Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Newton, MA

  • Published 2022/10/01

Newton is a city in Massachusetts where you can experience a comfortable, suburban life.

Early settlers named the town “Cambridge Village” in the 1630s, stretching for 17.83 square miles of land area.

After its incorporation as a town in 1688, it became an independent area in Middlesex County.

After a few more years, it received “Newton” as its official name on December 15, 1691.

Due to its continuous development, Newton became a city in 1874.

Local authorities renovated the recreational spots around to invite visitors to the area.

Today, travelers describe this city with 13 villages as a perfect spot to unwind.

Here are the best things to do in Newton, Massachusetts, that you shouldn’t miss:

Dip Your Toes in the Waters of Crystal Lake

A child fishing at Crystal Lake

NewtonCourt, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Head out to Rogers Street and check out the excellent Crystal Lake.

This 33-acre park is among the recreational spots in the city open to the public.

Make a splash along the allotted swim zone in the lake marked with buoys.

Benches overlooking Crystal Lake

NewtonCourt, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

You can also enjoy fishing after getting a permit on Crystal Lake.

The state’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries releases rainbow trout within the lake.

The park beside the beach area suits families who want a picnic after a trip to Crystal Lake during the day.

People enjoying the sun at Crystal Lake beach

NewtonCourt, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Work Your Core at Upper Falls Greenway

Drop by the Upper Falls Greenway and keep your muscles engaged.

You can find this linear park along Chestnut Street.

It was once a rail corridor passing through the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

In 2014, the authorities developed the space into a recreational spot for the public.

Locals and visitors can enjoy walking and cycling along Upper Falls Greenway.

Since 2019, you can stop on one of its benches and appreciate the city’s scenery.

Drive through the Upper Falls Greenway if you want to reach Needham Street and visit the stores around the area.

Revisit Local History at Jackson Homestead and Museum

Exterior of the Jackson Homestead and Museum

Historic Newton, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A tour around the Jackson Homestead and Museum will help you uncover the city’s history.

Head out to Washington Street if you want to appreciate this spot and its roots.

Timothy Jackson built this spot in 1809.

Edward Jackson, Timothy’s grandfather, was the first family member who settled in Massachusetts.

From him, the rest of the Jackson family served the area through its General Court.

With the passing of Timothy, William, his son, took possession of the Homestead.

He offered the house to the local government as a station on the underground railroad in the area.

The locals turned their home into a local history repository to pay tribute to the family.

Now, you can see exhibits depicting Newton’s past around the Jackson Homestead and Museum.

See “The Great Curving,” a painting that features the city’s vibrant landscape.

One of its exhibits also shows the abolitionist movement led by William Jackson in the area.

You can also see the city’s transformation in its history gallery inside the said spot.

Unwind at Newton Commonwealth Golf Course

Complete your stay in the city by golfing at Newton Commonwealth Golf Course.

You can find this recreational facility on Kenrick Street.

Newton Commonwealth Golf Course opened to the public in 1897.

This golf course used to have nine holes, known before as the Commonwealth Club.

In 1920, Donald Ross renovated the facility’s design to make the games more thrilling.

This 18-hole golf course spans 71 acres, welcoming beginners and experienced golfers.

Show your skills to everyone and join public and private golf leagues conducted on the spot.

After an exciting session with other players, drop by its pro shop and look for designer products.

The Newton Commonwealth Golf Course also has a snack bar for those who want to fuel up after their day tour around the area.

Reflect on Life at Newton Cemetery & Arboretum

Daytime view of Newton Cemetery & Arboretum

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you enjoy the peace, check out the vicinity of Newton Cemetery & Arboretum.

You’ll find this prestigious cemetery along Walnut Street.

This spot is one of the most historic resting places you can ever find in Boston, the state’s capital.

Famous people rest in this cemetery, like the Hollywood star Josephine Hill.

The history of Newton Cemetery & Arboretum dates back to 1855.

It became a destination spot since there were only a few spots of its kind upon its establishment.

Locals have enjoyed studying art and architecture in such a serene place like this spot.

A memorial at Newton Cemetery & Arboretum

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Henry F. Bigelow and Henry Rose led the preservation of this noble burial ground.

Unlike other cemeteries, this 100-acre facility offers visitors a lot.

As a Level II nursery from 2014, you’ll see a variety of trees as you roam the place.

One of those is the Newton Sentry Sugar Maple tree, the first one of its kind discovered in the area.

As a horticultural site, daffodils and tulips pile up around the grounds of this spot.

Watch wildlife like coyotes, deer, and chipmunks lying in comfort around the Newton Cemetery & Arboretum.

It is also an excellent spot for birdwatchers who love to see doves and hawks nestling in this place.

A headstone at Newton Cemetery & Arboretum

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Grab a Cup of Coffee at Pressed Cafe

Grab a cup of coffee from Pressed Cafe and brighten your day.

Drop by this elegant café in the city along Needham Street.

Roi and Miri Schindler found the idea behind this business in 2014.

The city’s lack of Middle Eastern restaurants sparked their interest in opening this café.

In 2016, they established the first branch of Pressed Café in Burlington, Massachusetts.

Now, the restaurant has expanded into Newton and neighboring states.

Try its crème brûlée latte and other signature coffees and hot drinks.

Delight yourself with its vast array of acai bowls, panini, and breakfast meals.

If you’re health conscious, Pressed Café has also designed a vegan menu to suit your needs.

Expand Your Knowledge at Newton Free Library

Exterior of Newton Free Library

Kenneth C. Zirkel, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Check out Newton Free Library to access a trove of resource materials.

Alexander Rice Esty designed this public facility on Homer Street.

In 1866, Newton Library Association bought the land for the community’s public library.

In July of 1870, the library opened to the public.

Inside Newton Free Library, you can choose among its 530,000 volumes.

Make the most of its digital resources to access what you need easily.

Unlike other libraries, Newton Free Library conducts 23 art exhibits every year.

Drop by its gallery space and main hall to join other onlookers who want to see masterpieces.

If you need to, reserve your spot in individual or group study rooms so you can read in complete silence.

Check Out the Johnny Kelley Statue

If you’re staying in the city, don’t miss the chance to see the famous Johnny Kelley Statue in the area.

It’s in Newtonville, cornering Commonwealth Avenue and Walnut Street.

Established in 1993, this monument pays homage to Boston marathoner John Adelbert Kelley.

A legend to many, Kelley started running in 1928, although he couldn’t finish the whole race.

In 1933, he tried his luck again and managed to join all the single races he could find until 1992.

To date, Kelley holds the record for the most number of races started and finished.

In his athletic career, he bagged first place twice in 1935 and 1945, along with Top Ten finishes 18 times.

The Boston Athletic Association spearheaded the construction of the John Kelley Statue.

Rich Muno designed this masterpiece that he called “Young at Heart.”

It shows Kelley as a vicenarian raising his hand with himself as a runner in his eighties.

Learn about American History at Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds

Front view of Durant-Kenrick House exterior


Appreciate national history at Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds.

This educational space is excellent for those who want to learn more about the country’s past.

In 1734, Edward Durant II built the farmhouse and lived there.

After his death, his son Edward Durant III took over the property.

He was a prominent man within the area who served during the American Revolution.

In 1790, John Kenrick bought the property to turn it into a commercial nursery.

John and Willian Kenrick, father and son, offered a variety of crops grown from the said farmhouse.

In 1817, John Kenrick published his book “Horrors of Slavery” as an abolitionist.

Facade of the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds


William Kenrick also became a co-founder of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in 1829.

As a tribute to its owners, the Historic Newton turned this property into a museum in 2011.

After the renovations, the said group opened this historic spot to the public in 2014.

You can witness artifacts here associated with the events during the American Revolution.

Learn more about the abolition and horticultural revolutions during the 19th century.

This farmhouse also houses Kenrick’s century-old fruit trees.

Head to Waverley Avenue if you want to visit Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds.

Marker of the Durant-Kenrick House and Grounds

Historic Newton, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Taste the Dishes from O’Hara’s Foods and Spirits

When you’re around the city, appease your cravings at O’Hara’s Foods and Spirits.

Drive along Walnut Street if you want to visit this restaurant.

Since 1985, O’Hara’s Foods and Spirits has served a great food selection to the locals.

Karl O’Hara opened this restaurant with its strategic location in the Highlands.

Now, this award-winning spot gained exposure from various magazines and media networks.

Enjoy a hearty meal with its vast pasta, seafood, and beef dishes.

Take a bite of its chicken pot pie, the house specialty, alongside other delectable offers.

You can also browse its gluten-free meals if it suits your preference.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Discover Hydrodynamics at Metropolitan Waterworks Museum

Exterior of Metropolitan Waterworks Museum

Bestbudbrian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn more about the first water system in the U.S. at Metropolitan Waterworks Museum.

Drive along Beacon Street in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, eight minutes from Newton.

In 1886, Arthur Vinal and Edmund Wheelwright designed this museum.

Immigrants in Boston led the establishment of the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum.

The spot used to be a pumping station in the area, which operated a year after its construction started.

Through the Water Board of Boston, the station built a laboratory to study the water supply in 1889.

By 1895, there were over 6,000 bacterial and 12,000 microscopic examinations in the station.

Interior of Metropolitan Waterworks Museum

Metro Waterworks Museum, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Today, you can visit the museum to witness the station’s three-story collection of steam engines.

Leavitt, Worthington, and Allis pumping engines make up the spot’s Great Engines Hall.

Its Fire and Water exhibit depicts the story of the 1872 Great Fire incident in Boston.

This nefarious tragedy pivoted the development of the water system in the area.

Metropolitan Waterworks Museum also conducts a variety of programs associated with hydrodynamics.

Bring your loved ones to this spot and have a fun learning experience throughout your tour.

Great engines hall in Metropolitan Waterworks Museum

Frank Schulenburg, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit Hemlock Gorge Conservation

Make the most of your time in the city and explore the Hemlock Gorge Conservation.

This enchanted spot sits across Hamilton Place in Needham, Massachusetts, seven minutes from Newton.

Hemlock Gorge Conservation is a state park along the Charles River banks.

Spanning 23 acres, the park features Echo Bridge, a stone bridge named after the echoes one produces upon shouting under its arch.

You can appreciate a panoramic view of the area’s landscape and river from the top of the bridge.

See the Sudbury Aqueduct in the area, extending from Chestnut Hill to Framingham.

Roam the Rose Art Museum

Exterior of the Rose Art Museum

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

Make sure to go on a trip around the Rose Art Museum.

From Newton, drive for 13 minutes to Waltham, Massachusetts, to arrive at the museum.

Since 1961, this museum inside Brandeis University has opened to the public.

Inside, see modern art from local artists.

You can see historical paintings that also depict the country’s history.

Besides art on the canvas, other art forms are also available for viewing around the Rose Art Museum.

Watch Performances at Roadrunner

Entertain yourself at Roadrunner in Boston, Massachusetts, 12 minutes from Newton.

Josh Bhatti, the leader of the Bowery Presents, laid his eyes on this spot, once a vacant property.

It was once a training facility for the Boston Celtics.

Since its relocation, Bhatti seized the chance and bought the 50,000-square-foot space.

Roadrunner got its name from the classic song of Jonathan Richman, a local legend.

Enjoy musical performances from talented artists at Roadrunner.

Depending on your preferences, you can jive to modern, classic, or country songs.

Head to Guest Street in Boston, Massachusetts, to see this performance venue.

Enjoy a Fun Winter Adventure at Weston Ski Track

A family at Weston Ski Track

NewtonCourt, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you long for a winter adventure in the city, check out Weston Ski Track at once.

This attraction is in Weston, Massachusetts, only 11 minutes away from Newton.

The Charles River Association owns this facility.

Tourists enjoy skiing across its track which features a 2.5-kilometer loop.

It also welcomes beginners with its Ski School, where they can attend lessons.

For the experienced ones, join a racing event by Weston Ski Track and show everyone what you’ve got.

Final Thoughts

Within this suburban community lies unforgettable memories that you can unlock.

Given its recreational spots, going on a trip to the area allows you to take a breath from the hassle of daily life.

You’ll find it hard to resist the best things to do in Newton, Massachusetts.

Waste no time, arrange your destination list, and visit this wonderful city at once!

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