The Plymouth Bay Cultural District is a vibrant geographic region that includes both the Plymouth waterfront and downtown areas. In anticipation of the approaching celebration of the 400th anniversary of its founding in 2020, Plymouth established the District in 2014 to enhance and enrich the quality of life for residents and visitors alike by coordinating and supporting activities that promote arts and culture.
The district is defined by dynamic artistic, musical, educational, and commercial opportunities as well as historic sites and parks. It has long been recognized as a cultural tourism destination, attracting thousands who visit historical sites such as Pilgrim Hall Museum and Pilgrim Memorial State Park, as well as art and music venues including Memorial Hall, the Spire Center for Performing Arts, and the Plymouth Center for the Arts. In addition, the District is home to an incredible variety of art galleries, shops featuring local and artisan goods, restaurants, and a rich array of group touring opportunities by foot, trolley, or on the water.
Plymouth’s many annual festivals complement the existing cultural assets in the District. The annual America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Celebration Parade and Festival is held on streets adjacent to the District and at the State Park. Other local celebrations include the First Saturday Downtown Plymouth, the Plymouth Philharmonic’s July 4th Outdoor Concert, the Downtown Plymouth Waterfront Festival, Project Arts Summer Concert Series, Plymouth Farmer’s Market, A Taste of Plymouth, and many more.
There are several public parks and gardens available for strolling and picnicking, or simply enjoying the scenery at Brewster Gardens, Town Brook, and Pilgrim Memorial State Park.
Plymouth Bay Cultural District has partnered with the Massachusetts Cultural Council to earn its designation as a regional center for creative and performing arts and culture. Whether you're planning an exciting night on the town, a family outing or spending time with friends, the Cultural District offers something for everyone!
What is a Cultural District?
A cultural district, as defined by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC), is a geographic area containing a concentration of cultural facilities, activities and assets. Because it is walkable, it is easily identifiable to visitors and residents and serves as a center of cultural, artistic and economic activity.
The Plymouth Bay Cultural District was named the 27th Cultural District in the Commonwealth on November 19, 2014. As host to 123 originating cultural assets, it is the largest in the Commonwealth.
The Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) designates approved areas as cultural districts to help communities attract artists and cultural enterprises, encourage economic growth, expand tourism, preserve and reuse historic buildings, enhance property values, and foster local cultural development.
History of Plymouth Bay Cultural District:
Downtown Plymouth is teeming with local arts and culture. Whether it be a musical or theatrical performance at the Spire Center for the Performing Arts, the annual Summer Show at the Plymouth Center for the Arts, festival and free concerts on the waterfront, or the Captain John Whale Watches out of Plymouth Harbor, our cultural district offers over 100 cultural locations that visitors and locals can take advantage of year-round.
Famous for its rich history, Plymouth contains almost three dozen historical sites and attractions, such as the Mayflower II, the replica of the ship that arrived with the Pilgrims in 1620; Cole’s Hill, one of the nation’s first burial grounds; and the Richard Sparrow House, the oldest wood frame house in America, built in 1640.
The Plymouth Bay Cultural District is first and foremost, a vehicle for local businesses and organizations offering cultural activities and programs, to connect and partner with one another, encouraging visitors to take advantage of the many local cultural experiences available. The District links popular cultural destinations on the waterfront with Main Street, and all that lies between. District facilitated programs will help visitors learn about and explore Plymouth’s cultural assets. An online calendar makes it easy to check on the time and location of events scheduled whether visiting for an afternoon, a day or overnight.
By striving to create strong working relationships among all its cultural members and to promote partnerships with commercial enterprises The Plymouth Bay Cultural District will enhance the local creative economy and benefit us all.