Ready to hop aboard the rainbow express to one of the quirkiest and most vibrant corners of the East Coast? This is your destination for the ultimate travel guide for Provincetown, Massachusetts! Explore here for all the best things to do, restaurants to try, hotels to check out, and much more!
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Ultimate travcel guide for Provincetown Massachusetts
Nestled at the tip of Cape Cod is Provincetown, MA, a coastal paradise with a whole lot of personality! From drag queens sashaying down the street to stunning Instagram-worthy sunsets overlooking the water, there’s never a dull moment in P-Town.
Known for its LGBTQ+ community, Provincetown, Massachusetts, is renowned for its welcoming and inclusive environment. It’s a hub for artists, beautiful beaches, lively entertainment, and a variety of festivals, including the annual Provincetown Carnival. Let’s just say, there’s something for everyone in P-Town!
In this post, I will be covering EVERYTHING you need to know about this vibrant town, including fun things to do in Provincetown MA, restaurants Provincetown to check out, the best hotels Provincetown MA, and so much more. Slow your scroll and keep reading!
Planning a New England road trip? Check out these related reads!
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Things to know before you go
Where is Provincetown?
Provincetown is located at the very tip of Cape Cod in Barnstable County, Massachusetts and it’s surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean on three sides. It’s about 116 miles (2 1/2 hours) from Boston and is easily accessible by car, ferry, and even air.
How to get to Provincetown
Getting to Provincetown MA can be an exciting adventure, whether arriving by land, sea, or air. The easiest way to get to Provincetown is to fly into Boston Logan International Airport (BOS). From there, you can drive over via Route 6 and enjoy beautiful scenic views along the way. Click here if you need a rental car!
Another transportation option is to take the ferry to Provincetown. The ferry Boston to Provincetown takes about 1 1/2 hours and operates from May to October. Click here for ticket prices and the Provincetown Fast Ferry schedule.
Additionally, the Plymouth & Brockton Railway Company offers a bus service from the Boston airport to Provincetown. This is a convenient and cost-effective option for travelers who prefer not to drive. Click here for the bus stop locations and bus schedule.
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How to get around Provincetown
Provincetown is relatively small, so getting around is quite manageable on foot. Many of P-Town’s attractions, shops, and restaurants are all within walking distance on Commercial Street, so there’s really no need to even have a car.
I should also mention that parking is pretty limited in P-Town, especially during peak season, so I would only recommend bringing a car if you absolutely need it. If you plan to drive over, click here for guidelines on parking in Provincetown, as the regulations are a little confusing.
Additionally, biking is a popular form of transportation in Provincetown (click here for bike rentals), and as always, rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are always available.
Best time to visit Provincetown
Summer is the most popular time to visit. The warm Provincetown weather attracts fellow beach lovers, and the town comes alive with events, festivals, and a bustling atmosphere. This also happens to be peak tourist season, so keep in mind that attractions might be more crowded, and prices may be higher.
I particularly loved visiting in the Fall, as there were fewer crowds and pleasant weather, and most shops & restaurants were still open. The town was also decked out in Fall and Halloween decor, which made it especially fun!
Winter is Provincetown’s off-season, meaning fewer tourists and a quieter atmosphere. However, some businesses may have reduced hours or be closed. Spring is a transitional season in P-Town, but it is not a bad time to visit, as many businesses start to reopen after the winter break. This allows you to beat the summer rush and is also a great time for a Provincetown whale watch!
Best things to do in Provincetown MA
Stroll iconic Commercial Street
Stroll iconic Commercial Street filled with quirky shops, charming cafes, and art galleries that capture the eccentric essence of Provincetown MA. You’ll find everything from boutiques filled with handmade souvenirs and classic New England styles to a diverse range of restaurants offering culinary delights of fresh seafood and comfort food. Make sure to read through my restaurant recs below!
Explore Provincetown's art scene
Provincetown is home to the oldest active art colony in the United States and attracts creative minds from all around the world. The town boasts an impressive array of galleries, from classic oil paintings and intricate sculptures to contemporary installations and avant-garde works.
At the heart of the town is also the Provincetown Art Associate and Museum (better known as the PAAM), a cultural hub that celebrates the creative spirit of Provincetown and showcases work from historical and contemporary artists. With its rotating exhibits, workshops, and events, PAAM is a must-visit for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in the local art scene.
Enjoy the Provincetown beaches
Whether you’re seeking a bustling beach scene or a tranquil escape, Provincetown is home to a variety of stunning beaches for every kind of beachgoer. Known for its beautiful views and calm water, Herring Cove Beach is one of the most famous beaches in Provincetown, making it the perfect spot for sunbathing, swimming, and taking long walks along the shoreline.
Race Point Beach, part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, offers a more rugged atmosphere with its rolling dunes and dramatic coastline. Entrance fees for both beaches are $25 per vehicle during the peak season of late June to September.
Long Point Beach, only accessible by boat, is a more secluded option and an excellent choice for those seeking a more low-key beach experience away from the crowds. To get to this beach, you can take the Long Point Shuttle for $25 per person round trip that runs every half hour during summer.
Go on a whale watching tour
Whale watching Provincetown is one of the best Provincetown things to do due to its location along the coast of Cape Cod, offering great opportunities to spot various species of whales.
The prime season for whale watching in Provincetown is typically from spring to early Fall, and you might even have the chance to spot humpback whales, fin whales, minke whales, and even dolphins or seals. Click here to book your whale watch Provincetown tour today!
Visit the Provincetown Museum
If you’re looking for a gateway into maritime tales, pilgrim history, and the captivating stories that shaped this charming town, the Provincetown Museum is for you. Explore interactive exhibits, learn about the Mayflower’s first landing, and get a glimpse into the lives of the brave souls who called Provincetown home.
Make sure also to check out the Pilgrim Monument, the tallest all-granite structure in the United States, built to commemorate the first landing of the Mayflower Pilgrims. You can climb the 116 steps to the top or take a glass-enclosed inclined elevator to see beautiful panoramic views of Provincetown and Cape Cod. Click here to book your day pass in advance.
Check out the Provincetown lighthouses
Provincetown is home to a few lighthouses offering stunning views of the Provincetown Harbor and Cape Cod Bay. Race Point Lighthouse has tours for $5 per person, and you can even stay on the property at either the Keeper’s house or the Whistle House.
Popular annual Provincetown events
Provincetown Carnival, an annual week-long event in the middle of August, is one of the biggest highlights of the summer season. It features a colorful parade, parties, performances, and various themed events. The Carnival celebrates LGBTQ+ culture and is known for its elaborate costumes and festive atmosphere.
Women’s Week is a popular event in Provincetown that celebrates the lesbian community. Typically in early October, this event offers a diverse range of activities such as performances, parties, workshops, comedy shows, and much more!
Bear Week Provincetown, typically held in the middle of July, is an annual event attracting the largest gathering of bears in the world (not real bears, haha). From pool parties and dance parties to themed nights and drag shows, there are tons of fun events to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community.
Looking for things to do in Provincetown this weekend? Click here for the full calendar of events in Provincetown!
Provincetown in the Fall
If I haven’t already talked you into visiting Provincetown, you’re definitely going to want to hit “book” after I tell you how especially fun it is in the Fall.
Picture this: Commercial Street lined with pumpkins and mums, spooky Halloween decorations displayed at every residence, pumpkin-spiced galore at every local business, combined with a cool Fall breeze and vibrant Fall foliage. Sounds (pumpkin spice and everything) nice, right? IT IS!
October is also a great time to visit, as there are many events going on for Halloween. As mentioned, Women’s Week is a popular event, and so is Fantasia Fair, a week-long event for anyone who identifies as trans. Halloween in Provincetown, in general, is especially fun as the town transforms into a huge costume party!
Best Provincetown restaurants
Favorite coffee spots
For coffee, 361 Coffee & Espresso bar was our fave spot, and the staff was SO friendly! This cozy establishment offers a haven for coffee lovers and visitors looking to enjoy freshly brewed beverages in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. From classic espresso to unique specialty beverages, there’s something on the menu to satisfy every palate, AND it’s situated right in the heart of Provincetown.
Kohi Coffee Company is another popular spot, offering a variety of high-quality coffee beverages and a comfortable atmosphere. From lattes and cappuccinos to freshly brewed coffee and cold brew, they have something for everyone. They also have lots of seasonal beverages (you have to try the lavender latte) and offer a few breakfast options.
Where to find the best brunch in Provincetown
The Canteen Provincetown, situated right by the water on Commercial Street, offers a fun atmosphere and a diverse menu filled with creative culinary offerings. Whether you’re in the mood for a succulent lobster roll or a classic fish sandwich, each dish is prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. They also have an impressive selection of creative craft cocktails that perfectly complement the seaside setting.
If you’re looking for a unique P-Town brunch experience, you have to go to a drag brunch at either Pilgrim House Provincetown, Crown and Anchor Provincetown, or Post Office Cafe & Cabaret. Make sure to check their website in advance for specific events.
Top seafood restaurants in Provincetown MA
No trip to P-Town is complete without a meal at The Lobster Pot Provincetown, an iconic and beloved seafood restaurant with a history spanning several decades. As the name suggests, it’s a seafood lover’s paradise, offering the freshest catches and mouth-watering lobster served in a variety of ways. You also HAVE to try their grand prize winning clam chowder!
If you’re looking for more of a casual vibe, Mac’s Fish House is another great seafood joint serving up shellfish, sushi, and a variety of other delicious New England seafood dishes. They also have happy hour EVERY DAY from 3-5 pm, offering half-price oysters and clams from the raw bar.
Best restaurants in Provincetown on the water
If you’re looking for the perfect place to grab dinner with a view, The Mews Provincetown is it! The Mews has been a staple for decades and is one of the best restaurants in Provincetown MA, in my opinion. From fresh seafood to wild game, you’ll find a diverse menu of indigenous Cape Cod staples with classic techniques, and the views simply can’t be beat!
Fanizzi’s Restaurant by the Sea is another one of the best restaurants Provincetown serving up the best views in town! Known for its diverse menu featuring American cuisine, seafood, and Italian-inspired dishes, you’ll find everything from shellfish and fresh fish to pasta and burgers. Let’s just say there’s something for everyone at Fanizzi’s, and you won’t find beautiful views of Cape Cod Bay anywhere else.
Unique restaurants in Provincetown for dinner
Strangers and Saints, formerly a sea captain’s home, is now a trendy and inviting Provincetown restaurant known for its creative cocktails, Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, and stylish ambiance. From fresh grilled octopus to pork belly chicharron and poached ricotta dumplings, they offer a unique twist on traditional dishes that will tantalize your taste buds.
If you’re looking for one of the most Instagram-worthy restaurants Provincetown MA, Patio American Grill is it! This stylish spot offers classic New England cuisine with an extensive wine selection and a variety of creative cocktails. They also have an amazing patio that overlooks Commercial Street, making it a prime destination for people-watching!
Best bars in Provincetown
Where to go for a drink with a view
If you’re looking for the perfect place to grab a drink with some of the best views in Provincetown (especially to watch the sunset), Aqua Bar is the place to go! They have a fantastic deck located right on the harbor overlooking Cape Cod Bay and offer a variety of specialty cocktails, beer, and wine. They’re also pet-friendly, so feel free to bring your furry partner in crime along for the ride!
Harbor Lounge is another great place offering stunning waterfront views, an inviting atmosphere, plus the best drinks in town (hello, frose). Whether you’re looking to unwind after a long day at work, catch up with friends, or watch the sunset, Harbor Lounge is the place to do it, and the views of the Provincetown Harbor are simply unmatched!
Best places to grab a beer
As you know, your girl is ALWAYS on the hunt for a good brewery, and I was happy to find a couple of good ones in Provincetown that are definitely worth checking out!
Provincetown Brewing Co, a lively brewery known for its craft beers and vibrant atmosphere, offers a welcoming space for locals and visitors alike. From hoppy IPAs to rich stouts, they have a diverse selection of beers on tap and a great menu filled with all the best beer-drinking bites.
If you’re looking for one of the most Instagram-worthy bars in Provincetown, Nor’ East Beer Garden is it! Located right on Commercial Street, this cozy “secret garden-esque” bar is an oasis for craft beer, unique cocktails, and scratch-made fare. I should also mention that it gets EXTREMELY busy, so I recommend getting there right when they open if you can or expect to wait!
Best nightlife in Provincetown
Many of the restaurants and bars I’ve already mentioned offer regular live entertainment, BUT if you’re looking for a truly unique (and memorable) night out in P-Town, below are the places to check out!
- A true gem of Provincetown’s nightlife, The Crown & Anchor is a multi-faceted venue that boasts everything from cabaret shows and drag performances to dance parties and live music. The Paramount Club within the complex hosts an impressive lineup of performers from near and far. With its electric energy and top-notch entertainment, The Crown & Anchor is a must-visit for a memorable night out.
- If you’re seeking an all-encompassing nightlife experience, Post Office Cafe and Cabaret is the place to be. This lively venue is known for its eclectic lineup of events, including drag shows, themed parties, and live performances. Plus, they have delicious food and creative cocktails, making it an ideal destination for locals and visitors alike.
- For an unforgettable outdoor nightlife experience, head to Boatslip Beach Club. This legendary waterfront venue hosts iconic Tea Dances where you can dance the night away while enjoying stunning views of the harbor. The combination of music, the sea breeze, and the vibrant crowd creates a unique and enchanting atmosphere that’s hard to replicate anywhere else.
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Where to stay in Provincetown
Best VRBO Provincetown
We stayed in Provincetown for a whole week, opted for a Provincetown VRBO instead, and found the cutest, cozy loft studio apartment steps from the bay. It had a small kitchen, a decent-sized bathroom, a surprisingly spacious living area, and a little bit of a view from our front window.
The best part about our Provincetown rental was that it was located right on Commercial Street and within walking distance from so many great restaurants, shops, and attractions. We only had to move our car once the entire time we were there!
If you’re interested in this VRBO, click here to check it out!
Prefer to stay in an Airbnb Provincetown? Browse all the best Provincetown rentals, from cozy cottages to waterfront condos, here!
Best hotels Provincetown
- Harbor Hotel Provincetown is one of the best hotels in Provincetown Massachusetts, for those who love a modern twist on classic comfort. Boasting a stunning waterfront location and colorful coastal decor, this hotel brings beachy vibes right to your doorstep. With a private beach, outdoor pool, and lively outdoor bar, you’ll find no shortage of opportunities to soak up the sun and savor the sea breeze.
- The Brass Key Guesthouse is the place for you if you’re looking for a retreat that’s both chic and inclusive. This hotel offers a unique collection of rooms and suites, each with its own distinctive design and personality. Enjoy the serenity of their lush gardens, relax by the saltwater pool, and unwind in the hot tub. The Guesthouse prides itself on creating a welcoming atmosphere where every guest can truly be themselves.
- The Provincetown Hotel at Gabriel’s is a charming boutique inn offering a range of accommodations, from cozy rooms to spacious suites. The beautifully landscaped garden courtyard creates a tranquil oasis where you can escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It’s a perfect blend of comfort and intimacy that’ll make your stay truly unforgettable.
- Land’s End Inn, a charming Provincetown bed and breakfast perched on a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, is a captivating Victorian-style mansion that exudes elegance and grandeur. With its beautifully appointed rooms, antique furnishings, and breathtaking views, this boutique hotel offers a truly immersive experience. The impeccable service and gourmet breakfast make every stay at Land’s End Inn a memorable one.
Looking for more Provincetown MA hotels? Browse all of the best hotels in Provincetown for every budget here!