Prime 14 issues to do in Provincetown from LGBTIQ+ tea events to strolls among the many dunes

Perched on the internal tip of Cape Cod’s curling peninsula, Provincetown (additionally known as P-town) has an extended and sophisticated historical past as a protected harbor. For 1000’s of years, the indigenous Wampanoag (that means Folks of the First Mild) lived peacefully alongside these shores till European colonizers introduced illness and destruction within the early 1600s. 

Then, in 1620, the Mayflower Pilgrims sought refuge right here, adopted by Portuguese fisherfolk and ultimately artists, who spent the previous century shaping the tiny enclave right into a inventive colony with metropolis sensibilities. 

Scout new methods to discover the planet’s wildest locations with our weekly e-newsletter delivered to your inbox.

At the moment, P-town’s traditional clapboard structure would possibly infer Kennedy-style Americana, however its Depart It to Beaver appears get subverted by colourful townsfolk like native legend John Waters. This can be a beloved haven for the LGBTIQ+ neighborhood, and when summer season comes, 1000’s of tourists flip the city’s most important drag into an all-inclusive Delight parade. 

Be part of vacationers crowding Business Road between Might and September, sit back on a windswept seashore in spring and fall, or cozy up inside a B&B to courageous winter. Regardless of who you might be or while you go to, there’s one thing thrilling to do in Provincetown. 

There isn’t any scarcity of beautiful seashores in Provincetown, Mass © Douglas Rissing / Getty Pictures Plus by way of iStockphoto

Take pleasure in some sand and surf on P-town seashores  

There isn’t any scarcity of seashores in P-town. Step behind Business Road’s harbor-side companies, and you will find your self on sandy expanses. However for those who’re in search of a full-day affair, head to 2 oceanside escapes removed from the primary drag. 

Race Level Seaside, perched on the Cape Cod Nationwide Seashore’s northernmost tip, boasts miles of sandy dunes, wild crashing waves and seemingly infinite daylight. As night time descends, wrap your self in a blanket to admire the sunsets – there is a cause panorama artists try to protect them in paint. 

If you happen to go to in springtime, hold your eyes on the ocean – it is attainable to see whales breaching within the distance. 

Herring Cove Seaside, situated simply over a mile from Business Road, gives a gentler surf on Cape Cod Bay. On summer season weekends, households construct sandcastles close to the car parking zone whereas homosexual males head south to a slip of sand often called Boy Seaside.

To entry the queer part, enter on the bike-lined wooden fence alongside Province Lands Street and hike towards the distant grass-topped dunes. On sunny days, courageous sunbathers bask of their birthday fits, and the dunes turn into a cruisy assembly spot. 

Plan your go to round low tide. If you happen to miss your probability, count on to wade via waist-high water whereas returning to the highway. 

Prime seashores in Massachusetts 

Hit the excessive seas in Cape Cod Bay 

Between April and October, the Cape Cod Bay and Stellwagen Financial institution Nationwide Marine Sanctuary turn into an important refuge for all sorts of whales, together with humpbacks, minks and the endangered proper whale. Be part of a ship tour to identify the mild giants, together with grey seals, harbor seals, and seabirds. 

Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch hosts 3-to-4-hour rides led by skilled naturalists. Carry a pair of binoculars for majestic creature close-ups, and think about popping a Dramamine to abdomen tough waters. 

For a laidback seafaring expertise, name on Dog Gone Sailing Charters. Lovably gruff Captain Rory brings 40-plus years of crusing expertise – and loads of tales about bygone P-town – to a breezy boat journey across the Cape’s tip. Pack a small picnic, sit back along with your beverage of selection, and revel in Cape Cod from a sailor’s perspective.  

Cyling on the beaches of Cape Cod
 Skip automotive site visitors and use biking as your approach to get round Provincetown © MH Inventory / Shutterstock

Biking is the easiest way to get round P-town

Park your automotive and hop on a motorbike: biking is P-town’s go-to type of transportation. Cape Cod site visitors is notoriously hectic in summer season, however with two wheels, you may cruise via city with out worrying about congestion. 

If you happen to’re keen to interrupt a sweat, race to the Province Lands Bike Trail, beginning at Herring Cove Seaside, and glide over the altering panorama of white-sand dunes, scrubby pine forests, and cranberry-filled bogs. The hilly 6.6-mile loop is a welcome respite from Business Road’s fixed hum. White-tailed deer and cottontail rabbits outnumber rowdy vacationers, and for those who plan an early journey, chances are you’ll get the path to your self. Break up the journey by stopping on the Province Lands Customer Middle; take a look at the statement deck for expansive views.

There are a number of spots to lease bikes in Provincetown, together with Provincetown Bike Rentals and the Bike Shack. Safe a set of wheels earlier than arriving on the town. Leases may be arduous to seek out throughout peak weekends. 

Go gallery hopping on Business Road

Artwork appears to pour from each door in P-town. Amble alongside the buzzy most important thoroughfare, and you will find over 40 galleries chock-full of every little thing from painted landscapes to trendy sculptures. The best focus is on the East Finish – together with William Scott Gallery, a up to date outfit exhibiting Edward Hopper-style scenes by revered native painter John Dowd. 

Pop in every gallery all through the day, or be a part of the throngs for Friday night time’s Provincetown Gallery Stroll (late Might to early October). The paintings may be costly, however perusing the work is free. 

Due to its infinite vistas and dazzling gentle, P-town has attracted over 100 yr’s value of artists to its shores. Jackson Pollock, Ann Packard, Paul Cadmus and Willem de Kooning are a couple of massive names impressed by the city’s picture-perfect backdrop. 

For a complete have a look at P-town’s arty historical past, peek contained in the Provincetown Artwork Affiliation and Museum, established in 1914. Admission is free after 5pm on Fridays. 

Store native at quirky boutiques 

P-town’s distinctive boutiques are as vibrant because the characters strolling down Business Road. Adam’s Nest – an uber-queer clothing-and-art retailer, sells graphic tees with an activist edge. Order a to-go tea at the Captain’s Daughters whereas admiring a hip meeting of attire and homegoods. 

Full Kit Gear is a fetish-forward spot for males’s garments, and Toys of Eros is common for its sex-positive treats and grownup toy museum. If you happen to’re trying to find seashore reads by native bards, hunt the cabinets at East End Books for Mary Oliver’s poems and Michael Cunningham’s prose (Land’s Finish: A Stroll in Provincetown is a must-read). 

Maybe extra fascinating than the retailers are the homeowners. These amiable and sometimes chatty entrepreneurs are like P-town’s caretakers. Cease in, say howdy, and keep in mind to be variety. Chances are you’ll stumble upon them on the dancefloor later within the night. 

Participants with colourful balloons on their backs run through the streets at the annual Gay Pride parad
Have fun every little thing from Delight month to carnival  in Provincetown © Cafebeanz Firm / Shutterstock

Discover your individuals at a themed week

The P-town expertise modifications drastically based mostly on while you select to go to. Themed weeks and occasions all year long appeal to specific members of the alphabet mafia, so for those who plan on being social, discover a theme that fits your type. 

If you happen to can assume it, P-town hosts it. Single Girls’s Weekend is for unattached lesbians and non-binary of us. Males of Shade Weekend, and a separate Womxn of Shade Weekend, calls to the LGBTIQ+ BIPOC neighborhood. 

July 4th week is common with muscled social gathering boys, and those that stick round for Bear Week get greeted by a sleuth of hair-happy gents. There are weeks for households, the transgender neighborhood, and even leather-based lovers. The occasions round city typically cater to these visiting. 

To see the Cape at its most colourful, go to for Carnival – a midsummer pageant that’s equal components Mardi Gras mayhem and Delight celebration. Be sure to convey an outfit to match the yr’s theme – the occasion brings in roughly 90,000 attendees, and you do not need to really feel neglected of the enjoyable. 

Dive into American historical past 

Look towards the sky almost anyplace on the town, and you will spot the 252-ft tall Pilgrim Monument commemorating the primary touchdown of the Mayflower Pilgrims in America. (The Pilgrims spent 5 weeks in P-town earlier than crusing to Plymouth Rock in 1620). 

The constructing, constructed between 1907 and 1910, is America’s tallest all-granite construction. Climb its 116 steps and you will get rewarded with a panoramic Cape Cod panorama. 

After absorbing the views, head to the adjoining Provincetown Museum, which chronicles P-town’s maritime historical past with movies, artifacts and dioramas. A brand new wing of the museum, added in 2020, examines the indigenous Wampanoag Nation, together with how Seventeenth-century encounters with European colonists led to their demise. 

A group of people wearing fancy white outfits, attend a tea party in Provincetown.
Come gown to impress for considered one of P-town’s common Tea Events © Joseph Prezioso / AFP by way of Getty Pictures

Get rowdy at Tea Dance 

When the clock strikes 4pm, Pavlovian response takes over P-town. It is time for Tea, which suggests one factor – gathering collectively on the Boatslip Resort’s spacious out of doors deck. Tea Dances grew to become an LGBTIQ+  custom within the Sixties when issues like same-sex dancing and serving alcohol to recognized homosexuals had been unlawful. Calling homosexual gatherings “Tea Dances” was a intelligent approach to cover from authorities. 

At the moment, P-town’s Tea Dance is a three-hour bacchanale the place individuals mingle whereas consuming something other than precise tea. Come dressed to impress – teams typically attend in matching apparel starting from baseball tees to pull regalia. 

The custom runs from Might via September; price is $5 from Monday to Wednesday and $10 from Thursday to Sunday. Arrive early to keep away from lengthy traces, significantly on vacation weekends. Carry money to expedite the method. 

Get together all night time with the LGBTIQ+ neighborhood

Cape Cod locals have an extended historical past of partying arduous. Atlantic House, or A-Home because it’s typically known as, began slinging drinks in 1798. At the moment, it is considered one of America’s oldest homosexual bars and a part of a posh, together with a bigger dance membership and a males’s leather-and-Levi joint. 

Order a beer and toast the queer legends who got here earlier than you – Tennessee Williams was one – then transfer subsequent door to chop a rug. 

For one thing extra salacious, drop by Purgatory and strip all the way down to your skivvies. The basement membership’s weekly underwear social gathering will get so sweaty you may be joyful you are not sporting garments. 

A rotating roster of themed events additionally takes place at Crown & Anchor all through summer season, hosted by knowledgeable DJs with massive metropolis pedigree. 

Shipwreck Lounge, a comfy queer-forward cocktail spot, is a welcome respite from the thump of loud music. Sit by the roaring hearth and unwind with a nightcap. 

Regardless of the place you find yourself, all roads result in Spiritus. This late-night pizza joint, open until 2am on weekends, is the go-to for post-party munchies. 

 A lobster roll, pickle and bag of local potato chips in Cape Cod
Do not miss Cape Cod’s most beloved sandwich, the lobster roll © TRAVISBLUE / Getty Pictures

Gobble up native grub 

Provincetown is full of locally-owned eating places and cafes catering to varied palates. Eat your method down Business Road to pattern native taste. 

Style the city’s Portuguese historical past on the Provincetown Portuguese Bakery, relationship again to 1900, and wash down considered one of their creamy pastel de natas with a chilly brew from KōHI Coffee Co. The Canteen is greatest for tacos and salads (together with veggie-friendly choices), and Relish‘s deli sandwiches are nice on the go. Place an order early and produce your treats to the seashore. 

With regards to advantageous eating, Sal’s Place earns excessive marks. The elevated Italian fare is served in a harbor-side home or outdoors on the seashore, which makes for a romantic night. Ebook a reservation prematurely to make sure you get a desk. 

For one thing low-key, cease by Provincetown Brewing Co. and pattern a flight of the in-house brews with names like Asphalt Glitter and CrandaddySour – they style pretty much as good as they sound. 

If you happen to’re craving surf snacks, throw again a lobster roll on the Lobster Pot or order crab truffles at Mac’s Fish House. P-town was a fishing village lengthy earlier than it grew to become a queer artwork colony; you will not discover brisker seafood. 

Chuckle until your stomach hurts at a reside efficiency 

Because the solar units over P-town, the stage lights go up. Waltz down Business Road post-dinner to the sounds of buskers, piano bars, and the distant laughter of audiences wafting via the air. 

Crown & Anchor, a historic leisure complicated, hosts two of the city’s big-wig drag artists. Dina Martina – a bedraggled chanteuse whose singing is as hilariously dangerous as her lipstick – is a summertime must-see; comedienne songstress Varla Jean Merman provides off massive Carol Burnette vitality. 

Throughout the road is the Art House, recognized for Seth Rudetsky’s Broadway Live performance Sequence, that includes among the largest names and greatest belters in showbiz. For smaller acts, together with up-and-coming drag performers, cabaret singers, and standup comics, seize a seat on the Post Office Cafe and Cabaret

P-town isn’t any stranger to the stage. In 1915, the formation of the Provincetown Gamers ushered in an American theater revolution by birthing the profession of Eugene O’Neill. To catch a full-length play, snag a ticket to one of many chamber items on the Provincetown Theater, based in 1963 (open Might via early December).  

This fisherman heads to the water at the Cape Cod Natural Seashore to fish.
The Cape Cod Nationwide Seashore attracts nature lovers year-round.© Deb Snelson / Getty Pictures

Seek for solitude on the Cape Cod Nationwide Seashore 

Journey simply past Provincetown to the Cape Cod Nationwide Seashore, the place a panorama of shifting coastal dunes attracts nature lovers year-round. Between spring and autumn, hikers take the Dune Shack Path – a sun-exposed 2.5-mile loop whipped by Atlantic winds and coated in sand. 

The path passes a collection of primitive cottages (dune shacks) initially constructed to deal with shipwrecked sailors, then transformed into artist retreats within the twentieth century. Playwright Eugene O’Neill described it as “a grand place to be alone and undisturbed.” Carry sunscreen and correct footwear – the sand will get blisteringly sizzling on sunny days. 

If you wish to see the dunes with out placing within the miles, plan a visit with Art’s Dunes Tours. The off-roading expedition explores the seashore’s historical past and ecology whereas seeing a few of its most scenic locales. Strive the sundown tour or dune-and-kayak tour for a novel have a look at Cape Cod’s wilderness. 

Be part of Halloween’s fright fest 

Autumn’s crisp climate means thinner crowds – except you are visiting for Halloween. Throughout October’s ultimate weekend, P-town heats up with haunted homes, costume events, film screenings and all-night fêtes. 

The ghoulish gathering reaches its climax on Saturday, when guests stalk Business Road in Hallow’s Eve drag earlier than making mischief at Boatslip’s late afternoon Tea Dance. Head to A-Home or Crown & Anchor to bop till the satan’s hour. 

Halloween coincides with Spooky Bear Weekend – a themed get-together hosted by the Northeast Ursamen (a bear-centric LGBTIQ+ group). The weekend incorporates a market, dune tour, and costume ball. Though the group caters to furry homosexual fellows, the vibe is “all are welcome.” 

Get into the supernatural spirit by visiting Winthrop Cemetery, established in 1793, for a run-in with P-town’s oldest everlasting residents.

18 picture-perfect Massachusetts lighthouses 

Issues to do in Provincetown within the winter   

Winter in P-town is a far cry from the summer season’s busy scene. Snow-white blankets cowl the seashore, and lots of Business Road shops shut for the season. It is a time of yr greatest fitted to curling up subsequent to a fireplace in one of many city’s many inns or mountain climbing via barren dunes with out recognizing one other soul. 

December nonetheless attracts crowds due to Business Road’s month-long vacation market and the Christmas-themed Holly Folly weekend, however tourism winds down after New 12 months’s Eve. 

Benefit from the sluggish season by visiting spots normally overrun throughout summer season. Mac’s Fish House, Provincetown Brewing Firm, and the little bar at A-Home are a couple of gems that stay open year-round, and it is nonetheless attainable to catch reside performances at Tin Pan Alley. Winter can also be one of the best time to fulfill locals. 

P-town’s inhabitants shrinks beneath 3,000 within the chilly season, and those that keep are a ragtag group of artists, fishers, and small enterprise homeowners joyful to extol the city’s virtues to anybody keen to pay attention.