20 Best Things to Do in Middlesex County, MA

Middlesex County, MA
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Middlesex County is one of the richest counties in Massachusetts both in tourism and local economy.

A big reason for this is the city of Cambridge, where you can find the iconic Harvard University that’s close to Boston.

However, Middlesex County is more than Cambridge, as there are tons of other townships here that have something to offer.

Places like Stoneham, Lowell, and Hopkinton all have a nice mix of urban and nature areas to explore.

To get you started in planning your itinerary, here’s a list of the best things to do in Middlesex County, Massachusetts.

Tour the World-Famous Harvard University

Dunster house at Harvard University
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If there’s one thing Middlesex is really known for, it’s none other than housing the world-famous Harvard University in the city of Cambridge.

Harvard University is huge—you can allot a whole day just exploring the many things it has to offer for tourists.

Some iconic places to check here include the Harvard Square, Harvard Museum of Natural History, and the Harvard Yard.

Students at Harvard University
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Harvard Square is a great place to start, as it’ll take you to a ton of little shops that make it a great place for urban exploration.

Inside Harvard University, you’ll find the Harvard Yard that’s a perfect place for photos because of its architecture.

To cap it off, don’t miss out on visiting Harvard University’s natural history and art museums.

Buildings at Harvard University
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Explore Cambridge Common

The grounds of Cambridge Common
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Cambridge Common is just adjacent to Harvard University, making it a perfect place to add on to your itinerary in the city.

It’s primarily a park where you can do some walking, especially since it incentivizes you to do so due to its historical markers and statues.

Tons of learning about the city and American history can be seen here, plus it’s a great place for photo opportunities as well.

Cambridge Common is also filled with tons of plants like hydrangeas, so it’s a great place to relax and sit on a bench.

One of the more relaxing places in Massachusetts, don’t miss out on Cambridge Common.

Monument at Cambridge Common
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Do Photography at The Butterfly Place

Monarch butterfly at The Butterfly Place
liz west from Boxborough, MA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Butterfly Place is a gorgeous sanctuary for all kinds of butterflies and plant life.

You can find this scenic place in Westford, where it’s one of the most popular attractions in the township.

While the butterflies are easily the main attraction here, you’ll also see caterpillars and pupae all over the place.

Butterflies at The Butterfly Place
liz west from Boxborough, MA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Flowers are also abundant and the tight (but not crowded) landscaping of the place is great for exploration.

With a great ambiance that’s accentuated by relaxing music, The Butterfly Place is a haven for families who want something different.

Swallowtail butterfly at The Butterfly Place
liz west from Boxborough, MA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a Dip at Cochituate State Park

One of the best outdoor activities in Middlesex County lies in Cochituate State Park that’s found in the town of Natick.

It’s named after Lake Cochituate, making it a perfect place to do some waterfront activities such as swimming and kayaking.

Cochituate State Park is huge—there’s a lot of sailboats that ply here and it’s common to see large crowds, but it still remains spacious and serene.

Besides the lake, the state park also has a lot of high arching trees and greenery for photography.

Whether it’s for relaxation or an adventure, this is a must-see for outdoor lovers.

See the Rare Animals at Stone Zoo

A bird at Stone Zoo
Eric Kilby, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Stoneham is an underrated town for tourism in Massachusetts, and its Stone Zoo is one that you shouldn’t miss out on.

While it may seem like an ordinary zoo, what makes this place special is the presence of one of the rarest mammals on the planet: snow leopards.

This is a must-see for lovers of wild cats, as it’s not everyday you’ll encounter this endangered species.

They also have jaguars, flamingos, and wolves here—it’s truly an experience if you’ve yet to see these huge animals.

Stone Zoo has a lot more to offer, so go here especially if you’re with a lot of children.

Puma at Stone Zoo
Pilgrimsong, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Hike at Middlesex Fells Reservation

The waters of Middlesex Fells Reservation
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Middlesex Fells Reservation is a great place to do some hiking, conveniently just a few miles from Stone Zoo in the city of Stoneham.

It’s one of the bigger reservations in Middlesex County, housing the Middlesex Reservoir and Spot Pond.

Brimming with boulders, trees, and beautiful lush waters, this is a great place to explore and quench your cravings for an outdoor adventure.

You’ll also see a lot of historic sites here, so it’s a great idea to bring a bike with you to cover lots of ground.

Middlesex Fells Reservation also has a dog park if you’re looking for something more laid-back to do.

Trail at Middlesex Fells Reservation
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Tour Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House

Exterior of Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House
Zack Frank / Shutterstock.com

If you’re a literature enthusiast, you’ve probably heard about Louisa May Alcott—a famous novelist during the 19th Century.

If you’re into her works, adding Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House to your itinerary is a great idea.

Located in the town of Concord, this orchard house is conveniently near the Boston area.

The place is gorgeous and is packed with so many beautiful things to see, both historically and aesthetically speaking.

The tour guides are also amazing, ensuring you’ll have a wonderful time at Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House all throughout.

Learn About WW1 at American Heritage Museum

Located in the town of Hudson, American Heritage Museum is one of the most exciting museums in Middlesex County.

With so many battle tanks and other artifacts from World War I, this museum is a haven for history nerds and children.

The museum is also a great place to understand how military technology first developed, as it has loads of learning material.

You can also spot a lot of the first aircrafts here, making it all the more worthwhile.

It’s not everyday you’ll see a history museum as good as this, so pay a visit to the American Heritage Museum.

Relieve History at Lexington Battle Green

The grounds of Lexington Battle Green
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Lexington Battle Green is one of the more exciting places in Middlesex County for history enthusiasts.

Massachusetts is particularly known for the events leading up to the American Revolution during the 18th Century, and you’ll see the April 19, 1775 events here.

If you want the full experience, there are tour guide services here as well.

Lexington Battle Green also shines during Patriots’ Day, where you can see how the town pays tribute to this moment in history.

If you’re traveling to the town of Concord, Lexington Battle Green is a can’t-miss destination.

Minuteman statue at Lexington Battle Green
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Go Trekking at Hopkinton State Park

The grounds of Hopkinton State Park
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Hopkinton State Park is one of the most famous destinations in Middlesex County, found in its namesake township.

It’s a vast land that has access to a large lake, so you can do lots of swimming and boating here.

However, its trails are probably the best thing, as the foliage you get here is some of the richest in the county.

Reservoir at Hopkinton State Park
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Generally peaceful and laid-back, lots of locals and tourists also congregate here to do barbecues and picnics.

Close to the freeways in Massachusetts, Hopkinton State Park is a great day trip to do in your itinerary.

Colorful kayaks at Hopkinton State Park
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Take Photos of the Wayside Inn Grist Mill

Exterior of the Wayside Inn Grist Mill
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Sudbury is a town in Middlesex County that’s known for a lot of its nature areas, with the Wayside Inn Grist Mill being one of its top attractions.

The grist mill is located close to the forests of the township, giving this an austere but likewise serene aesthetic.

Lots of history can be uncovered in the Wayside Inn Grist Mill, one that was established during the early 1920s.

The grounds of Wayside Inn Grist Mill
Jay Yuan / Shutterstock.com

Most of the grist mill is still intact, and you can even learn a thing or two about the production of wheat and corn.

One of the more underrated gems in Middlesex County, this makes for a great bonus in your itinerary.

Waterwheel and waterfall of Wayside Inn Grist Mill
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Go Skiing at Ashland State Park

The winters of Massachusetts make Middlesex County one of the best places to ski in the state.

Ashland State Park is a top option if you’re visiting during winter and would like a winter adventure.

Found in the town of Ashland, the place has nice elevations and various terrains that make it exciting for any outdoor adventurer.

Even if you’re not going during the winter months, Ashland State Park also has a lot to offer during other seasons.

A big reason for this are the lush waters of Ashland Reservoir along with the various plant life found in the area.

Bike through Minute Man National Historical Park

Hartwell tavern at Minute Man National Historical Park
Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.com

If Lexington Green isn’t enough to quench your thirst in American Revolution history, then Minute Man National Historical Park is a great addition to your itinerary.

This huge historical park actually comprises many different areas, but one of the most prominent here is the Battle Trail.

You can bike through this trail to get to various landmarks where the opening battle of the American Revolution took place.

The nature here is also stellar, and there are plenty of rangers in the visitors center to guide you.

Minute Man National Historical Park is found in the township of Lincoln.

Battle trail at Minute Man National Historical Park
Alexey Stiop / Shutterstock.com

Jog around Fresh Pond Reservation

Trail at Fresh Pond Reservation
ArnoldReinhold, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Fresh Pond Reservation is another attraction in Cambridge that you may want to check for relaxation.

As the name suggests, it features a pond where you can do a loop via jogging.

The scenery here is gorgeous—there are lots of wetlands that are home to various birds and critters.

Fresh Pond Reservation is right along a main thoroughfare of Middlesex County too, so it’s convenient for a stopover.

Check out the Events at Tsongas Center

Exterior of Tsongas Center
Kevin Rutherford, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lowell is another city in Massachusetts that deserves your attention, with Tsongas Center being one of its liveliest places.

An event venue that’s popular for hosting college hockey games, there’s a lot in store for you at this iconic destination in Lowell.

Concerts, shows, and even wrestling matches take place in Tsongas Center..

With so much fun and energetic things to experience, check out what’s brewing on the dates of your visit.

It’s also right at the center of Lowell, so there’s a lot of nearby places to visit after your event.

Watch a Performance at Chevalier Theater

Medford is one of the few cities that make up Middlesex County, and you can find the iconic Chevalier Theater here.

Because the county is rich in history, Chevalier Theater is both an architectural icon and a cultural one.

Tons of comedians, performance artists, bands and orchestras have played here, so you can expect a lot of events year-round.

The interior is amazing and the vibes are stellar at Chevalier Theater—it’s truly a great place to be for music lovers.

It’s also found conveniently near the busy districts of Medford, near the Mystic River.

Wander at Lowell National Historical Park

Pawtucket canal at Lowell National Historical Park
Wangkun Jia / Shutterstock.com

Lowell National Historical Park is perhaps the biggest attraction in the city, as it’s almost like you’re stepping into 19th Century America.

Filled with textile mills that’s found near the waterways of Lowell, the place gives gorgeous vibes that almost feels like you’re in Europe.

There are various shops and stores to see here, but the museums are what truly makes it stand out.

The New England Quilt Museum, Whistler House Museum of Art, and the National Streetcar Museum are all must-see places in this area.

Lowell National Historical Park can easily take you a whole day, but it’s all worth it to explore every nook and cranny in the district.

Steam engine at Lowell National Historical Park
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See the Waterfalls at Willard Brook State Forest

A waterfall at Willard Brook State Forest
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If you’re a big fan of creeks and waterfalls, Willard Brook State Forest is a must-experience for you.

It’s an awesome place to do trekking, as the trails are covered with huge trees that become even prettier during fall season.

What makes this great is that it’s also a quick hike compared to other destinations in the county.

After locating the waterfalls, you can also do picnics here if you want to extend your stay.

Only two miles long, Willard Brook State Forest is a great stopover in the township of Townsend.

Cascades at Willard Brook State Forest
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Final Thoughts

Middlesex County has a lot in store for any kind of traveler.

Whether you’re looking for a place brimming with history, nature, or urban attractions, the county has you covered.

There are a lot of no-brainers to see here, such as Harvard University and the Middle Fells Reservation.

Because it has so many townships, it’s also a great way to mix and match whatever attraction works well for you.

The best things to do in Middlesex County, Massachusetts are waiting for you—plan your adventure today!

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