hooper Strait Lighthouse, tong for oysters at Waterman’s Wharf, apprentice in the Museum’s working Boat Yard, and see the largest collection of historic Chesapeake Bay boats in existence.
Caroline County was solely dependent on its agriculture for more than 300 years due to its land-locked geography. Learn about the challenges its isolated residents faced when you visit historical dwellings of the time, including an 1824 log cabin, a 1787 “middling planter” home, a 1795 wealthy planter home, and an 1819 merchant home later owned by an African-American family.
This impressive museum is housed in a regionally-historic building, site of Easton’s first chartered school in 1820. When you take in an exhibition, workshop or event here, you’ll be in good company—more than 50,000 people visit the museum each year, making it the cultural hotspot of the Eastern Shore. Recent attractions include a display of Downton Abbey costumes, a concert by the Peabody Consort, and a Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit.
The Lewis has been an authentic voice of Maryland African American history and culture since it opened in 2005. The striking museum accommodates more than 13,000 square feet of exhibition space, a two-story theater, outdoor terrace and about 10,000 objects. The Lewis provides Maryland’s African-American history from its location two blocks east of Baltimore's Inner Harbor.