Ultimate Massachusetts Bucket List Adventures for Real Locals


You know you shouldn’t call Boston “Beantown”. Your little one can make a better Southie accent than most Hollywood actors. One of your most reliable units of measure is the distance between two Dunkin ‘Donuts (can we really call it Dunkin’?).

You are a proud Bay Stater. But have you really EXPERIENCED all of the things Massachusetts?

We’ve put together this bucket list to see if your Massachusetts credentials measure up. How many experiences can you cross out? Does your tally sound like someone who’s never left the state or someone planning their free time using a Frommer’s travel guide?

Of course, some tourist-friendly things were on the list. Locals love them too or have at least reluctantly tried them once as part of a family tradition or a school trip.

Which of your favorites did we forget from our bucket list? Don’t hesitate to send your anger to [email protected].

Adventures in the outdoor to-do list that Massachusetts natives love

Photo gallery: Scargo Tower repairs are complete

When the Appalachian Trail reaches Mount Greylock, the highest point in Massachusetts, hikers stand at 3,491 feet and traverse a landscape that has inspired literary giants like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry David Thoreau, and Herman Melville.
Arav Gavade, 11, from Quincy, is climbing at the Quincy Quarry Reserve in Quincy on July 14, 2019.

Cliffhangers: Climb to the top at Quincy Quarries

Iit’s apple picking season! Here are 24 orchards to discover in New England.

Michelle, Cody and William Wojeik and Neve and Mark Terrzo stay in the shade in Purgatory Chasm in Sutton.
Sharon's Cheryl Weinstein walks the Skyline Loop Trail from park headquarters to Eliot Tower, one of the most popular hikes on the Blue Hills Preserve.
Cape Cod Canal [Photo courtesy of Diane Peck]

Historical photos: Cape Cod Canal Construction

The appearance and sounds of Bash Bish Falls are different from summer to winter.
An aerial view of the Quabbin Reservoir.
Aquinnah Beach
  • Walk through the rainbow colored clay of the Aquinna Cliffs during Golden Hour on Martha’s Vineyard: mvy.com/aquinnah

Photo gallery: Cape Cod and Island Lighthouses

Cultural attractions for your list of things to do in Massachusetts

Jaysen Goncalves and his mother Amelia Goncalves are co-owners of Luanda Restaurant & Lounge, 453 Center St. in Brockton, on Wednesday April 7, 2021.

Restaurants belonging to BIPOC:Banh mi, jerk chicken and gnocchi: a tour of BIPOC-owned restaurants in New England

  • Watch a movie at the Loring Hall cinema at Hingham, a historic single-screen movie theater in a meeting room from 1852: patriotcinemas.com
Simon Hunt, 4, from Duxbury, rides the Paragon Carousel.
  • Enjoy a ride on the Paragon carousel in shell, a 93-year-old institution in Nantasket Beach and the only remaining attraction in the long-closed Paragon Park: paragoncarousel.com

Hull carousel: The carousel is preserved almost 100 years later thanks to the restoration efforts of one man

  • Try the fried clams in one of Massachusetts’ famous clams, like Woodman’s of Essex: woodmans.com/
  • Explore cultures and artistic mediums at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) in North Adams: massmoca.org
Boston's North End is the epitome of Little Italy in America.  Narrow cobblestone streets, historic buildings, courtyards, beautiful parks and authentic Italian restaurants, grocery stores and bakeries give the impression of an Italian village, but on the shores of America.  The community, which stretches for a square mile by the water's edge, hosts dozens of Italian festivals throughout the summer and fall.
  • Taste Boston‘s North End on one of its biggest weekends of the year, St. Anthony’s Day, which takes place in August: stanthonysfeast.com/schedule.html
  • Enjoy a classic caper or a new Hollywood outing at Wellfleet Cine-park of cinemas: wellfleetcinemas.com/drive-in-theatre/
  • Indulge yourself and reconnect with the flavors and festivities of The Big E in Springfield West, the only multi-state salon in the world: thebige.com
Jennifer Frautschi, Andrew Armstrong and Anthony McGill recorded their performance at Mechanics Hall in September for Music Worcester.
  • Marvel at the acoustics of historic Mechanics Hall in Worcester during a live show: Mechanicalhall.org
  • Catch Bay State institutions such as the Boston Pops and nationally touring artists in the famous Lenox Tanglewood performance hall: tanglewood.org
Jeffrey Forgeng is pictured with one of the pieces from the Higgins Armory Collection in 2018.
  • Equip yourself with a deeper understanding of ancient weaponry at Worcester The Art Museum’s John Woodman Higgins Weapons Collection, the second largest collection of weapons and armor in the country: worcesterart.org/collection/higgins-collection

Related:Worcester Art Museum receives $ 400,000 grant from NEH for permanent installation of Higgins Armory

  • Cheer on the challengers in the infamous Greasy Pole Competition, a contest to see who can tear a flag off the end of a 40-foot greased pole, during GloucesterAnnual feast of Saint-Pierre in June: discovergloucester.com
Sir Dimitri runs the tournament grounds at King Richard's Faire in Carver on Monday September 6, 2021.
  • Put on your medieval attire and watch lively jousting at the King Richard Fair in Sculptor: kingrichardsfaire.net

Sculptor:Celebration of 40 years of the King Richard Fair

Historic Sites for Your Massachusetts Bucket List

  • Book a room and a weird encounter at the famous Lizzie Borden House in Autumn river: lizzie-borden.com

Related:“She’s in good hands”: this is what the new owner has planned for Lizzie Borden’s house

Boston's iconic duck tours started rolling again on July 13, 2020 as the city entered Phase 3 of its economic recovery against coronaviruses.
  • Once on land and again by sea, duck excursions offer you unique views of Boston even if they are a bit touristy: bostonducktours.com
  • Take a spiritual pilgrimage on a ghost tour to Plymouth: plymouthghosttours.com
The USS Constitution, the world's oldest commanded warship afloat, fired its cannons in a 21-gun salute as it passed through Boston Harbor in May 2021. The warship has received the nickname of

Related:Long-awaited work begins on Abolition Row in New Bedford

The Roger Conant statue in front of the Salem Witch Museum, 2 Brown St., Salem.
  • Learn the true story and little-known facts of the Salem Witch Trials at Salem Witches Museum: salemwitchmuseum.com
(Cambridge, MA - Tuesday January 12, 2010) - Harvard Yard as seen from the Science Center at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, photographed Tuesday January 12, 2010. Photo by staff Rose Lincoln / Harvard News Office
  • Stroll through Harvard Yard Historic Park at Cambridge. They say you should rub the foot of the John Harvard statue for luck, but some also say students relieve themselves at night, so maybe have the hand sanitizer ready. seas.harvard.edu/tour/cambridge/1/harvard-yard
Timothy Turner, director of the Wampanoag Hospitality Site at the Plimoth Patuxet Living Museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
  • Learn about the region’s indigenous cultures and history at the Plimoth Patuxet Museums in Plymouth: plimoth.org
  • Reflect on the unsolved 1855 murder of the Kneeland sisters, killed with a chair leg, at the Gardner Museum in Gardner, the City Presidency: gardnermuseuminc.com

The knee case: The unsolved mystery of Gardner

Family leisure activities for your list of things to do in Massachusetts

Marketed by the MLB as

Fun WooSox: Time is running out to see WooSox play at Polar Park, here’s what fans need to know

Alyssa Michelle Stone at the 2019 Nantucket Daffodil Festival.
Bog workers at AD Makepeace help with the harvest.  When wet picking, the cranberry bogs are flooded and the floating berries float to the surface of the water, where they are collected and then vacuumed out of the bog, onto a conveyor and into containers. [Wicked Local photo/Alice Coyle]

Related:Secrets, Serial Killers and Heists: True New England Criminal Stories

A bird greets people on a swan boat that makes its trip to the public garden.
  • Stroll through Boston‘s Public Garden to understand why it has long been a favorite haunt for picnickers, Hollywood filmmakers, and city-dwellers who love nature: boston.gov/parks/public-garden
  • Learn more about rare farm breeds at Dalby Farm at Perform: dalbyfarm.com
A blue Morpho butterfly at Butterfly Place in Westford on July 13, 2021.
  • Let your camera shutter float freely at Butterfly Place at Westford, an interior garden filled with brightly colored winged insects: Butterflyplace-ma.com
  • Immerse yourself in the natural history of Shelburne Falls” glacial potholes and walk on the Pont des Fleurs: shelburnefalls.com/information-visiteur
This year, the Davis Mega Maze presents “Where's Charlie”.
  • Put your puzzle skills to the test in Davis Farmland’s nearly 3-mile Mega Maze Corn Maze in Sterling: davismegamaze.com/mega-maze
  • Indulge yourself (or feel better about your non-existent artistic talents) at the Museum of Bad Art in Somerville: museeofbadart.org


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