8 Top Things to Do in Newburyport, Massachusetts

Explore This Coastal City North of Boston

Newburyport, Massachusetts

Walter Bibikow / Getty Images

About a 45-minute drive north of Boston and just five miles south of the New Hampshire border is Newburyport, Massachusetts, a coastal city known for its old-time charm and a constant stream of new shops and restaurants. The city, dubbed "The Port," has evolved immensely since it was settled in 1635. While it’s most popular in the summer, partly because of its proximity to nearby beaches, there are also many parks, shopping areas, restaurants, and day spas to visit any time of the year. Newburyport offers plenty of activities to keep travelers entertained, from a can't-miss summertime event to a restaurant with the best Italian food around, plus a park perfect for winter sledding and snowshoeing.

01 of 08

Sip Craft Beer and Mead at Local Breweries

Beer glasses at Riverwalk Brewing Company in Newburyport, Massachusetts

Riverwalk Brewing Company

Address
40 Parker St, Newburyport, MA 01950-4056, USA
Phone +1 978-499-2337

After a long day of sightseeing or relaxing at the beach, there’s nothing like unwinding at one of the city’s best breweries and sipping craft beer alongside the locals. At RiverWalk Brewing Company, try the Tripler or Stratascopic, among other offerings, and enjoy handmade Bavarian-style pretzels and other small bites. Nearby, Newburyport Brewing Co. is known for its popular Overboard New England India Pale Ale (IPA) and live music. If you’re more into mead than regular beer, head to House Bear Brewing to try its gold medal award winning creations, made by fermenting the sugars that are generally found in honey.

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02 of 08

Indulge at Local Restaurants

Abraham's Bagels and Pizza

Abraham's Bagels and Pizza

Address
257 Low St, Newburyport, MA 01950, USA
Phone +1 978-465-2225

If hunger strikes while you're visiting Newburyport, there are plenty of dining available depending on what you’re in the mood for. Abraham's Bagels and Pizza offers nearly 20 flavors of bagels and is a must-visit in the morning—don’t let the long lines stop you, even if they wrap around the block outside. Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant, just a few minutes from the downtown waterfront, is where you’ll find the best, most authentic Italian cuisine north of Boston. There are also several seafood restaurants to choose from along the Merrimack River, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean roughly three miles downstream.

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03 of 08

Embrace Retail Therapy

Oldies Marketplace - Vintage

 Amie Fedora / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Address
22 Pleasant St, Newburyport, MA 01950-2610, USA
Phone +1 978-462-2320

Those who would rather spend the day shopping should head to State Street, the heart of Newburyport's fashion center, where you’ll find even more shops on the streets and squares branching off from the main retail thoroughfare, all offering an eclectic array of merchandise ranging from bookstores to boutiques and everything in between. Fashionistas should check out Bobbles & Lace; if your passion is vintage goods, there are a number of antique shops scattered throughout the city. One of the best places to browse is the indoor/outdoor Oldies Marketplace, located right by the boardwalk, which sells everything from clocks and furniture to fine art.

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04 of 08

Attend Newburyport's Top Summer Event

Yankee Homecoming

Tim Booth / Flickr / CC

Address
36 Market Square, Newburyport, MA 01950, USA

The biggest summertime event in Newburyport is the annual Yankee Homecoming celebration, a family-friendly event that runs throughout the day and evening for about a week from late July to early August. Visitors can enjoy everything from arts and crafts to an endless lineup of food vendors, while other events include a Lighted Boat Parade and a waiter/waitress race. Stick around for live musical performances and a rousing fireworks display by the waterfront marking the end of the festivities, always a major highlight.

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05 of 08

Discover the Area's Best Beaches

Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Beach

TripSavvy / Kim Knox Beckius

Address
Harbor St, Newburyport, MA 01950, USA

Beaches are, of course, the main summertime attraction in North Shore area of Massachusetts. Plum Island, just 11 miles long, is where the locals tend to spend their summer days and nights, only a 20-minute drive from the city center. Stop by the majestic Plum Island Lighthouse, built in 1898 and known as the Newburyport Harbor Lighthouse, and catch a beautiful coastal sunset.

Nearby, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge is a 15-minute drive from downtown Newburyport, though this popular beach and birding spot feels worlds away. More than 300 species of birds, plus mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians make this river their home; if you’re lucky, you may also get a chance to see the federally threatened piping plover shorebird.

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06 of 08

Spend a Day at Maudslay State Park

Maudslay State Park

 Marc Flores / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Address
74 Curzon Mill Rd, Newburyport, MA 01950-6254, USA
Phone +1 978-465-7223

Maudslay State Park in Newburyport is a perfect place to spend the day outdoors and away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Go for a relaxing walk or bike ride along the trails or pack a picnic and enjoy the fresh air. If you happen to be in the Newburyport area during the month of October, check out Maudslay is Haunted, a series of skits performed along the marked trails by the theatrical troupe, Theater in the Open. In the wintertime, Maudslay State Park is also a favorite place for locals who want to snowshoe along the trails or sled down the hills.

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07 of 08

See a Show at an Intimate Theater

Alice in Wonderglass

The Actors Studio of Newburyport 

Address
12 Federal St, Newburyport, MA 01950-2804, USA
Phone +1 978-465-1229

If you are a theater fan, get tickets to a show presented by The Actors Studio of Newburyport, established in 1991 and located in The Tannery downtown. This intimate, 50-seat theater hosts cultural events, concerts, and interactive performances throughout the year, ranging from stage dramas to storytelling slams and book signings. For locals or visitors staying in town for a while, the theater also has improvisation comedy and daytime scene study classes.

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08 of 08

Go On a Food Tour

Cape Ann Foodie Tours

Courtesy of TripAdvisor

Address
Cape Ann, Rockport, MA 01966, USA

Cape Ann Foodie Tours will guide you through a Taste of Newburyport on a tour lasting about 2.5 to 3 hours, where you can sample some of New England’s favorite dishes, like clam chowder, scallops, and whoopie pies. Besides having the opportunity to try a satisfying array of local treats, you’ll also receive an overview of Newburyport's history as you're walking through its historic streets.

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Top Things to Do in Newburyport, Massachusetts