22 Things to Do in Chatham, MA: Galleries, Beaches, Lighthouses, Dining & More

This article has links to products and services we love, which we may make commission from.

Looking for fun things to do in Chatham, MA, for your upcoming trip? This popular Cape Cod town sits at the elbow of the Cape, offering access to many other spots in both the Upper and Lower Cape areas.

You might also like our guide to the best things to do on Cape Cod for a wider range of locations.

We also have guides for Provincetown, Sandwich, and Falmouth if you plan to spend more time at either end of the Cape.

Starting downtown on Main Street and working our way out from that hub, these are the things you won’t want to miss down the Cape in Chatham.

The Best Things to Do in Chatham, Massachusetts

Chatham Main Street

For the best shopping and cultural things to do in Chatham, you have to head to Main Street.

With just about a mile of unique shops, galleries, cafes, and restaurants, you’ll love perusing the window displays and popping in and out of various spots that catch your eye.

For those who are driving, there are three parking lots and no parking meters, but it gets very busy during the summer so try to park early.

You can also walk to the iconic Chatham Lighthouse from town, so make a whole morning of it!

You’ll also find two public bathrooms on Main Street.

Entering Chatham duck sign in Chatham on Cape Cod in Massachusetts

Eldredge Public Library

Eldredge Public Library (564 Main St) is perfect if you’re wondering what to do in Chatham for free.

The library was built in 1894 as a gift to the people of Chatham and has remained a central part of life for residents and visitors alike.

Hosting multiple programs, classes, and events regularly, you’re sure to find something fun no matter what you’re interested in.

This is also a great spot to take the kids if you’re traveling as a family!

EXPRESSIONS Art Gallery

If you are ready to be transported into the magical world of Cape Cod landscapes, head to Steven Koppel’s EXPRESSIONS Photo Gallery (578 Main St).

With photos that look almost like paintings, Koppel attempts to capture the Cape’s natural settings with a sense of wonder.

Visit the gallery and admire the artist’s unique approach to photographing Chatham and the surrounding area.

Ducks in the Window

For a truly unique thing to do in Chatham, you have to visit Ducks in the Window (507 Main St).

Right here on Cape Cod, you’ll find the home of the largest collection of rubber ducks in the entire world!

Besides an incredible variety of ducks, you’ll also find games, toys, puzzles, and more, making the trip fun for the whole family.

Classic Ducks in the Window display Chatham on Cape Cod in Massachusetts

Chatham’s Godfrey Windmill

If you’re looking for historic things to see in Chatham you must check out the Godfrey Windmill (125 Shattuck Place).

This wind-powered grist mill was built in 1797 and is one of only two remaining mills of its kind in the town, which was once populated with dozens.

It’s a popular photo op spot in Chatham!

View of The Godfrey Windmill in Chatham Massachusetts

Atwood Museum

One of the best Chatham attractions is the Atwood Museum (347 Stage Harbor Rd), home of the Chatham Historical Society and eight permanent exhibitions that highlight the rich history of the region.

The Atwood House is a time capsule from the 18th and 19th centuries, completely unchanged in structure from when it was built.

Explore and discover secrets from Chatham and Cape Cod during your visit, chat with guides, or take a tour.

The Atwood House Museum in Chatham Massachusetts

Chatham Railroad Museum

For train and transportation enthusiasts, one of the best things to do in Chatham is to stop by the iconic Chatham Railroad Museum (153 Depot Rd).

This donations-only museum is set up inside a railroad station that was built in 1887.

It’s open in the warmer months and features hundreds of exhibits, model trains, and more.

Chatham Seaside Links

Golfers, head to Chatham Seaside Links (209 Seaview St) to hit the links!

Located minutes from the downtown area, Seaside Links is open to the public and much of the course has been recently renovated.

Check the website for tee times or important off-season updates.

Chatham Pier Fish Market

Shopping at the Chatham Pier Fish Market (45 Barcliff Ave Ext) is an absolute must-do when you visit Chatham, MA.

Offering lobster dinner delivery, fresh lobster rolls, and an amazing view of the fishing boats coming back with their catch, there’s nothing better in the warmer months than sitting on the deck and enjoying the freshest seafood you can find.

Plan to come around lunchtime or sunset went the boats are coming back in from their morning or afternoon fishing.

You might just see some local seals hanging around hoping for a tasty snack!

Chatham Lighthouse

Certainly one of the most popular Chatham attractions is the iconic Chatham Lighthouse (37 Main St).

Tours of the lighthouse began in 1990 and since then, thousands of people have been able to climb to the top and look out at the views.

Come visit one of the only lighthouses in the country that is still in operation 24 hours a day.

If you love lighthouses, you should take this private tour of Cape Cod from Boston to see all the best ones in the region!

Chatham Lighthouse Chatham Massachusetts

Chatham Lighthouse Beach

While visiting the lighthouse, you should enjoy Chatham Lighthouse Beach (30 Main St), the largest beach in town.

Just minutes from downtown, the scenic views and seal and bird spotting make this beach one of the best places to see in Chatham.

Note that the waves and currents are strong at this beach and there are no lifeguards on duty, so these waters are best for strong swimmers only.

Lighthouse Beach sand in Chatham Massachusetts

Mac’s Chatham Fish & Lobster

Of course, enjoying a plate of fresh-caught seafood is surely one of the best things to do in Chatham!

And you won’t want to miss out on Mac’s Chatham Fish & Lobster (1291 Main St).

You’ll see that the menu is stuffed with the classics, like fried clams and the iconic lobster roll, to unique alternatives, like poke.

Don’t miss out on the daily specials or the delicious beer options!

Note from Amanda: Mac’s has multiple locations around the Cape; I’ve been to both the Wellfleet and Eastham spots and highly recommend the clam chowder!

Gallery Antonia

Gallery hopping is one of the most fun Chatham activities, and you should definitely include Gallery Antonia (1291 Main St) on your list.

This fine art gallery features mostly Cape Cod- and other regionally-based artists, and the works on display include sculptures, paintings, and illustrations.

Stop by any time during open hours, or attend one of their special events offered throughout the year.

Seal Watching With Monomoy Island Ferry

Most of the best things to do in Chatham involve the ocean in one way or another, but Monomoy Island Ferry (80 Bridge St) takes it to the next level with amazing seal-watching cruises.

The ferry offers trips to the barrier island of North Monomoy or to South Beach so you can spot some seals!

Explore the coast, enjoy the wildlife, and get out in the sun while seeking out these adorable local wild residents.

Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge

Exploring the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge (30 Wikis Way) is an idyllic spot if you like getting outdoors in nature.

The refuge protects critical habitats for migrating birds, horseshoe crabs, seals, and more.

Its 3,000 acres make for a perfect adventure on Cape Cod, no matter the time of year.

We also featured the refuge in the complete guide to Cape Cod, so be sure to check it out!

Aerial view including Chatham Pier Fish Market and Chatham Harbor seen on Cape Cod in Massachusetts

Marion’s Pie Shop

Anyone with a sweet tooth should check this out: Marion’s Pie Shop (2022 Main St) has been a staple of Chatham for decades, and their pies are out of this world.

Stop by and pick out your favorite sweet and savory pies — made fresh daily — to take home or to the beach for a sunset treat!

Enjoying a warm fruit pie by the water at sunset has to be one of the most classic moments down the Cape.

Ridgevale Beach

For calm waters, scenic views, and soft sand, you should visit Ridgevale Beach (Ridgevale Dr).

This beach includes all the best Chatham and Cape Cod activities, like exploring marsh and creek habitats, birdwatching and poking around in tide pools, and riding the gentle ocean current.

The snack bar and shop can’t be beat at this location, so be sure to stop by if you get hungry from all your playing!

Note from Amanda: My family loves this beach for the little ones — they can safely play and explore in the tidal pool away from the adults and waves on the other side of the dunes.

Sand and dunes at Ridgevale Beach in Chatham on Cape Cod in Massachusetts

Stage Harbor Light

Stage Harbor Light is the most recently constructed light on Cape Cod, built in 1880.

The lighthouse is privately owned and not open to the public, but the best views of it are from Harding’s Beach.

Harding’s Beach

Visiting Harding’s Beach is one of the most popular activities in Chatham thanks to its calm, warm waters, soft sand, lifeguards, and amazing tide pools.

This beach is a favorite among locals for long walks and swims because it’s not as crowded as other beaches in town.

Parking is available for a daily fee, and restrooms are available.

Walking Hardings Beach in Chatham Massachusetts

Cockle Cove Beach

Cockle Cove Beach (Cockle Cove Rd) is a perfect beach for kids and young families because of the calmer waters coming from Nantucket Sound.

You’ll find protected swimming areas with shallow waters, portable restrooms, and plenty of parking.

The pretty marsh area behind the beach often has local wildlife and birdlife to enjoy viewing, too.

Want to continue your adventure across the Sound? Check out our favorite Nantucket beaches for inspiration.

Shark Center

If you’re looking for things to do in Chatham with adventurous kids, you should take them to the Shark Center (235 Orleans Rd).

This year-round educational facility features exhibits teaching families about great white shark research, conservation, and natural history.

You’ll find interactive activities, videos, and amazing displays for learning.

Shark sign at Lighthouse Beach in Chatham Massachusetts

Caleb Nickerson Homestead

The Caleb Nickerson Homestead (1107 Orleans Rd), a self-sustaining museum, is a 17th-century homestead preserved in the antique style of Cape Cod’s early settlers.

You’ll love the kitchen garden, the iconic architecture, and the beautiful grounds that surround this iconic home.

Final Words

We hope this list of all the best things to do in Chatham helped you plan your trip! Share your favorite local spots in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *