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Top Things to See and Do in Central Maryland

With five scenic counties and one large city, Central Maryland features Chesapeake Bay charm—and a “choose your own adventure” experience for any visitor. Whether you’re craving arts and culture, food and drink or history and heritage, the state’s cultural crossroads have you more than covered.

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Crabs on a Barrel Image Credit: erocrunfaster-instagram

1 Find a Real-Deal Crab House

Some of Maryland’s best crab houses are in the Central Region, with no-frills hotspots luring locals and tourists alike for some of the meatiest bites around. Baltimore County is full of such establishments, like decades-old Ocean Pride in Lutherville, Schultz’s Crab House and Mr. Bill’s Terrace Inn in Essex and Costas Inn in Dundalk. Meanwhile, in Anne Arundel County, Cantler’s Riverside Inn boasts a quintessential crab feast setting overlooking a quiet creek in Annapolis. How do you know you’re in the right place? Brown-paper wrapped tables, wooden mallets and spicy seafood seasoning—sometimes J.O. Spice, Old Bay or a secret recipe. Check out the Maryland Crab & Oyster Trail.

Baltimore has the foodie experience for you, whether it's local seafood or bombastic burgers and beer. Image Credit: Visit Baltimore

2 Indulge in Baltimore’s Food Boom

Charm City—a nickname to acknowledge the city’s slew of hidden gems—has quickly become one of the hottest food scenes on the East Coast, with rave reviews rolling in as local chefs shine at both chic, cheap eats and five star fine-dining experiences. With so many options from freshly caught fish, to exotic Ethiopian to local specialties, it can be hard to decide just how to treat your tastebuds. Lucky for you that Baltimore offers market-inspired food halls, like the newly renovated Cross Street and Mt. Vernon Markets and the modern, eclectic R. House, that let you have it all.

Two knights dueling with sords on horse back at Medieval Times

3 Toast to a Good Knight at Medieval Times and have (REALLY) Old School Fun at Renn Fest

Evenings are all about chivalry, rivalry and revelry at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. Cheer on daring knights, as they sword fight and joust on horseback, while feasting on scrumptious roast chicken and hearty Middle Age fixings. Lace up your bodice and jerkins, grab a turkey leg and prepare for some good “Olde”-fashioned fun at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, one of the biggest Renn fests in the country. 

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7000 Arundel Mills Cir
Hanover, MD 21076

Merriweather Post Pavilion Aerial Image Credit: Merriweather Post Pavilion

4 Feel the Funk at Merriweather Post Pavilion

The lawn at Merriweather is where music memories are made. This legendary outdoor amphitheater, nestled into Symphony Woods in the heart of downtown Columbia, is the perfect place to catch the biggest bands around. The annual Capital Jazz Fest is a can’t-miss event.

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Music Venues

10475 Little Patuxent Pkwy
Columbia, MD 21044

Carroll Wine Trail

5 Wine Along the Trails and Vineyards

With a mild climate, rich piedmont soil and a varying topography that makes a rich diversity of styles possible, it’s no wonder five Maryland Wine Trails cross this region. Take the Carroll Wine Trail through Carroll County or travel the Piedmont Trail with eight wineries in the region. Spring, summer and fall weekends mean concerts and gatherings at idyllic local vineyards and exceptional tastings year-round.

Be inspired at this important War of 1812 site and birthplace of The National Anthem. Image Credit: Ken Stanek Photography

6 See the Historic Sites

The Central Region features many a historic landmark from the State House in Annapolis, where the Continental Congress signed the Treaty of Paris in 1783, officially ending the Revolutionary War, to Fort McHenry in Baltimore, which protected the city from the British bombardment in the War of 1812 and inspired Francis Scott Key to pen “The Star-Spangled Banner.” For a small fee, you can take self-guided tours of these historic landmarks that made American history.

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2400 E Fort Ave
Baltimore, MD 21230

B&O Railroad Museum Image Credit: Clark Vandergrift

7 For Rail Riding Fun, Choo-Choo-Choose to Visit the B&O Railroad Museum

Train buffs can touch—and even ride—the amazing collection of historical iron at this one-of-a-kind museum. For kids, the rides, games and occasional visits from Thomas make this museum a must. Plus, how often do you get to visit a site from the Monopoly board? 

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901 W Pratt St
Baltimore, MD 21223

This world-class museum houses art from ancient Egypt through the 20th Century. Image Credit: Visit Baltimore

8 View Acclaimed Art

Baltimore is home to some of the finest art collections on the East Coast, and best of all, many museums offer free admission. The Baltimore Museum of Art, for instance, houses an exceptional array of classic and contemporary work, including pieces by Picasso and Degas, and more than 1,000 works by Matisse (the largest holding of his work in the world!) in the esteemed Cone Collection. The Walters Art Museum features objects from around the globe dating back 7,000 years, like ancient Medieval armor, Grecian sculptures and Egyptian mummies. The American Visionary Art Museum offers one-of-a-kind exhibits, for a small fee, that would make John Waters proud. 

Frederick Douglass Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum

9 Encounter African-American Roots

Explore an extensive collection at the African Art Museum of Maryland in Fulton. Come face to face with American heroes like Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman at the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum and discover the breadth of the African-American experience at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History & Culture and the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore. Or get in touch with history at the Howard County Center of African American Culture and The Benjamin Banneker Historical Park and Museum in Oella.

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Visual Arts

830 E Pratt St
Baltimore, MD 21202

The National Aquarium in Baltimore Image Credit: Visit Baltimore

10 Fly High & Dive Deep at the Aquarium

Everyone must see the National Aquarium, with its soaring glass pyramids rising above the harbor like shark fins. Try a “Fly & Dive Package” by Charm City Helicopters for an unforgettable journey that combines an aerial tour of Baltimore with a rare chance to scuba dive with sharks, rays and more in the aquarium’s 335,000-gallon Atlantic Coral Reef tank. 

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501 E Pratt St
Baltimore, MD 21202

korean food

11 Dig Into Barbecue Along Korean Way

Central Maryland is home to a large Korean community. To get a taste of the authentic Asian cuisine, head to Route 40 for a bevy of mouthwatering barbecue spots. Perhaps most famous is Honey Pig Restaurant in Ellicott City, open 24/7 and always buzzing with energy. Other spots like Shin Chon, also in Ellicott City, and Iron Age in Catonsville are family-friendly favorites for traditional DIY dining experiences with tabletop grills. Find out more....

The Maryland Hunt Cup, a steeplechase race run on the last Saturday in April, has become a popular spectator event. Tailgating is a favorite way to watch the race. Image Credit: Katherine O. Rizzo

12 Experience Equestrian Tradition

Throughout the spring and fall, the sound of hooves fills Maryland’s horse country as one of the state’s greatest equine traditions takes to local farmland, much as it has for the past hundred years. From April through May and again in September and October, cross-country steeplechase races and equestrian events take place across Baltimore, Howard and Harford counties, with the region’s top riders competing across fields and over timber fences. Be sure to arrive early for the epic tailgate parties. 

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Golfers can enjoy the game and the Restaurant at Bulle Rock located in Havre De Grace Image Credit:

13 Be “Fore” You Golf Bulle Rock

Bulle Rock is a Pete Dye-designed course that has hosted the LPGA championship. This vast green in Havre de Grace is an ideal place to test your skills across 18 holes with challenging terrains and serene leisure scenes.

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320 Blenheim Ln
Havre de Grace, MD 21078

Native American Depiction at the Lacrosse Museum Image Credit: Courtesy of the Lacrosse Museum

14 America’s Oldest Sport

The U.S. National Lacrosse Hall of Fame and Museum in Baltimore County tells the story of lacrosse, America’s oldest  sport, and honors notable men and women for their contributions. Follow along with a field and exhibits that recollect the history of this popular pastime originating with the Native Americans.

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2 Loveton Cir
Sparks, MD 21152

Ball Snatch at a Baltimore Orioles Game Image Credit: Mitch Lebovic

15 Catch a Ballgame

Whatever the time of year, Maryland sports fans show up to support their ball-playing birds in and around Baltimore. In the fall and winter, the M&T Bank Stadium parking lot packs with tailgate parties for Ravens games, while in the spring and summer, Camden Yards fills with friends and families for a quintessential evening with hot dogs, peanuts and cold beers as the Orioles rule the roost. Also, just outside the city, Ripken Stadium in Aberdeen hosts the Ironbirds. The stadium offers family-friendly experiences. Throughout the summer, kids can run the bases, play catch on the field, watch fireworks displays and even meet members of each team—some of whom might one day become Os.

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333 W Camden St
Baltimore, MD 21201

Port Discovery Children's Museum in Baltimore Image Credit: Visit Baltimore

16 A Kid’s Day at the Museum

Baltimore offers a world of scientific exploration for kids at Port Discovery Children’s Museum with multiple floors of adventurous hands-on activities, while the Maryland Science Center hosts 10 full-sized dinosaurs for aspiring paleontologists. Kids also love the interactive exhibits and old antiques and relics of firefighting past at the Fire Museum in the Lutherville,  the third-largest of its kind in the world.

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35 Market Pl
Baltimore, MD 21202

Maryland Live! Casino Black Jack Image Credit: Maryland Live! Casino

17 Hit the Jackpot at Maryland Casinos

When it comes to world-class nightlife, fantastic food and great gaming, three is the magic number in Maryland’s Central Region. Maryland Live! brings 2,200 slots, high-rolling table games and an elegant 17-story hotel to Arundel Mills. Don’t miss the baccarat table to live out your James Bond dreams. Baltimore’s Horseshoe Casino ups the culinary ante with restaurants by celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay, Guy Fieri and Giada De Laurentiis. And Hollywood Casino Perryville rolls out the red carpet with topflight entertainment featuring world-class comedy and music.

Penguins at The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore Image Credit: The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore

18 Make Friends with the Animals

The Central Region claims two of the top ways to experience the animal kingdom in the midAtlantic—the renowned National Aquarium and Maryland Zoo, both located in Baltimore. At these family-friendly institutions, kids get an up-close look at everything from sharks and jellyfish to giraffes and penguins through worldclass exhibits. Both even host slumber parties for bedtime stories beside the wildlife.

The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture features fascinating permanent and traveling exhibitions. Image Credit: Visit Baltimore

19 Discover Maryland Legends and Legacies

Sign up for the Legends and Legacies Heritage Pass online at and celebrate the lives of Marylanders who changed the course of American history. The pass provides discounted entry to three of Baltimore’s most popular attractions honoring AfricanAmerican history and culture—The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum, the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture and the Frederick Douglass Isaac Myers Maritime Park Museum in addition to other deals. 

Docking a boat Image Credit:

20 Set Sail on the Chesapeake

With the Chesapeake Bay watershed spanning some 64,000 square miles, it’s no surprise that sailing is somewhat of a state sport. In fact, Annapolis just so happens to be the “Sailing Capital of the U.S.” Take to the seas yourself aboard the Schooner Woodwind for two-hour cruises past the Naval Academy and along the historic seaport. On land, learn more about maritime history at the Annapolis Maritime Museum or the U.S. Naval Academy Museum. Then take a drive to Baltimore and visit the Living Classrooms Foundation’s on-water fun, paddling a Chessie Dragon boat or scooting around in an electric pirate ship!

Central Maryland

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This 5-star hotel is right on Baltimore's Inner Harbor and blocks from Camden Yards.
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