You may be familiar with Concord, Massachusetts: home to some of the most famous nature literary heroes and some of the most significant parts of American history, notably the American Revolution.
While quaint, there are several terrific things to do in Concord MA, with opportunities to enjoy history, nature, and architecture, and we’re going to outline the notable spots to visit in this historic Massachusetts town. These are the the top things to do in Concord MA.
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Things to Do in Concord MA
Walden Pond State Reservation is one of the most famous places to visit in Concord MA, and it’s not just historic but also absolutely gorgeous. Swimming, hiking, and picnicking are popular Concord activities, and if you happen to be visiting during the autumn months, you’ll be treated to the stunning fall colors that happen in scenic Walden Pond State Park.
Walden Pond is most associated with the writer Henry David Thoreau, a school teacher and philosopher, who famously lived in a cabin for two years by the pond and spent his time writing and observing as the seasons passed. Thoreau founded the study now known as ecology with his observations of plants and animals. This exploration created the foundation for his 1854 work, Walden, Life in the Woods.
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Lots of people associate Sleepy Hollow with the headless horseman tale, but this Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is a different place altogether! Massachusetts’ Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries in the United States. It was built in the style of a garden cemetery, meaning it is not just a peaceful resting place for citizens of Concord, but it is also a lovely outdoor space.
You can spot some of the popular writers and thinkers of Concord in the famed Author’s Ridge section: The Alcott family, Nathanial Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, to name a few.
Louisa May Alcott’s Home – Orchard House
Concord was home to many famous writers, including Louisa May Alcott. Orchard House was the most permanent home of the Alcotts and where Louisa resided most of her life. The house is most noted for being where Louisa May Alcott wrote her classic novel, Little Women, in 1868. The home has been well maintained since it was lived in by the Alcott family.
Visiting the Alcott home is like stepping back in history. Over 80% of the furnishings on display today were used by the Alcott’s!
Orchard House is open for guided tours.
Verrill Farm has been a staple part of Concord since 1918. All the locals love this property and you can find fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, pastries, and more at the farm shop. It’s a beautiful opportunity to see behind the scenes of farm life.
It’s a great spot to get fresh air, do some local shopping, and enjoy the view! They even have a local deli and are one of the great places to eat in Concord.
Walk Down Battle Road Trail
If you visit Boston, you can walk the Freedom Trail. In Concord, MA, you can walk the Battle Road Trail. Similar to the Freedom Trail, you can retrace the footsteps of America’s forefathers.
You can take a walk into history as it mirrors the Minutemen’s route during the battles of Lexington and Concord against the British during the American Revolution.
You can find the Battle Road Bridge and trail within the Minute Man Park, and it is a Concord must visit for any Revolutionary history buff!
Minute Man Historical Park
This Concord park is a must visit if you love American history. Minute Man Historical Park represents the right to freedoms and American’s fight for it and struggles to acquire it. Aside from the history, the park itself is clean, beautiful, and tranquil.
Re-enactments and other educational events take place at this historical park throughout the year, so keep an eye out for what’s going on at Minute Man Historical Park when you plan your visit. Most begin their visit at the Minute Man Visitor Center, but do be aware that it closes for winter.
Be sure to visit the April 19, 1775 Witness Houses while onsite!
The Concord Museum
If you’re looking for an informative museum experience to learn about Concord history in one place, consider stopping by the Concord Museum. Don’t be fooled by its size; you can spend hours learning about American history by visiting the Concord Museum.
You’ll learn about the founders of Concord, hear revolutionary tales and see historical artifacts, and learn about all the literary greats who hailed from this quaint historical town at this small yet rich museum; it is one of the oldest in the United States. There are a lot of fun events that happen at the Concord Museum, too, for kids and their adults!
The Ralph Waldo Emerson Home
Another chance to see the home of one of Concord’s most popular literary figures, the Ralph Waldo Emerson Home is a beautifully kept historic site, with much of the original furniture and items used by the family still on display. Tours vary throughout the year, but be on the lookout for onsite events with opportunities to see sights like the Emerson Barn decorated for the holidays.
Take a Self Guided Driving Tour
If you’d like to take a bit of a deeper dive into some of the most notable historic sites in Concord MA, consider downloading this self guided Concord driving tour that will give you a deeper understanding of the many historical figures that made their marks in this area.
Old Manse Home
Don’t worry if you haven’t had your fill of historical sites in Concord. You can check out the famous Old Manse Home, built-in 1770, the home of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s grandparents. Both Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne lived in this historic home for a while, with Emerson writing his famous essay “Nature” from an upstairs room.
If you’re a reader or writer, you’ll appreciate the literary history of this house. To this day, you can see where Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife Sophia etched poems for each other into the window glass! How very romantic.
deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum
deCordova Sculpture Park is a contemporary art museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts, on the outskirts of Concord. While this park and museum are technically in another town, it makes a list since it’s practically Concord and definitely worth the trip!
You’ll find dozens of large scale outdoor sculptures and art installations in addition to a very robust indoor art museum, and it is the biggest of its kind in all of New England.
The Robbins House
Another one of the most important historic sites in Concord, Massachusetts, The Robbins House was home to the descendant of a formerly enslaved Revolutionary War and French & Indian War veteran named Caesar Robbins. This modest 544 square foot home served as home for many descendants of formerly enslaved people, and to this day is an important part of social justice and cultural conversation in Concord MA through its tours, programs, and events.
Old North Bridge
Another one of the most historically significant spots in Concord MA is the Old North Bridge, a historic site by the Concord River. It was at this bridge where the “shot heard around the world” took place. Not only is there a lovely view at this old bridge, but there are various historical monuments surrounding the bridge, such as the 1836 Battle Monument.
Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
One of the most scenic outdoor places in Concord is the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge.
It’s a fantastic spot to explore nature and go bird watching. With endless species of birds, you can pack binoculars and see what’s out there. There’s abundant wildlife to see within this refuge, such as various deer species, foxes, beavers, and more.
If you aren’t birdwatching, you can enjoy the peaceful trails alongside the Concord River and go for a nature walk. It’s a perfect escape if you live within Boston and need your nature fix.
Stay at a Historic Concord Inn
Concord’s Colonial Inn is a historic hotel built in 1716, and this gorgeous inn is conveniently located within walking distance of several fun Concord things to do like the Concord Museum and the Minute Man Monument. The location plus the two onsite restaurants make it an ideal choice for where to stay in Concord MA!
Concord is an ideal location for a Boston day trip, but whether you’re popping in from Boston or making Concord your historical New England vacation spot, there are plenty of fun things to do in Concord MA.
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Ali Hanckel is a native New Englander, who now resides in Austin, Texas, although her family still lives in NH. Ali is a writer, business and marketing strategist, and traveler. She enjoys exploring nature, anything that requires learning, and hanging out with her two cats, “the boys.”