20 Best Things to Do in Medford, MA

Medford, MA
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Medford is a lovely city in Massachusetts, best known for its historical establishments, hidden gems, riverside attractions, and various state parks.

Situated next to the Mystic River, you can enjoy recreational activities out on the water for a great day outdoors.

It’s also the home to various historical landmarks such as the Royall House and Slave Quarters, and the Brooks Estate that appeal to history enthusiasts!

You can even get away from the city’s busy streets by taking a trip to their surrounding woodlands and forested areas that make for a great hike.

Whether you’re a history fan, a nature lover, or someone who’s just looking for a nice place to go on vacation, Medford has everything you’re looking for.

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

Visit the Royall House and Slave Quarters

Exterior of The Royall House and Slave Quarters
​english wikipedia user Daderot, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Also known as the “Isaac Royall House,” this mansion in Medford is on the National Register of Historic Places.

This historic home is rich with information and history, which appeals to history buffs and enthusiasts.

It details the life of one of the largest slaveholding families in Medford.

You can visit the house for touring and exploration if you wish to learn about this era in American history.

On this property, you’ll find the Mansion House itself and the Slave Quarters, which you’re allowed to tour alone or with a tour guide.

You’ll also see the landscape and the Summer House that authorities have preserved for public viewing.

This mansion also doubles as a museum and houses numerous artifacts and items with much historical and cultural significance.

Dating back as far as 1729, the house contains a lot of history.

Listen to various stories about America’s fight for independence in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Don’t forget to add the Royall House and Slave Quarters to your list of must-see destinations in Medford.

Enjoy Outdoor Recreational Activities at Mystic Lakes State Park

Birds over the waters of Mystic Lakes State Park
jeri kim lowe / Shutterstock.com

Medford is home to many state parks, but Mystic Lakes State Park is undoubtedly one of the community favorites.

This park is one of the four riverside parks next to Mystic Lake.

It also offers a variety of water activities in addition to land recreational activities for a great day outdoors.

Since its establishment in 1893, this park has become the go-to recreational area for families, locals, and visitors.

Some activities you can do on the lake include rowing and boating, which lets you explore the entirety of the Mystic River Reservation.

However, you can’t swim there.

There’s also a guided walking trail that allows you to take a quick hike.

You can bring some snacks and set up a lovely picnic or bring some food to the grill and have your lunch next to the river.

You may also spot some wildlife such as ducks and other waterfowl along the water so keep an eye out for them.

See the Views at Wright’s Tower

Initially constructed in 1937, Wright’s Tower is another must-see tourist attraction in Medford.

Wear the right shoes because the trail to reach this tower is about two miles long.

However, don’t worry, because the hike is worth it.

Once you reach Wright’s Tower at the end of the trail, you can walk up the stairs inside.

You’ll see breathtaking views of the Boston skyline and the surrounding Medford area.

In addition to sightseeing, you can find other trails throughout the land that is perfect for hikes and exploration.

This trail is also kid-friendly and relatively easy to walk.

Feel free to bring the whole family to Wright’s Tower.

Inside the Aidekman Arts Center, you’ll find Tufts University Art Gallery.

This art gallery is home to several exhibits, displays, and artworks.

This one-of-a-kind gallery showcases modern, enthralling exhibits meant to inspire creativity and imagination and invoke critical and creative thinking.

Each display focuses on a contemporary topic; groups of student artists collaborating on these special projects.

Their collection continues to grow daily with over 2,400 works (and counting), ranging from paintings, life-sized sculptures, and even some photography.

This museum also hosts various events and programs open to the public, such as presentations from contemporary artists.

Drop by Tufts University Art Gallery and marvel at the talent and craftsmanship of these creative minds.

See a Live Show at Chevalier Theatre

As one of the largest concert halls and auditoriums in Medford, Chevalier Theatre is often the venue for various events, concerts, and performances.

With a 1,900-seat capacity, this auditorium can accommodate a significant number of people.

Join the fun and excitement of the live performances from both local and international artists.

The Chevalier Theatre also houses an original, Mighty Wurlitzer, a rare theater organ from New England.

In addition to being an entertainment venue, this theater is a historical landmark.

Likewise, it serves as a memorial for Medford’s hero and cultural icon, Godfrey Chevalier.

This building is also fairly old.

Constructed in 1939, the building features an architectural landscape and exterior that can take you back in time.

Its location along the heart of Medford also makes it accessible.

You can even grab a quick meal after an event at one of the many nearby restaurants.

Don’t forget to purchase tickets ahead of time and see a live performance at Chevalier Theatre.

Go On a Shopping Spree at Meadow Glen

Since its establishment in 1979, Meadow Glen has become Medford’s go-to shopping destination.

Spanning over 300,000 square feet, this building has everything you need.

Choose from your favorite outfitters to various eateries to keep you entertained all day.

It’s also a great place to bring kids as you stroll through the different shops and boutiques where you may find something that catches your eye.

Meadow Glen offers a relaxing atmosphere to suit your shopping spree.

Experience a vacation feel as you go on your retail therapy.

Check out their food options for some quick snacks and meals.

Spend Brunch at Classic Cafe Medford

Staying true to its name, Classic Cafe Medford sells your breakfast favorites and classics to prepare you for an eventful day.

Situated minutes from the city’s heart, this cafe serves breakfast and lunch options all day.

You can eat bagels, waffles, pancakes, fried eggs, and more.

This cafe also prides itself in serving only freshly made and hot meals straight from its kitchen to ensure the best quality.

You may see many locals and tourists at this hotspot diner all day.

Come in early to secure seats before they run out.

Whether you’re dropping by for a cup of coffee or tea or wish to get your hands on a tasty bagel, Classic Cafe Medford is happy to serve you.

Get Those Knots Out at Serenity in the City Salon, Spa, & Wellness

Walking and touring the entirety of Medford may get exhausting and tiring.

Head over to Serenity In the City Salon, Spa, & Wellness and get pampered.

You may have formed a knot or two on your back from walking all day.

This establishment’s licensed massage therapist and masseuse can massage those knots out to relieve the tension.

Since its opening in 2001, this spa house guarantees nothing short of a relaxing, calming experience.

It’s also an excellent place for couples and lovers visiting this city who are looking for something romantic to do together.

Other spas and salon treatments include manicures and pedicures, massage therapy, wax, skin treatment, and more.

Indulge in a relaxing, therapeutic day at Serenity In the City Salon, Spa, & Wellness.

Learn Local History at Medford Historical Society & Museum

The Medford Community founded the Medford Historical Society in 1896.

Since then, this establishment has expanded to Medford Historical Society & Museum.

In 2013, it become the city’s official museum.

This organization’s mission is to preserve the rich history of Medford by housing essential artifacts and documents.

It also celebrates and acknowledges various local anniversaries.

Likewise, it serves as the historical marker of this city.

This establishment is a great place to visit for those who are visiting Medford for the first time.

You’ll explore its long history, learn about myths and urban legends, and see the preserved memorabilia.

They also host a significant number of events that celebrate the city and its people.

Their most successful project is the “On the Banks of the Mystic” festival.

You can also catch book talks, tour their first headquarters, and visit the city library.

Check out their historic tablets at this establishment.

Add the Medford Historical Society & Museum to the top of your list of must-visit locations while touring the city.

Visit Medford’s Historical Treasure at the Brooks Estate

The Brooks Estate is also known as “Medford’s Urban Oasis.”

This place is your escape from the city’s busy streets; enter a peaceful establishment nestled in a forested area.

This establishment is one of the longest-standing facilities in the city since its construction in 1660.

You can also find this place on the National Register of Historic Places, with centuries’ worth of history.

The Brooks Estate is open to the public for exploration.

It’s also remarkably well-preserved despite the few centuries that have passed.

You can find numerous walking trails within this land, making it a perfect place to go on a hike.

Various wildlife and ecosystems also thrive in these woodlands.

Keep an eye out for the different plants and animals that have made this estate their home.

Whether you’re coming by to hike and explore, or are intrigued by the history this estate has to offer, you’re sure to have a great time here.

Don’t miss your chance to visit the Brooks Estate while in Medford.

Take a Breather at Mystic River State Reservation

Another way to enjoy the Mystic River is through the Mystic River State Reservation, which is located on the opposite end from Mystic Lakes State Park.

There’s a lot you can do at Mystic River State Reservation, as its huge open areas are perfect for various recreational activities.

Because of its sprawling greenery, this is a perfect place to do picnics and relaxation with your family or friends.

There are a lot of walking trails as well, accentuated by varying scenery that you’ll see thanks to its beautiful landscaping.

One of the best places to experience the Mystic River in a tranquil and serene way, access Mystic River State Reservation along Mystic Valley Parkway.

Go Swimming at Wright’s Park

Wright’s Park is located within the Middlesex Fells Reservation as well, much like the Wright’s Tower.

One of the best things to do here is to enjoy its calm waters, as Wright’s Park features a namesake pond that also has a sandy beach.

Lifeguards are around and it’s a common place for townsfolk to go swimming here, giving the place a lively atmosphere.

Even if you’re not up for swimming, Wright’s Park’s surrounding areas are gorgeous thanks to the rustic aesthetic brought by the trees and unpaved trails; it’s perfect for trekking or biking.

To visit Wright’s Park, find its parking entrance along Elm Street.

Trek through Cross Fells Trail

Cross Fells Trail is one of the best and most convenient trails to explore the Middlesex Fells Reservation in the Medford area.

It’s found along South Border Road which makes accessing its trailhead much easier and convenient for large groups and families.

From there, you can appreciate the rich biodiversity of the woods of Middlesex Fells Reservation.

Cross Fells Trail will also lead you to a lot of attractions within the reservation, such as a historic water tower, caves, and the South Reservoir that’s a prominent part of the ecosystem there.

Perfect for outdoor adventurers, this can easily take up a whole day which makes it a great primary destination.

Go Ice Skating at Flynn Rink

Just walking distance from Wright’s Park lies Flynn Rink, an ice skating facility in Medford.

A go-to by locals, this is a go-to public ice skating facility not only in Medford, but in immediate surrounding towns and cities as well.

The facilities are great, and the place has a very friendly atmosphere towards newbies and children.

They also hold classes here, but it’s fun just skating freestyle if you’re up for that.

Flynn Rink is also located in the scenic outdoors of Middlesex Fells Reservation, so it’s a beautiful spot to visit regardless if you’re skating or not.

Stop by Fellsway Plaza

If you need to restock on essentials during your travels, Fellsway Plaza is a great stopover in Medford.

It’s one of the biggest urban districts in Medford, featuring several large chains and outlets such as Stop & Shop, CVS, and Carter’s.

This is a great place to buy groceries and emergency medicine if you’re planning on trekking the Middlesex Fells Reservation, but it’s also perfect for a casual lunch or dinner.

There are more places to check out here, so be sure to stop by.

Fellsway Plaza is conveniently located along Commercial Street.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Get Your Dessert Fix at Tipsy Chocolate Tours

In the neighboring city of Somerville, Massachusetts, roughly ten minutes away from Medford, you’ll find Tipsy Chocolate Tours.

This organization is perfect for chocolate lovers and alcohol drinkers.

Take a food tour of Boston’s best and finest alcohol-infused chocolate shops.

Lasting over two hours, the tour will guide you toward the various delicacies and decadent sweets from local shops and confectionaries.

These shops also combine booze with their treats.

You’ll sample hand-selected chocolate options ranging from alcohol-infused truffles to wine-paired chocolates that you’re sure to enjoy.

Your tour guide will even give you a brief history lesson on Medford’s chocolate for some fun and education.

There’s nothing better than combining your two favorite treats into one, so try and join Tipsy Chocolate Tours.

Go On a Quest at Boda Borg

Boda Borg is found in Malden, Massachusetts, nine minutes away from Medford.

Boda Borg is a gaming environment that takes you to an alternate world where you go on various quests, explore different countries and cities, complete missions, and more.

These missions are called “Quests.”

Your task is to work with a team to complete different activities that’ll challenge you physically and mentally.

Offering multi-dimensional challenges, you’ll stay immersed in a different reality.

You’ll feel as if you’re experiencing the real thing in real life.

This facility is the only one of its kind in the entire country so stop by and experience the thrill yourself.

See the Pixelated Version of Yourself at Go Pixel Yourself

Go Pixel Yourself is a photo studio in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that turns you into various pixelated versions of yourself.

This place is 11 minutes from Medford.

The studio offers over 12 different rooms and themes for guests to choose from.

You can customize your photos for some decorations or even some laughs and giggles.

These rooms also create multidimensional illusions of yourself using modern technology.

Likewise, innovative cameras bring your photo to life.

This studio is a big hit not just with the kids but with the adults too.

Create funny photos, set up your next family portrait, and make lasting memories at Go Pixel Yourself.

Enjoy Indoor Games at A4Cade by Area Four

You can also find this arcade bar in Cambridge, just under 20 minutes away from Medford.

A4Cade by Area Four is the merged version of Roxy’s Grilled Cheese & Area Four.

It features classic arcade games where you get the chance to win various prizes and tokens.

You can play pinball, claw machines, and more while enjoying delicious food served right to your table.

You can even hit the dance floor and dance the night away while the DJ plays his remixes all night.

A4Cade by Area Four is a great hangout place with the entire friend group where you can get drinks, play games, and spend quality time together.

However, A4Cade by Area Four is strictly 21+, so make sure you get the kids sorted out before dropping by.

Shoot Bows at Archery Games Boston

Also known as “Combat Archery,” Archery Games Boston is eight miles outside Medford in the neighboring city of Chelsea.

Just drive 19 minutes to reach the attraction.

This entertainment facility combines two classic sports: dodgeball and archery.

Each player will receive a bow and arrows with foam tips, and the goal is to eliminate all the opposing team players.

This game allows you to practice your game and test your physical skills and abilities to keep you active and healthy.

Players can form a team of their own or join an existing public squad.

You’ll need to set up a plan and cooperate to win.

They’ve also recently opened a playground for their younger visitors.

Bring your whole family to Archery Games Boston.

Final Thoughts

Medford is best known for all the historical, iconic landmarks.

However, it also provides much fun and entertainment for the whole family.

Your trip to this city may include a tour of these historic sites and structures.

Visit local museums and galleries, or even take a hike up their nature trails.

Its location also makes it easy and convenient to visit neighboring cities, where you can find even more activities to enjoy.

Whether you are looking for a fun, adventure-packed vacation or a simple and relaxing getaway from the busy streets, Medford can check all the boxes for a perfect holiday.

You won’t run out of things to see and do in this magnificent city.

Book your next trip to Medford today!

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