When you think about places to go and things to see, a small town like New Bedford, Massachusetts, probably did not come to your mind. There is more to this small city of less than 100,000 people than just a marker on the map. You can immerse yourself in the history of New Bedford, and come away feeling enlightened and entertained by a day of sightseeing in this unique area. If you’re thinking about a trip to New Bedford, here are a few places you might enjoy stopping once you get there:
New Bedford Whaling Museum
One of the largest museums on whaling, this museum will take you back on a trip through time. The museum is packed with four full floors of exhibits, including a half scale replica of an actual whaling ship. Learn the history of whaling and ask questions from helpful staff memmbers. You’ll come away with a detailed picture of what whaling was like before hunting whales became restricted to purely scientific purposes.
When you are done at the museum, you can admire the view from the very top floor of the harbor with all of its fishing boats, or go down below to walk the cobblestone streets.
At just $17 a ticket, this is a fairly inexpensive way to kill a few hours of time, and definitely worth the price if you decide to visit New Bedford.
As an added bonus, a trip to the Seamen’s Bethel is included with your ticket to the museum. You’ll get to see history straight out of Moby Dick with an inspiring historical church dedicated to the men of the sea. The pulpit is modeled after the bow of a ship, and there is a boarding house connected to it from next door. It’s a small little building that is quick to walk through, but well worth it if you already got your tickets from the museum.
Buttonwood Park Zoo
Take a walk on the wild side with a visit to this small but well maintained park. A perfect location for children under ten. Walk gentle pathways to see the large variety of animals, or take the train around the zoo for a fun new way to experience the zoo. You can see everything from beavers and otters to black bears and elephants.
They just recently (2017) renovated the park to offer better settings for the animals, so you can enjoy the animals in a clean and wonderful new setting. Always a crowd pleaser for the younger kids, you may find a trip to the zoo a visit the whole family will enjoy.
St. Anthony of Padua Church
Even if you are not the religious sort, you may enjoy the breathtaking beauty that is the architecture of this church. With its old world architecture and soaring beauty, it also features one of the finest organs in the country, and lighting that will take your breath away for special events. If you decide to attend a mass during Christmas or Easter, you will experience a truly spiritual moment between the song and the lights.
Well liked as a tourist point by nearly everyone, stopping for a look at this amazing church is worth the time if you happen to be visiting New Bedford.
The New Bedford Museum of Glass
This thoughtfully curated museum brings to you a fascinating history of glass. You’ll get to see a selection of glass artificats as they changed throughout time, and enjoy plaques that give detailed explanations of the items held within the cases. All of the cases are well lit and will give you a better understanding of glass.
If you happen to love antiques, inside the museum is an antique shop where you can buy an interesting assortment of antiques you can bring home to your very own collection. As an added bonus it is wheelchair accessible, so everyone can enjoy this beautiful collection.
Hurricane Barrier Harbor Walk
Enjoying water views and experiencing that fresh salt air is one of the best parts of visiting the shoreline. New Bedford has gone out of its way to provide a very pleasant place to walk or bike alongside the bay. Experience stunning views as you walk along the bay, made much safer by a railin and pathways. At low tide, you can even visit an offshore island for a great photo experience.
This path is a wonderful place for an afternoon stroll with kids, and features stunning scenery. Bring your camera!
Rotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden Museum
If you’ve already toured the whaling museum, you can continue expanding your understanding of the whaling museum with this house. This house is a prime example of what whaling barons owned in the 1800s, and is a beautiful and well preserved example. The gardens are well maintained, and there is plenty to see as you tour this historical site.
This house is best toured during the growing season so you can see the gardens in its full splendor, but there is still plenty to see any time of year.
Every room has something new and exciting to see in it, with the upstairs giving a fabulous display of what 18th century clothing look like. You will feel as if you’ve stepped back in time touring this delightful house.
If you happen to be in New Bedford, you will be amazed at the sheer amount of amazing parks and historical sites there are to see. New Bedford is host to an amazing number of tourist attractions, including a military museum and an incredible art gallery. You’ll never run out of things to do in this small city. Seasonal events at various places can also bring new light to places you have been before, so be sure to check out the zoo during October for their Halloween event, and much more.
New Bedford is an up and coming city for tourism, and is always adding new and amazing things to bring people something to see. If you live nearby, consider stopping into New Bedford for a wonderful day of sightseeing.