Things to Do in Nantucket, MA | Coastal Weekend Getaways

The Yankee Magazine editors share some of their favorite places to eat, favorite places to stay, and favorite things to do in Nantucket, MA.

By Yankee Magazine

Feb 17 2017


A Gift for All on Nantucket

Photo Credit : Liz Nemeth

Throughout New England’s long nautical history, the former whaling community of Nantucket has played an unrivaled role. Today, however, the island is best known for being one of the region’s top destinations for vacationers — its resident population more than quadrupling in the summer months. With deliciously fresh seafood, quaint cobblestone streets, and luxurious seaside hotels, Nantucket is a weekend getaway well worth its (sea)salt.

SEE MORE: Coastal Weekend Getaways in New England | Your Perfect Weekend

Things to Do in Nantucket, MA | Coastal Weekend Getaways
Things to Do in Nantucket, MA | Coastal Weekend Getaways
Photo Credit : Liz Nemeth


‘Sconset Bluff Walk

For more than a century in Nantucket, Massachusetts, visitors and residents alike have been able to enjoy one-of-a-kind access to the stunning ocean views at the island’s easternmost tip via the ’Sconset Bluff Walk. Thanks to civic-minded developer William J. Flagg, this traditional path has remained open to the public even as the shoreline filled in with private homes. Stroll the bluff walk today, and you’ll thread your way past the manicured lawns and gardens of stately houses as you drink in a vista of ocean and sky.

The ’Sconset Bluff Walk is located in the village of Siasconset, on the east side of Nantucket. The walk begins off of Bank Street and cuts between two houses to reach the water’s edge. Look for signs and stones marked “Public Way.”

SEE MORE: Walks Worth Their Salt | New England Ocean Walks

Nantucket Whaling Museum

Nantucket was the Houston of its day, back when whale oil lit the lamps and greased the wheels of industry. From the majestic skeleton of a sperm whale to delicate scrimshaw, this museum tells of the historical hunt for leviathans and our modern quest to save them. Don’t miss the skeleton of the 46-foot-long sperm that washed onto Nantucket in 1998. 13 Broad St., Nantucket. 508-228-1894;


Artists Association of Nantucket

More than 240 active artists belong to the AAN, which mounts changing exhibitions of their work in the two-level Cecelia Joyce and Seward Johnson Gallery. Many of these artists focus on island scenes, so it’s a great opportunity to take a fresh look at Nantucket’s beaches, marshes, and weathered buildings. Bonus: During the year a handful of special shows are held at the AAN’s Visual Arts Center, located on Amelia Drive. 19 Washington St., Nantucket. 508-228-0294;

Cisco Brewers/Nantucket Vineyard/Triple Eight Distillery

This independent business first put down roots as a winery in 1981. Since then it has flourished, and now includes a brewery and distillery. It welcomes guests year-round to stop in for a view of the facilities and to sample top-notch wines, beers, and spirits. 5 Bartlett Farm Road, Nantucket. 508-325-5929;


The Proprietors

Those Quaker whalers who made the first Nantucket fortunes picked up a taste for the exotic as they chased their quarry around the globe. Honoring that tradition, this contemporary American restaurant borrows techniques and spices from Asia and Europe to make the most of New England meat and fish. A crispy chicken roll, for instance, might be served with kimchi mayo and sweet chili sauce, while fried oysters get some heat from Tabasco remoulade. Open seasonally. 9 India St., Nantucket. 508-228-7477;

Lola Burger

An upscale burger joint with more than 30 craft beers makes so much sense on Nantucket that you might have to stand in line to get inside. The signature “Lola Burger” is a half-pound patty with cheddar cheese, red onion compote, and foie gras sauce. The “adult happy meal” includes the burger with fries and a quarter-bottle of California brut. Tuna, lamb, and falafel burgers are also available. Open seasonally. One Sparks Ave., Nantucket. 508-228-9491;

The Downyflake

This classic diner has been contributing to Nantucket’s charm and tradition for more than 80 years. On your way to the bluff walk, stop by for a freshly made doughnut or tuck into a delicious breakfast or lunch. Specials served daily. 18 Sparks Ave., Nantucket.

The Brotherhood of Thieves

Its motto is “good food, good drink, good company” — and with a name like the Brotherhood of Thieves, how could anyone resist checking this place out? Expect a wide selection of typical American dishes and New England seafood favorites, served in either the cozy basement tavern, the light-filled main dining room, or the delightful beer garden. Open seasonally. 23 Broad St., Nantucket. 508-228-2551;


The Chapman House

The 11 guestrooms here sport a breezy contemporary decor inside a circa-1717 building located in a leafy neighborhood just a three-minute walk from the whaling museum. If the Chapman is all booked up, you don’t have to look far for alternatives: Right next door are two stylish sister properties: the 18-room Veranda House, set in a grand 1684 structure, and the cozy three-room Arbor Cottage. Open seasonally. 3 Step Lane, Nantucket. 508-228-0695;

The Barnacle Inn

Here’s an old-fashioned B&B tucked into a garden landscape in the historic district, about two blocks from the commercial hubbub. The 15 rooms, all named for whaling vessels, vary in size but share a folksy feel, with handmade quilts on the beds. A few rooms have hall baths. Open seasonally. 11 Fair St., Nantucket. 508-228-0332;

76 Main

Sensitive restoration has maintained the Nantucket authenticity of this former sea captain’s home while making way for the comforts and technology that 21st-century guests expect on the toniest of Massachusetts islands. A courtyard with fire pits has a BYOB cocktail mixer bar, and an on-site café can steam lattes and cappuccinos to order. Open seasonally. 76 Main St., Nantucket. 800-626-8825;

Jared Coffin House

Situated in the center of Nantucket’s historic district, the Jared Coffin House is within easy walking distance of everything you need: boutique shops, fine dining, and water views. And even though it’s one of the oldest hotels on the island and overflowing with historic touches, it’s also outfitted with the requisite modern conveniences, including flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi. 29 Broad St., Nantucket. 508-228-2400;

What are your favorite things to do in Nantucket, MA? Let us know in the comments!

SEE MORE: Coastal Weekend Getaways in New England | Your Perfect Weekend