Sandy beaches, lighthouses, sloping dunes and a thriving gay community all come to mind when thinking of Provincetown. For decades this small town in up-market Massacheutses has been invaded every summer by hordes of gay travelers keen to explore the liberal and bohemian culture of this unique settlement on the tip of the Cape Cod peninsula.
Serving as an artists community in the 1960s, Provincetown has managed to retain its creative and free spirit and today gay travelers can enjoy a range of activities and opportunities for discovery centred around the town’s unique culture, natural landscape and gay scene. Provincetown is a destination made for gay travelers.
Stretching three miles along the coast of Cape Cod, Commercial Street might well be Provincetown’s most charming street. The centre of activity, entertainment and community in the town, Commercial Street is narrow and quaint, lined with bars, restaurants and cafes and oozing New England vibes. In the summer the street is the perfect place to spend an evening, sipping a refreshing drink and people watching.
Besides from being host to the majority of the town’s nightlife venues, Commercial Street is also where travelers will find the best culinary offerings. Provincetown is famous for its fresh seafood and Commerical Street is lined with restaurants promising the most delicious and atmospheric dining experiences. The Provincetown Portuguese Bakery is a staple of the food scene here, selling a selection of exquisite home-baked Portuguese delicacies.
Many of Provincetown’s independent galleries and art shops are situated along Commerical Street, and travelers can delight in the plentiful offerings of artworks inspired by the coastal landscape and thriving community in the town.
On any summer evening, the West End area of Provincetown’s Commerical street is a bustling hive of LGBT+ individuals enjoying a sun-soaked drink in one of the many gay bars that line its streets. The range of bars here is varied and dynamic, with gay travelers equally able to enjoy a relaxing drink on a quintessential outside deck as they are to party into the early hours at a hedonistic Provincetown beach rave.
The Jewell in the crown that is Provincetown’s gay nightlife scene is Paramount, a beachfront nightclub boasting a large outside deck area and state of the art lighting and sound systems. The club is Provincetown’s largest and most popular, attracting thousands of gay travelers every summer, in addition to the impressive roster of world-renowned DJs and artists who perform here.
Provincetown is also home to a number of smaller and more intimate gay bars. Here the quintessential New England can be experienced, with cosy interiors, unfiltered views of the Cape Cod Bay and a friendly community feel. Some of the most popular and smaller bars in the town include Aqua Bar, Shipwreck Lounge and Wave. Read More: A Gay Guide To Provincetown.
The of Provincetown have relied on the Atlantic Ocean for trade. Originally this was in the form of whaling, whereby local whalers would hunt and sell whale produce to manufacturers and food processors. Today, whales still play an important role in the town’s economy but for a more humane reason- whale watching, one of Provincetown’s most popular activities for travelers.
The spring and fall are the best times to catch a glimpse of the breathtaking giants that call the waters around Provincetown home. Fin, right, and humpback whales can all be seen from any of the numerous whale-watching boats that depart from the town every morning, and those with a keen eye may also spot seals, dolphins and sea lions.
Provincetown was the original landing place of the Mayflower, the ship that bought the first European settlers to what would later become the USA in 1620. The settlers spent five weeks exploring the Cape Cod area before sailing on to Plymouth. The monument that towers over the town today was completed in 1910 with president Theodore Roosevelt laying the cornerstone. Dedicated to those first settlers, the monument is the largest granite structure in the USA, reaching an impressive height of 252-feet.
Visitors can climb the monument, which features 116 steps and 60 ramps to appreciate the stunning views across Provincetown and the surrounding bay. There is also a small museum at the base of the structure, where visitors can discover the history of the monument and read personal accounts from the settlers who first colonised the area.
With its historic and thriving gay local and visiting population, it’s no surprise that Provincetown boasts a booming theater scene. For decades, the gay travelers who have visited the town have bought with them a unique artistic and creative culture that has culminated in a unique relationship to the theater and the performing arts in Provincetown.
The Art House is the epicentre of Provincetown’s creative output and plays host to numerous touring shows and performers as well as local talents. The theater has welcomed legends from across the spectrum, including multiple Ru Paul’s Drag Race alum, Patti Smith, Margaret Cho and Alan Cumming.
The main beaches in Provincetown are Herring Cove Beach and Race Point Beach. Herring Cove has the most facilities with takeaway kiosks, toilets and showers on site. To the left of the pavilion, you’ll find three miles of uninterrupted beach up to the lighthouse at Long Point. You’ll find plenty of nude sunbathers with the clientele almost exclusively gay. There’s a lot of tolerance in Provincetown and this beach is no different – you’ll be welcome.
Combine Boston with Provincetown
A lot of people combine Boston with Provincetown as it’s only a 90-minute ferry ride. Boston is a great destination to combine with Provincetown and it’s a city where you’ll find a small gay scene and plenty of museums. Read More: Things To Do In Boston.
by George Pizani | On: Gay Provincetown