If you’re looking for art and entertainment in a setting that’s historic with a hint of bohemian, you’ll find it at Annapolis’ aptly named Arts and Entertainment District, or A&E District. This recently designated arts district extends along inner West Street from Church Circle to Spa Road and includes the celebrated Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.
The Arts & Entertainment District provides visitors the opportunity for a rare, stimulating multi-sensory experience. Wander through edgy art galleries. Try a chic restaurant that features original fare and also showcases locally created art on the walls and performances by emerging musicians. Stop into a coffee shop; stroll the streets and watch for displays of public art—free standing, murals, and more. Visit an art gallery, take in a concert, or see a play. For a real feel of the district’s grassroots artistic vibe, attend one of its increasingly popular festivals. See below for details.
A Line-Up of Festive Festivals
The annual Annapolis Film Festival in early spring brings to our town a four-day line-up of critically acclaimed feature and short films from around the world. The films are narratives and documentaries that include Academy Award nominees. Some are fresh from Sundance and South by Southwest. More than seventy films are presented, all at venues in downtown Annapolis within walking distance of each other. Guests may also catch a ride on the City Circulator bus.
From spring through fall, West Street presents the First Sunday Arts Festival, where the “community and arts fuse.” Held on the first Sunday of each month from May to November, this green festival is a free entertainment showcase slash arts and crafts show featuring a hundred or so artists. You’ll find plenty to do both indoors and out, with live music, dance, theater, and street performers. Foodies can enjoy the delicious menu items served up at all the wonderful West Street cafes and festival food trucks.
Start off the December holiday season by indulging your sweet tooth at the Annapolis Chocolate Binge Festival, featuring chocolate treats, family friendly entertainment, holiday shopping, and the lighting of the beautiful West Street snowflake canopy. Kids can play in a gingerbread house moon bounce, make s’mores at the fire pit, and hang out with Sparky the fire department dog, Lady Godiva, and of course Santa. Take a delicious chocolate tour and complete your holiday shopping among the galleries, stores, and street vendors selling chocolate specialties, local crafts, and fine art.
The A&E District attracts visitors seeking the unusual and extraordinary throughout the year, from the winter holidays, through spring and summer, and into the last vibrant colors of autumn. Come see our colorful, eclectic arts scene, and prepare to be entertained.
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