Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Haverhill, MA

  • Published 2022/12/03

Haverhill, located in Essex County, Massachusetts, is a vibrant city rich with history and plenty of activities for tourists.

Known as the “Queen Slipper City,” Haverhill had a vast top-notch shoe industry for over a century.

Haverhill is an excellent location to learn about history or relax and enjoy the scenery.

Art lovers will enjoy exploring the many art galleries downtown, while nature enthusiasts can spend a day hiking or biking in one of the city’s many parks.

What are you waiting for?

Check out these 15 best things to do in Haverhill, Massachusetts.

Visit the Buttonwoods Museum

Exterior of Buttonwoods Museum

John Phelan, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Adding a museum or two to your vacation itinerary is an excellent way of getting an educational glimpse into the area’s past.

If you’re ever in Haverhill, this museum should be on your itinerary.

The Buttonwoods Museum got its name from the sycamore trees, also known as buttonwoods, planted on the property in the early 1740s by Hugh Tallent, Haverhill’s first Irish immigrant.

The museum contains a diverse array of artifacts from Native Americans and an extensive collection of shoes and shoemaking tools on display that represents Haverhill’s former role as a world leader in the shoe industry.

The Frederick A. Luce Collection is a must-see, especially for its archaeological artifacts.

There’s even a curated list of things to look out for a while at the museum, such as the Haverhill Deed, Man’s Wedding Shoes, the Red Cape, Worshipping Oak, and the Civil War flag, to name a few!

Check these recommendations when you visit Buttonwoods Museum in Haverhill.

Feel Like Royalty at Winnekenni Castle

Exterior of the Winnekenni Castle

Beckwith-Zink (Diane) from Haverhill, MA, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Winnekenni Castle in Haverhill is a great place with stunning Victorian structures that will make you feel you are a noble from the past.

Dr. James R. Nichols built this historic landmark out of native stone in 1875 as his summer home, located within the over 200 acres of Winnekenni Park Conservation land.

Castle visitors pass through a Gothic door that opens into a Grecian drawing room large enough to host the guests of past centuries.

It has a dining room design with a Pompeian style, and walls finished with black walnut, and Roman-tiled floors for the library, sleeping room, storeroom, kitchen, and laundry area.

This castle has other stunning features you will see when you tour here.

You can also hold events on the castle grounds and feel you are hosting a party like an aristocrat.

Above all, you will have an enjoyable, sophisticated time here at Winnekenni Castle!

Read Books at Haverhill Public Library

The Haverhill Public Library is the best place if you are a bookworm.

In 1873, E.J.M Hale, a wealthy industrialist, reached an agreement with the City of Haverhill to found the Haverhill Public Library.

The library now has a wide variety of books, magazines, and other materials you can read and borrow.

You can also scroll through the collections in the library, including the archives, local history, genealogy, and research materials.

You’ll learn a thing or two by reading books about Haverhill at this library!

Learn Farming at Tattersall Farm

Exterior of Tattersall Farm

John Phelan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Come to Tattersall Farm for an educational, fun day out!

If you have a green thumb and want to learn more about farming, the Tattersall Farm is the best place to gain knowledge.

The Tattersall family owned this rolling, one-fourth-acre Haverhill land for most of the 1900s.

Several of Tattersall Farm’s plants even date back to the 19th century.

Haverhill’s Tattersall Farm is a cultural treasure and a great place to learn about farming, beekeeping, and animal care.

On special days throughout the year, the farm offers visitors exciting activities such as puppet shows, pony rides, or hayrides.

The farm includes wheat fields, grasslands, and a massive forest with plenty of opportunity for hikers, joggers, and cross-country skiers to explore.

Nowadays, Tattersall is kept primarily as an example of rural New England life in the past.

Make Your Way to the Bradford Rail Trail

Marker of the Bradford Rail Trail

SeñorBrett, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Bradford Rail Trail is one of the best places to walk in Haverhill.

This trail is a half-mile path between the Basiliere and Comeau Bridges by the Merrimack River.

It has opened for public use since 2008.

This trail was constructed exclusively for pedestrians, bicyclists, joggers, and many more through city efforts and support from the Friends of the Bradford Rail Trail organization.

Several exciting features to look out for as you explore the trail.

One includes the “Wildlife in the Merrimack River Watershed,” a painting on the exquisitely designed building and signages rich with history and educational value.

New sculptures have been installed on the trail, thanks to the city government and volunteer groups.

These sculptures helped inspire the art walks that everyone can enjoy.

Enjoy your time walking here on Bradford Rail Trail!

Step Back in Time at Rocks Village Historic District

An old fire station at Rocks Village Historic District

John Phelan, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The old buildings in the Rocks Village Historic District will take you back in time, letting you experience the village’s history first-hand.

The Rocks Village neighborhood was established in the 1640s.

Over time, it became a thriving fishing community that exported pickled herring to Europe.

By 1790, the village already had a shipyard and distillery.

The village has almost 300 years of history and has retained many prominent old buildings, including those on historic Colby’s Lane, East Main Street, River Road, and Wharf Lane.

Travel back in time and explore the Rocks Village Historic District when you visit Haverhill.

Channel Your Artistic Side at Shoe Town Art Center

If you are fond of arts and crafts, the Shoe Town Art Center is a place for you.

Since 2010, the Shoe Town Art Center has been passionate about helping people pursue their love of art and creativity.

The art center boasts a highly talented faculty, exceptional staff, and motivated students, creating an environment ideal for creativity to thrive.

They have personalized learning methods that cater to the individual needs of each student so they can reach their full creative potential.

You will love crafting your artwork, whether ceramics, pottery, painting, sculpting, drawing, art games, and many more.

The Shoe Town Art Center is always putting on new displays of local talent.

Stop by and be amazed, then maybe find inspiration for your art.

Learn about the Evolution of Printing at the Museum of Printing

An old printing press in the Museum of Printing

Printhusiast, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Do you want to know the history of print?

The Museum of Printing is a must-see destination for anyone interested in the history and technology behind printing and typesetting.

The museum was designed to showcase the artistry and craftsmanship in this field, making it a truly unique attraction.

This includes everything from multiple exhibits and collections to old machines used for each process.

Linotype machine in the Museum of Printing

Printhusiast, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You will witness how printing methods improved and changed over time in the exhibits that show the evolutions of printing.

The museum also has an onsite library with books and documents about printing that you can read during your visit.

Learn about the evolution of the printed materials you read and hold at the Museum of Printing.

Gutenberg Bible replica in the Museum of Printing

Printhusiast, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Explore Historic New England

Discover the items, pictures, and records that depict life in New England for over four centuries at Historic New England in Haverhill.

Historic New England has amassed over 123,000 items and 1.5 million archives in their collections.

The items explain how people in New England have lived since the 17th century.

You will be amazed by the wide range of collections inside the building.

They also have collections of photographs and documents about Haverhill, too!

Enjoy these collections as you visit Historic New England.

Learn about John Greenleaf Whittier at Whittier Birthplace

Exterior of the Whittier Birthplace

Midnightdreary, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To know more about John Greenleaf Whittier, try visiting the Whittier Birthplace.

Whittier Birthplace is the historic farmhouse where the poet John Greenleaf Whittier, a Quaker poet and abolitionist, was born in 1807.

He also created the Republican Party.

Visitors can glimpse where Whittier grew up and learn about his early life.

History plaque of the Whittier Birthplace

Midnightdreary, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The museum also has a collection of Whittier’s writings, including some of his famous poems.

Most of the poet’s works are in the Whittier Birthplace, attracting many people.

The farmhouse is now a museum open to the public for tours.

Explore Riverside Park

Riverside Park, located on a curve in the Merrimack river, offers stunning views of the wooded southern bank.

The outdoor recreation activities at this park are endless.

You can play on its baseball fields, tennis, and basketball courts, as well as a playground for your kids.

If you’re looking for a peaceful escape, take a walk on the park trail.

Otherwise, spend quality time with your family with a picnic in the fields.

There’s also a dog park so you can bond with your beloved dogs.

Take your time and visit the beautiful Riverside Park.

Go Hiking at Lake Kenoza

Lush greenery surrounding Lake Kenoza

Marie Christiane /

Haverhill also has the best hiking trails.

Lake Kenoza is the perfect destination for a hike while enjoying stunning views of the lake and its natural surroundings.

This 6.4-km loop trail near Haverhill is excellent for beginners and only takes an hour and 24 minutes to finish.

The waters of Lake Kenoza

Marie Christiane /

You might also want to try cross-country skiing and horseback riding, open all year round in this beautiful area.

Have fun while hiking at Lake Kenoza!

Taste Fine Wine at Willow Spring Vineyard

Tasting wines in Willow Spring Vineyard is a memorable experience.

Willow Spring Vineyard is a family-owned and operated vineyard and winery located in Haverhill.

It currently offers a variety of red and white wines from French hybrid grapes.

Each wine gives an exquisite taste of locally grown grapes used to produce these wines.

The vineyard is open for tastings and tours seven days a week, where you can explore the stunning grounds and learn about the process of winemaking.

If you’re feeling peckish, take advantage of the vineyard’s picnic area!

Stop by the Willow Spring Vineyard and taste their fantastic wines.

Admire the Beauty of Duston-Dustin Garrison House

Exterior of the Duston-Dustin Garrison House

Magicpiano, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If old structures pique your interest, the Duston-Dustin Garrison House is a place to go.

The brick-and-mortar structure was built in 1697 as a garrison.

This particular garrison was manned by local militia and is recognized as an example of early First-Period American architecture.

It was one of six garrisons in Haverhill, but it was the only one constructed using locally sourced bricks.

Every detail of the garrison will amaze you, mainly how the skilled brickmaker and mason Thomas Duston meticulously built the structure.

The garrison is an excellent example of the top-notch craftsmanship by Duston and other local carpenters in Haverhill back in the day.

Standing strong for over 320 years, the Duston-Dustin Garrison House is worth a visit.

Don’t forget to take plenty of pictures!

Get Busy at Downtown Haverhill

View of Downtown Haverhill square

Ryan Garrett /

Downtown Haverhill is the city’s historic center and home to various shops, restaurants, and businesses.

The buildings in Haverhill are structured in a style that is both unique and inviting, perfect for exploring the downtown area.

The streets are lined with trees, and there are plenty of public spaces for you to enjoy downtown.

You will have a chance to find souvenirs for your loved ones in the shops in this area.

Or you can take your family to the different restaurants that serve sumptuous dishes.

This lively street in Downtown Haverhill will excite you, pushing you to look at every nook and cranny.

Final Thoughts

Haverhill is a historic city with a wealth of culture.

If you’re looking to explore the great outdoors or sample some delicious wine, there’s plenty to do here.

Try the best things to do in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and you will enjoy a fun vacation you will never forget.

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