The state of Massachusetts offers visitors an extraordinarily rich array of choices. Its six major regions provide a virtual checklist of options to appeal to any traveller: adventure, relaxation and rejuvenation, romance, and arts and culture.
Boston, the state capital, is rich in history, culture, entertainment, and sophisticated cuisine. From award-winning destination restaurants to intimate neighbourhood bistros, there is a wealth of dining choices. The Freedom Trail winds through the city’s sites that played a key role in the American Revolution; the African American Heritage Trail explores Boston’s 19th century African American community. Riding the Swan Boats in the Public Garden is a unique Boston experience. The city’s major art institutions – the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Institute of Contemporary Art – offer illuminating and provocative exhibitions; marquees light up the Theater District. Newbury Street is always bustling with its galleries, sidewalk cafes, boutiques and brand-name shops. Funky, multicultural Cambridge is just across the Charles River, home to MIT, Harvard University, and Harvard Square’s restaurants, shops, and bookstores.
North of Boston, the Lowell National Historical Park showcases the city’s heritage as a center of the textile industry. The coastal communities – Newburyport, Rockport, Gloucester and Marblehead – all have rich maritime traditions. Waterfront restaurants offer fresh lobster rolls, fried clams and fishing boats’ catch-of-the-day. Salem is the site of the infamous 17th century witch trials; the Peabody Essex Museum has extraordinary collections of art and culture.
South of Boston, Plimoth Plantation is one of Massachusetts’ four living history museums. It brings to life the arrival of the pilgrims and the Native American experience. New Bedford has a rich history as the world’s foremost whaling center and inspired Herman Melville to write Moby-Dick. Westport Rivers Vineyard is a top stop on the region’s wine and cheese trail.
Beach and island lovers head to Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. The Cape Cod National Seashore offers miles of bike paths, swimming and surfing. At the tip of the Cape is Provincetown, a creative, eclectic community. The Provincetown Art Association and Museum reflects the town’s roots as an art colony. Ferries to the islands leave from several Cape ports. Nantucket is a small island with highly distinctive architecture, a rich whaling history and magnificent beaches. Rich in Native American history, Martha’s Vineyard clay cliffs, distinctive lighthouses and charming small towns provide visitors with lots to explore on foot and by bicycle.
In central Massachusetts, Old Sturbridge Village is a living, breathing village depicting life in New England in the early 19th century. Special programs, activities and authentic village celebrations provide a rich visitor experience. In western Massachusetts, adventure seekers go on thrilling white-water rafting trips and soar through the tree tops on zip lines. Culture lovers flock to the region for the concert season at Tanglewood, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra; international dance performances at Jacob’s Pillow Dance; and cutting-edge, large-scale art at MASS MoCA in North Adams. In Massachusetts, it truly is all here.
Don't leave without tasting...
Fried clams at Woodman’s in Essex. Tender Ipswich Bay clams will melt in your mouth. Throw in fries, coleslaw and tartar sauce and you’ve got the quintessential Massachusetts summer meal.
Where residents go to relax
The North Shore has beautiful beaches, plenty of arts and culture, and unique shopping.
Put these events on your calendar
- St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Boston (March)
- Boston Marathon (April)
- Boston Harborfest (July)
- Haunted Happenings in Salem (October).
Top photo opportunities
- Along the Mohawk Trail
- Downtown Nantucket
- Aquinnah Cliffs on Martha’s Vineyard
- Purgatory Chasm in Sutton
- Boston’s Commonwealth Avenue in spring.
MASS MoCA in North Adams showcases the best of international contemporary art.
Classic road trip
The most classic drive in Massachusetts is the trip to Cape Cod in the summer months to enjoy the beaches, dunes and surf.
Don't overlook this...
- World’s End in Hingham is a wonderful park that many people do not know about. Rolling hills and rocky shorelines offer sweeping views of the Boston skyline, while tree-lined carriage paths designed by Frederick Law Olmsted make delightful walking trails
- Vaillancourt Folk Art, in Sutton, has made highly detailed, hand-painted figurines, and other collectibles since 1984.
- Boston Gondolas, on the Charles River Esplanade
- Top of the Hub Restaurant & Lounge in Boston
- Sunset at Aquinnah Cliffs, Martha’s Vineyard
- The estate and gardens at The Mount, Lenox
- John Carver Inn & Spa, Plymouth
- A sunset stroll along the Boston Harborwalk
- A sleigh ride at Salem Cross Inn, West Brookfield.
History happened here
Walk Boston’s 2.5-mile Freedom Trail (self-guided or with a guide) to learn about the events that led up to the historic break from Britain. It leads to 16 nationally significant historic sites.
Just want to indulge?
- Boston’s Original Chocolate Tour
- Canyon Ranch spa, in Lenox
- Wrentham Village Premium Outlets.
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