Newburyport, Massachusetts, is known for being a beautiful coastal city to visit any time of the year because of its old-time charm with a twist. In Newburyport, new shops and restaurants are constantly opening, but old-time allure persists. The city was first settled in 1635 but has evolved immensely since then. Newburyport is most popular during the summer because of its nearby beach destinations, and it's an overlooked but perfect home base for fall travelers looking to combine seaside sightseeing and leaf peeping.
Whether you want to experience the salty waves of summer, fall foliage season's golden glow or snowy winter walks, Newburyport offers plenty of activities to keep travelers entertained year-round. In this insider's guide, a Newburyport native shares the best things to do in this seaside city including popular attractions and a can't-miss summer event. You'll also learn how to avoid the tourist traps and savor the best authentic Italian food without going into the North End of Boston.
Dine Well in Newburyport
1. Get a Taste of Newburyport with Cape Ann Foodie Tours. Sample everything from clam chowder and scallops to whoopie pies and tea. This tour not only provides you with a satisfying array of local treats, it also offers an overview of Newburyport's history as you're walking the streets.
2. Want to skip the tour and head straight to local favorite dining spots? Abraham's Bagels (known as Abe's to locals) is a must in the morning. Even though the line might be out the door, everyone will tell you it is worth the wait. Giuseppe’s Italian Restaurant, located about 10 minutes from the center of downtown, is where you can find the most authentic Italian cuisine north of Boston.
Shop for Antiques and More in Newburyport
3. For those of you who would rather spend the day shopping, State Street is the heart of Newburyport's fashion center, with more shops along side streets and squares that branch off from this retail thoroughfare. With everything from bookstores to boutiques, Newburyport offers an eclectic array of merchandise. For the latest fashion trends, be sure to check out Bobbles & Lace, located at 22 Pleasant Street, or Farley's of Newburyport (47 State Street) for the gentlemen. If your passion is vintage goods, be sure to visit one of the many antique shops scattered throughout the city. One of the best places to browse is Oldies Marketplace on Water Street right by the boardwalk.
Attend Newburyport's Top Summer Event
4. The biggest summer happening in Newburyport is the annual Yankee Homecoming celebration. This is a family-friendly event that runs throughout the day and evening for about a week. Visitors can enjoy everything from arts and crafts to an endless line-up of food vendors and even a Lighted Boat Parade and a Bed Race. Live music performances in the evening draw crowds, and the fireworks by the waterfront at the end of the festivities are always a highlight.
Discover the Best Beaches Near Newburyport
5. Beaches are, of course, the leading summer attraction on the Massachusetts North Shore. Plum Island is where Newburyport locals spend summer days and nights. There are three main beaches that visitors can frequent, but make sure you don't get caught paying the highest parking fees. Try this hidden spot: the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. It's only a 20-minute drive from Newburyport, but this popular beach and birding spot feels a world away.
Spend a Day at Maudslay State Park
6. Maudslay State Park in Newburyport is another perfect place to spend a day outdoors, away from the center of the city. Go for a relaxing walk 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, be sure to check out Maudslay is Haunted, a series of skits performed along the marked trails by Theater in the Open. In the winter, the park is a favorite place for locals to snowshoe along the trails or sled down the hills.
See a Show at Newburyport's Intimate Theater
7. Like theater? Get tickets to a show presented by The Actors Studio of Newburyport, located in the Tannery at the corner of Federal and Water Streets. This intimate, 50-seat theater hosts cultural events and performances throughout the year ranging from stage dramas to storytelling slams.
Pamper Yourself at the Best Newburyport Day Spas
8. If you are planning to spend more than a day or two in "The Port," be sure to treat yourself to a soothing service at one of the many local day spas. Locals like Interlocks Salon and Day Spa (58 Merrimac Street), repeatedly named one of America's Top 200 Salons by Salon Today. They offer everything from hair treatments to facials. Another favorite is Shānti, which offers luxurious services for hair, skin and nails.