The capital of Maryland, Annapolis is the state’s second most popular tourist destination, attracting more than four million visitors each year. Known as the “Athens of America” since the earliest days of the city’s 300-year history, Annapolis is rich with cultural activities, world-class educational institutions and architectural gems. Situated on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay, the city is famous for its maritime attractions as well.

Early History

Pilgrims first settled the region around modern-day Annapolis in 1649, but the city didn’t receive its current name until 1694, when Maryland Governor Francis Nicholson moved the colony’s capital there from St. Mary’s City. He named the city Annapolis after the soon-to-be Queen Anne of Great Britain. Nicholson was a skilled city planner as well, and he designed the two major circles that make the city so easy to navigate by foot today.

Visitors often begin tours of Annapolis at the Maryland State House, which has been in continuous use since its construction in 1779. Annapolis served at the nation’s capital from 1783 to 1784, and the Treaty of Paris that marked the end of the Revolutionary War was signed there. Tours of the historical building are offered daily.


Located around 30 miles to the east of Washington, D.C., Annapolis has a land area of 7.18 square miles. The city boasts 17 miles of waterfront along Chesapeake Bay and the southern bank of the Severn River. Maryland Route 450 runs through the center of the city.


Annapolis experiences hot, humid summers and cool winters. The average daytime temperature in July is 85 degrees Fahrenheit. In January, daytime temperatures hover around 35 degrees. Annapolis gets around 39 inches of rain every year and around 14 inches of snow.


The Census Bureau’s 2013 population estimate for Annapolis is 38,722. At 54 percent, the homeownership rate for the seaside city is significantly less than the state’s 68-percent rate. There are around 16,645 households in Annapolis, around 55 percent of which are families. The median home value is approximately $390,700, and the median household income is around $70,689.

Points of Interest

Attractions in Annapolis range from cultural institutions to arts and recreation venues:

  • Known locally as “The Yard,” the U.S. Naval Academy features artifacts and works of art that depict the history of the U.S. Navy, including the burial place of naval hero John Paul Jones.
  • Built in 1774, the beautifully preserved Hammond-Harwood House is home to a collection of John Shaw furniture and paintings by Charles Willson Peale.
  • Located in an oyster-packing plant on Chesapeake Bay, the Annapolis Maritime Museum presents exhibits and programs that help children learn about the city’s maritime history and ecology.
  • The 180-seat Colonial Players theater is best known for its annual production of “A Christmas Carol.”
  • The Chesapeake Bay Yacht Racing Association provides information about maritime activities for the city known as the Sailing Capital of the World.

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