Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Peabody, MA

  • Published 2022/10/04

The history of Peabody, Essex county,Massachusetts, began in 1629.

The Massachusetts Bay Company established the township of Salem in the area.

Once a wilderness, the community became an epicenter of farmers and industrial workers.

However, as Native Americans flocked around town, witchcraft stories emerged.

In 1752, it became independent from Salem and a district of Danvers township.

Soon afterward, it became a town in 1855 and took its name from George Peabody, a philanthropist.

When it became a city in 1916, the area continued to blossom as a great relaxation spot for travelers.

If you want to know what to expect in this city, here are the best things to do in Peabody, Massachusetts:

Walk along the Independence Greenway

A bridge at Independence Greenway

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

Take your time to unwind in the city at Independence Greenway.

This 5.3-mile rail trail stretches from Route 128 to Russell Street.

Riding along the Independence Greenway shows you the area’s natural spots.

Starting at Russell Street, you’ll see the Ipswich River, Norris Brook Wetlands, and the like.

Trail at Independence Greenway

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

Enjoy bird-watching as flocks of wildlife species glide around the area.

You’ll also pass by some locals’ homes, where you’ll get a panoramic view of the city.

Take a peek at some nature preserves, like the Marble Meadows Conservation Area.

Upon reaching its end at Northshore Mall, treat yourself to a snack or shop along the stores on the site.

Get Fresh Produce from Brooksby Farm

For your daily supply of fresh produce, drop by Brooksby Farm.

Eleanor Felton bought this property in 1636 when she moved to the area from England.

Brooksby Farm became one of the primary sources of crops for the community.

Her family retained the ownership of the farmland until Joseph Smith, a shoemaker, bought it in 1902.

Joseph established a red barn in the place that housed the apples he harvested from his orchard.

During the 1970s, a commercial developer intended to take over the farm.

But with the locals’ Save Brooksby movement, they managed to halt the planned development.

In 1976, the city bought 216 acres of farmland.

Then, Janet Smith donated eight acres of the area to the city’s historical society.

Now, Brooksby Farm serves both as a historic site and a farm.

Take a look at the produce grown throughout the year on this farm.

Check out Smith Bar–-the iconic red barn built by Joseph Smith–if you want an excellent venue for special events.

To visit Brooksby Farm, head to Felton Street.

Strike the Pins at Leo’s Metro Bowl

Don’t miss out on Leo’s Metro Bowl, a fun recreational center for families across Foster Street.

Take advantage of the arcade games around Leo’s Metro Bowl for kids.

You can play sports like bowling and billiards with your loved ones at Leo’s Metro Bowl.

If you want, join a league to show off your skills against other bowlers.

After playing games, check out its Spare Time Tavern and grab some pizzas or sandwiches to fuel up.

You can also catch live musical performances of bands in this tavern.

Try Golfing at the Meadow at Peabody

Playing golf at the Meadow at Peabody is the cherry on top of your trip to Peabody.

Drive along Granite Street if you want to visit this 18-hole golf course.

In 2001, Mark Mungeam and Timothy Gerrish designed this municipality-owned facility.

The Meadow at Peabody is the perfect spot to join or arrange your golf event.

It hosts golf leagues for both men and women throughout the year to scout for the best golfers around the area.

Drop by the facility’s clubhouse to take a break after finishing a game or two.

Grab a Cup of Joe at Perfecto’s Caffe

Drop by Perfecto’s Caffe and get your daily dose of caffeine.

This coffee shop along Lowell Street has its roots in Andover, Massachusetts.

Perfecto’s Caffe was the brainchild of Andrea and Max Gabriello.

They launched their first shop in 1993 to fulfill their dreams of opening a bakery/coffee shop.

With her experiences at Kraft Foods as an employee, Andrea poured her skills into assembling the shop’s menu.

As its name suggests, the coffee shop aims to serve the perfect coffee and food for locals and passers-by.

Try one of its hot, brewed, ice specialty beverages to soothe your senses.

Pair your drink with its bagels, egg sandwiches, gourmet muffins, and other pastries.

Gourmet wraps and grilled paninis are also available at Perfecto’s Caffe.

Learn about the City’s Roots at the George Peabody House Museum

Exterior of George Peabody House Museum

Fletcher6, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Learn more about one of the most critical persons in the city at George Peabody House Museum.

Drive along Washington Street if you want to see this museum.

This spot was the official residence of George Peabody.

Born in 1795, Peabody grew up in this house across a 12-acre parcel of farmland.

Since he came from a poor family, George did not waste the opportunity to attend school and enrich what he knew.

Soon after, his business bloomed as he engaged in many commercial partnerships.

He also volunteered to become an artillery soldier during the War of 1812.

Amid all these, he never forgot to give back and began philanthropy for his community.

He also opened institutions around the U.S. that serve as learning centers for the youth until now.

In November 1816, he bought the house from his brother for his mother’s sake.

After his mother died in 1832, the property got sold to quite a few buyers.

Eastman Gelatine, the house owner by 1986, gave the property to the city as a donation.

In 1988, the authorities listed the house on the National Register of Historic Places.

Around the area, you’ll see artifacts depicting the life of the late philanthropist.

See the portraits and read the business letters George wrote to his colleagues.

News articles about him and Queen Victoria are also at the George Peabody House Museum.

Walk on Ice at the James McVann-Louis O’Keefe Memorial Skating Rink

Experience a fun winter experience at James McVann-Louis O’Keefe Memorial Skating Rink.

Founded in 1974, this municipality-owned ice skating rink sits across Lowell Street.

This public ice skating facility attends to the needs of beginners who want to learn how to walk on ice.

Attend the ice skating lessons in this spot with the help of its professional teaching staff.

You can also enjoy playing hockey at James McVann-Louis O’Keefe Memorial Skating Rink.

If you want to celebrate parties peculiarly, rent the ice rink and have fun with your loved ones.

Host Your Next Event at Olio

Make sure to drop by Olio and see if it’s the right venue for your next celebration.

You can check out this historic event center on Main Street.

The Structural Cement Company of Lynn built this spot in 1910.

Edwin A. Earp designed the building according to the Colonial Revival style.

The building was to host the Strand Theatre Group.

During its construction, though, financial constraints hit the original contractors.

In 1911, a new contract enabled the construction to continue.

This became the theater’s facility until it got sold in 1957 to a private investor.

Olio was one of the first concrete structures finished in the entire country.

Now, the facility continues to function as an events space for people.

Book a tour around Olio to visualize how you will arrange your dream event with the help of this place.

From big parties to casual meetings, there’s no other spot in the city better for holding events than Olio.

Taste the Meals from Century House Restaurant

After a trip around the city for a day, energize yourself at Century House Restaurant.

This restaurant along Andover Street has served great meals in the area since 1957.

A wide array of waffles, poached eggs, and other dishes are available on its breakfast menu.

Delight your sweet tooth with its New York cheesecake, cream pies, and other desserts.

Grab one of its homemade dishes ready to cook from its Epicurean shop.

For exclusivity, have a casual dining experience at the Century House Restaurant’s banquet.

Drop by the John Proctor House

Exterior of the John Proctor House

User:Magicpiano, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

To further appreciate local history, visit the John Proctor House.

You’ll find this historic site in the area along the corner of Lowell Street.

From the name itself, this spot contains the supposed residence of John Proctor.

Proctor was a local farmer in the community who became the first person accused as a witch during the 1692 Salem Witch Trials.

In 1635, Robert Cole received the 700-acre land as a grant.

Three years later, he sold the property to a man named Emmanuel Downing.

He retained ownership of the land and managed to lease it out to a few interested citizens in the area.

In 1666, John Proctor moved to the community and leased 300 acres of land from Downing.

From hereon, Proctor and his family used the land to farm until his execution in 1692.

Accounts revealed that Thorndike, John’s son, built this wood-frame structure in 1727.

In 1990, the John Proctor House became part of the National Register of Historic Places.

Because of its age, its interior is off-limits to the public.

The bricks and hardwood on its facade show its colonial roots.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Discover the Dark Side of History at the Salem Witch Museum

Exterior of the Salem Witch Museum

Pierrette Guertin /

Learn more about the events at the Salem Witch Trials at Salem Witch Museum.

You can find this spot on Washington Square in Salem, Massachusetts, seven minutes from Peabody.

In front of the museum, you’ll see a statue dedicated to Roger Conant.

He founded the Salem community along the Naumkeag River.

With the help of Governor Endicott, he incorporated a new government for his people in 1628.

Entrance doors of the Salem Witch Museum

Dominionart /

He renamed the area from Naumkeag to Salem, which comes from the Hebrew word “Shalom” for peace.

Around the Salem Witch Museum, you’ll get a glimpse of the dark events in the city during 1692 with two presentations.

For its first exhibit, see life-size figures telling the story of the witch hunt in the area.

You’ll see “Witches: Evolving Perceptions” on its second presentation.

You’ll learn about the changes in the connotation of the word “witch” around this exhibit.

Statue in front of the Salem Witch Museum

Wangkun Jia /

See Historical Artifacts at the Pickering House

Exterior of the Pickering House

The original uploader was Daderot at English Wikipedia., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A 300-year history awaits you at the Pickering House in Salem, seven minutes from Peabody.

Records show that this property is the oldest homestead in the U.S., owned by a single family.

John Pickering, together with the ten generations of his family, owned this spot.

The Pickering House stores pertinent documents during the Revolutionary War.

Historically, Colonel Timothy Pickering also lived there.

Step back in time and explore the 1800s-style furniture.

Check out the Pickering House by driving along Broad Street.

Witness the Salem Witch Trials at Witch Dungeon Museum

Exterior of the Witch Dungeon Museum

Wangkun Jia /

Relive the Salem Witch Trials at the Witch Dungeon Museum.

A live performance that breathes life to the 1692 historical transcripts is up for grabs in this museum.

After the re-enactment, visit the dungeon, which will give you a view of the sufferings faced by the accused.

Building sign of the Witch Dungeon Museum

Jongpol Jujaroen /

Inside this spot, you’ll see the actual size of cells where they held the accused pending trial.

Visiting the Witch Dungeon Museum won’t be a hassle if you’re from Peabody since it’s only 7 minutes away.

Head to Lynde Street in Salem, Massachusetts, if you want to check this out.

Plunge into the Waters of Revere Beach

Scenic view of Revere Beach

Jana Groh /

If you’re staying in the city, don’t waste the chance to drop by Revere Beach.

It’s situated on Revere Beach Boulevard in Revere, Massachusetts, 24 minutes from Peabody.

Charles Eliot, a specialist in landscape design, poured his creativity into creating the beach.

A sand sculpture at Revere Beach

Ritu Manoj Jethani /

As the first public beach in the U.S., Revere Beach opened to the public in 1896.

Beat the heat and dip your feet into the waters of this public beach.

A clock on the grounds of Revere Beach

PhillipJR /

Unlike other recreational spots of its kind, you can do different fun activities at Revere Beach.

Join its mural painting, beach sand sculpting, and other festivals with the locals in the area.

If you want to, drop by the shop and bring home with you a souvenir to remember your beach trip.

Bed of vibrant flowers at Revere Beach

James Kirkikis /

Explore the Artworks at Peabody Essex Museum

Exterior of the Peabody Essex Museum

Heidi Besen /

For art lovers, the Peabody Essex Museum will be your haven.

You can find this on Essex Street in Salem, seven minutes from Peabody.

In 1799, the East India Marine Society wrote a provision on its charter to dedicate a spot in the area for the arts.

Interior of the Peabody Essex Museum

Wangkun Jia /

This museum resulted from the motion, which strives to uplift and preserves local artistry.

You can witness contemporary art stored in its Dotty Brown Art & Nature Center.

Exhibit in the Peabody Essex Museum

Jared and Corin, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Visit its Phillips Library, one of the oldest of its kind, and find resource materials you may need.

Its garden stretches to 5,000 square feet, where you can find a wide array of shrubs, flowers, and trees.

Historical houses are also available for tours with the Peabody Essex Museum.

Art pieces in the Peabody Essex Museum

Daderot, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Final Thoughts

This city houses a vibrant local history that the world deserves to witness.

Exploring Peabody will enrich your knowledge about its past and milestones over the years.

Give this city a shot to check out a place worth exploring.

Discover the best things to do in Peabody, Massachusetts!

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