Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Andover, MA

  • Published 2023/03/11

Andover, Massachusetts, is an idyllic New England town with a rich history and plenty of activities to enjoy.

Located on the outskirts of Boston, this quaint village is home to the highest point in Essex County.

This vantage point gives Andover superb views of the Boston skyline 20 miles away.

But that’s not the only thing going for this village; settled in 1642, Andover has a long and rich history which tourists can discover in its museums and heritage centers.

Whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a day trip, here are the best things to do in Andover, Massachusetts:

Wander through Downtown Andover

Musgrove block at Downtown Andover

Wangkun Jia /

Downtown Andover is an upscale commercial district with unique stores, restaurants, and cafes, making it the perfect spot for a stroll.

Downtown Andover is designed specifically for walking as the pace here is relatively slow, and plenty of public benches are available when you need a break.

The numerous buildings with magnificent architecture will also make you want to stop and take a quick snap!

Shops along Downtown Andover

Wangkun Jia /

A notable landmark within the district is the stately Town Hall constructed in 1858; this historic building features Romanesque Revival architecture that serves as the emblem of Andover.

The distinctive Musgrove Block, built in 1895, is also an iconic structure in the area.

Aerial view of Downtown Andover

Wangkun Jia /

Enjoy Local Craft Beer at Oak & Iron Brewing Co.

Established in 2017, Oak & Iron Brewing Co. is a relatively new addition to the Andover scene.

But in the short time it’s been around, it has quickly become a local favorite among craft beer lovers.

The brewing company is located on Red Spring Road along the Shawsheen River in Andover.

It’s housed in an old building with unique architecture, giving it a distinct look that will definitely turn heads.

Equally stunning as its structure is its craft beers.

The Oak & Iron Brewing Co. offers a range of styles and tastes, from traditional ales and lagers to more experimental IPAs and stouts.

It also has a taproom that serves a rotating selection of in-house brewed beers, so you can always try something new every time you drop by.

Take the Kids to Penguin Park

Penguin Park is located on Burnham Road.

This two-acre park features a toddler’s playground, which is perfect for kids who need to burn some energy.

Penguin Park is also the perfect spot for summer picnics near a picturesque river shoreline.

Its sprawling fields and winding trails through lush woods are ideal for outdoor adventures.

Enjoy a tranquil stroll through fields and woods along the banks of the Shawsheen River before ending at a picturesque spot to picnic.

An afternoon at Penguin Park is an absolute must if you’re traveling with kids—make sure to drop by and enjoy the beautiful scenery and the unique playground.

Appreciate American Art at Addison Gallery of American Art

Exterior of Addison Gallery of American Art

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

As part of the Phillips Academy, the Addison Gallery of American Art is an academic art museum dedicated to preserving and showcasing American art from the colonial period until today.

Located on Chapel Avenue in downtown Andover, this art museum was founded in 1931 and has amassed an impressive collection of artwork ranging from paintings, sculptures, photographs, and furniture.

The gallery features works of acclaimed artists, including Alexander Calder, Edward Hopper, Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, James McNeill Whistler, John Singer Sargent, John Singleton Copley, Mary Cassatt, and Winslow Homer.

Lamp displayed in Addison Gallery of American Art

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Addison Gallery of American Art also features 12 exhibitions annually, featuring works from their permanent collection and outside artists.

Art lovers and enthusiasts will find plenty to appreciate in this museum—and the best part is that admission is free!

Don’t miss out on the unique treasures and priceless works of art at Addison Gallery of American Art.

Model ship display in Addison Gallery of American Art

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Cool Off at Pomps Pond

Pomps Pond is an outdoor recreation center located at Abbot Street, along the shores of a large pond south of downtown Andover.

It is a captivating 16-acre pond in the heart of Andover’s 62-acre Recreation Park.

This resort contains four illuminated tennis courts, lighted pickleball courts, and an enchanting ballfield for entertainment purposes.

Pomps Pond is open to the public from June to August, offering fun water activities such as swimming, boating, sunbathing, and picnics.

There’s also a concession stand and children’s playground.

If you want to explore Pomps Pond, rentals are available for kayaks, canoes, and sailboats.

The beach has winding trails along the water that can be explored year-round, even during the off-season.

Dog owners may enjoy picturesque views while taking their dogs for a walk around the area.

Whether you’re looking to cool off in the summer or stroll any time of the year, Pomps Pond is a great place to visit.

Learn about Local History at Andover Center for History and Culture

Exterior of Andover Center for History and Culture

Heidi Besen /

As mentioned earlier, Andover has a long history that dates back to 1642.

It has undergone numerous changes and developments since then, and the Andover Center for History & Culture is the place that chronicles all of it.

Located on Main Street in downtown Andover, this museum and heritage center is dedicated to preserving the village’s past and present, with various exhibits showcasing photographs, artifacts, and memorabilia from the area.

The Andover Center for History and Culture sparks the curiosity of both locals and visitors with its interactive displays, talks, and programs that promote their cultural heritage.

The staff and speakers also tell stories and anecdotes about the village, which paints a vivid picture of what Andover was—and is—all about.

The Andover Center for History & Culture aims to promote local culture and educate locals and visitors about the significance of the village’s rich past.

Go Skating at Phillips Academy Ice Rinks

Phillips Academy Ice Rinks is one of the most popular destinations in Andover.

Located on South Main Street in downtown Andover, this facility consists of two rinks, a viewing area, and concessions.

The arena complex is composed of the Harrison Rink, offering seating for up to 400 people, and the smaller Gurry Rink.

Both rinks offer a variety of programs and recreational activities, such as figure skating, hockey, and open skate sessions for all ages.

This cutting-edge facility is continually used by Andover teams and for hockey camps and workshops, local youth hockey programs, and ice skating activities throughout the year.

If you’re looking for a fun and exhilarating activity in Andover, head to Phillips Academy Ice Rinks!

Explore the Natural Wonders of Harold Parker State Forest

The calm waters of Harold Parker State Forest

Adam Gladstone /

Harold Parker State Forest is a short 5.4-mile drive from the downtown area and offers plenty of outdoor activities.

This 3,300-acre forest park has plenty of trails and paths to explore, including the popular Bay Circuit Trail, which stretches over 230 miles and covers seven counties.

Harold Parker State Forest is also great for birdwatching, with various species of birds, such as the Eastern Towhee and Scarlet Tanager.

The forest also offers a wide variety of wildlife and aquatic creatures, such as frogs, turtles, snakes, and even otters.

Nature trail at Harold Parker State Forest

Marie Christiane /

The hilly terrain here was formed during the Ice Age by glaciers, as evidenced by the numerous glacial erratics throughout the forest.

The enormous trail system of the forest provides 35 miles of public logging roads and a massive set of single-track trails that will take you days to traverse fully.

These features provide an extraordinary experience for explorers, outdoor enthusiasts, and nature lovers alike.

If you’re up for an adventure and want to enjoy the best views of Andover, Harold Parker State Forest is a great place to visit.

Small brook at Harold Parker State Forest

Paul Mozell /

Go Birdwatching at Moncrieff Cochran Bird Sanctuary

There’s nothing more satisfying than observing nature’s beauty at Moncrieff Cochran Bird Sanctuary.

Located on Chapel Avenue, this 65-acre woodland is one of Massachusetts’ best birdwatching spots.

You can explore the sanctuary’s wildlife-filled woods and wetlands, observe resident and migratory birds, and take in the beautiful views of the nearby wetlands.

This sanctuary is home to various species, such as eagles, hawks, and owls.

The Moncrieff Cochran Bird Sanctuary also offers miles of trails that meander through the woodlands and wetlands, perfect for a stroll.

You can take in sweeping views of the surroundings with numerous cleared areas and benches.

Be on the lookout for American larches, rhododendron, and mountain laurel.

Maps are conveniently posted at various points throughout the sanctuary too!

If you’re after a scenic and relaxing activity during your trip, check out Moncrieff Cochran Bird Sanctuary.

Check Out Produce at the Andover Farmers Market

Tents at Andover Farmers Market

Heidi Besen /

The Andover Farmers Market is available every Saturday from June to October in front of the Romanesque Revival South Church.

The Andover Farmers Market usually features more than 30 vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables, syrups, fresh plants and flowers, spices, baked goods, prepared foods, and more.

You can also find local artisans hawking handmade jewelry and pottery, as well as antiques and vintage collectibles.

The farmers market is also a great place to mingle with the friendly locals.

If you’re looking for a fun way to spend your Saturday morning, make sure to drop by the Andover Farmers Market.

Shops at Andover Farmers Market

Heidi Besen /

Tee Off at Andover Country Club

Andover Country Club is one of the best places to enjoy a fun and unique golfing experience.

Founded in 1925, this premier club offers a championship course and is widely regarded as one of the best golf courses in Massachusetts.

Located at Canterbury Street, this Country Club offers 18 challenging golf holes.

The course features a lake, rolling hills, sand traps, and plenty of open spaces.

The clubhouse has locker rooms, a pro shop, a dining area, and an outdoor patio.

It’s also an ideal venue for weddings, events, and other special occasions.

If you’re looking for an exciting activity while in Andover, make sure to tee off at the Andover Country Club!

Enjoy Nature Views at Charles W. Ward Reservation

Trees at Charles W. Ward Reservation

New Englander /

The Charles W. Ward Reservation is a 704-acre open space and hiking area along the outskirts of Andover and North Andover.

It’s on a rolling hills landscape with the highest point in Essex County, providing incredible views of the nearby area.

Enjoy incredible views from Holt Hill, or take a leisurely stroll to Boston Hill for an equally stunning outlook.

Trail with foliage at Charles W. Ward Reservation

New Englander /

You can also traverse the 700-foot Pine Hole Bog boardwalk, which is one of the region’s natural glacial kettle hole bogs.

Several trails are well-maintained and feature plenty of scenic spots and wildlife to observe.

Charles W. Ward Reservation is a great spot for outdoor adventurers and nature lovers alike, so don’t forget to check it out during your stay in Andover!

Enjoy the Natural Scenery at Deer Jump Reservation

Located in the Norwest area of Andover and intersecting the Bay Circuit Trail along the Merrimack River frontage, Deer Jump Reservation is a great spot to take in breathtaking views of the local area and go hiking at the same time.

This reservation spans 129 acres and is home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, foxes, and other small animals.

Numerous trails and scenic overlooks are available, and you can also enjoy various activities such as hiking, picnicking, and camping.

Deer Jump Reservation also offers opportunities for hunting and fishing, so it’s perfect for outdoor enthusiasts.

This is a great spot to enjoy the natural beauty of Andover and get some exercise at the same time.

If you’re looking for a great outdoor activity in Andover, visit the Deer Jump Reservation.

Other Things To Do Nearby

Visit the Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens

The grounds of Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens

Daderot at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens is a popular house and garden in nearby North Andover.

Located on Chickering Road—1.9 miles away from downtown Andover—this garden and historic home is open to the public and features plenty of interesting artifacts, exhibits, and numerous lovely gardens.

The grand estate of Helen Stevens Coolidge and her husband, John Gardner Coolidge, serves as a stunning example of early 20th-century country living.

House of Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens

John Phelan, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The gardens are also home to various plant species, including roses, daylilies, and hydrangeas.

John Gardner Coolidge famously served as United States Minister to Nicaragua during Theodore Roosevelt’s presidency from 1863 to 1936.

If you’re interested in American history and beautiful gardens, the Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens is definitely the place for you.

Go for a Leisurely Stroll at Den Rock Park

Den Rock Park is a 120-acre nature preserve that features wooded walking trails and a granite quarry.

This park is located in Lawrence—2.1 miles away from central Andover—and offers a great opportunity to explore nature.

The walking trails are perfect for a leisurely stroll or a more strenuous hike, and the granite rock face is ideal for technical rock climbing.

The scenic overlooks offer stunning views of the Shawsheen River, and access to the river makes this park a true gem.

If you’re looking for a peaceful and tranquil place to spend the day near Andover, Den Rock Park is the perfect spot.

Final Thoughts

While Andover is mostly known for its rich history and New England charm, the town offers plenty of exciting things to do.

Whether you’re interested in American history or outdoor activities or simply want to see the beautiful scenery of Massachusetts, Andover has something for you.

Check out some of the wonderful and exciting experiences this village offers, starting with these best things to do in Andover, Massachusetts.

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