15 Best Things to Do in Framingham, MA

Framingham, MA
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Located 20 miles west of Boston, Framingham is a charming city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts.

One of the oldest cities in the country saw its first settler in John Stone, who arrived in 1647 and established a corn mill along the Sudbury River.

The early settlers also included those fleeing the infamous Salem witch trials, from which modern-day Salem End Road earned its name.

By the time Framingham was incorporated as a town in 1700, more than 70 families had lived there.

During the late 18th century, the town became the stop-over for the stagecoach line, which significantly contributed to its economic growth.

The town’s primary industry shifted from agricultural to manufacturing in the late 1800s.

Along with retail, manufacturing remains one of the city's main economic drivers today.

Interestingly, throughout most of its long existence, Framingham never became a city due to opposition from the residents.

As a result, it has been referred to as the “largest town in America.”

However, it finally became a city in 2018, more than 300 years since its founding.

Today, Framingham is a lovely city teeming with culture and history.

The city offers many attractions, from relaxing outdoor parks and farms to restaurants offering unique gourmet experiences.

Here are the best things to do in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Go Boating at Farm Pond Park

The waters of Farm Pond Park
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Located on the southern part of Framingham, Farm Pond Park’s most noteworthy feature is the 151-acre eponymous pond.

Thanks to its large pond, the park is one of the few places in the city where you can enjoy several fun water activities.

The park features a boat ramp where you can launch small boats and kayaks, which you can paddle around the pond’s clear waters.

Moreover, the pond is also great for fishing with its healthy fish population, like largemouth bass, black crappie, and white perch.

Waterlilies at Farm Pond Park
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On the other hand, the park features other neat amenities, most notably its play facilities.

Along with its skate park and arena, it also houses a bocce court and playground.

Moreover, you can also trek along the walking trails that run through the park’s woodlands.

Farm Pond Park’s pristine environment and nifty features allow for a fun and relaxing outdoor recreation for everybody.

Skate grounds of Farm Pond Park
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Jump around at Launch Entertainment Park

Launch Entertainment Park is a fully-featured indoor recreation center located at California Avenue, west of the city.

Along with its trampoline courts, the recreation center is famous for its Zip Lines, Launch Pad, Slackline, and Ninja Course.

While many of their features are geared primarily toward kids, there are also some that adults can enjoy, such as Battle Pit and Dodgeball.

With their trampoline-assisted basketball, you can also show some mad hoop skills and defy gravity.

Moreover, you can also play laser tag matches with friends or the multiple-game machines in their arcade.

Little toddlers can also enjoy playing in the playground designed for smaller children.

On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about going hungry after playing, as they also have the in-house Krave Restaurant, where you can order delicious pizza and other meals.

As a must-visit entertainment center, Launch Entertainment Park is the best place for total family fun.

Go Trekking at Callahan State Park

The waters of Callahan State Park
NewtonCourt, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Callahan State Park is a sprawling 800-acre paradise on the city's northwest part.

It features an extensive network of marked trails stretching more than seven miles into the park’s various landscapes, which include woodlands and meadows.

As such, you can enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, and horseback riding within the park’s lengthy trails.

During winter, the park transforms into a cross-country skiing wonderland.

A dog on the waters of Callahan State Park
John Phelan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also go fishing along the park’s lovely large pond.

On the other hand, you can find a dog park on the grounds; your furry friends are also allowed to swim in the pond.

Home to small animals like deer and various birds, the park is also one of the best places in the city for wildlife watching.

It may not have many amenities, but Callahan State Park’s natural beauty is more than enough to give you an unforgettable outdoor adventure.

Experience the Farm Life at Hanson’s Farm

Hanson’s Farm sits along Nixon Road in the northwest part of the city.

Established in 1913 by the Hanson Family, the farm grows 180 varieties of fruits and vegetables within its 52 acres of fertile farmlands.

On top of that, they also have another 100 acres of land allocated for growing hay.

The farm is open to the public from June to November, right around the harvesting season.

During this period, the farm hosts fun activities like picking your produce and interacting with farm animals.

You can enjoy their hayrides and make your way out of their sprawling corn maze.

On the other hand, they also have a farm stand open between May and December every year.

The farm stand offers fresh produce harvested straight from the farm and other treats and goodies.

Moreover, the farm stand’s offerings differ each season, like flowers in May, greens in summer, and Christmas trees and wreaths in December.

Hanson’s Farm is the go-to place to enjoy fun farm activities and, at the same time, grab some fresh produce along the way.

Immerse in Beautiful Nature at Garden in the Woods

A pond at Garden in the Woods
Phoebe, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Sitting north of Framingham is a 45-acre oasis known as Garden in the Woods.

The park opens every spring to fall, from April to October.

It is one of the most beautiful places in the city.

True to its name, the park’s natural landscapes consist mainly of woodlands and marshlands, which are crisscrossed by streams and ponds.

A looping one-mile main path allows you to enjoy these beautiful natural features, which also thrive with wildlife.

Maleberry tree at Garden in the Woods
Phoebe, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The park is the perfect destination for relaxing nature walks.

The park also contains designated areas for picnicking, which come equipped with picnic tables and benches.

Moreover, it also has a Visitor Center where you can grab snacks, drinks, and other ready-to-go meals.

Its natural beauty and neat and functional amenities make Garden in the Woods the top choice to take a nice breather in Framingham.

Plants at Garden in the Woods
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Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth Cravings at Mad Willie’s Ice Cream

Mad Willie’s Ice Cream, found at Worcester Road, is Framingham’s go-to place for sweet treats.

The ice cream shop’s unassuming façade evokes a familiar mom-and-pop store vibe.

Despite their small size, their offerings of homemade ice cream come in over 30 different flavors.

You can try the classics like chocolate and strawberry or the uncommon ones like rum raisin and a peppermint stick.

For added measure, you can sprinkle them with their assortment of toppings.

They also have weekly specials to keep you coming back for more.

On the other hand, they also offer delicious treats like frozen yogurt, milkshakes, smoothies, and non-frozen goodies like cakes and pies.

Health-conscious and calorie-counters can enjoy the ice cream shop’s sugar-free and fat-free options.

With tons of delicious sweets complemented by the shop’s overall friendly environment, there’s no better place to indulge your sweet tooth than Mad Willie’s Ice Cream.

Take Fun Wagon Rides at Eastleigh Farm

Farmhouses at Eastleigh Farm
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Located along Edmands Road in the northwest part of Framingham, Eastleigh Farm allows you to experience the fun and relaxing farm life without leaving the city.

For an authentic rural experience, they provide wagon rides during a tour of their facilities.

You can also enjoy the farm’s refreshing environment in their dedicated picnic areas equipped with tables and benches.

To make the experience more delightful, you can also try their famous ice cream, which uses fresh milk sourced from their cows.

Cows grazing at Eastleigh Farm
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On the other hand, the farm also houses several small shops offering goods like handicrafts, antiques, and gardening items.

Moreover, they host special events, most notably their Farmer’s Market, where you can find products offered by other vendors and local farmers.

Eastleigh Farm’s fun features and relaxing environment make it the perfect place to enjoy a quick getaway.

Try Craft Lagers at Jack’s Abby

On Clinton Street, Jack’s Abby offers the best beers in the city.

You can find a wide variety of craft lagers in this homegrown brewery, including their dark and Kellerbier selections.

They also have seasonal lager and specials that come in fruity and exotic flavors.

On the other hand, Jack’s Abby is also famous for its delicious food menu.

Their pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven, sausages, and chicken wings makes for a perfect pairing to their ice-cold lagers.

You can also try their equally sumptuous salads, sandwiches, and pretzels.

Moreover, you can enjoy all this food and drink in their indoor cozy beer hall or at their refreshing outdoor beer garden.

Their impressive menu of flavorful lager and excellent food choices make Jack’s Abby the perfect hangout spot in Framingham.

See Local Art at Danforth Art Museum

Front view of Danforth Art Museum
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Founded in 1975, Danforth Art Museum’s primary goal is to spark creativity among the locals and bring the community together through art.

The museum and art school eventually merged with Framingham State University in 2018, further bolstering its art program.

The museum's permanent collection includes numerous works of art, from classical to modern.

They also hold the largest collection of works and memorabilia from the celebrated African-American female sculptor Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller.

Signage of Danforth Art Museum
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On top of their permanent exhibits, they also conduct moving displays all year round featuring local and foreign artists.

On the other hand, the institution also hosts programs like art lessons catering to all ages and skill levels.

With its excellent artwork collection and interactive programs, the Danforth Art Museum offers the best of the Boston art scene.

Eat Healthy at NZUKO Restaurant

Located at Cochituate Road in the western part of the city, NZUKO Restaurant stands out among the sea of restaurants in Framingham with its exclusive healthy menu.

The restaurant’s unique name was borrowed from the Igbo word, which translates to “gathering.”

They pride themselves on using only the freshest, organic, and gluten-free ingredients on their menu.

You can try their all-organic chicken, pork, and salmon cuisines for a guilt-free gourmet experience.

For good measure, you can pair them with fresh salads, flatbread wraps, and falafel.

Of course, NZUKO Restaurant’s healthy menu will not be complete without entirely vegetarian and vegan options.

Moreover, you can also have the little ones enjoy a healthy meal with their kids' menu.

Thanks to NZUKO Restaurant’s impressive and salivating food choices, eating healthy has never been this delightful and satisfying.

Take Some Pictures of the Learned Pond

The waters of Learned Pond
John Phelan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learned Pond is a 34-acre pristine body of water found on the southern part of Framingham.

The shallow pond has a maximum depth of 13 feet.

Notably, it features a clean sandy beach open to the public from June to August.

On the other hand, you can take a hike and explore the surrounding areas along the pond.

Indulge in Comfort Food at Lloyd’s Diner

Exterior of Lloyd’s Diner
John Phelan, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Located on Fountain Street in the southern part of the city, it’s difficult to miss the vintage look of Lloyd’s Diner.

With their red and white color accents, they truly exude the classic 1950s diner aesthetic.

Similar to most traditional diners, they specialize in American-style comfort food.

You can enjoy their breakfast staples like bacon and eggs any day.

Moreover, you can try their French toast, waffles, and pancakes and pair them up with a hot cup of coffee.

The diner may be small, but their servings also come in hefty portions, ensuring a complete and satisfying meal every time.

They also offer occasional outdoor seating for a refreshing alfresco dining experience.

Great food combined with a pleasant nostalgic ambiance makes dining at Lloyd’s Diner an enjoyable and memorable experience.

Other Things to Do Nearby

See Amazing Tanks at American Heritage Museum

A tank at American Heritage Museum
Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

American Heritage Museum is in the Hudson, Massachusetts, 23 minutes from Framingham.

The museum’s exhibits highlight several major world conflicts, from World War I to the War on Terror.

However, the museum’s main attraction is its impressive fleet of military tanks, ranging from the feared German Panzers of World War II to modern American M1A1 Abrams.

Each tank is meticulously restored, down to the minor details in their paint schemes.

They also have a few aircraft, such as the Messerschmitt ME-109G-10, army transport vehicles, and artillery.

Motor tank at American Heritage Museum
Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Along with a plethora of military equipment and war memorabilia, the museum also houses civilian automobiles of the era, such as the 1942 Buick Super.

The museum hosts special events, most notably its WWII Tank Demonstration Weekend.

Moreover, if you visit the museum from May to October, you can also get a chance to drive World War II tanks.

Whether you’re a military history buff or not, American Heritage Museum’s impressive tank collection should keep you hooked and fascinated for hours.

Enjoy Water Activities at Cochituate State Park

Cochituate State Park is located in Natick, Massachusetts, seven minutes from Framingham.

Lake Cochituate, made up of three connected ponds, serves as the highlight of the state park.

As such, the park is a favorite spot in the region to enjoy numerous lakeside activities.

The park features a boat ramp where you can launch a non-motorized boat to cruise around the lake.

Other relaxing activities you can enjoy at the park include fishing and swimming along the clean sandy beach.

However, if you’re looking for an extra thrill, you can go to South Lake to try more exciting water activities like waterskiing and water tubing.

On the other hand, you can hike along the park’s 1.5-mile trail, which traverses through beautiful natural landscapes.

The park also has dedicated picnic areas with grills, allowing you to have a cookout while enjoying picturesque lakeside views.

Cochituate State Park’s pristine environment and numerous activities make it one of the best places to enjoy and experience the great outdoors.

Stay at the Historic Wayside Inn

Exterior of the Historic Wayside Inn
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Take a quick 16-minute drive from downtown Framingham to Sudbury, Massachusetts, to arrive at the historic Wayside Inn.

Founded in 1716, it is among the oldest inns in the country that remain open.

Throughout its long history, the inn has accommodated historical icons like George Washington and Marquis de Lafayette, as well as literary figures like Henry David Thoreau and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The inn consists of ten guest rooms, each offering pleasant views of the beautiful landscapes of the 100-acre property.

Moreover, the rooms retain many original wood furnishings and antiques dating back to the 19th century.

Welcome sign of the Historic Wayside Inn
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Nevertheless, the centuries-old rooms feature modern amenities like air-conditioning and private baths, allowing for a comfortable and convenient stay every time.

On top of their cozy accommodation, the inn also offers an exceptional dining experience courtesy of its New England cuisine.

On the other hand, the inn’s sprawling property also houses archives and a research center, as well as museum rooms and exhibits featuring the region's history.

Wayside Inn offers a one-of-a-kind staycation experience with its deep history blended with distinct New England hospitality.

Grist mill at the Historic Wayside Inn
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Final Thoughts

With its relaxed New England vibe, the historic city of Framingham radiates an inviting atmosphere that lures everyone to come and visit.

From its outdoor parks, and farms, to restaurants and other attractions, the city offers plenty of choices for everybody to have a great time.

Thanks to its excellent location, many other attractions outside its borders are just a short drive away from downtown.

Enjoy the best things to do in Framingham, Massachusetts!

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