New Bedford is rich with stories from whaling, the textile industry, the working waterfront and the Underground Railroad. In the mid-1700s, Joseph Rotch purchased 13 acres of land along our deep harbor, establishing the whale fishery that transformed a small village into a thriving port. A century later, the boon of the textile industry swelled our population, spurred the development of vast new ethnic neighborhoods, and expanded the city’s growth to the north and south. Now, the city is home to the #1 fishing port in America and recognized as one of the most artistic cities in the country, further adding to our long history of cultural diversity and appeal.
Downtown offers a good mix of museums, art galleries, history, restaurants and shops. Home to the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the Seaport Cultural District, and the working Waterfront, Downtown is the heart of the city and is worth the trip! Get inspired by visiting the many Art Galleries, watching a variety of artist in the studios, discovering the rich history of the city.
Downtown New Bedford Map
Downtown New Bedford, Inc. Visitor’s Guide
The North End
The North End is home to some of the most exciting festivals during the summer months as well as the International Marketplace filled with retail shops, cafes, bakeries, and restaurants year round. If you crave the multicultural experience of New Bedford, the North End offers a unique glimpse into the cultural heritage as well as authentic Portuguese Cuisine.
The South End
The welcoming environment of the South End is surpassed only by the vibrant multicultural atmosphere and beautiful harbor views! Surrounded by three miles of accessible shoreline, the South end boasts fabulous sandy beaches and the Blue Lane, a contiguous set of recreational pathways atop the city’s hurricane barrier. Famous for the Fort Taber Park and the Military Museum, the South end is home to a number of antiques stores and seafood restaurants to make your day unforgettable.
The West End
With tree-lined streets and beautiful architecture showcasing spectacular Victorian, Queen Anne, Colonial and Greek Revival style homes, The West End eludes a certain nostalgic charm about the Whaling days – the days when the homes were owned by respected sea captains and their wives looked out from the widows’ walks hoping for their safe return. Take a walk through the streets to Buttonwood Park, one of the biggest parks in the city and home of the Buttonwood Park Zoo.