Concord, MA is a quaint town about forty minutes outside of Boston, making it a perfect day trip, especially in the autumn. I’ve had plenty of time to try pretty much every coffee shop and restaurant around. Some of the best parts of Concord are its quaint town center, historic sites from the Revolutionary War, and unique local businesses. Along with a very loose, customizable itinerary, I’m breaking my recommendations down into several different categories: coffee, lunch, things to do, and shopping.
If you’re visiting Boston, it’s possible to take a tour bus to Concord, which is pretty walkable from the town center. Concord is also easily accessible from the commuter rail. However, if you have access to a car, navigating town will be a lot easier.
Here’s an idea for a rough itinerary:
10:00 AM: explore Concord center– window shop, grab coffee, leaf peep or enjoy the flowers depending on the season!
12 PM: lunch time
1:30 PM: visit a historic site
3:30 PM: pick another spot or call it a day
Best Things to Do in Concord
- Visit the Old North Bridge
- The site of the “shot heard round the world” in 1776 marking the beginning of the Revolutionary War, the Old North Bridge is an absolutely gorgeous spot. In warmer weather, you might see canoers pass under as you cross the Concord River. Take a walk up to the Buttrick Mansion and enjoy the view from its bricked-in garden. Also a good spot to picnic or listen to a guide. There is free parking, bathrooms and a water fountain available.
- Go to Walden Pond
- Walden Pond is a lovely walk any season and a great spot to take a swim in the summer. Paid parking is available in the lot across the street, although it gets quite busy seasonally. Check out the site where Henry David Thoreau’s cabin was built or stop to skip some stones.
- Stop by the Alcott House
- A staple of elementary school field trips, the Alcott House is a great place to take kids but is also interesting to adults. I highly recommend taking a tour– the guides wear full period dress and talk you through the lives of the Alcotts (especially Louisa) and important details in the house.
- Take a Walk!
- There are an abundance of great trails in Concord. My favorites include Great Meadows, the Battle Road Trail (a ten mile path into Bedford and Lexington that can be accessed from Meriam’s Corner with wide gravel trails and historic houses), and the recently paved Bruce Freeman Rail Trail in West Concord, which is great for a bike ride. From Concord Center, it is about a mile or so walk to the Old North Bridge as well.
My Favorite Shops in Concord Center
In my opinion, there are a few shops that are especially fun to pop into in Concord Center. Take these recommendations with a grain of salt, because I am a teenaged girl who doesn’t gravitate towards antique stores or high-end boutiques.
- Nesting is a tiny but beautifully curated shop selling home goods, accessories, objets d’art and more. Definitely worth walking through, because they have the most gorgeous displays updated each season!
- The Grasshopper Shop sells an array of quirky socks, jewelry and other clothing.
- Patina Green is a gift store that sells beautiful locally-themed items.
- Fatface is an outpost of a trendy boutique.
- Either Graëm or Priscilla’s Candy is fun for browsing, especially with kids. Bring home some chocolate if you’re feeling inclined!
Best Coffee Spots in Concord
It wouldn’t be a Caffeinated Liv post if I didn’t talk coffee at some point in this little guide! Here are my favorite spots.
- Haute Coffee
- Haute Coffee is a charming spot full of character tucked down a side street in Concord Center that caters to those who are serious about their coffee. Seating is limited and first-come, first-serve, so expect crowds at peak hours. Haute fits the bill if you’re looking for amazing espresso beverages, to-die-for homemade baked goods or lighter fare for lunch.
- Nashoba Bakery
- A hidden gem in West Concord with an unassuming front entrance, Nashoba has a cheerful checkered floor and smells just like the fresh bread they make in-house every day. You can expect a cheap and delicious latte here, as well as excellent sandwiches or even avocado toast on their amazing fresh bread.
- Caffe Nero
- An outpost of the Italian-style coffee chain is located right in the heart of Concord center. Immaculately decorated to evoke homey vibes, come here if you want to sit and chat for hours over your coffee and croissant.
Other coffee options in Concord: Trail’s End Café, Sally Anne’s Bakery, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts
Great Lunch Spots in Concord
- Main Street Café
- Located right in Concord center, this might not be the most gourmet meal you have ever had, but Main Street offers a good variety of options. You can get most any sandwich, salad or burger you might imagine, and they are known for their chili. Also the only spot in Concord where you can get an açaí bowl.
- Nashoba Bakery
- See above. Great sandwiches! There is indoor seating but also tables outside with a nice river view.
- Verrill Farm
- A bit off the beaten path, the Verrill Farm farmstand has a deli counter with great sandwich options as well as prepared food, delicious baked goods and local produce.
- Arguably the best pizza in Concord (granted, there are only five pizza spots in Concord that I can think of, but the point still stands). Conveniently located right next to an ice cream shop as well!
- Karma offers Asian fusion food and is the only place to get sushi in Concord. Their lettuce wraps are my favorite menu item.
A lot of tourists also like to have lunch at the Colonial Inn, but I myself have never been, so I can’t comment on the quality.
There are a score of other lunch spots in Concord, so let your stomach (or Yelp) guide you if somewhere else catches your eye. Folks rave about the Cheese Shop as well!
Thanks so much for reading– it was a lot of fun to compile a list of different spots and share my favorites.