Provincetown

Provincetown, MA | Points of Interest

Commercial Street, MacMillan Wharf, Provincetown Art Association & Museum, Pilgrim Monument & Provincetown Museum, Race Point Lighthouse.

About Provincetown

No one forgets the first time they visit Provincetown. The narrow and vibrant streets of Provincetown 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.


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

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.

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.

Day or night, Provincetown is a very popular destination for all.

History

Provincetown (pop. 2,950 off season, 60,000 in the summer) is where the Pilgrims first touched ground in 1620 and wrote America's first constitution, the "Mayflower Compact". After staying for 5 weeks they decided to travel on and ended up in Plymouth.

The town's principal industries were whaling and deep-water fishing and it was called "Helltown"by locals. By 1921 the whaling industry came to an end. 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.


Race Point Lighthouse. Photo by John Fitts.

Beaches

Over 30 miles of beach front include:

  • Herring Cove
  • Race Point
  • Harbor Beach on Commercial Street
  • Long Point which is accessible by boat or, if ambitious, a 2 hour walk

Hiking & Biking

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 Center, Race Point Lighthouse (see calendar for tour dates) and the Race Point Life-Saving Station.

Culture

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 Expedition Whydah and other cultural centers including the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown Theater and Waters Edge Cinema, offer a variety of exhibits, programs, workshops, screenings and live shows.


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

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.

Town Information