5 things to do when visiting Provincetown



From art galleries to seaside restaurants to beautiful beaches.

Race Point Beach in Provincetown. Flickr / Massachusetts Travel and Tourism Bureau

Massachusetts city workers share their favorite places to go for culture, nature and relaxation in towns and villages they know so well. Do you want to see your favorite city or town featured? Let us know in the investigation below or by e-mail [email protected].

Provincetown employee Emmett Catanese said his seaside town on the northern tip of Cape Cod is simply “like nowhere else.”

“I think what makes Provincetown special and the reason people want to visit and live here is because we welcome everyone,” said Catanese, who started his post in January and has been a police officer for eight years ago.

Earlier this year, Expedia travelers named Provincetown, often referred to as P-town, as one of America’s 10 friendliest cities and Travel + Leisure Called it one of America’s best beach towns.

The destination is known for its restaurants, art galleries, nightlife, and LGBTQ community (one of America’s 7 beloved LGBTQ destinations, according to Condé Nast Traveler). But there are plenty of opportunities for amazing experiences in nature, which are sometimes overlooked, Catanese said.

“There is so much to do in town,” Catanese said. “You absolutely have to walk up and down Commercial Street. But when you are done shopping and eating, step outside and experience the beauty we have here in addition to our culture. Get out there and experience the nature that is Provincetown. ”

Race Point Beach, one of Cape Cod National Seashore’s six beaches, was recently named one of New England’s Best Beaches by the AAA. It is considered one of the best beaches in the United States by Tripavisor.

Coming up, Catanese is sharing some of her favorite things to do in Provincetown.

Climb to the top of the 252-foot-high Pilgrim Monument (and explore the museum):

When family and friends come from out of town, Catanese always recommends that they visit the Pilgrim Monument and the Provincetown Museum.

“It’s this really cool hidden museum,” he said. “It’s pretty neat. I don’t think people expect him to be there.

The museum is packed with information about the town’s history, such as the history of the Wampanoag Nation and the arrival of the Mayflower in 1620. A newly installed inclined elevator now runs between Provincetown Center and High Pole Hill, where is the monument.

The climb of 116 steps to the top is well worth it, he said.

“On a clear day you can definitely see Boston,” he said.

A lobster roll from The Lobster Pot in Provincetown. – Courtesy of The Lobster Pot

Eating at the Lobster Pot:

For food that never disappoints, head to The Lobster Pot on Commercial Street, Catanese said.

“Some people see The Lobster Pot in the center of town, and people are like, ‘Oh, that sounds pretty touristy, is it really a good place?’,” Catanese said. “This is delicious.”

The restaurant, established in 1979, offers two waterfront dining rooms and a full menu of seafood, Portuguese specialties and more.

“They are very consistent in what they do,” he said. “You can get great local Portuguese food. And they make a great Bloody Mary.

His favorite dish? Lobster, of course.

“When in New England…” he laughs.

For take-out and delivery, Catanese’s must-have is Provincetown House of Pizza.

“I’m from outside of Philly, and I think they make a great… ‘Steak Bomb’,” he said. “It’s delicious. And they make a great pizza.

Live art – in a gallery and on the street:

Provincetown has the oldest continuous art colony in America and offers dozens of art galleries and organized gallery walks between May and September. The Provincetown Art Association and Museum also runs workshops and programs throughout the year.

“We have over 50 art galleries,” Catanese said. “On Friday evening you can take an artistic walk. It’s free. You’re walking down the street, a lot of our galleries are located in the East End, but they stretch out over Commercial Street. You walk in and you just check the art. The number of galleries that we have, I don’t know where you can go to get that many.

Or you can just sit on a bench, Catanese said.

“If you have a moment to sit outside City Hall on the benches and watch the world go by, it’s just the perfect vantage point,” he said. “It’s so clever. You will see international tourists, you will have costumed people walking the streets.

Those in costume are often artists who advertise shows, he said.

“We have a lot of drag performances, so you will have a lot of drag artists walking the streets,” Catanese said.

Sunset at Long Point Lighthouse
Sunset near Long Point Lighthouse in Provincetown on July 24, 2020. – Eric Levin

Enjoy nature:

When Catanese wants to relax, he heads to MacMillan Pier, where the sunrise is beautiful if you don’t mind arriving early.

“At the back, there’s this little covered pavilion,” he said. “It’s out of the sun. And you can just go and sit there and watch all the ships come in. It is a nice place to relax. It’s not super busy. You are sitting at the water’s edge and you have a little bit of a little nook to yourself.

The scenic Beech Forest Trail is worth a visit for its walking and cycling opportunities, he said. There is free parking and a mile-long loop that is suitable for all ages, he said.

“There are so many birds, and it kind of goes around this little pond,” he said.

Provincetown was recently named America’s most bike-friendly small town. There are so many wonderful opportunities to cycle, Catanese said.

He recommended hopping on the Province Lands bike trail from the Beech Forest Trail parking lot. From the trail, visitors can cycle to Herring Cove Beach and Race Point Beach, he said.

“You don’t realize how extensive our beaches are,” he said. “We have such a beautiful, beautiful series of beaches. I mean, stretches of sand that – it’s second to none. It really is. “

He enjoys meeting friends at the lodge at Herring Cove Beach and relaxing there on a bench.

“Sometimes you can see the whales from this place,” he said. “You can watch the beaks of the whales, so bring your binoculars. You can also see them with the naked eye. Sometimes you can see the tail, but mostly you see the beaks. I can’t think of anything cooler than this.

A sunrise at MacMillan Pier in Provincetown. – Emmett Catanese

Readers recommend the following restaurants:

  • Aquatic bar – @ jessie32701
  • Happiness! – @ northender2
  • Café paradis – @olivescoffeeandbakehouse
  • Ciro & Sal’s – @ alyss011
  • Crown & Anchor – @hashtagbevster (who recommends the Lobster Benedict), @ kerann17 (who says they serve “the best G&T”)
  • Fanizzi’s – @noragenevieveingram
  • Patio American Grill & Cocktail Bar – @@ darcy8615, @olivescoffeeandbakehouse, @ kerann17 (who likes to dine there late under the lights)
  • Pepe’s Wharf – @betsylmcgowan
  • Pop + Dutch – @ quesarahsarah11
  • Joe Coffee & Cafe – @olivescoffeeandbakehouse
  • The Canteen – @ rydo.rydo, @olivescoffeeandbakehouse, @brayanmesa (who recommend hot lobster rolls in butter)
  • The Lobster Pot – @jacquihannon, @bossailor, @jackarini, @alisonbeucler, @cricasan
  • Mews restaurant – @ _beyond.the.ocean
  • Victor’s – @ deb.pantalone, @brayanmesa

And the following companies:

As for things to do, readers had these favorite things to do:

  • Art Galleries – @wowstyle
  • Art’s Dune Tours – @ alyss011, @fatbumjewlery, @ alexb481
  • Beech Forest Trail – @ darcy8615
  • Cape Cod National Seashore – @@ andre_u_68
  • Whale Watching Dolphin Fleet – @@ alisonbeucler
  • Dune’s Edge Campground – @ rydo.rydo
  • Dune Cabin Trail – @jeanneannmalone
  • Herring Cove Beach – @betsylmcgowan, @yeta_kap
  • Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum— @jackarini, @alisonbeucler, @gabrivanonni (“we got married on the lawn!”)
  • Provincial Land Cycle Path – @yeta_kap
  • Race Point Beach – @ dr.vibhuti.garg, @ abatstone1, @veronicaconnly, @ rydo.rydo, @ jim3harrison, @alisonbeucler, @tankfieldmatty, @ amyfitz3 (sunsets in particular)
  • Race Point Lighthouse – @jeanneannmalone, @homegirlkerrylandry (“We got engaged at Race Point Light! Such a special place)
  • Tea Dance – @kris_ten, @ northender2, @wowstyle

What readers say they love about Provincetown:

“The air, the bike paths, the shops, the restaurants, the people watching, the whale watching… the list goes on” – @bgconrad

“What’s not to love? The people, the water, the food, the art, the pier portraits, great views and quaint B & Bs” – @ntevanko

“The small businesses in the area are all amazing !! The food is fantastic and the stores have some really cool stuff. Every time I go there, I never want to leave. – @ meristemma.gil

“The people, the food, the atmosphere, basically everything” – @samvukelich

“The architecture is beautiful and the people are friendly and fun” – @bendingbranchesmusic

“I love all the pride flags! “—@Photograph.thepisces

“Best whale watching ever! “- @ceroush

“I love everything about ptown!” – @ iloveben3

“Knowing that no matter who you are, you are welcome” – @ bry.hill

“Diversity” – @ ric.lish

“The small town feel is rare and quickly disappears. I love walking the streets. – @ sbrriggs828

“The beaches, the food, EVERYTHING” – @stadue

“It’s peaceful and welcoming and all the arts and crafts are beautiful. It’s pretty much my favorite place! ” – @leahdhemmingsen

“It’s home. PHS class of 1995. The best place to grow. – @ sarah.white.smith

Finally, @shehows shared the following route: “Rent bikes and ride the bike paths for 2-3 hours in the morning, then a nice lunch and a few beers.” Then go shopping, walk a bit, finish with a dinner at the Mews! ”

Some answers have been edited slightly for clarity.

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