Part of Bristol County, Massachusetts, Attleboro is a charming city once known as “The Jewelry Capital of the World.”
Many jewelry manufacturers operated in the city, including the L. G. Balfour Company, founded in 1913.
Attleboro dates back to 1634 when English settlers stepped foot in this territory.
It became the town of Attleborough in 1694 when it received a portion of Rehoboth, known as the North Purchase.
In 1914, the town became the city of Attleboro, removing the final “ugh” from its name.
Like many towns in Massachusetts, this city derived its name from a town the early settlers left behind in England.
Besides art and history, Attleboro takes pride in its Catholic shrine, fascinating museums, verdant parks, beautiful wildlife, outdoor activities, and other attractions.
Enjoy the best things to do in Attleboro, Massachusetts.
Meet the Animals at Capron Park Zoo
Capron Park Zoo is one of Attleboro’s most popular attractions, which is great to visit with the kids who’re guaranteed to love this place.
The eight-acre zoo opened in 1937 in Capron Park, in the heart of Attleboro.
Since its founding, numerous buildings, facilities, and exhibits have been added here, including indoor exhibits for rainforest species and an innovative building for nocturnal animals.
It’s home to about 100 animals representing over 40 species, including African lions, ringtail lemurs, red kangaroos, sloth bears, Boer goats, green tree pythons, kookaburras, and many more!
Visitors can take a self-guided tour of the zoo.
There are other exciting things to enjoy here, like the splash pad for all children to cool down in the hot summer.
It also has a gift shop for finding souvenirs and concession stands to feed your hunger or sate your cravings.
Capron Park Zoo also hosts zoo classes, animal encounters, birthday parties, a behind-the-scenes look, and fun events.
The zoo welcomes more than 120,000 visitors annually, with its busiest day attracting roughly 2,000 visitors.
See the Artworks at the Attleboro Arts Museum
The Attleboro Arts Museum dates back to 1923 when a group of Attleboro residents founded it.
In 1994, it was moved into its current spacious building in Downtown Attleboro across from City Hall on Park Street.
It boasts 3,500 square feet of gallery space showcasing expertly curated exhibitions refreshed continually and works of promising and professional artists.
The gallery space also features 14-foot ceilings and moveable gallery walls.
Besides its art classes and workshops great for all ages, the Attleboro Arts Museum also hosts many events, including its signature Art Auction and Poetry Slam, both done annually.
Don’t forget to visit the museum’s gift shop, which has a unique selection of jewelry, ceramics, accessories, housewares, toys, greeting cards, books, original art, and more!
Check Out the Exhibits at the Women at Work Museum
The Women at Work Museum entertains and inspires you with everything inside its spaces.
Located on County Street, there’s something to find here, such as art, music, dance, photographs, and interactive activities.
You can view exhibits like Career Exploration Day, which presents a wall of professional women’s information with a recording of their professional careers.
They also host the Young Women to Watch exhibit, which features a wall of up-and-coming women leaders.
Different community groups and governmental organizations organize the museum’s exhibits and programs.
Some topics that might capture your interest include artists, astronauts, military women, inventors, and entrepreneurs.
Help in the fight for equality at the Women at Work Museum.
See the Performances at Attleboro Community Theatre
Founded in 1957 by Hilda Freeman, Attleboro Community Theatre offers affordable, and quality live theater.
Don’t miss the chance to enjoy watching their spectacular shows with family and friends!
Some of the plays this community theater has showcased were “13 Past Midnight,” “The Nerd,” and “The Man Who Came to Dinner.”
Are you interested in stellar performances by superb casts?
Find the Attleboro Community Theatre on North Main Street in the basement of the mason building across from Attleboro Public Library.
Visit the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette
The National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette is tucked on Park Street, around two miles from Downtown Attleboro.
Known as “La Salette” locally, it’s renowned for its brilliant Christmas light displays, which is the best time to visit.
Its tranquil and relaxing grounds and spaces, including the lovely gardens, is the perfect place for a retreat.
Each year, more than a million people visit the beautiful shrine devoted to the Marian apparition reported at La Salette-Fallavaux, France, in 1846.
This Roman Catholic community holds regular masses, seminars, prayer sessions, and many other faith formation programs for people of all ages.
Moreover, the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette also hosts events like the La Salette Movie Festival on the second Friday of every month and a Soup Kitchen every Monday.
Hike the Trails at Attleboro Springs Wildlife Sanctuary
Attleboro Springs Wildlife Sanctuary is a property of Mass Audubon, a non-profit organization that protects the nature of Massachusetts.
This wildlife sanctuary, which spans more than 110 acres, is adjacent to the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette.
There’s a visitor information pavilion welcoming at the entrance, which is the main trailhead.
You can explore the three miles of nature trails, including a ½-mile universally accessible loop trail.
You’ll also find a pond, a boardwalk over a vernal pool, a viewing platform, and other natural and historical attractions like old stone walls made of large rocks.
Besides frogs, turtles, and fish on the pond, you’ll also spot abundant plants and breeding birds, such as red-eye vireos, ovenbirds, and wood thrushes.
Attleboro Springs Wildlife Sanctuary is perfect for nature lovers and those who like serenity and healing.
Relax at Lloyd G. Balfour Riverwalk Park
The Lloyd G. Balfour Riverwalk Park was once the site of the L.G. Balfour jewelry plant.
The Bungay River passes this small community park behind Attleboro Public Library.
This riverfront park offers a skateboarding area, playgrounds for young children, and a volleyball area.
It also has lush lawns, benches, picnic tables, monuments, park lamps, and paved walkways flanked by several trees.
It’s great to enjoy reading a book here or eating some snacks while relaxing in a clean, quiet atmosphere.
Moreover, Lloyd G. Balfour Riverwalk Park is the northern trailhead of the Bungay River Walk, going to Judith H. Robbins Riverfront Park and the train station on Riverfront Drive.
Buy Fresh Produce at Attleboro Farmers Market
In Attleboro, Attleboro Farmers Market has become a community gathering place for locals and tourists for more than a decade.
It’s the biggest farmers’ market, voted #1 in Massachusetts since 2015.
It opens every Saturday from mid-June to mid-October on O’Connell Field in Capron Park.
You’ll meet over 50 vendors each week selling their products, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, homemade and baked goods, flowers, and many others.
In addition, the farmers’ market features live music, food trucks, and fun events.
Bring your family or friends and enjoy food and conversation.
Attleboro Farmers Market is also dog-friendly.
Explore the Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary
Another Mass Audubon property that’s also a natural attraction in Attleboro is Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary.
This park is on Park Street, around 1.1 miles south of the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette and Attleboro Springs Wildlife Sanctuary.
Surprisingly, Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary was once a bustling entertainment destination, formerly home to a hotel and casino.
However, it’s now a natural retreat with 1.5 miles of marked walking trails and boardwalks that wind through a red maple swamp, woods, and freshwater marsh.
Overlooking Lake Talaquega, this 75-acre sanctuary also has a colonial house dating from 1759.
Today, it has become a nature center with native turtle species, invertebrates, and other exhibits.
Enjoy strolling or walking here while soaking in its calm, beautiful environment.
Furthermore, Oak Knoll Wildlife Sanctuary hosts various fun programs for everyone.
Learn about Industrial History at the Attleboro Area Industrial Museum
The Attleboro Area Industrial Museum is a great way to learn about the city’s jewelry manufacturing heyday.
It is the museum’s primary focus and Attleboro’s story from the late 19th century onwards.
The museum houses more than 17,000 artifacts, photographs, publications, documents, tools, and machinery that connect to the Attleboro area’s industrial history.
Some exhibits include the Craftsman Shop Exhibit, highlighting a full workshop with the same forge and tools before the Civil War.
You can also see the Wampanoag Exhibit, showcasing the story of the city’s first artisans and examples of their work from as far back as 8,000 years ago.
Eugene Hunt Exhibit contains seven machines; sports fans should check out L.G. Balfour Exhibit.
The museum also has a research library, hosts events, and offers guided tours to visitors.
The Attleboro Area Industrial Museum is on Union Street, just walking distance from the Attleboro Arts Museum.
Grab a Drink at Skyroc Brewery
Skyroc Brewery is the perfect place for grabbing a drink in Attleboro.
You can pick from a range of craft beers, such as 14 Karat, Falls Pond Autumn Ale, and 24 Karat, one of their flagship ales.
Moreover, every beer they brew has a meaningful story.
The brewery also hosts many events, like a few of their past activities, such as beer dinners and after-parties.
If you want to try Skyroc Brewery, you can find it on Riverbank Road along the Bungay River.
Explore Downtown Attleboro
While in the city, it’s impossible to skip Downtown Attleboro.
There are many interesting spots worth checking out, such as numerous shops and stores for clothes, gifts, supplies, and more!
You can also find a collection of excellent restaurants serving diverse cuisines from America to Asia.
You’ll also meet the friendly community here.
Whatever street you are in, there’s always something in Downtown Attleboro that catches your attention.
Join the Annual Jewelry City Steampunk Festival
Celebrate the Jewelry City Steampunk Festival, one of Attleboro’s highly anticipated events.
This free and open-to-the-public one-day event celebrates the steampunk culture in the city’s historic downtown every October.
The festival’s name stems from Attleboro’s history as the central jewelry manufacturer.
The festival gathers thousands of attendees who revel in various entertaining and educational programs and events, such as a costume contest, live music, kids’ activities, and more!
Of course, many vendors sell food, handmade crafts, and many others!
The Jewelry City Steampunk Festival is held downtown at multiple venues, including Attleboro Public Library, Attleboro Area Industrial Museum, and the Centenary United Methodist Church.
Grab Delicious Pastries at Level Acres Farm
You’ll find Level Acres Farm at the intersection of Highland Avenue and Adamsdale Road.
It was once the retail hub for acres of surrounding farmland since the early 20th century.
However, they sold the farm for housing development in the 1980s.
Fortunately, the Level Acres Farm was reopened in the early 1990s.
It underwent several restorations that retained the classic vibe of the stand.
Today, it runs as a garden center and farm stand, selling materials and fresh local produce.
The store’s stocks change through the seasons.
Perennial and annual plants abound in the spring, while fruits and vegetables grow in the summer.
Then, you can grab chrysanthemums and squashes in the fall and Christmas trees and decorations in the winter.
Moreover, Level Acres Farm takes pride in its trained pastry chef, who bakes delicious madeleines, cookies, and brownies and often gives out samples.
Visit the Historic Colonel Blackinton Inn
Built in 1850, the Colonel Blackinton Inn was a home for Colonel Willard Blackinton’s two sons and their families.
Colonel Willard Blackinton, the son of an early Attleboro settler, was a notable industrialist and financier in the nation’s early days.
The Colonel Blackinton Inn boasts a Greek Revival style and is on the National Register of Historic Places list.
The historic inn has four dining rooms, a tavern, and a sunny garden terrace with dining and live music in the summer.
While you can dine here and pick your desired menu items, Jenkin’s House is also perfect for hosting events, such as private parties and conferences.
To visit one of New England’s finest historic homes, find the Colonel Blackinton Inn on North Main Street.
Attleboro is a city brimming with beautiful things sure to arrest the hearts of all visitors.
From fascinating museums and natural attractions to fun outdoor activities and vibrant history, culture, and arts, you’ll enjoy all these alone, with family, friends, or significant other.
Make the most of your holiday by trying the best things to do in Attleboro, Massachusetts.