The Old Line State
Maryland is the 5th most densely populated state in the United States with a population of nearly 6 million people. The capital of Maryland is Annapolis, while the most populated city is Baltimore. Both cities offer many tourist attractions and historical sites. Bordering both the northern and southern regions of the U.S., Maryland features a mix of cultures, cuisines and ethnicities, along with many art and cultural sites for visitors to enjoy during their time in the state. Learn more in our cultural guide below or by visiting: visitmaryland.org.
Jump to: Historical Sites & Tourist Attractions | Arts & Culture | Sports & Recreation | Outdoor Activities | Food | Local Festivals | Housing Resources | Transportation | Health & Safety | Help Your Community
Historical Sites & Tourist Attractions
Maryland Hall, Johns Hopkins University. Photo by Cvenghaus.
Add some local history to your cultural exchange experience by visiting a nearby historical site or tourist attraction when living and working in the U.S.
Take a self-guided driving tour of over 30 historic sites related to Harriet Tubman's life and her journeys on the Underground Railroad, a term for the trip Tubman would take with slaves from the South to freedom in the North.
Visit Fort McHenry National Monument & Historic Shrine to see the site that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the U.S. national anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner", during the War of 1812. Exhibits, videos, daily flag programs and walks are available to visitors at the fort and visitor center.
The Antietam National Battlefield is the site of the bloodiest one-day battle in American history. During the Civil War, 23,000 soldiers were killed when the Confederacy invaded the Northern states at Antietam in Maryland. President Abraham Lincoln soon announced the Emancipation Proclamation after the battle. Today, visitors can see museum exhibits, take tours and walks of the battlefield, listen to ranger-led talks and take self-guided hikes.
Baltimore's Inner Harbor is one of the most popular areas in the city and home to many tourist attractions, including the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, the Historic Ships in Baltimore and many tours, cruises, restaurants and stores.
Visit the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture in Baltimore to learn how African Americans contributed to Maryland's history and culture. See exhibits, artifacts from military history, African art, objects from local history, and go to special events like lectures and film screenings.
Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, has a long history that dates back to the colonial era in the 17th century. It was also the temporary capital of the U.S. for a brief period in 1783 to 1784. Today, visitors can see historic sites like the Maryland State House, St. John's College and the U.S. Naval Academy. Check out a few of the tours offered in Annapolis in the Tour Companies section below!
Ocean City is a popular summer destination and home to beaches, a boardwalk, restaurants, golf courses, shopping, watersports, tours and much more! Jolly Roger Amusement Parks are a popular group of attractions in the area and include roller coasters, water parks, mini golf and other fun activities.
- Annapolis and Baltimore Day Cruises
- Annapolis Tours & Crawls
- Annapolis Walking Tours
- Baltimore Fishing Adventures
- Baltimore Food Tours
- Baltimore Trolley Tours
- Candlelight Ghost Tours of Frederick
- Ocean City Eco Tours
- Maryland Office of Tourism
- Annapolis - the state capital of Maryland
- Visit Baltimore - the largest city in Maryland
- Ocean City
Arts & Culture
Baltimore, Maryland Skyline from the Inner Harbor. Photo by Nfutvol.
The United States offers a wide variety of cultural learning opportunities through the arts. Dance, music, theater, opera, art museums and festivals are just some of the options available to international visitors who wish to experience the U.S. and its culture.
Art & Cultural Museums
Annapolis has many art galleries and performing art venues in the downtown area. Learn more at the Annapolis Arts website.
The Baltimore Museum of Art has collections of modern, contemporary and 19th century art, including a group of 500 works by Henri Matisse.
Other arts and cultural attractions in Maryland include:
- Academy Art Museum, Easton
- African Art Museum of Maryland, Fulton
- American Visionary Art Museum, Baltimore
- Annemarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Centre, Dowell
- Asian Arts & Culture Center at Towson University, Towson
- The Maryland Theatre, Hagerstown
- Ocean City Center for the Arts, Ocean City
- Poe House & Museum, Baltimore
- Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown
- The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore
Read more information on the visual arts in Maryland.
Performing arts in Maryland include:
- Ballet Theatre of Maryland, Annapolis
- Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Baltimore
- Baltimore Theatre Project, Baltimore
- Centerstage, Baltimore
- Olney Theatre, Olney
- Rep Stage, Columbia
See a full listing of Maryland performing arts companies and venues.
Sports & Recreation
Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles. Photo by Shoshanah.
Many Americans are passionate about sports - and not just baseball and football! Get a glimpse into this part of American culture by watching or participating in a favorite U.S. sport or recreational activity in your local area.
The University of Maryland has a vibrant sports culture and loyal student fans. Visitors can watch many sports from the UMD Terps, including popular football and basketball games.
Georgetown Hoyas are known for their men's basketball team but they also have many other sports teams, including football, lacrosse, soccer and rowing.
The United States Naval Academy is located in Annapolis, Maryland and has many sports teams, including football, baseball, basketball and soccer. One of the school's more popular sporting traditions is the Army-Navy football game when the U.S. Naval Academy plays against the U.S. Military Academy.
Some other college sports teams in Maryland include:
- Coppin State Eagles, Coppin State University
- John Hopkins Blue Jays, John Hopkins University
- Loyola Greyhounds, Loyola University
- Morgan State Bears, Morgan State University
- Towson Tigers, Towson University
Major League Sports
There are two professional sports teams in Maryland, but many of the Washington, D.C. teams have training facilities and play home games in Maryland:
- Baltimore Orioles (baseball)
- Baltimore Ravens (football)
- Washington Redskins (football)
Minor League Sports
- Aberdeen IronBirds (baseball)
- Baltimore Blast (indoor soccer)
- Bay Area Shuckers (basketball)
- Bowie Baysox (baseball)
- Delmarva Shortbirds (baseball)
- Frederick Keys (baseball)
- Hagerstown Suns (baseball)
- Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (baseball)
Ocean City. Photo by Dough4872.
The United States is home to a variety of landscapes and climates to suit all types of outdoor activities. The courageous traveler can find extreme sports and outdoor adventure tours, while others may want to keep both feet on the ground in a national park or forest. Whatever your interests, take advantage of the many outdoor activities available during your time in the United States.
Assateague Island is a barrier island off the coast of Maryland and Virginia. It is home to a population of wild Assateague horses, beaches and many outdoor activities like biking, camping, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, swimming and surfing.
Catoctin Mountain Park in north-central Maryland has 25 miles of trails for hiking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and wildlife viewing. Visitors can also go fly-fishing, camping and rock climbing.
Explore the Chesapeake Bay and the many bayside towns in this area of Maryland and Virginia. Outdoor activities on the bay include kayaking, fishing, boating, swimming, hiking and camping, and visitors will also find many historic sites and towns, some dating back to the colonial era.
Greenbelt Park is located near Washington, D.C. and College Park, MD, and is just 3 miles from the College Park-University of Maryland Metro stop. The park has many campsites, hiking and biking trails, horseback riding trails, picnic areas and it is the site of competitive Practice Bicycle races
The Maryland Outdoor Club is a group of young adults that meet up for social events like hiking, camping and other adventure sports. Membership is free and members must be over 18 years old.
Patuxent River Park in Upper Marlboro, just outside Washington, D.C., offers many outdoor activities, including camping, biking, canoeing and kayaking, hunting, fishing, and a historical and archaeological park.
Find more information on outdoor activities in Maryland from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
Ocean City offers many outdoor activities for visitors, including kayaking, fishing, biking, tours, miniature golf, beach
activities and more.
Hiking trails, volleyball, softball, baseball and other fun activities for kids and adults can be found away from the beach! Check out the many parks, playgrounds and outdoor recreation areas in the Ocean City area.
One of the best ways to experience cultural exchange is through food and cooking. Visitors will enjoy exploring the regional specialties and local cuisine during their time in the United States.
Located on the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland is known for its blue crabs, which are often eaten with Old Bay seasoning or in dishes like crab cakes and crab chowder. In Baltimore, visitors will find local favorites like Berger cookies and pit beef. And the state dessert of Maryland is Smith Island Cake!
The Maryland Department of Agriculture has a map and listing of Maryland farmers' markets.
FRESHFARM Markets are a group of 11 markets in Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia.
- Annapolis Crab Feast, August, Annapolis
- Annapolis Restaurant Week, February/March, Annapolis
- Havre de Grace Seafood Festival, August, Havre de Grace
- Maryland Seafood Festival, September, Sandy Point
- Ocean City Restaurant Week, May and October
- OysterFest, November, St. Michaels
For a unique and local perspective on American cultural, be sure to check out festivals and events near your cultural exchange program location. These events are a fun and interesting way to interact with locals and to learn more about American culture by experiencing it firsthand.
Attend the four-day Maryland Film Festival to see feature films, documentaries, animated films, short films and much more. Many films come from North America, but the festival also screens many international films. The festival is held each May in Baltimore. Visitors may even see a celebrity and be able to meet filmmakers presenting a screening or hosting an event.
Every third Sunday in May, the Preakness Stakes comes to the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. This famous horse race is part of the U.S. Triple Crown, a series of thoroughbred horse races in May and June. The Preakness also includes entertainment, activities and concerts at an event called InfieldFest, and three days of events leading up to the big horse race on Saturday.
Columbia Festival of the Arts in Maryland is a community art event in Columbia, Maryland. During two weeks in June, local, regional and international artists present all types of artistic experiences, including dance, music, theater, painting and more.
Artscape is the largest fine arts festival in the United States. The free festival is held over 3 days in July and attracts hundreds of artists, craftspeople, fashion designers and performers. Live music, dance, art exhibits, family activities, international foods and concerts from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra are some of the many activities included in the festival. Check the website for further details.
The Maryland State Fair is an annual event with many events and attractions, including fair rides, food vendors, cooking competitions, arts and crafts and live entertainment. Over half a million visitors come to the 11-day event each August in Timonium, Maryland.
In October, the Fell's Point Fun Festival comes to the historic neighborhood Fell's Point in Baltimore with an outdoor street festival. Arts and crafts vendors, fine art displays, a flea market, music, dancing and lots of food are some of the activities and events to be enjoyed at the festival.
Summer is a busy and exciting time in Ocean City, Maryland, and visitors can find many types of free events throughout the season. Some highlights include Arts on the Dock, fireworks shows, the Family Beach Olympics, free concerts and more!
Sunfest in Ocean City is an annual event in September featuring music, art, crafts and kids' activities.
Find upcoming events in Ocean City throughout the year.
Employers may be able to assist with housing during your time in the United States, but this is not always possible for all participants. When looking for housing during your cultural exchange program, consider the cost of the accommodation, the distance to your work place and the amount of time you will be in the United States.
It's also important to avoid fraudulent housing. It is highly recommended that you secure short-term housing upon arrival (e.g. in a hostel) and conduct your housing search once you are in the U.S. Never give your financial information to a stranger over the Internet. Browse the Housing Information guides for InterExchange participants below for more tips and advice.
General Housing Information
- Housing information for Work and Travel USA participants
- Housing information for Career Training USA interns and trainees
Maryland Housing Resources
Some examples of housing and accommodation resources for Maryland and Washington, D.C. participants include:
- Craigslist - Maryland
- Ocean City - Seasonal Housing
- American Homestay Agency
- Hostelling International
College Park Metro Station. Photo by Ben Schumin.
Public transportation options can be hit or miss, depending on your location in the United States. Buses are a common transportation option for short and long-term travel in the U.S., while some areas will also have trains, subways and other options.
Public Transit Systems
The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is responsible for local buses, commuter buses, commuter trains, light rail and Metro subway services.
The MTA website also provides links to other local and regional transit systems in Maryland, including Carroll County, Frederick County, Hartford County and Washington County.
Getting around Ocean City, Maryland, including the Boardwalk Tram, the Coastal Highway Bus and other seasonal transporation options.
Visit the American Public Transportation Association website for a complete list of public transportation options in your local community.
Amtrak trains travel to Maryland and many other major cities, including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and Miami, such as the Carolinian/Piedmont, the Acela Express, Capitol Limited, Cardinal/Hoosier, Crescent, Northeast Regional, the Vermonter and the Silver Service/Palmetto.
Many bus companies travel to and from Maryland, including:
- Bolt Bus
- Tripper Bus (New York to Bethesda, MD and Arlington, VA)
Health & Safety
Participants in Maryland and Washington, D.C. can use the following resources in case of an emergency or extreme weather event in their area:
Emergency Management Agencies
- Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)
- Twitter updates from MEMA @MDMEMA
- Emergency Services Department in Ocean City, MD
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) www.fema.gov and www.ready.gov
- Maryland FEMA updates on Twitter @femaregion3
Help Your Community
Downtown Boonsboro, Maryland. Photo by Acroterion.
Interact with others and expand your skill set by volunteering in your local community. Volunteer organizations are often looking for short-term volunteers or for individuals to help with a single event, making it a great option for InterExchange participants who wish to add to their cultural exchange experience during their time in the United States.
Volunteermatch.org, Idealist.org and Serve.gov are three general volunteer websites that match local organizations with volunteers in their communities.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has multiple programs that need volunteers on weekdays and weekends. Volunteers can donate time for a few hours a week or on a longer basis
The Maryland Food Bank fights hunger in the Baltimore area and the Eastern Shore. Both individuals and groups are welcome to volunteer at centers in Baltimore and Salisbury.
Maryland Volunteer Centers shares information about local volunteer centers throughout the state.