New Bedford Travel Guide

  • New Bedford
    by Jim_Eliason
  • New Bedford
    by Jim_Eliason
  • Buttonwood Park Zoo
    Buttonwood Park Zoo
    by Jim_Eliason

New Bedford Things to Do

  • Whaling Museum

    This great museum highlights the history of whaling, New Bedford, and the cultural interactions the whaling trade engendered.

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  • Buttonwood Park Zoo

    This very small zoo might be worth a visit with young children but animal collection here is pretty small and its probably not worth the admission price.

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  • Butler Flats Lighthouse

    This lighthouse on the entrance to the New Bedford harbor area was built in 1898 and is still in use. Fort Tabor is the best location to see it from.

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  • Fort Tabor Park

    Commisioned in the 1840's this fort was completed during the Civil war and saw duty until the end of WWII. Today its a New bedford City park with a museum on site

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  • Seamen's Bethel Chapel

    This 1832 chapel was used by sailor's about to go to sea and was immortalized by Herman Melville in his Classic Moby Dick.

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  • New Bedford Whaling NHS

    New Bedford was the epicenter of the US whaling industry from 18th to 19th Centuries. The Whaling trade took the sailors across the world making New Bedford one of the most culturally diverse cities of its day. The NHS consists of a small museum and a few restored houses.

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  • New Bedford Whaling National Historical...

    Created in 1996, this historic district covers 13 city blocks. Here is where the whaling industry was centered in the 19th century, the time of Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick.

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  • Take a free guided walking tour

    A great thing to do is take the free guided tour that departs from the downtown visitor's center. This tour is lead by a knowledgeable park ranger and will take you to many of the high lights of historic New Bedford. You will also learn a lot of stories and facts that you would miss otherwise. It can set the scene for your day in New Bedford.

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  • Start at the Visitor's Center

    The visitor's center is an historic building in the center of the National Park Downtown. The staff there is incredibly friendly and knowledgeable, and will gladly provide you with enough things to do and see to easily fill up your day.There are several displays and brochures there that will get you started on understanding the history of New...

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  • Learn about Whaling/shop for treasures

    Whaling dominates the scene in New Bedford. There is a wonderful map in the visitors center showing the whaling waters off New Bedford... and the territory of the giants. You will also find a number of gift shops and nautical supply stores scattered among the shops and eateries. The streets in the historic district are filled with interesting...

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  • Explore the historic district...

    Shortly after New Bedford's establishment as a town in the early 1760s it became an important whaling port. New Bedford possessed a deep-water harbor, which allowed it to supersede Nantucket as the Nation's leader in the whaling industry. New Bedford maintained that position until the growth of the petroleum industry in the late 1850s, brought...

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  • Whaling Museum... of course!

    Enter the nautical world of these enormous creatures of the deep and introduce yourself to KOBO. "The Museum acquired the skeleton of the rare, juvenile Blue whale after it was accidentally struck and killed by a tanker and was brought ashore in Rhode Island in March 1998. Named KOBO, King of the Blue Ocean by New Bedford student Katie Hallett, is...

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  • First Stop --- Visitors' Center

    The National Park Service maintains the visitors center in the heart of the National Historic District. Originally built as a bank with recent additions to accomodate public rest rooms and a small theater space... it offers a spacious, beautiful, convenient access to information about the offerings in the area. There are several guides on hand to...

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  • Visit New England Salvage

    At New England Salvage you can find lots of shutters, columns, hardware, mantlepieces and all variety of spare parts waiting for reuse in your renovation project. My friend, (an architect who specializes in historic properties) and I love to poke in these salvage yards in the hope of recycling some of the special parts of the past. Often the...

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  • The Working Waterfront

    To get a good understanding as to why this city is here, a visit to the "working waterfront" is important. Pick up a pamphlet at the visitors center, and walk along the wharf with it's tough fishing boats and the facilities that equip them and keep them going. These boats represent a hard way of life, as well as the means by which we are able to...

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  • Ishmael was here: The Seaman's Bethel

    This beautiful place of worship is featured in Herman Mellville's Moby Dick. Ishmael, the narrator, visits here for one last sermon prior to setting out his dangerous journey. I call it a "place of worship" because it is non-denominational. Here seamen of different faiths could come meditate on their own spirituality. The building is distinct and...

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  • New Bedford Whaling Museum

    Whaling is a major part of the history of Massachusetts and it is very apparent in our local culture. The best place to learn about the history of this nearly extinct industry, is the New Bedford Whaling Museum. New Bedford was once the hub of North East whaling, and is indeed the port from which the fictional Ishmael departed the mainland on his...

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  • Ft Phoenix

    During the Revolutionary War, in 1778, the British destroyed this fort. Later, it was rebuilt. With a commanding position overlooking the harbor entrance, it remained an active fort for some years. It's now a state reservation.

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  • Hurricane Barrier

    New Bedford's port is protected by the 9100-foot-long hurricane barrier. With two 440-ton gates, it creates a safe harbor. Standing 20 feet above sea level, it also offers excellent views of the city and coast.

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  • New Bedford Whaling Museum

    Fortunately, the days of large-scale commercial whaling are long over. The old town of New Bedford was once the heart of that enterprise. This museum houses a huge collection of artifacts from that era, which had its heyday in the 19th century. This museum is in the New Bedford Whaling Historical Park, which covers 13 blocks of the city.

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  • The New Bedford Whaling National...

    The New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park was created in 1996 to preserve the history of whaling in New Bedford, which served as one of the primary port cities for the American whaling industry in the 1800s. Our favorite part of the historic park was its very interesting museum, which features numerous exhibits about the whaling industry, its...

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New Bedford Hotels

New Bedford Restaurants

  • Good Food in a Unique Setting

    Part of the restaurant is in an actual boat, which is pretty neat. Good inexpensive seafood. I had the kale soup and the clam boil. The clams were a bit gritty, but tasty and the kale soup was excellent. If you're from out of the area, kale soup and clam boils are two foods you must try. Be warned though, clam boils usually feed 2 or 3. Clam boils...

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  • "banking" on good food

    I didn't stop in this restaurant but it gave me the feeling I'd like to go back and check it out. It's the classic "re-use of an old building" as it was originally built as a bank. Thankfully the restaurant has retained the exterior of the building and the feel of the historic district.

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  • SHAWMUT DINER

    "Best diners in New England, Northeast United States by Eric H.No matter how many dining bells and whistles come our way, there's still no better place to be than a good old American diner. Diners are a true icon of Americana from the great burgers and lime rickeys to the delicious homemade apple pies. While not the most handsome lot of...

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New Bedford Shopping

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo

    by Pawtuxet Written Nov 5, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Acushnet Antiques is located in an old mill building. It is a co-op of numerous dealers' collections .. each of whom have rented a booth space with a full time staff to handle the sale of merchandise.
    The collections vary from furniture to jewelry...textiles to posters....vases & pottery to guns, fire dept. memorabilia... and just about everything in-between. I love poring over this stuff. I found some old fabric which I will someday use in a project...(?) and a terrific old book of poetry and prose which is illustrated with victorian prints and the entire book is scented beautifully. I know just the person I will gift it to at Christmas.
    Have some fun. Nose around in the old stuff. There is usually something for everyone.

    Related to:
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New Bedford Favorites

  • Pawtuxet's Profile Photo

    by Pawtuxet Updated Nov 7, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Cobblestone streets are almost extinct in the United States, but here in New Bedford you get to rattle along and really FEEL the age of the old city. Some of the sidewalks are partially constructed of huge slabs of old blue stone mixed with bricks and other remnants of the past. Roadways are narrow and you might be confused by one way streets, but if you park and begin to walk the neighborhood, you will begin to feel like one of the old mariners coming down Johnny Cake Hill.
    I plan to go back for some more poking around. Hope you'll get there too.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Road Trip
    • Architecture

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