As some of you know, I was born in Baltimore (and still have a ton of family in the area!) Growing up, I had cousins who lived super close to BWI, and that was our preferred airport for many years. It is crazy to see how much the BWI area/Anne Arundel County has changed over the last couple of decades — it’s gone from a quiet suburb to a major tourist destination.
The kind folks over at Visit Annapolis invited us to experience the BWI region for a weekend, and here are 5 awesome things to do near BWI airport during your next Maryland adventure.
Things to Do Near BWI:
Stay (and Play) at Live! Hotel and Casino
I stayed at the Live! Hotel during their grand opening weekend over the summer and their first weekend was a little rocky. However, I had the opportunity to stay again last fall, and they’ve stepped it up in the customer service department — and it felt a lot more like a 4-star hotel during my second visit.
I loved how sleek and modern the design of the hotel was. They have a carefully curated art collection which boasts 40 works by world-renowned artists including Andy Warhol, Jennifer Steinkamp, Charlie Ahn, and more. The rooms were luxe and contemporary, and it was a treat getting ready every morning in their marble bathrooms.
I’m not much of a gambler, but we had a blast at the casino. They offered a lot of different types of slot machines (we stuck to the penny machines!), and table gaming. There’s entertainment throughout the evening on the casino floor, and you can enjoy both DJs and live music. My favorite part? Several restaurants are steps away from the casino floor so that you can stay well-fed all night long.
Go Beer Tasting at Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House
Hands down, this is the one thing on our itinerary that we were the most excited about. The newly revamped Guinness Open Gate Brewery & Barrel House opened this past summer, and it is currently the only Guinness brewery in North America. The facility is stunning, and we plan on taking more road trips to visit this incredible space in the future!
I would 100% recommend signing up for the brewery tour. Pro-tip: sign up in advance, as it sells out fast. It was awesome to learn about the rich history of the brand and how it expanded in North America over the years. If you’re not a stout drinker, don’t fret: this brewery produces experimental beers, and they’re always offering new brews on tap. They also have a lot of delicious food options at their restaurant and a massive outdoor space.
Shop til You Drop at Arundel Mills
I remember when this mall opened when I was 10, and my family has been shopping here ever since. Arundel Mills the largest mall in the state of Maryland and has some of the best outlet shopping on the East Coast. We also went to Medieval Times during our visit, which is located inside the mall: that experience wasn’t for me, but I think it would be a fun family activity if you have kiddos!
Enjoy Top Notch Entertainment
You can also catch some comedy shows and concerts at the Event Center at Live! Hotel and Casino. We saw an I Love the 90’s tour over the summer featuring Salt ‘n’ Pepa and Vanilla Ice (talk about a throwback!) We also saw Tracy Morgan perform as well. The crowd here was a bit older, and at times I felt a little out of place as a millennial, but other than that, we had a great time.
Eat Like Royalty at The Prime Rib
Our favorite dining experience during our stay was at The Prime Rib. It’s the Baltimore region’s Zagat-rated #1 steakhouse and offers an incredible selection of surf and turf dishes.
I loved The Prime Rib’s extensive wine list and impressive cocktail offerings, and the steaks were very well made. However, there were also a lot of options on the menu for non-steak eaters as well. True to Maryland fashion, they had a robust offering of seafood dishes. They also had a few private dining spaces that would make The Prime Rib a fantastic choice for a special event.
Overall, I loved how upscale this dining experience was, and we’re looking forward to our next visit!
Thank you to Visit Annapolis and Live! Hotel for hosting us for this experience! All thoughts and opinions are my own.