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NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded Provincetown article click DailyXtraTravel
Once a sleepy Portuguese fishing
village, Provincetown has reinvented
itself over the years, first as an
artists' colony and then as New
England's gay playground. At the tip of
Cape Cod, Provincetown is a
favorite destination for gays from
around the country, as well as
around the world.
Quiet throughout the winter
months, Provincetown's bustle returns
at the end of May, when the crowds make
their way to the seaside town
for Memorial Day weekend. The height of
the season is Carnival; an
anything-goes festival that takes place
in mid-August. The pace
slackens after Labor Day, but the line-
up of special weekends and
bargain shopping draw visitors into the
fall season. Winter here has
its charm for those who prefer the
peace and quiet of snowy sand dunes.
During the summer, Commercial
Street is the place to be to watch
the colorful parade of visitors who
descend on this town, from drag
queens dressed as Cher to gay men on
the prowl to lesbian couples
pushing strollers. The relaxed vibe is
appealing to many straight
families as well. However, they are
most often day-trippers, meaning
gays pretty much have the place to
themselves once the sun sets.
Provincetown might not be as wild
as it once was, but there's
still plenty of cruising on the street
and in the dunes (keep an eye
out for park rangers who regularly
patrol the dunes). After the bars
let out, people gather in the street in
front of Spiritus Pizza for
last-minute pick-ups. Provincetown is
also home to the famous outdoor
cruising spot called the 'Dick
Dock' located under the
Provincetown's many guesthouses and
inns cater to visitors of every
budget. From simple rooms to cottages
to whole houses, the options are
numerous. Most are open mid-April to
late October while others have
joined the growing trend of staying
open year-round. Most have
refrigerators and internet access; some
have kitchens, fireplaces, and
rooftop sun decks. A five-night minimum
stay is often required during
Landing B&B (158
Bradford St; 800-934-0925) central location with private bathrooms, fireplaces in most rooms, hot tub, WiFi, near gallery district.
Guest House (184
Bradford St; 800-487-1197) and Beach Club (425 Commercial St) provide sterling guesthouse accommodations for any budget, plus luxury beachfront apartments with private decks, gardens, and sweeping harbor beach vistas.
Guest House (6 Cottage St; 800-
574-9645) suites, rooms and studio apartment, private bathrooms, private sun deck, water views, secluded English garden, tranquil West End location.
Inn Beach House (175 Commercial
grand converted mansion on Captains' Row, all amenities, private bayside beach.
Guest House (12 Winthrop St;
508-487 9603) luxury guesthouse,
central location, sophisticated and
Resort (161 Commercial St;
800-547-3892) local gay institution at the heart of the action, huge bayside deck and pool home to the famous Tea Dance; choice of lively Commercial Street or waterfront views.
Carver House (70 Bradford St;
800-826-9083) relaxed and friendly vibe, comfortable cozy rooms, some with fireplaces and/or private entrance, at the heart of everything.
Key Guesthouse (67 Bradford St;
800-842-9858) spacious complex, high-end accommodations, two
pools with decks and lounge, gardens, plenty of sunning space, on-site spa for massage and facials.
Guest House (64 Bradford St;
508-487-1650) 14 comfortable,
reasonably priced rooms with all amenities and private baths, common room for TV, reading, and mixing, plus clothing-optional private sundeck.
Diem (12 Johnson St; 508-487-
4242) private back patio with hot tub,
bay views, handsome location, quiet
atmosphere, French and German style, hospitality and charm.
House (7 Central St; 800-309-
0248) plush carpets, mahogany decks, wind-shielded hot tub, luxurious amenities and an international ambience.
By The Bay (8 Johnson St; 877-
487-9263) relaxed comfort, sophisticated elegance and style at the heart of P-town, plus breakfast in their sunny courtyard.
and Anchor (247 Commercial St;
508-487-1430) plush rooms and suites,
harbor-side heated pool and deck, restaurant, unsurpassed gay entertainment at their popular bars
Pointe Inn & Spa (82 Bradford St; 877-276-9631) a work of art renovated Sea Captain's estate house, open year-round, with luxury suites, fireplaces, two hot tubs on deck, restaurant, shoreline vistas.
(186 Commercial St; 508-4876-7555) West
End location, five luxurious rooms, restaurant and bar; wake to fresh pastries, fruit and coffee.
Inn (3 Johnson St; 800-676-
3010) low-key guesthouse and apartments,
friendly vibe, central with water views, large sun deck, free parking.
House (11 Carver St; 800-434-
0130) 140-year-old classic,
wooden stairs and grand lobby, spacious rooms, water views, piano bar, restaurant and basement club.
View Inn (4 Conant St; 888-268-
captain's house at center of town, with panoramic views from two decks, moderately priced year-round, pet-friendly and parking available.
Randall House (140 Bradford St;
800-573-6700) Victorian-style charm at town center, fresh-baked breakfast muffins and breads, fireplace, garden, enclosed porch and deck.
House (296a Commercial St; 800-
990-8865) ten rooms tucked off a
private path at center of town, complimentary bikes, sociable common room, in-room internet access, ac, entertainment and fridge.
House (8 Cottage St; 888-456-
9103) luxurious English country house style hospitality and conveniences, rooms with fireplaces, private baths; breakfast, wine hour, business desk and complimentary transfers from airport or ferry dock.
Albert Guest House (164-166
Commercial St; 508-487-1850) large stately rooms on the main drag, private baths, in-room amenities, courtyards, gardens, private rear sunning patio with hot tub, water views.
(198 Commercial St; 800-942-1542) guesthouse for men with 20
affordable single, double and queen rooms right by Spiritus; water views, video library, fireplace, and plenty of fun.
Guest House (14 Court St; 800-
487-2292) private bathrooms,
secluded back garden and patio, home-baked breakfast, common room for music, reading or socializing.
(160 Bradford St; 800-563-0113)
restored stately 1860s captain's
home, full gourmet breakfast, rooms with AC, WiFi and media devices, garden patio, free airport and ferry pickup.
House (5 Standish St; 877-867-
8696) private baths and private entrance rooms, steps from
restaurants, shops, and beach;
breakfast, garden patio bathed with scent of ocean breezes.
The Waterford Inn
(386 Commercial St; 508-487-6400) since 2009, a
beautiful restored 19th-century home, the former Commons Inn, all rooms with private baths, many with decks; gourmet breakfast served from their restaurant (see below).
Inn (7 Winthrop St; 508-487-
0094) fifteen vintage rooms and apartments, all efficiencies, free parking; afternoon sun bathed front porch, yard for barbecue and volleyball, large common room with fire in cooler months.
End Inn (44 Commercial St; 800-
559-1220), four cozy guestrooms, plus three apartments, one a whole floor with private deck; stylish but relaxed, located in the quieter West End close to beaches.
Porch Inn (7 Johnson St; 508-
487-0592) central boutique hotel with nine rooms, private baths, WiFi, some with views of bay, fireplaces, spa tubs; common-room kitchen, living room and porch overlooking the water.
Wind (174 Commercial St; 888-
449-9463) grand Victorian mansion with great veranda for people watching at busy central location; balcony rooms, some with fireplaces, water or street views, open all year.
Click here for links to these and another 30 Provincetown lodging options.
Bars & clubs
House (8 Masonic Pl), known as
the A-House, P-town's favorite gay club for over 25 years. Their three bars offer dancing, relaxing in the Little Bar from noon with it's cool weather fireplace, or cruising upstairs at the Macho Bar. Busy seven nights a week, especially on Fridays.
Resort (161 Commercial St)
"world's most famous tea dance,"
bayside setting. Poolside deck and grill, and Bouy Bar open daily 4 to 7pm.
Purgatory (Gifford House Inn, 9-11
Carver St) basement dance club,
manly crowd, very popular Sunday night.
and Anchor (247 Commercial St)
bayside bar complex, dance
club with top DJs, video bar, and cabaret with leading drag entertainers, comedians, singers, and theatrical productions.
House (9-11 Carver St) poolside lounge and Lobby Piano Bar draw a friendly weekend crowd throughout the summer months, plus a few weekends in Spring and Fall.
Times Pub (293 Commercial St)
relaxed watering hole to play pool, watch sports on the
ten foot screens; all are welcome.
Bradford Restaurant (312
Commercial St) historic wooden
building, busy corner, drag karaoke every night.
Bar (193a Commercial St)
bayside bar, men come for the daily After
Tea Dance from 6:30pm; mostly women at After Dark in the later hours.
Office Cafe (303 Commercial St)
restaurant and cabaret, always popular with gay crowd, and packed for Sunday brunch.
(Crown and Anchor, 247 Commercial St)
leather, bear and uniform bar, open year-round, and party-central during Summer Bear Week and Mates Leather Weekend (see events below).
(Pilgrim House Inn, 336
Commercial St) rollicking dance
bar, mostly women, music and comedy
(Crown and Anchor, 247 Commercial St)
sports bar with big screen and a dozen other monitors; poolside bar in summer months, pool games by the cozy fireplace during off-season.
Provincetown has a great selection of
restaurants, many with
harbor-side dining. Most fast-food
chains are banned from the center,
so each eatery has its own individual
Betsy's (177 Commercial St)
popular waterfront restaurant
and bar serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Natural Market (141 Bradford
St) natural and organic
food, produce, fresh baked goods, and
By The Bay (183-185 Commercial
St) fun entertainment, tasty homemade
food, breakfast through dinner, street-side seating to see and be
(186 Commercial St) classic Italian, fresh seafood, good wine list; the Grotta Bar below has ambience of an old speakeasy.
By The Sea (539 Commercial St)
eclectic menu, burgers to elegant entrees, relaxed ambience for lunch or dinner, low-pressure service, nice harbor views from windows lining the walls.
Land Provisions (150 Bradford
St) groceries, deli and bakery for omnivores and vegetarians alike, with soups, made-to-order sandwiches and snacks to go.
Central (5 Masonic Place)
across from Atlantic House bar,
good basic meals, ample portions and exceptional service.
Hideaway (179 Commercial St)
affordable innovative tavern cuisine with wide variety of starters and entrees, meat, fish and vegetarian.
Pot (321 Commercial St)
harbor-side waterfront seafood restaurant specializing in lobster, with retail fish market on the street side. Also serves steak, poultry, Portuguese specialties and vegetarian meals.
(7 Freeman St) 'Provincetown's
most unusual restaurant,' set on winding flower-lined back street, amidst artworks and stained glass; fine seafood, international and vegetarian
cuisine. Open year-round
Inn (15 Commercial St) charming
guesthouse dining room with fireplace overlooking the bay; seafood and seasonal fare, reservations recommended (up to six weeks in advance).
Place (99 Commercial St)
fine, authentic southern Italian restaurant on the bay, popular with locals; outdoor dining beneath vine arbor, nightly dining April to October.
Pizza (190 Commercial St)
famous pizza slices of many toppings, premium ice cream and frappes, frisky late-night after-bars spot to stop awhile.
(386 Commercial St) open year-round with fresh local seafood, wood-fired pizza, savory meants to gourmet vegetarian selections, casual lunch through late-night dining.
Shopping & services
Video (193 Commercial St)
classic movie DVD and video games sales and rentals.
Leather (338 Commercial St)
leather goods and accessories,
selection of adult products.
Beach (35 Bradford St) gym for
buff boys and girls; full workout facilities and personal trainers, plus tanning, sauna and showers.
Fudge Factory (210 Commercial
St) hand-crafted, small batch
"butter creme fudge" using real chocolate liqour and fresh dairy products, since 1984.
Gym (81 Shank Painter Rd)
full-service gym, yoga and
aerobics classes, exercise and fitness programs.
Bikes (42 Bradford Street) Quality bike rentals, comprehensive stock, experienced staff and repairs.
End Salon (155 Commercial St)
total spa for body and soul, latest
equipment, innovative techniques; hair cuts, coloring, scalp care, body massage, facials.
Puppy (379 Commercial St)
gleaming specialty coffee and tea cafe with free wireless access.
Getting here, getting around
From Boston, Provincetown is 2 1/2
hours by car, 90 minutes by fast
ferry, or 20 minute by air.
Unless you're driving to
Provincetown, you will probably have to
pass through Boston. Cape
Air (800-352-0714) has frequent
flights from Boston and elsewhere in New England.
There are two speedy ferry
services from Boston, Bay
State Cruises (877-783-3779)
Harbor Cruises (877-733-
Walking and biking are the best ways to
get around, and few drivers will attempt these narrow streets after their first try. Park your car at your
An evening of dining and discourse with
the chefs of P-town.
June 3, 2010
International Film Festival
Movies from around the world, many with
June 16 - 20, 2010
Arts Work Center
Summer Workshops in Creative Writing and the Visual Arts
June 13 - August 20, 2010.
10th Anniversary Bear Week
The big guys hit the beach, bars, parties and pool decks.
July 10 - 18, 2010
This year celebrates the survival and revival of New Orleans Jazz
Aug 13 - 14, 2010
Parade, parties, a king and lots of
August 15 - 21, 2010
Arts Work Center
34th Annual Auction, 24 Pearl Street
August 21, 2010
September / October
for Life & Paddler Flotilla
Hundreds of swimmers and kayak paddlers raise money for charities.
September 11, 2010
14th annual affair of leather, rubber, uniform and fetish events.
September 30 - October 3, 2010
Week of transgender events.
October 17 - 24, 2010