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Places to Go & Things to Do
Massachusetts offers an adventure for every taste and budget.
Do you prefer art or agriculture, science or shopping? The Commonwealth will oblige. Here's a list that, in no particular order covers (a portion of) the gamut of things to do.
At this folk music mecca, all shows are all ages. Back in the day, it helped launch the careers of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, Shawn Colvin and Suzanne Vega, and regularly features well-established and up-and-coming artists, including Ryan Mont-bleau, Antje Duvekot, and Anais Mitchell. In a funky Harvard Square alley, this below-street-level venue also serves vegetarian fare.
The Garment District
Not to be confused with the New York clothing hub, Cambridge’s Garment District is a fashionista’s paradise, stocked to the ceiling with vintage, one-of-a kind finds and hilarious costume ingredients. Check out the “Dollar-a-Pound” section (it’s actually $1.50 these days but the name sticks) where overstocks are literally piled on the floor for better rummaging. Your bag is weighed at checkout. Half price on Fridays!
The Big E, New England’s Largest Annual Fair
Each fall, West Springfield, Mass., plays host to the Eastern States Exposition, New England’s largest agricultural fair, featuring livestock displays, a midway with carnival rides and games, a daily Mardi-Gras style parade, and the popular “Avenue of States.” If you prefer old to big, check out the Topsfield Fair (still pretty big), which dates back to 1818.
Boston Harbor Cruises offers guaranteed whale sighting during its three-hour tours. As educational as they are exciting, you’ll learn about humpbacks, minkes, finbacks, and white-sided dolphins during your cruise on a high-speed catamaran.
Gloucester’s Beautiful Shoreline
Good Harbor, Wingaersheek, Long Beach… don’t they just sound nice? Home to America’s oldest seaport and artists’ colony, and still an active commercial fishing town, Gloucester boasts some of New England’s most scenic beaches.
Arthouse Films: Coolidge Corner and Brattle Theaters
Boston boasts not one but two independent, not-for-profit theaters. The Coolidge Corner Theater in Brookline, designed as an Art Deco movie palace in 1933, presents the finest international, documentary, animated, and independent films. The Brattle Theater in Harvard Square shows the best in classic, cutting-edge, foreign, and art-house films, including re-releases of classic films.
Modern Art Junket: Road Trip to North Adams
Nestled in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts is the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art. It takes up 13 acres
History Lives in Salem
Sixteen miles north of Boston lies the seaside city of Salem, infamously known for the Salem Witch Trials. Salem’s offerings run the gamut from the serious (Peabody Essex Museum) to the wacky (literally, with the 40 Whacks Lizzie Borden Museum), but don’t miss its point of pride: the Salem Witch Museum. Halloween week in Salem is a special kind of treat.
Galleries & Beaches: Provincetown
Accessible by high-speed ferry from Boston, Provincetown is the quintessential New England seaside village, teeming with art galleries and pristine beaches. An active gay community in P-town brings distinctive verve to its dance clubs and parades.