20 Best Things to Do in Dedham, MA

Dedham, MA
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Dedham is a quaint but appealing town that serves as the county seat of Norfolk County, Massachusetts.

Dedham is a lovely weekend destination because of its outstanding countryside beauty, despite being a stone's throw away from Boston.

This small town is 25 minutes away from Boston and an hour away from Providence, Rhode Island.

Those coming from Boston know why Dedham is a worthy place to visit because of its rich history and proximity to natural attractions.

It's known throughout Massachusetts for its pretty-in-pastel streets, charming turn-of-the-period buildings, and historical landmarks.

In addition, Dedham is home to a plush lifestyle destination worth checking out for a top-notch shopping and dining experience.

Find out what awaits you in this small Massachusetts town.

Step inside the Fairbanks House

Exterior of the Fairbanks House
User:Magicpiano, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Start your Dedham travel adventure by heading to the oldest surviving wood-frame house in North America, the Fairbanks House.

Built between 1637 and 1641, this wooden house is the oldest known wood-frame house in the United States and Canada.

Stepping inside or perhaps taking a nice view of this house pulls you back to the simple life of the yesteryears.

Historically, the house served as the residence of Jonathan and Grace Fairbanks.

They were immigrants from the southern region of New England.

It's where they raised their six children.

Eventually, eight generations of the Fairbanks lived in the house, spanning 268 years.

The National Register of Historic Places listed the Fairbanks House on its roster to preserve its historical value.

Climb the Wilson Mountain Reservation

Nature trail at Wilson Mountain Reservation
John Phelan, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Head to the Wilson Mountain Reservation, a 207-acre wildlife reservation area known for its outdoor activities.

The Wilson Mountain Reservation is home to a large thicket of hillside rhododendrons and other native plant species.

This Dedham natural attraction is known for its hiking adventure.

It's a journey that will take you to the mountain's highest point, which rises 295 feet high.

Boardwalk over a creek at Wilson Mountain Reservation
NewtonCourt, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Although it's not categorized as a mountain, Wilson Mountain Reservation remains one of the highest points in Norfolk County.

It's a perfect location for outdoor adventure.

Once you reach the top of Wilson Mountain Reservation, you'll marvel at the picturesque view of the surrounding areas, including Dedham.

While hiking Wilson Mountain Reservation, you'll also come across various local wildlife and plants, making your visit there more exciting.

Walk Around Historic Dedham Square

If you're traveling to Dedham, don't overlook a stop by Historic Dedham Square.

This neighborhood district is where the heart of the town pulsates.

Fashioned after New England's square, this spot is an explosion of cultures, recreational opportunities, and a variety of entertainment.

This shopping district houses the Dedham Community Theatre and the Dedham Historical Society & Museum.

Be sure to drop by Historic Dedham Square at least once while you're in town.

You can find this square on High Street.

Try Your Hand at the Mini-Golf Course at McGolf Driving Range

McGolf Driving Range promises a round of family fun within its multi-faceted property.

This golfing facility has every kind of amenity for golfers of all ages and expertise levels.

With 65 hitting bays in its driving range and an 18-hole layout for its mini-golf course, playing golf by yourself or with your loved ones can be exciting.

The site also has a 20,000-square-foot short game putting green for those still improving their aims and shots.

Travel to other places without leaving the property by signing up for gameplay at the facility's swing lab and simulators.

You can find McGolf Driving Range on Bridge Street.

Start a Self-Guided Tour Around Dedham’s Notable Historic Places

Norfolk County CourtHouse at Dedham
Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dedham's a town of historical surprises.

And for that reason, you should at least go on a tour around the historic places of the town to complete your trip.

Aside from old homes and residences, Dedham has a wide collection of other historic buildings, including stone walls, civic centers, and mill establishments.

One of these famous places includes the Fairbanks House, which has been around since 1637.

Another prime example is the Old Town Burial Ground, which served the community only a year after the Fairbanks House.

Entrance of Norfolk County CourtHouse at Dedham
Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

On your self-guided historical expedition, don't forget the Colonial Revival-designed Endicott Estate.

This property spans 18 acres and offers a greenhouse.

Study the intricate exterior of Norfolk County CourtHouse, one of the best illustrations of Greek Revival architecture.

Take the time to go on a historical excursion all over the town and do your research before and after your tour.

Spot All the Utility Box Paintings in East Dedham

Dedham's public art scene is more eminent with its collection of utility box paintings.

This public art project started in 2017.

At the time of its creation, it featured the creativity and excellence of artists Clarissa Robyns, Cindy Prevett, and Cat Tucker.

Some of its promising pieces include colorful butterfly drawings detailed flower sketches, and butterflies in flight in a circular movement.

Going on an impromptu stroll over Dedham's streets has never been this exciting.

You can find these utility box paintings all over East Dedham.

Celebrate the American Culture at Flag Day Parade

Come and honor the American heritage when you come by Dedham during Flag Day Parade.

This yearly festival brings together a colorful display of reds, whites, and blues—as to represent the American flag.

Started in 1967, this cultural tradition follows a certain route that starts from East Street, follows onto High Street, and ends at Dedham Pool.

It presents organizations in colorful floats and showcases marching bands in all their astounding glory.

The parade is a must-visit experience for visitors of all ages.

Flag Day Parade takes place every June 14 in the downtown area of Dedham.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the MIT Endicott House

Welcome sign of MIT Endicott House
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

This famous mansion is a picturesque location, perfect for photoshoots.

If you're looking for the best place in Dedham to take photos as your souvenir, head to MIT Endicott House.

This 1934 mansion is famous for its French chateau-style and old-world grandeur that is well-preserved up to this day.

It is surrounded by over 25 acres of beautiful gardens and well-manicured grounds.

Garden beside MIT Endicott House
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

Meanwhile, its interior features a cozy atmosphere of wood paneling, oriental rugs, and marble fireplaces.

The MIT Endicott House serves as an events center in Dedham, where weddings and other affairs frequently take place.

Spending an hour or two exploring its vast halls and beautiful gardens will surely add a more memorable experience to your visit to Dedham.

Exterior of the MIT Endicott House
John Phelan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Have Fun at Kings Dining and Entertainment

This famous restaurant and entertainment venue in Dedham's Legacy Place is known for its delicious food and colorful bowling arena.

If you're looking for the best place to have a leisure activity in Dedham, then go to Kings Dining and Entertainment for top-notch food.

This restaurant in Dedham boasts delicious comfort food.

Their classic Buffalo wings, smoked ribs, calamari, salad, and steaks are all must-try meals.

So, stop by Kings Dining in Dedham if you want an excellent dining and entertainment experience.

Wander the Vast Emerald Necklace

Massachusetts is home to a vast 1,100-acre chain of parks named Emerald Necklace, 19 minutes from Dedham.

If you're yearning for a memorable outdoor adventure, go out and explore the chain of parks at the Emerald Necklace.

This famous outdoor attraction connects the waterways and parkways of Brookline and Boston.

It also came from the brilliant mind of Frederick Law Olmsted, a renowned landscape architect.

They officially opened the Emerald Necklace to the public in 1989.

Today, Emerald Necklace remains one of the best places for hiking and sightseeing in Massachusetts, including Dedham.

Emerald Necklace spans Franklin Park, Jamaica Pond, Arnold Arboretum, Olmsted Park, Back Bay Fens, The Riverway, Commonwealth Avenue Mall, Public Garden, and the Boston Common.

Explore the Vast Blue Hills Reservation

Houghton pond at Blue Hills Reservation
kforce214 / Shutterstock.com

This nature preserve in Milton spans over 7,000 acres covering Dedham, Quincy, and Randolph.

You can find this place in Milton, Massachusetts, eight minutes from Dedham.

It serves as a green oasis amidst the bustling Boston metropolis, making it an exciting natural attraction to check out.

Blue Hills Reservation is the highest point of Blue Hills' 22 hill chains.

The best way to explore Blue Hills Reservation is through hiking.

Hiking and exploring this vast natural area are a satisfying experience, especially when you climb the top of the hill that rises 635 feet.

An observation tower at Blue Hills Reservation
Adam Gladstone / Shutterstock.com

Upon reaching Blue Hills Reservation's peak, you'll see the beautiful scenery of the Boston metropolitan area.

This natural area in Norfolk County has plenty of scenic hiking trails that take you to waterways, forested areas, rocky summits, and meadows.

In addition, you can also ride your bike inside Blue Hills Reservation for those who want a quick exploration.

Also, Blue Hills has a campground where you can stay for the night or perhaps spend your day appreciating its natural beauty.

Boardwalk hiking trail of Blue Hills Reservation
Ryan McGurl / Shutterstock.com

Bring Your Furball to Dedham Dog Park

For travelers who bring their dogs with them, they can head to Dedham Dog Park at the Dolan Recreation Center.

Dedham Dog Park is an excellent place to let your dog enjoy its open, secure space where they can play or perhaps relax.

Your dog would surely grow bored while you enjoy exploring Dedham's attractions on your own or with friends.

So, bring your pets to Dedham Dog Park for some worthwhile bonding to let them share in your fun.

See the Latest Hollywood Flicks at Cinema de Lux

This cinema is in Legacy Place, which is also one of the locals' favorite places to hang out in Dedham.

You can also join them and see the latest movies.

If you're not in the mood to go outdoors in Dedham, stop by the Cinema de Lux to relax and enjoy an afternoon of top-notch movies.

In addition, this movie theater is adjacent to dozens of restaurants and cafes, which you can visit right after seeing a movie.

Cast Your Line at Mother Brook

For avid fishing enthusiasts or anglers, they can cast their lines at Mother Brook.

It's a stream flowing through Dedham's Charles River to Neponset River in Boston.

Locals also refer to Mother Brook as "Massachusetts' Panama Canal."

It holds significance to the area for powering the local mills from the 16th century to the early 20th century.

Today, Mother Brook serves a purpose as a flood-control system.

At the same time, anglers from Dedham and other parts of Norfolk County love to fish this stream.

If you're looking for an accessible fishing spot in Dedham, check out Mother Brook.

Go Birdwatching at Cutler Park Reservation

Geese on the waters of Cutler Park Reservation
Igal Shkolnik / Shutterstock.com

For nature lovers and birdwatchers, Cutler Park Reservation features more than a hundred bird species that thrive in the area.

You'll find it in Needham, Massachusetts, 12 minutes from Dedham.

With that in mind, it's an excellent place for birdwatching activities and nature study for those who want to learn more about its local wildlife.

Cutler Park Reservation is a sprawling natural area that spans over 700 acres, mostly comprising wetlands and marshes.

Greenery of Cutler Park Reservation
Igal Shkolnik / Shutterstock.com

Birdwatchers from Boston and other parts of Massachusetts flock to Cutler Park Reservation to find the best birdwatching spot.

Find birds such as peregrine falcons, hawks, warblers, and great blue herons at the Cutler Park Reservation.

At the same time, many visitors frequently head to Cutler Park Reservation for hiking, fishing, and boating activities.

Browse the Dedham Museum & Archive (Dedham Historical Society)

For those fascinated about Dedham's backstory and heritage, they can learn a bunch of historical stuff at the Dedham Museum & Archive.

It's an excellent place to explore and learn the history of this small town.

Likewise, you'll receive guidance from the Dedham Historical Society, which has operated for over 163 years.

The Dedham Museum & Archive features a vast collection of artifacts and memorabilia dating back to the 1600s.

In addition, the Dedham Historical Society offers tours inside the museum.

They also give outdoor tours around various historical sites and buildings in town.

Visiting the Dedham Museum & Archive is a fascinating experience that connects you to the town's past.

Shop and Dine at Legacy Place

Dedham is also home to a plush lifestyle destination called Legacy Place.

This massive development which spans 675,000 square feet, is a mixture of upscale residences and retail spaces.

Likewise, it's an excellent place in Dedham to enjoy leisure activities like shopping and dining.

Explore over 75 stores in Legacy Place, including leading brands and local specialties.

In addition, Legacy Place is also home to some of the best restaurants in Dedham, making your visit there appetizing.

Moreover, Legacy Place also regularly hosts dozens of community-related and entertainment events, making it a must-visit place in Dedham.

If you are looking for an excellent place to take a break and relax, stop by Legacy Place.

Hike the Blue Heron Trail

This ten-kilometer loop trail north of Dedham has a scenic route featuring Norfolk County's local flora and fauna.

If you're yearning for more outdoor adventure while visiting Dedham, then hike the exceptional Blue Heron Trail.

This famous trail is not just an excellent hiking destination.

Likewise, many people frequently visit this place for fishing and birdwatching.

Blue Heron Trail is an excellent place to hike and appreciate nature's beauty.

Don't forget to include this in your itinerary during your visit to Dedham.

Test Your Strength at Rock Spot Climbing

This famous indoor wall climbing facility east of Dedham is a perfect place for those who want to test their strength and climbing skills.

Rock Spot Climbing at the Boston Dedham Commerce Park is a fun place to visit and have fun.

Rock Spot Climbing features various climbing courses and levels to cater to climbers of all skill and experience levels.

If you want to try wall or rock climbing during your Dedham adventure, then go to Rock Spot Climbing.

Enjoy a Freshly Brewed Craft Beer at Trillium Brewing Company

There's no better way to cap off your Dedham adventure than enjoying Trillium Brewing Company's finest craft beer.

You'll find it in Canton, Massachusetts, nine minutes from Dedham.

After a tiring but fun experience touring Dedham's attractions, sit down and relax with Trillium Brewing Company's good bar.

Trillium Brewing Company is known throughout New England for its farmhouse-inspired brewery, which has numerous locations in Boston and Canton.

This local brewery is famous for its top-notch line of craft beers.

At the same time, it also serves delicious food and light snacks to give you a satisfying experience.

Before returning home from your Dedham adventure, don't forget to stop by Trillium Brewing Company to treat yourself and your travel buddies.

Final Thoughts

Dedham is an unassuming but magnificent place to explore.

It represents the genuine beauty of Massachusetts through its charming streets and old buildings.

Dedham is a lovely destination for a quick weekend getaway or an alternative destination to Boston.

After you're done visiting each of Dedham's attractions, you can proceed to Boston to continue your travel adventure.

Don't forget to bookmark this post before heading to Dedham to give yourself an instant itinerary.

Start planning your trip today!

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