Posted December 16, 2016

Seven things to do on your Military Bowl road trip

As if the game and the social gatherings weren’t enough, here are tips for making a visit to Annapolis, Maryland and nearby Washington and Baltimore unforgettable.

Temple mascot Hooter the Owl celebrating with the marching band and fans.
Photography By: 
Betsy Manning
Temple football returns to Annapolis, Maryland to face Wake Forest in the Military Bowl Dec. 27, less than a month after the team's American Athletic Conference championship win there. Besides cheering on the Owls at the game, here are things to do on your trip.

The Temple family is buzzing about the football team playing Wake Forest in the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Maryland. A big draw is making it into a road trip. It’s hard to imagine a region with more densely-packed destinations—other than the Philadelphia area, obviously—than the Washington, Annapolis and Baltimore triangle. So whether you’ve already made your travel plans or need a bit more convincing, we’ve put together a list of awesome activities to consider adding to your owl-tinerary with the game and official alumni events.

Visit the National Mall's newest museum. The National Museum of African American History and Culture, the latest addition to the National Mall in Washington, opened last year near the Washington Monument and remains one of the hottest tickets in town. And yes, we do mean “tickets”—although free like other Smithsonian museums, you need to get a timed pass to enter.

Tour the Naval Academy. The game will be played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium at the United States Naval Academy, where future officers are educated and trained. But don’t let the stadium be your only stop at “the yard,” the academy’s gorgeous, monument-packed, Beaux Arts-style campus. Public tours are available daily from the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center.

Let your holiday spirit shine. Washington is home to iconic holiday light displays. The night before or after the game might be the perfect time to check seeing the National Christmas Tree or the National Menorah off your bucket list. Both are in the Ellipse, a massive green space just south of the White House. Another favorite: ZooLights at the National Zoo.

Explore a cool capitol. The Maryland State House, located in the heart of Annapolis’ Historic District, is the oldest state capitol in continuous legislative use. Although not as big as Pennsylvania’s, the State House has a cozy, colonial charm—and a wooden dome—unlike any other. Leave time to walk around the surrounding 17th- and 18th-century residences.

Feed your inner foodie. There are types of restaurants that even Philly dining snobs admit are best explored in Washington or Annapolis. Ever tried Ethiopian or Eritrean cuisine? D.C. is the place to do it. Try Keren or Ababa in the Adams Morgan neighborhood—and be prepared to eat with your hands. In Annapolis, feast on crabs at Cantler’s Riverside Inn, a local institution.

Make a side trip to Baltimore. Don’t leave the area without stopping in Charm City. Start by grabbing lunch in Fell’s Point or the Inner Harbor. The latter is a short walk from two of our favorite destinations on the East Coast: the National Aquarium and the American Visionary Art Museum, which celebrates “intuitive, self-taught artistry.”

Watch an Owl in the NBA. It just so happens that the Indiana Pacers are playing the Washington Wizards at the Verizon Center in downtown D.C. the night after the Military Bowl (Dec. 28, 7 p.m.). That means you’ll get a rare chance to watch the Pacers’ Lavoy Allen, Temple’s all-time leader in rebounds and the only former Owl currently on an NBA roster.

- hjh