7 Tips on planning the perfect arts weekend in Newburyport

7 Tips on planning the perfect arts weekend in Newburyport

Deirdre Girard
September 27, 2021
10 min read
7 Tips on planning the perfect arts weekend in Newburyport
Photo by Susan MacPhee


Arts Lovers: Head to Newburyport for a day, a weekend, or longer. You'll never run out of experiences to excite all your senses.

1. Arts Events 

You should of course start by using our events calendar to plan the theater, dance, visual arts or other live events that catch your interest. You’re sure to find plenty, both indoors and out, for families, a girl’s weekend away or a date night.  Perhaps you want to take in a comedy show Friday night, do a hands on crafting workshop Saturday morning, see a musical or a new play Saturday night, and watch a breathtaking contemporary dance performance, attend a concert, or listen to a reading from one of our many well-known authors on Sunday.

2. Art Galleries and Museums  

You could easily devote a weekend to browsing the dozens of art galleries and museums in Newburyport.   Take in local, national and international art and changing exhibits at Paula Estey Gallery, maritime history at the Custom House Museum, or the ever-changing indoor gallery and outdoor sculpture park at the Newburyport Art Association.

3. Clipper City Rail Trail and Harbor Walk Art

Walk or bike the rail trail with its beautiful art and outdoor sculpture scattered along the way.  There are many segments for longer and shorter walks, all leading to and from the historic downtown area.


Photo by Bob Watts

4.  Architecture  

Take a walk around historic downtown Newburyport to see one of the only surviving Federalist downtowns in America.  Architects from all over the country come to walk among the brick buildings with their distinctive ironwork, dramatic windows and moldings.  Then walk or drive down High Street (which turns into High Road when you enter Newbury), a stretch that has more 17th and 18th  and early 19th century homes in their original location than any other street in America.  Turn off the main road and wend your way through the back streets to see more of the area’s historic homes and beautiful gardens.

5.  CulinaryArts  

From casual to foodie-worthy, Newburyport is chock full of restaurants, many with waterfront views.  If the weather is nice, the best bet for lunch is to grab a sandwich or salad, and then head to the waterfront to sit and watch the boats go by or take a picnic to Maudslay State Park, Cashman Park or any of the beautiful small parks that dot the city.  Loretta’s has a delicious lobster roll you can order to go, Middle Street Foods makes sandwiches on their own homemade bread, and both Joppa Fine Foods and Grand Trunk can help you make the picnic of your dreams with great selections of gourmet goodies.  As an art lover you’ll appreciate the many local restaurants that bring you live music while you dine, including sister restaurants Black Sugar by the Sea (a Tai restaurant with lovely jazz and American Songbook vocals on Wednesday nights, as well as an extraordinary jazz trio on Friday nights) and Joy Nest, a new restaurant with jazz music most nights of the week, specializing in Bangkok street food and great cocktails.

6.   The Art of Relaxation  

Balance your arts weekend by enjoying the stunning natural beauty of Newburyport.  Maudslay State Park will take your breath away in any season with miles of carriage trails along the Merrimack River, and gardens and trees in bloom spring-fall.  In the winter, wildlife will follow your footsteps whether you walk the plowed paths or cross-country ski.  Look for art events at Maudslay throughout the year like the annual outdoor sculpture show or the famous“Maudslay is Haunted” Halloween event for the family.  Plum Island beaches are a two-minute drive from Newburyport’s downtown, and you can explore tide pools, a bird blind and more in the Plum Island Wildlife Refuge.

7.    One-of-a-Kind Shopping  

Yes, we raise shopping to an art form, with a downtown filled with unique stores that will satisfy the art-loving shopper.  Annie’s carries a carefully curated selection of handmade art: jewelry, pottery, blown glass, and gorgeous creations from wood and metal.  For something fun, browse the hundreds of literary, silly, or slightly naughty socks at Denise’s Flower Shop.  There’s just too much to mention (so you’ll have to come explore for yourself) from antique and contemporary handmade jewelry, to specialty infused salts (yes an entire store), and lovely clothing you won’t see at any mall.  

Photo by Bob Watts