Top 10 things to do in Wellesley, Mass.

Our picks for things every Wellesleyite should experience and that visitors to Wellesley should check out depending upon what time of year they’re in town.

Wellesley College building

Wellesley College. Frequently cited as one of the country’s most beautiful college campuses, this women’s college established in 1870 has much to offer to residents and visitors. First, there’s wandering around the campus itself, with its gothic and contemporary buildings, plus well-kept gardens and landscaping. A 2-plus mile walk around Lake Waban (both on Wellesley College property and not) offers dramatic views of the school’s Galen Stone Tower, Hunnewell topiary and the lake itself. The school offers public access to its Davis Museum & Cultural Center, which includes ancient to modern art as well as lectures and shows. The college’s greenhouses provide a toasty plant-filled oasis on cold and rainy days. Several theatre outfits at the college put on productions for audiences of all ages.

Babson College globe

Babson College. The campus features Georgian and other architecture, plus some quirky twists, including the giant Babson Globe and a tree spawned from the famous Isaac Newton tree. The Sorenson Center for the Arts is home to several theatre outfits, including the Wellesley Players, and also hosts movies and various live performances. A skating rink  offers public skating and is home to the Babson Beavers hockey team, which many frugal Wellesley parents trick their kids into believing are the Boston Bruins.

Wellesley parade

Wellesley’s Wonderful Weekend. Scheduled for a weekend in May each year, the activities include a pancake breakfast, a military decampment re-enactment, musical performances and a parade featuring the local schools, antique cars, local politicians, army tanks and more. It’s topped off with a spectacular fireworks display at Hunnewell Field.

Boston marathon

Boston Marathon. Each Patriot’s Day in April runners traverse the course from Hopkinton to Boston, hitting Wellesley smack dab in the middle. More than 3 miles of the course wind through Wellesley, including the infamous scream tunnel fueled by Wellesley College students. (As far as sports events in town, not to be overlooked is the annual Wellesley-Needham high school football game that takes place each Thanksgiving morning. It’s the oldest  football rivalry between public schools. From what we’ve seen, the real action starts around halftime, when returning high school grads make their way over to the game, which alternates between being played in Wellesley and Needham.)

Dining. Blue Ginger, Ming and Polly Tsai’s east-meets-west restaurant, is Wellesley’s best known eatery. Blue Ginger (seen above) expanded its footprint in 2009 and now includes a less formal cocktail/appetizer lounge, plus a noodle bar. Wellesley has plenty of other fine restaurants to choose from specializing in everything from Turkish to Thai food. (photo courtesy of Technodad/flickr)

Glamour Girls, Wellesley MA

Summer concerts. The town and local businesses foot the bill for a series of summertime concerts on green at Town Hall. They take place on Wednesdays from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m., bringing together young and old neighbors.

wellesley rdf

The dump. More formally known as the Recycling and Disposal Facility, since it is after all a model center for making the most of residents’ refuse. Many a home in Wellesley is furnished with items plucked from the give and take section manned by volunteers and popular among residents, including antiques dealers. You do need to be a Wellesley resident to visit, or at least go with one.

George Washington visits Wellesley MA

History. Wellesley’s Historical Society is the formal center of history in town, providing a rotating selection of displays honoring Wellesley’s most noteworthy citizens and happenings. But there are also ample opportunities to spy historical spots on your own in town, from the estates in the Cliff Road area, to the homes of notable Wellesley residents of the past such as poet Sylvia Plath and America the Beautiful writer Katharine Lee Bates, to markers commemorating historical events, including George Washington’s visit to town (seen here). For more historical sight-seeing suggestions, check out this map from WellesleyWeston Magazine.

Wellesley Square

Shopping. Wellesley Square has its share of chains, but also includes lots of one-of-a-kind purveyors of everything from crafts to toys to clothing. Nearby Linden Square leans more toward chains, but can extend your shopping experience in town.

Boulder Brook, Wellesley MA

Walking/hiking trails. Woven into the town’s neighborhoods and streets are 25-plus miles of wooded trails, including Centennial Reservation, which offers access to Maugus Hill, one of the highest points in town. Boulder Brook Reservation can make you forget you’re in the burbs with its rocky outcroppings and great views (shown above). Other trails, like the Brook Path and Crosstown offer nice alternatives to taking the usual path along roads like Rte. 16. More from the Wellesley Trails Committee.

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One Comment

  1. andy wrobel
    Posted June 23, 2014 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    What about visiting MoPo for a picnic, swim, canoe or kayak rental or a hike. That would seem to certainly be a top 10 – especially since it is open from mid June to mid August.

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