Maryland is most famous for its seafood, specifically the blue crab which is in season from late spring to fall. Although Maryland crab cakes are the most well known, blue crab can be prepared in a number of other ways such as soup, dip, sautéed, or steamed. You should also be sure to try oysters, raw, in a chowder or deep fried. Generally oysters are the best in the winter months, or as locals say, all months that end in an "r." Maryland is also a major agricultural region, which means that all kinds of produce are fresh and tasty. This is shown in the sheer number of farmers’ markers held in almost every town all over the state.

Bars and Pubbing in Maryland

The main nightlife in Maryland is centered around the big cities such as Baltimore, Annapolis, Bethesda, and Ocean City. Micro-breweries tend to be very popular, but there are the usual bars and clubs, with Baltimore boasting the most choice. Probably the most famous microbreweries are Pratt Street Ale House (206 W. Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21201) and The Brewer’s Art (1106 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MC 21201). Baltimore also offers a wide range of nightclubs, from small to large, one of the most popular being Get Down (701 S Bond Street, Baltimore, MD 21231). Favorite bars include the Idle Hour (201 East Ford Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21230), Ottobar (2549 N. Howard Street, Baltimore, MD 21218) and Vino Rosina (507 S. Exeter Street, Baltimore, MD 21202).

Annapolis is much smaller than Baltimore and most of the nightlife is concentrated around the downtown dock area. The city does have a nice balance catering to young vs sophisticated crowds. Recently voted one of the best bars in Annapolis was the Ramshead Tavern (33 West Street, Annapolis, MD 21401), located in a historic building with many beers made on premise. Other local favorites include the Galway Bay Irish Restaurant (63 Maryland Avenues, Annapolis, MD 21401), a typical Irish pub, and Level (69 West Street, Annapolis, MD 21401), for great cocktails.

Ocean Park has a very small permanent population of less than 10,000 people, but during the summer this swells to about 400,000. Many of the restaurants, bars and pubs are located along the Boardwalk, but there are more options scattered around the city. Popular spots include the Buxy’s Salty Dog Saloon (27th Street, Ocean City, MD 21842) and BJ’s on the Water (75th Street & Bay, Ocean City, MD 21843).

Dining and Cuisine in Maryland

If you're not in Annapolis during the annual Seafood Festival in September when the capital Crab Soup Cook-Off takes place, make it a point to seek out one of the many seafood restaurants in Maryland. In Annapolis for great crab, try the Cantler’s Riverside Inn (458 Forest Beach Road, Annapolis, MD 21409) or O’Learys Seafood Restaurant (310 Third Street, Annapolis, MD 21403). The best in Baltimore are Charleston (1000 Lancaster Street, Baltimore, MD 21202) for upscale dining, Gertrude’s (The Baltimore Museum of Art, 10 Art Museum Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218) for traditional Chesapeake fare, and The Oceanaire Seafood Room (801 Aliceanna Street, Baltimore, MD 21202) for unique dining in an ocean liner.

Bethesda is a commuter city for many working in DC, so many restaurants cater to a range of clientele. Some of the most popular international fare is Newton’s Table (4917 Elm Street, Bethesda, MD 20814) for steaks, Uncle Julio’s (4870 Bethesda Avenues, Bethesda, MD 20814) for Mexican and Olazzo (7921 Norfolk Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20814) for tasty Italian.