Blake Walsh

23 Best Things to Do in Gardner, MA

  • Published 2023/04/21

Gardner is a city in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States.

According to the 2020 census, Gardner is the home of 21, 287 people.

It’s truly a city with a small-town look and appeal.

Gardner is well-known for its booming furniture industry.

It has led to nicknames such as “the Chair City” and “the Furniture Capital of the World.”

While this may be the case, there’s much more to this city than meets the eye.

From serene nature spots to spine-tingling attractions, Gardner has something for everyone.

Gardner is home to several iconic indoor and outdoor attractions in the area that will keep you entertained.

Here are the best things to do in Gardner, MA:

Embrace the Outdoors at Dunn State Park

Fall trees reflecting on Dunn State Park's water

Nitrochazz /

Dunn State Park is the most iconic and popular destination in Gardner.

Located in downtown Gardner, the park offers a variety of activities for visitors, including hiking, fishing, picnicking, and swimming.

The Dunn State Park is the premier outdoor spot in Gardner and a must-visit for all nature lovers.

Established in 1915, the Dunn State Park is a 132-acre public recreation area under the management of the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Do you come from the big cities and want some fresh air away from the concrete jungle?

Then, do yourself a favor by adding Dunn State Park to your list of places to visit in Gardner.

Check Out the Gardner Bicentennial Chair

You can’t visit Gardner without noticing the Giant Chair in the middle of the city.

The Gardner Bicentennial Chair is a 20-foot-tall replica of an 18th-century Windsor chair.

It’s a tribute to Gardner’s glorious furniture manufacturing heritage.

Built in 1905, this unique artificial attraction used to be the world’s largest chair.

However, larger chairs soon took its record several years later.

Nevertheless, the Gardner Bicentennial Chair is still an impressive sight to behold.

Check it out while you’re in Gardner, MA.

Get a History Lesson at Gardner Museum

If you want to enrich your mind and learn more about Gardner’s long and fruitful history, then a visit to the Gardner Museum is a must.

Located on Pearl Street, this museum is inside a historic building built in 1886.

The Gardner museum opened its doors in 1978 and has served locals and visitors ever since.

The museum is dedicated to preserving the history and culture of Gardner through exhibitions, educational programs, and events.

The museum is open all week from morning to afternoon.

You can take a guided tour or ask the friendly staff about the different exhibits.

Go Biking at the North Central Pathway

Daytime view of North Central Pathway

John Phelan, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Nothing makes you feel more alive and one with nature than a good bike ride.

If you’re looking for things to do in Gardner that will get your blood pumping, look no further than the North Central Pathway.

This nine-mile-long bike trail starts in Gardner, goes through the city, and winds through nearby Winchendon.

You will also pass by some scenic spots, including the Wachusett Reservoir.

The North Central Pathway is a great place to exercise, enjoy the scenery, and breathe fresh air.

You can also do cross country, roller-blading, skiing, jogging, walking, or sightseeing.

So, if you’re looking for things to do in Gardner that are both fun and healthy, this is the perfect activity for you.

Play Golf at the Gardner Municipal Golf Course

For golfers and enthusiasts, the Gardner Municipal Golf Course is an absolute must-visit in Gardner.

This 18-hole golf course has a history and character that would make any golf lover want to spend the day playing the sport.

Built in 1936, the Gardner Municipal Golf Course is one of the oldest golf courses in Central Massachusetts.

Despite its age, it’s still a beautiful and well-maintained golf course that features a picturesque view of the surrounding nature and scenery.

The course is open to the public every day from morning to night.

In addition, it has a pro shop on-site, a snack bar, and a restaurant.

Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Priscilla Candy Shop

Located in downtown Gardner, Priscilla Candy Shop is the premier candy shop in town and a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth.

This historic candy shop has operated since 1936, earning a reputation for creating delicious homemade chocolates and candies.

They also have a wide selection of bulk candies, making it the perfect place to buy gifts or souvenirs.

Since it’s in the middle of the city, Priscilla Candy Shop is also minutes away from several excellent restaurants and shops you can visit.

Visit the Redemption Rock

The Redemption Rock is a historical site known for its connection to the colonial era.

According to legend, the rock served as a “neutral ground” between Colonial settlers and Native Americans.

You can find it in Princeton, Massachusetts, 14 minutes from Gardner.

Centuries later, this site became a historic site, which opened to the public in 1953.

Today, you can visit this massive rock by hiking the Midstate Trail.

Take as many pictures as possible once you reach Redemption Rock.

You can also read the inscription on the rock to learn more about its essential role in American history.

Visit the SK Pierce Haunted Mansion

Whether or not you believe in ghosts, visiting the SK Pierce Haunted Mansion is a must-try in Gardner.

Located on the corner of West Broadway and Union Street, this locally famous Victorian Mansion is known for its ghost tours.

For years, the SK Pierce Haunted Mansion has attracted several local and visiting ghost hunters, psychics, and paranormal investigators.

If you’re looking for a spooky activity in Gardner, put a visit to SK Pierce Haunted Mansion on your list.

Play Bowling at Brian’s Bowlaway

Bowling is a great indoor sport to play with friends and family.

If you’re looking for a place to do just that, then Brian’s Bowlaway is the perfect spot for you.

This family-friendly bowling alley is the perfect place to spend an afternoon or evening in downtown Gardner.

They also have a full-service bar, so you can enjoy a drink while you bowl.

Go Wildlife Watching at Lake Wampanoag Wildlife Sanctuary

Located on Raymond Street north of downtown Gardner, the Lake Wampanoag Wildlife Sanctuary is a great place to enjoy the outdoors.

This nature preserve is home to various wildlife, including birds, turtles, fish, and amphibians.

The best time to visit the sanctuary is during the spring and summer when the weather is warm and the wildlife is active.

However, the refuge is open year-round, so you can enjoy a peaceful stroll even during the winter.

Bring Your Kids to Bickford Playground

Bickford Playground is the perfect spot for a fun family outing.

This playground features a variety of play equipment, including slides, swings, and monkey bars.

There’s also a basketball court, a sandpit, and a picnic area.

Whether you’re looking to burn some energy with your kids or enjoy a family picnic, Bickford Playground is the perfect spot.

Go On a Shopping Spree at Gardner Plaza

Located in the middle of Garder, the Gardner Plaza is one of the city’s premier destinations for shopping and dining.

This outdoor shopping plaza features a variety of stores, including Staples, Best Buy, and Aubuchon Hardware.

There are also several restaurants, cafes, and fast food options.

You can check out some of these stores or go on a stroll and socialize with the locals.

Whether you’re looking to do some shopping or grab a bite to eat, the Gardner Plaza is the perfect spot for you.

The Gardner Plaza is open every day from morning to night.

Relax and Unwind at the EZ Steam Club

Before you finish your Gardner trip, why not relax and unwind at the EZSteamClub?

This local spa and sauna club is perfect for relaxing and rejuvenating.

They offer various services, including massages, facials, and body treatments.

You can also enjoy a sauna or a steam room.

Whether you’re looking to relax your mind or pamper your body, the EZSteamClub is the perfect spot.

It’s the best spot to cap off your journey before departing for home.

Catch a Blockbuster Movie at the Gardner Cinemas

When the movie you’ve been waiting for has been released while you’re in Gardner, don’t fret!

At Gardner Cinemas, watching a movie is a breeze with its comfortable mechanical reclining seats, high-quality sound, and delicious snacks.

The movie theater shows first-run movies at great prices, especially on Tuesdays, which offers discounted prices for everyone.

There are also arcade games at the main entrance as you wait for your movie to show.

You’ll love how clean the theater is, and the concessions offer delicious popcorn, ice cream, hotdogs, and more.

Find Gardner Cinemas at Timpany Plaza on Timpany Boulevard.

Work Out at Fitness Concepts Health Club

Gym rats can take solitude in the corners of Fitness Concepts Health Club, which features wonderful exercise equipment for all ages.

From cardio, circuit, cycling, track & turf, and CrossFit to fitness training, you can trust that it has everything you need for your daily workout.

It also offers custom training, which is tailored to fit your needs, as well as personal training with one of the gym instructors.

There are many class options to choose from for everyone who wants to be fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle!

Fitness Concepts Health Club is located right off Route 2 on West Broadway.

Have a Good Read at Levi Heywood Memorial Library

There’s no need for you to pause your usual reading routine while in Gardner, thanks to Levi Heywood Memorial Library.

Nestled in a beautiful building with a modern vibe on West Lynde Street, the library is the go-to place for locals and tourists for reading, research, and study.

The library keeps an amazing selection of books of different genres, downloadable audiobooks and e-books, movies, music, and many more.

Established in 1886, Levi Heywood Memorial Library also hosts art exhibits, summer camps, and other programs and events for kids, teens, and adults.

Have a good read and learn something new at the library!

Get Your Cup of Coffee at Edesia Cafe

Kickstart your day in Gardner with a fresh, delicious cup of your favorite coffee at Edesia Cafe.

The coffee shop is popular for its delicious cappuccino, and latte, as well as fresh smoothies for refreshment.

Its breakfast sandwiches are to die for, and you can’t be wrong with its gluten-free options perfect for anyone with diet restrictions.

The atmosphere is great, and there’s also a separate room for meetings or doing some private study.

Edesia Cafe is located off Chestnut Street.

Grab a Hearty Meal at Williams Restaurant

How about comfort food in homey, wood-accented digs?

Dine at Williams Restaurant and enjoy its mouthwatering American food, which hits home!

The restaurant is popular for its delicious prime rib, French onion soup, chicken piccata, stuffed mushrooms, teriyaki, and haddock.

It also offers a kid menu, as well as regular dinner and lunch specials.

And of course, you can’t miss out on its specialty cocktails to pair with your delicious meal!

Also, if you want to have some fun, you can try your luck at Keno.

Visit Williams Restaurant at Pearson Boulevard.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Visit the Fitchburg Art Museum

The Fitchburg Art Museum is one of the best places to visit in Gardner.

You can find this place in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, a 20-minute drive from downtown Gardner.

Likewise, it’s in the historic downtown district of Fitchburg and features a wide range of artwork and exhibitions.

The Fitchburg Art Museum has a mission “to cultivate the power of art in the lives of people.”

It features diverse and ever-changing exhibitions.

This art museum is also one of the most treasured cultural institutions in Central New England.

If you’re looking for things to do in Gardner that are both educational and cultural, then you should visit the Fitchburg Art Museum.

Go Skiing at Wachusett Mountain Ski Area

Wachusett Mountain is the best place to visit during the Winter season.

Located at 500 Mountain Road, this ski area is just a short drive away from Gardner.

You can find it in Westminster, Massachusetts, 13 minutes from Gardner.

This place offers a variety of winter activities, including skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.

Wachusett Mountain is also great for hiking and picnicking during the warmer months.

Wachusett Mountain is the perfect place to enjoy the great outdoors and have fun with friends and family.

So, whether you’re visiting Gardner in the winter or summer, make sure to add Wachusett Mountain to your list of things to do.

Hunt Ghosts at Dean Hill Cemetery

While it might sound odd to list a cemetery as a place of interest, the Dean Hill Cemetery is worth visiting near Gardner.

You can find it in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, 22 minutes from Gardner.

This historic cemetery started out in 1791 as the final resting place for several veterans of the American Revolutionary War.

Dean Hill Cemetery also provides some insight into the lives of the revolutionary veterans.

But that’s just part of why you should visit this cemetery.

The place is also well-known for ghost hunting.

People say it’s one of the most haunted cemeteries in Massachusetts.

So, if you’re looking for an unusual but fun activity in Gardner, then ghost hunting at the Dean Hill Cemetery should be on your list.

Get the Thrill of Your Life at the Great Wolf Lodge Water Park

The Great Wolf Lodge Water Park is one of the best things to do in the Gardner region, especially if you’re traveling with kids.

You can find this water park in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, 14 minutes from Gardner.

This indoor water park features several slides, a wave pool, and a lazy river.

There’s also a water play area for the little ones, an arcade, and an activity center.

The best part is that you don’t have to be a guest of the lodge to enter and enjoy the water park.

So, if you’re looking for a place to have some wet and wild fun, then the Great Wolf Lodge Water Park is the perfect spot for you.

Feel the Thrill of Skydiving at Jumptown Skydiving

Are you looking for an adrenaline-pumping activity to do in Gardner, MA?

Look no further than Jumptown Skydiving.

You can find it in Orange, Massachusetts, a 24-minute drive from downtown Gardner.

Jumptown Skydiving is the perfect place to experience the thrill of skydiving.

They offer various services, including tandem skydives, solo skydives, and group skydivers.

So, whether you’re a first-time jumper or a seasoned pro, Jumptown Skydiving has something for you.

Final Thoughts

From indoor to outdoor fun and thrill, Gardner has a wide range of activities to offer its visitors.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, you will find it in Gardner.

All these activities and attractions show that Gardner is a city with something for everyone.

Despite its small-town style, this remote tourist destination is a great place to visit for a fun-filled vacation.

What are you waiting for?

Start planning your trip to Gardner today!

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