Natick is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, located approximately 17 miles west of Boston. The town was incorporated in 1781 and has a rich history dating back to colonial times.
Originally inhabited by the Nipmuc Native American tribe, Natick was settled by English colonists in the 1650s. The town was named after the Nipmuc word for “place of hills,” reflecting the area’s terrain.
Natick is a thriving suburban community with a population of over 36,000 residents. It is home to several landmarks, including the Natick Historical Society and Museum, the Bacon Free Library, and the Natick Center Cultural District.
Natick offers a wide range of recreational activities. The town is home to several parks and trails, including the Cochituate Rail Trail, which offers a scenic route for hiking, biking, and jogging.
With its rich history and modern amenities, Natick continues to be a popular destination for visitors and a desirable place to call home.
In this post, we’ll be highlighting the top 15 must-see attractions and activities in Natick to help you plan your itinerary. Whether you’re a history buff, outdoor enthusiast, or foodie, there’s something for you in Natick. So, let’s dive in and explore the best that this town has to offer!
1. The Natick Mall
Natick Mall is one of the premier shopping destinations in Massachusetts, attracting millions of visitors every year. From high-end luxury brands to popular retail chains, this mall offers something for everyone. In this blog post, we will delve into the history and amenities of Natick Mall and explore some of its top stores.
Natick Mall first opened its doors in 1966 as the largest shopping center in New England. It underwent a major renovation in 2007, which added a new wing, a food court, and upscale restaurants. Today, the mall boasts over 250 stores and is a popular destination for both locals and tourists.
Natick Mall has plenty of other amenities to offer. It features a state-of-the-art cinema, a fitness center, and several dining options. The mall also has a concierge service, which can assist visitors with everything from directions to package pickup.
Natick Mall is home to some of the most popular stores in the region. Fashion lovers will enjoy browsing through Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, and Macy’s, while tech enthusiasts will appreciate the Apple Store and Microsoft Store. Other notable stores include lululemon, Tiffany & Co., and Sephora.
Natick Mall is a shopper’s paradise that has something for everyone. Its history, amenities, and stores make it a must-visit destination in Massachusetts. Whether you’re looking to indulge in some retail therapy, catch a movie, or grab a bite to eat, Natick Mall has you covered. So what are you waiting for? Plan your visit today!
2. Natick Historical Society & Museum
The Natick Historical Society is a valuable resource for anyone interested in the history of the town of Natick, Massachusetts. Founded in 1870, the Society has a long and rich history of collecting and preserving artifacts, documents, and other materials related to Natick’s past.
The Society’s initial focus on natural history and science, as well as its commitment to public education through a popular lecture series, set the tone for its ongoing mission to conserve, interpret, and share Natick’s historic elements. Today, the Society operates the Natick History Museum and a small research library and archive, offering exhibitions, public programs, educational resources, and research support.
One of the Society’s most significant challenges occurred in 1872, when a fire destroyed many of its collections. However, the Society persevered and continued to grow, thanks in part to generous donations from community members like Oliver and Sarah Bacon. The Bacon Free Library Building, which now houses the Natick History Museum and the Bacon Free Library, remains an important historic landmark in the town.
The Society’s commitment to community engagement and education is reflected in its programs and activities. From exhibitions at the Natick History Museum to illustrated talks and educational programs for schoolchildren and visitors, the Society offers a range of opportunities to learn about Natick’s past. The Society’s resources for researchers also make it a valuable asset for anyone looking to delve deeper into the town’s history.
Funding for the Society comes from a variety of sources, including private donations, public support, and foundation grants. This support is crucial to the Society’s ongoing efforts to conserve, interpret, and share Natick’s history.
In short, the Natick Historical Society is a vital part of the town’s cultural and educational landscape. Its commitment to preserving and sharing Natick’s past ensures that future generations will have the opportunity to learn about the people, events, and ideas that shaped this community over time.
3. South Natick Dam Park
South Natick Dam Park is a beautiful recreational area. The park is a popular spot for people who love to spend their leisure time surrounded by nature. With its serene surroundings and stunning views, South Natick Dam Park is a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
One of the key features of the park is the South Natick Dam, which is an impressive structure that stretches across the Charles River. Visitors can walk across the dam and enjoy views of the river and the surrounding landscape.
The park has several trails that are perfect for hiking and biking. The trails wind through the woods and along the river, offering beautiful views of the natural surroundings. There are also picnic areas where visitors can enjoy a meal while taking in the stunning views of the park.
Another feature of the park is the fishing pier, which is a popular spot for anglers. The pier extends out into the river, providing an ideal location for fishing. The Charles River is home to a variety of fish species, including bass, trout, and perch, making it a popular destination for fishermen of all skill levels.
The park also has a playground, making it a great destination for families with young children. The playground features swings, slides, and climbing structures, providing hours of entertainment for kids. Additionally, the park hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and community gatherings.
Overall, South Natick Dam Park is a beautiful destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to take a peaceful walk along the river, go fishing, or have a family picnic, this park has it all. It’s no wonder why it’s one of the most popular parks in the area, and a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Natick, Massachusetts.
4. Cochituate State Park
Cochituate State Park is a popular day-use state park managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. The park is situated on the banks of Lake Cochituate, which is spread across three sections known as the North, Middle, and South lakes. Each section of the lake has its unique characteristics, and specific restrictions apply to each.
Visitors to the park have a wide range of recreational activities to choose from. The park is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, offering activities such as motor boating, sailing, canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, fishing, and swimming.
Visitors can rent boats during the summer season and explore the pristine waters of the lake. Fishing is a popular activity, and the lake is home to various species of fish, including bass, trout, and perch.
Apart from water sports, the park also has ample opportunities for land-based activities. The Snake Brook Trail is a scenic hiking and biking trail that winds its way through the park and offers beautiful views of the surrounding woods and lake.
The trail is open year-round, making it an excellent destination for outdoor enthusiasts. The park also has several picnic areas with tables and grills, making it an ideal place to enjoy a day out with family and friends.
In addition to its recreational activities, the South Lake of Cochituate State Park hosts the sailing teams of several local high schools, including Wellesley HS, Wayland HS, and Lincoln-Sudbury HS. The teams practice and compete on the lake from March through May, adding a unique sporting element to the park’s offerings.
Overall, Cochituate State Park is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to enjoy a day of outdoor fun in Massachusetts. The park’s stunning natural beauty, a wide range of recreational activities, and convenient location make it a popular choice for locals and tourists alike.
Whether you’re looking to explore the lake’s tranquil waters, hike through the woods, or enjoy a relaxing picnic with friends, Cochituate State Park has something for everyone.
5. Center of Arts in Natick (TCAN)
The Center for Arts in Natick, or TCAN, is a regional community arts organization located in Natick, Massachusetts. Since its establishment in 1997, TCAN has been dedicated to providing a space for cultural and social interaction, presenting more than 300 events, classes, and performances annually for over 24,000 patrons.
TCAN is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization run by a Board of Directors, staffed by full-time and part-time employees, and supported by over 175 volunteers.
TCAN’s original location was a small storefront with a seating capacity of 60 patrons, where it hosted open mic programs, jazz jams, community theater productions, and visual art exhibits.
As its success grew, TCAN sought a larger and more permanent facility, purchasing the historic Central Fire Station in the heart of Natick Center in 1998. After a $2.5 million restoration project, TCAN’s new facility opened in May 2003 with a seating capacity of 270.
One of TCAN’s unique features is its wide variety of programming, which includes nationally known touring musicians, local performers, theater, comedy, arts education classes, family programs, and an Art House Cinema.
TCAN is also home to its own community theater troupe, the TCAN Players, who present three productions each year and have been nominated and received DASH awards by the Eastern Massachusetts Association of Community Theatres.
Additionally, TCAN hosts a bi-weekly Folk Open Mic event for singer-songwriters and musicians of all genres, a classical music series called the Young Masters Series, and various strategic partnerships with organizations such as the Danforth Museum, the Walnut Hill School, and the Verve Boston Natick.
In partnership with the Natick Service Council, South Middlesex Opportunities Council, and United Way of TriCounty, TCAN offers a program called Smile in Every Seat, which provides free access to TCAN’s programming for economically disadvantaged people and families in Natick and surrounding communities.
6. Natick Community Organic Farm
Natick Community Organic Farm (NCOF) in Natick, Massachusetts, is an inspiring example of community-driven agriculture that has been serving its community since the mid-1970s. The farm has a rich history, starting with the Native Americans who first cultivated the land, followed by English settlers who began farming in the area in the 1700s. Over the years, the land has changed hands many times, and it has been used for a variety of agricultural purposes, including dairy, poultry, and equine operations.
In the early 1970s, the Town of Natick took the land by eminent domain and put it under the auspices of the School Committee, with the intention of developing it into a school. However, in 1975, a group of local organizations, including the Eliot Church, the Lions Club, and Natick’s Youth and Human Resources Committee, had a different idea. They saw the land as an opportunity to provide much-needed summer jobs to local young people and founded Red Wing Farm, a market garden on a two-acre plot of tilled land at the Broadmoor Audubon Sanctuary.
Red Wing Farm quickly became a success, and in the autumn of 1975, the Town of Natick’s School Committee agreed to lend land to the Red Wing Farm project. The farm moved to 117 Eliot Street, where it began using the existing barn as its headquarters. By its second summer, Red Wing Farm was employing dozens of teens to raise and market vegetables to the public.
Over time, the project became known as The Natick Community Farm, a 501[c]3 organization with an ambitious environmental and educational mission. In 1980, Lynda Simkins was hired as the farm’s director, and she helped to turn NCOF into an integral part of the Town of Natick’s geographic and agricultural landscape. Today, NCOF serves as a tireless advocate for organic agriculture and the environment, while championing community and personal growth.
NCOF has a range of programs and activities that engage and educate people of all ages. Parents bring their young children to see the farm animals, and gardeners come in the spring to buy organic seedlings that suit the climate and growing season. Families come to purchase fresh, locally-grown, certified-organic produce, meats, eggs, and maple syrup.
School-aged children take field trips to study nutrition and the life cycle of plants and animals, and middle school, high school, and college students work on the farm during the summer or on school vacations. People of special or differing abilities come to do meaningful work and contribute to their community.
Over the years, NCOF has served as a model and source of inspiration and practical information for several educational and community-based organic farms in Massachusetts and across the country. The farm’s impact extends beyond the local community, as it promotes organic agriculture and sustainable farming practices that benefit the environment and support local farmers.
In conclusion, Natick Community Organic Farm is a remarkable organization that has transformed a piece of land with a rich history into a vibrant community space that fosters environmental awareness, community engagement, and personal growth.
It is an example of how a community can come together to create something beautiful and meaningful that benefits everyone. NCOF’s commitment to organic agriculture and the environment is an inspiration, and its impact on the community will continue to be felt for generations to come.
7. Dug Pond
It covers an area of 48 acres and has a maximum depth of 45 feet. The pond is well-known for its clear water and sparse aquatic vegetation.
It has steep dirt shores with trees growing close to the water, except for the Memorial Beach and the boat launch areas.
The most striking feature of Dug Pond is its wooded island located near the western shore. This island is approximately 100,000 square feet in area and rises 21 feet above the pond at its highest point.
The island can be accessed by wading through waist-deep water in the southwest channel that is reached from trails leading off Lakeview Ave. The island has semi steep slopes from the water to the top, where there is a depression that contains the remains of an old fire.
There used to be a rope swing on the east side of the island that faced Memorial Beach, but the tree it was attached to fell down due to damage by woodpeckers. Now there are two makeshift swings near the fallen tree, and only one of them lands in the water.
Visitors are advised to wear footwear while on the island, as there is a lot of broken glass littering the ground.
Another interesting feature of Dug Pond is the small area of wetlands located in the northeast corner of the pond, where the stream that feeds the pond enters. The stream leaves the pond near the boat ramp on the south side.
The dip in Pond Street on Dug Pond’s northern shore represents a significant split in water flow. All runoff to the north of Pond Street eventually runs into the Sudbury River, which enters the Merrimack before reaching the Atlantic.
All runoff south of Pond Street, including the outflow of Dug Pond itself, drains to the Charles River and eventually Boston Harbor.
Dug Pond has a flat wall of concrete about five by twenty feet on the northwest shore, which is the leftover foundation of an old icehouse. It is known to Natick High School students simply as “The Wall,” and it is the site of constantly changing graffiti, mainly by members of each high school senior class.
Memorial Beach is located on the eastern shore of Dug Pond and is one of the few swimming beaches in Natick. The beach is used in the summer for swimmers on day and season passes boasting a picnic area, snack bar, small playground, floating dock, and a separate platform with a diving board.
A small building contains showers, bathrooms, and a changing area. The beach is also the start and finish of the swimming leg of the Natick Mini Triathlon. The Town of Natick employs lifeguards, mostly college and high school students.
Fishing for pleasure, including ice fishing, is relatively common on Dug Pond. Rainbow trout, brown trout, brook trout, largemouth bass, chain pickerels, bluegills, pumpkin seeds, brown bullheads, carp, eels, perch, and golden shiners are all relatively common.
A type of freshwater hydrozoan, Craspedacusta sowerbyi, can also be found in the pond. The pond also has a recently renovated boat ramp located on the south side, suitable for canoes and car-top boats, which is used mainly for small fishing boats and also the fleet belonging to the Natick High School Sailing Team.
Dug Pond is not only a beautiful spot for recreation but also a place for practicing rescue drills. The pond is used by diving teams of the Natick Police and Fire Departments for practice rescue drills in both summer and winter, mainly along the north shore.
8. Belkin Family Lookout Farm
Belkin Family Lookout Farm is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves apples, nature, and outdoor activities. This historic farm has been around since the 1800s, and it offers visitors a unique opportunity to learn about agriculture, enjoy fresh fruit, and spend quality time with family and friends.
One of the most popular activities at Belkin Family Lookout Farm is apple picking. The farm has over 60,000 apple trees spread out over 180 acres of land, making it one of the largest apple orchards in New England. Visitors can pick their own apples, choosing from a variety of delicious options such as Honeycrisp, Gala, and Macintosh. The farm also offers hayrides and a petting zoo, making it a great place for families with children.
Visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the orchard or take a guided tour to learn about the farm’s history and operations. There are also seasonal events and festivals, such as the Strawberry Festival in June and the Peach Festival in August, that offer even more opportunities for fun and learning.
Belkin Family Lookout Farm is not just about apples, however. The farm also produces other fruits such as peaches, nectarines, plums, and pears, as well as vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers.
Visitors can purchase fresh produce from the farm stand or enjoy a delicious meal at the on-site restaurant, Lookout Farm Taproom. The taproom serves farm-to-table dishes made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and features a wide selection of craft beers and hard ciders.
Another unique feature of Belkin Family Lookout Farm is its commitment to sustainability. The farm uses eco-friendly practices to minimize its impact on the environment, such as using solar panels to generate electricity and composting waste. It also offers educational programs that teach visitors about the importance of sustainable agriculture and conservation.
Belkin Family Lookout Farm is open from May through December, and admission is free. However, there is a fee for apple picking and some other activities. The farm is easily accessible from Boston and other nearby cities, making it a perfect day trip destination.
9. Natick Center
It is a vibrant and bustling area that offers visitors a variety of unique shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions.
One of the most iconic features of Natick center is the charming downtown area, which is filled with beautiful old buildings and historic architecture. Many of these buildings date back to the 19th century and have been beautifully restored, giving the area a unique and authentic feel.
Natick center is also home to a variety of shops and boutiques. Visitors can find everything from trendy clothing stores to antique shops and specialty food markets.
Whether you’re looking for a unique gift or just want to browse around and soak up the atmosphere, there’s something for everyone in Natick center.
When it comes to dining, Natick center does not disappoint. The area is home to a wide variety of restaurants, ranging from casual cafes to upscale dining establishments.
In addition to its shops and restaurants, Natick center also offers a variety of cultural attractions. The Natick Center Cultural District is home to several art galleries, theaters, and performance spaces, offering visitors a chance to experience local art and culture firsthand.
Natick center is a wonderful place to visit for anyone looking for a charming and authentic New England experience. With its historic buildings, unique shops, and delicious dining options, there’s always something new and exciting to discover in this vibrant and bustling district.
10. Jordan’s Furniture
Jordan’s Furniture is one of the largest furniture stores, offering a wide range of furniture and home decor items for every style and budget. From classic and traditional to modern and contemporary, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye.
The store is well-designed and spacious, allowing customers to browse and shop comfortably. The furniture displays are arranged in various settings, making it easy to envision how they might look in your own home.
What sets Jordan’s Furniture apart from other furniture stores is its commitment to customer service. The staff are knowledgeable and friendly, and they’re always happy to help you find what you’re looking for. They’ll even offer design advice and suggestions if you’re feeling unsure about what pieces to choose.
With its diverse selection of furniture, exceptional customer service, and exciting attractions, it’s no wonder that it’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
11. Golf on the Village Green
Golf on the Village Green in Natick is a popular pastime for many residents and visitors alike. This scenic and well-manicured golf course is nestled in the heart of the town and offers players of all skill levels a chance to enjoy a relaxing round of golf.
One of the things that make this golf course so special is its location. The Village Green is situated in a beautiful area with lush green trees and rolling hills. It’s easy to forget that you are just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of the city. The peaceful surroundings provide a serene and tranquil environment to enjoy a game of golf.
The course itself is also very well maintained. The greens are immaculate and the fairways are perfectly groomed. Golfers will find the course to be challenging but fair, with just the right amount of difficulty to keep things interesting. There are also several water hazards and sand traps throughout the course, which add an extra layer of challenge to the game.
Another great thing about Golf on the Village Green is that it’s open to players of all levels. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner, you’ll find the course to be a great place to practice your swing and improve your game. The friendly staff is always on hand to offer tips and advice, and there are also several lessons and clinics available for those who want to take their skills to the next level.
Golf on the Village Green also has a pro shop and a snack bar. The pro shop offers a wide variety of golf equipment and accessories, including clubs, balls, and apparel. The snack bar provides a great place to grab a quick bite to eat or a refreshing drink between rounds.
Overall, Golf on the Village Green is a wonderful place to enjoy a round of golf. With its scenic location, well-maintained course, and friendly staff, it’s no wonder why so many people love to play here. Whether you’re a serious golfer or just looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon, Golf on the Village Green is definitely worth checking out.
12. Sassamon Trace Golf Course
Sassamon Trace Golf Course, located in the beautiful town of Natick, Massachusetts, is a nine-hole executive-length golf course designed with the beginner golfer in mind. The course is situated on natural terrain, which was carefully studied to route the holes strategically.
One of the notable features of Sassamon Trace is the use of the steep side slope of the landfill as a strategic element. This defines the right edge of each of the Natick holes, adding an extra layer of challenge to the game.
The wind also plays a significant role in the game, particularly during summer when the prevailing wind helps players. For instance, on the third hole, the prevailing wind comes from right to left, opposite to the direction the shot should be played, requiring players to hold their shots.
Sassamon Trace is designed to cater to beginner golfers, and it does an excellent job of that. However, it’s also a great course for more experienced golfers who want to work on their short game.
The course is well-maintained and offers a peaceful, serene environment, making it an enjoyable place to play a round of golf.
13. KOHR Golf Center
KOHR Golf Center is a premier golfing facility that has become a favorite destination for golfers of all levels. This state-of-the-art golf center is designed to provide golf enthusiasts with the perfect environment to hone their skills, practice their swings, and improve their game.
The facility offers a wide range of amenities that cater to golfers of all ages and skill levels. The center features a fully automated driving range with 54 hitting bays, allowing golfers to practice their swings in a comfortable and controlled environment.
The driving range is equipped with a high-tech computerized ball-tracking system, which provides golfers with accurate feedback on the distance and accuracy of their shots.
KOHR Golf Center also offers an indoor putting green and chipping area, where golfers can practice their short-game skills. The indoor facility is fully air-conditioned, making it the perfect place to practice during hot summer days or cold winter nights.
KOHR Golf Center also features a pro shop that offers a wide selection of golf equipment, apparel, and accessories. The pro shop is staffed with knowledgeable and friendly professionals who are always available to assist golfers with their needs.
One of the unique features of KOHR Golf Center is its golf simulator room. The simulator allows golfers to play virtual rounds of golf on some of the world’s most famous courses, including Pebble Beach, St. Andrews, and Augusta National. The simulator room is perfect for golfers who want to experience the thrill of playing on a championship course without leaving Natick.
14. Dowse Orchards
Dowse Orchards is a family-owned farm that has been producing apples, vegetables, greenhouse crops, flowers, Christmas trees, and pumpkins for over 200 years in the Metro West area of Boston. The farm’s long history is a testament to the family’s dedication to farming and the quality of its products.
For over 60 years, Dowse Orchards has operated a roadside farm stand, where customers can purchase the products they raise on a seasonal basis. This farm stand is a favorite of locals and tourists alike, and for good reason.
The farm stand offers a wide selection of products, from brilliant spring flowers grown in their greenhouses to seasonal fresh harvest vegetables, their many kinds of apples, and the freshest Christmas trees ready for customers to cut.
What’s more, Dowse Orchards has expanded its offerings beyond just fruit and vegetables. Visitors to the farm stand can also find maple syrup, their own line of preserves, gift baskets, sweet apple cider pressed fresh every week, and of course, their delicious apples. With over 20 varieties raised, including McIntosh, Cortland, and Macoun, there is sure to be a favorite for everyone.
The farm’s commitment to diversification has ensured that it remains relevant and thriving in today’s market. However, what sets Dowse Orchards apart from other farms is the quality of their products.
They take great pride in the care they put into each item they produce, from the planting of the seeds to the harvesting of the crops. This attention to detail ensures that each customer receives the freshest, most flavorful produce possible.
For those visiting the Boston area, a stop at Dowse Orchards is a must. The farm stand offers a unique shopping experience, where customers can see and taste the fruits of the labor of a family that has been farming for generations.
Visitors will enjoy the wide selection of products, the friendly service, and the beautiful setting of the farm.
14 Best Things to Do in Natick (MA)
- The Natick Mall
- Natick Historical Society & Museum
- South Natick Dam Park
- Cochituate State Park
- Center of Arts in Natick (TCAN)
- Natick Community Organic Farm
- Dug Pond
- Belkin Family Lookout Farm
- Natick Center
- Jordan’s Furniture
- Golf on the Village Green
- Sassamon Trace Golf Course
- KOHR Golf Center
- Dowse Orchards