Explore Nantucket Town!
Downtown Nantucket is the island’s hub for entertainment, rich island history, beautiful architecture, secret gardens, waterfront dining, and more. Town is an exhibit of Nantucket’s Whaling Era history from its cobblestone streets to the homes and storefronts that decorate its roads. Downtown Nantucket is the heart of the island, where ferries arrive and depart, visitors explore, fishermen come and go, and the everlasting charm and the hustle and bustle of town are the first to greet you and the last to say goodbye as you come and go from the island.
Featuring world-class restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, inns, museums, tours, and historic sites, Downtown Nantucket has something for everyone, no matter what your interests. We have compiled a list of “must-dos” when visiting the island:
The Whaling Museum to learn about our history, and how Nantucket was once the world's whaling capital (make sure to check out its rooftop on a clear day for some of the most magnificent views on Nantucket).
The Nantucket Atheneum, our public library, and one of the oldest buildings on the island with a superb yard for hanging out, picnicking, reading, or playing games.
Stroll the wharf and sign up for a fishing charter, like Albacore Charters for a day on the water with friends or family, chasing tuna, fluke, black sea bass, and more!
Sign up for a walking historical tour through Nantucket Historical Association, which highlights the historic downtown architecture, Nantucket’s whaling industry, and more.
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of downtown to explore the Nantucket Land Bank's, Lily Pond Park. Just a short walk from Main Street, this property is mostly wetland with a network of boardwalks allowing visitors to explore the ecosystem. Enjoy a walk through the park, or sit down for a picnic in one of the well-kept lawns at either entrance.
Need a break from town with your kiddos? Children’s Beach offers plenty of space to run around, climb, swim, and work off some energy. Offering an in-season guarded beach area, bathrooms, a playground, picnic tables, a covered porch, a large open field for games, and even Gyp~Sea, a casual cafe, an afternoon at Children’s Beach is a Nantucket special.
Murray's Toggery to try on a pair of iconic Nantucket Reds
Nantucket Looms on Main Street (ask to see its weaving studio upstairs!)
Nantucket Clothing Company for all your Nantucket-themed gear
Craftmasters for homemade leather goods and locally-made accessories
Core Nantucket for athletic gear (and pilates reformer classes!)
Le Languedoc Bistro | 24 Broad St. | (508) 228-2552
No matter when you go by, The Languedoc will always be filled with cheerful staff, couples, first-time diners, and regulars enjoying the elegant atmosphere, delicious French cuisine, and top-tier service, at The Languedoc. Established in 1976, Le Languedoc has become an island favorite and a must-visit for a memorable night out.
Ventuno Restaurant | 21 Federal St. | (508) 228-4242
Ventuno is Nantucket’s premier location for Italian food, located inside an elegant Greek revival building downtown. A romantic and relaxed venue, Ventuno offers a cozy atmosphere and excellent food and drinks. While you can’t go wrong with anything on its menu, the Arancini is an excellent place to start, and the strozzapreti is a favorite. To take a peek at its menu, or to make a reservation, please visit its website here.
The Rose & Crown | 23 S Water St. | (508) 228-2595
The Rose & Crown has been an island classic for over forty years and prides itself on treating everyone like a local. The Crown is a family-friendly restaurant by day, and Nantucket’s only downtown club with entertainment, by night. Whether you need a place to dine with the family or are looking for a late-night party, The Rose & Crown offers the best service, and surely has something for everybody. To learn more or view its menu, please follow the link here.
The Club Car | 1 Main St. | (508) 228-1101
The Club Car, housed inside a train from the original Nantucket Railroad, is an iconic restaurant with a laid-back vibe for brunch, lunch, dinner, or a late-night snack while listening to live piano. Visit The Club Car’s website here to learn more about its offerings.
The Brotherhood of Thieves | 23 Broad St. | (774) 325-5812
The Brotherhood has recently revamped its business, offering four unique concepts in one location: its historic whaling bar and tavern, its new Notch whiskey bar, its Cisco kitchen and surf bar, and its beer garden. The newly remodeled Brotherhood mixes its classics with new menu items and atmospheres ensuring that there’s food, drinks, and fun, for all. Grab some friends and head down to The Brotherhood for an afternoon or an evening of excitement. For more information, please visit its website here.
Most of the waterfront downtown is dominated by the harbor, ferries, and wharves. A busy port for public and private boat use, the waters are calm with little to no waves. If you're looking for water, check out The Creeks at the end of Washington Street, where you can also find kayak and paddleboard rentals. Local restaurants also offer insane water views, and we suggest dining waterfront at Cru (one of the best lobster rolls!) or harborfront at Bar Yoshi. If you’re looking for somewhere to spend a long, relaxing beach day, you’re in the right place. Being on Nantucket, beaches are easily accessible from anywhere. Hop on The Wave, Nantucket’s public shuttle bus which offers service all over the island, to head towards whichever beach you’re eyeing. Additionally, Brant Point, Jetties, Steps, and others are just a short walk or bike ride outside of Town.
A Glimpse of Nantucket's History
From what we know, Nantucket was first inhabited by the Wampanoag Native American Tribe, from which its name meaning "far away island" was derived. Following its settlement, Nantucket became one of the most successful whaling ports in history. Downtown Nantucket is exceptionally well preserved, with architecture from the Colonial, Federal, Greek Revival, and Victorian periods. Nantucket became one of the first communities in the country to establish a historic district, originally only including the Old Town and Village of Siasconset, but later expanding to include the islands of Muskeget and Tuckernuck. To learn more about Nantucket's extensive history, and how it has become the charming summer destination that it has, there are plenty of historic sites, museums, tours, and more, centered in downtown Nantucket, to explore during your next visit.
Fun fact: Together with the small islands of Tuckernuck and Muskeget, it constitutes the Town and County of Nantucket, a combined county/town government that is part of the U.S. state of Massachusetts, the only consolidated town-county in Massachusetts.
Distance to the Beach: 1 mile