What You Should Know

No one forgets the first time they visit Provincetown. The narrow and vibrant streets offer a cosmopolitan mix of people, restaurants, and stores; the Harbor is bustling with fishing boats and whale watches; and the dunes and beaches beckon the adventurous with bike trails and romantic sunsets.

The Pilgrims landed here first, then left for Plymouth in search of fresh water. Later, "P-town", as it known today, was settled by early colonial settlers, and later, Portuguese immigrants, who came here in large numbers to work in the fishing industry.

Still later, Provincetown became, and still is, an artist's colony. The thriving gay and lesbian community of Provincetown is a cornerstone of this town's vibrant culture.

A walk with the family along colorful Provincetown Harbor. Photo by Jane Booth.

Many visitors to the Cape make a day trip to Provincetown to go on a whale watch and to see the Pilgrim Monument; others show up after sunset for the nightlife.

Today this offbeat town is a haven for artists and alternative culture. It has over 100 motels and inns and in the summer, its population swells to over 60,000.

Why You Should Go

P-Town is full of fun and exciting things to check out. Take a stroll down Commercial Street and peruse its many shops, from book stores to souvenirs and sundries. Be sure to take the time to grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants, and walk among the beautiful houses and gardens. If you’re in the mood for authentic saltwater taffy, fudge, peanut brittle, and flavored popcorn, be sure to visit Cabot’s Candy. Making sweets since 1927, you can spend hours sampling goodies and filling up a basket for later.

Lovers of history and the arts are in luck. Along with trendy shops and restaurants, Provincetown's streets are packed with galleries featuring fabulously talented artists working in a variety of media. Museums including the Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum, the Provincetown Art Association & Museum and cultural centers like the Fine Arts Work Center and Provincetown Theater offer a variety of exhibits, programs, workshops, screenings and live shows.

If you enjoy the outdoors, you'll love Provincetown. Cruise down Commercial Street taking in the sights or head out to the Cape Cod National Seashore for a real adventure.  At the seashore, take a break from hiking and biking on the expansive paths and visit the Provincelands Visitors CenterRace Point Lighthouse and the Race Point Life-Saving Station.

Race Point Lighthouse. Photo by John Fitts.

Throughout the season, people from all walks of life head to Provincetown for some of the most interesting festivals in the area including the Provincetown Portuguese Festival & Blessing of the Fleet and Provincetown International Film Festival in June, Carnival Week in August and the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival in September.

On top of that, P-town has some of the best nightlife on the Cape. Check out The Post Office Café & Cabaret for breakfast in the morning and entertainment at night. The Mews is a bit more subtle, with a downstairs restaurant serving contemporary American food, but the upstairs lounge offers upscale bar food and over 300 kinds of vodka.

At the top of the Pilgrim Monument. Photo by Jane Booth.

Romantic Spots

Housed in the renovated 1850 home of Capt. John Cook, the Mediterranean-influenced Strangers & Saints tavern offers visitors and locals alike a meeting place that is both elegant and rustic. Experience old and new world wines, artisan cocktails and craft beers each with pairing options of gourmet bar food and small plates.

Looking for a relaxing spa day with your significant other? Shui Spa allows you to get pampered with massages, facials, mani/pedis, and more. Indulge in a couples massage, and if it’s a special occasion, like an anniversary, the staff can make it even more extraordinary with flowers and beverages.

Travel Tips

Town Information: Town of Provincetown, Provincetown Chamber of Commerce, Provincetown Public Library

Staying in Provincetown: Hotels, Motels & ResortsVacation Rentals

Churches: Saint Mary of the Harbor Church, Unitarian Universalist Meeting House, Provincetown United Methodist Church

Beaches: Herring Cove, Race Point, Harbor Beach on Commercial Street, Long Point