Hyannis (Cape Cod), Massachusetts
Hyannis is often referred to as the "Capital of the Cape," due to its position on Cape Cod, both geographically and economically. It sits on the Mid-Cape section of Cape Cod about half-way between the mainland of Massachusetts and the farthest point out at Provincetown. Hyannis also boasts a world-famous harbor and an airport, which makes it a primary transportation hub for the rest of Cape Cod along with the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Most of the shops, restaurants and attractions can be found along Main Street, which forms the heart of downtown Hyannis. During the summer months, the area is hopping well into the evening when the restaurants and clubs are bustling with tourists and visitors. There's even a carousel and arcades that are lit up at night.
Along Ocean Street, you'll find the Harbor District where visitors and residents dock their boats and yachts. It's also where you can pick up the ferry to travel to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard. The area features many restaurants and also some shops. In fact, in Bismore Memorial Park you'll find the Art Shanties. These are small structures (almost like sheds) where artists sell their gifts, jewelry, and artwork during the summer months. Hyannis is approximately 71 miles from Boston, Massachusetts and 77 miles from Providence, Rhode Island. Other Main Streets worth checking out on Cape Cod include Falmouth, Chatham, and Provincetown.
Restaurants, ice cream parlors, and surf shops line Main Street in Hyannis, Massachusetts, which is known as the Capital of the Cape due to its size and geographic location in the center of Cape Cod.
Another surf and gift shop along Main Street in Hyannis. The flag in the foreground marks an anniversary for the town of Barnstable. Hyannis is actually a village located within Barnstable, the largest town on Cape Cod.
Hyannis is world famous for its harbor, used for recreational boating, and for ferry transportation to nearby Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
We'll start our tour on the southwest end of Main Street in Hyannis at the intersection of Sea Street Extension and Main Street. From here, we'll continue northeast along Main Street.
We're at the 600 block of Main Street. Clothing boutiques and gift shops are popular with tourists in the village of Hyannis.
Still on the 600 block of Main Street. When we came to Hyannis in early September, most businesses were still open but the prime tourist season was beginning to wind down.
Visitors contemplate a menu along Main Street in downtown Hyannis.
Things are quieter towards the end of the tourist season, but the shops are still open.
Although most of the businesses along Main Street feature the standard tourist fare, there's also an Army-Navy Surplus store here ready to provide you with your sporting goods needs.
A view of the various gift shops and apparel shops along the 500 block of Main Street. And yes, this candy shop also sells salt water taffy. The beach isn't too far away.
We found a lot of these markers in the sidewalk in front of the stores that had been around for a while in Hyannis.
One thing we discovered while visiting New England is that they really love their ice cream here. Almost as much as they love their lobsters.
More boutiques selling apparel in Hyannis. These sweat shirts and t-shirts make you think you're close to the beach. Although, you're close to the water, most of the good beaches are a few miles away. But there's still a few small beaches within walking distance.
Some gift shops and even a tattoo parlor along Main Street in the village of Hyannis. It's interesting to note that although the area is considered Hyannis, you are technically in the town of Barnstable, which is a large town that encompasses several nearby villages.
A woman with her helper dog stroll past gift shops and cafes along Main Street in Hyannis.
Well, you may not be right on the beach, but that doesn't mean they don't try to give you a feeling of being on the boardwalk. Here's a carousel with an arcade located just behind it. At night, it's all lit up with plenty of activity.
A combination surf shop – gift shop is announcing its end of the season deals. Notice the sculpture in the plaza just in front of the shop?
More shops as we continue heading northeast along Main Street. That building in the middle features cedar siding, a very popular architectural choice throughout Cape Cod and other parts of New England.
We now reach the 400 block of Main Street where we find more art galleries, gift shops and restaurants. Notice the whales? Whaling was a popular industry throughout Cape Cod in the past, so it isn't hard to find whale related gifts and art. You can even take tours to see whales out in the waters.
Here's one of the motels you'll find along Main Street in Hyannis. Yes it does break up the window shopping a bit, but at least their landscaping looks nice. It almost looks like a throw-back to an earlier era. This one caters to both couples and families!
This beautifully restored house across from the motel sells candy, ice cream, t-shirts, and souvenirs.
A seafood restaurant, gift shop and even a bank at the intersection of Main Street and Winter Street in downtown Hyannis.
And across the street is another motel. Next door to that is another arcade. This one with a bowling alley!
Here's another view of the Fresh Ketch restaurant. Behind that is the hotel where we stayed on our visit to New England. It was an excellent location within walking distance to everything around Hyannis. And that restaurant was very good as well!
Another view of the gift shop and bank at the intersection of Main Street and Winter Street. We took these photos on a week day and a nearby school was letting out so it was the perfect time of day for kids to hang out and stroll about town.
More shops and even a 7-Eleven along Main Street. There were several convenience stores and markets along Main Street, which was great for people staying in the area. Most were mom and pop stores. The cupola above this 7-Eleven reminds me of the old architecture 7-Eleven used on their stores years ago.
A restored house has been converted into a restaurant and the front yard is now a large outdoor eating area. The weather was perfect this time of year. At night you could hear the music and activity coming from this place. In season, many of the restaurants and even shops are open late in Hyannis, giving the area plenty of nightlife.
This large brick building was The Public Service Building and opened in 1928. Early tenants included the U.S. Post Office, New England Telephone and Telegraph Company and even Woolworth. The Puritan Clothing Company opened in the former Post Office space in 1939.
The Kennedy's summer home was in Hyannis and former president John F. Kennedy spent a lot of time here. The old town hall has since been turned into the JFK Museum.
This is a statue by David Lewis, the same artist who did the JFK statue in the previous picture. This is Iyannough, a Native American leader of the Mattachiest tribe in the area of what is now the town of Barnstable. Behind him is the village green. You can also see the Walkway to the Sea, a trail which takes you down to the harbor area of Hyannis.
Here's an example of the excellent signage you can find throughout Hyannis. The Cultural District is the area around the village green where various events are held. As you can see, the harbor is less than half a mile away, and some small beaches less than a mile away.
We're now at the 300 block of Main Street in Hyannis where we find more shops and outdoor cafes. Notice the sails on the light post? We could see these all throughout town and they reflect the importance of boating to the village of Hyannis.
Visitors stroll past boutiques and restaurants along Main Street. You can even see a manager preparing for a busy night of activity at his seafood restaurant.
More shoppers walk past outdoor cafes, gift shops, a jewelry store, and even a pet boutique. As busy as it is now, during this time of year, it'll get busier after the sun goes down.
One way to take a tour of the area is with the Cape Cod Duckmobile. You can see the area on land and even go into the water on one of these.
We make it to the other end of Main Street at its intersection with Barnstable Road. From here you can take Barnstable Road out to the highway where you'll find malls and strip shopping centers. One of the reasons why Hyannis is the Capital of the Cape. Instead we'll head down towards the water.
Here's another view of the scenic Walkway to the Sea trail with the Hyannis harbor in the background.
Along Ocean Street across from the harbor are more hotels and restaurants. There's even parking for people who are taking the ferries out to the islands.
Bismore Memorial Park is the location of numerous Art Shanties provided by the HyArts Cultural District. In season, shoppers looking for unique merchandise should definitely check this area out.
Here's another view of the Art Shanties, including the boardwalk that connects them to one another.
The Hy-Line ferry is bringing passengers back from another trip to the islands. This harbor is the primary connection point between the main land and the island of Nantucket, although you can also take the ferry to Martha's Vineyard as well. You can also see the Ticket Office in the background on the right side of the picture.
John F. Kennedy spent a lot of time in Hyannis and is still very popular with people here. You can find signs like this thoughout the area along the Hyannis Kennedy Legacy Trail.
The John F. Kennedy memorial was erected by the people of Barnstable in 1966 and overlooks Lewis Bay and Veteran's Park Beach. You can sit on one of the benches and take in the scenic area around you.
This is Veteran's Park Beach, the closest beach to downtown Hyannis. Here you can watch the boats and the ferries go by in Lewis Bay off in the distance.
Veteran's Park Beach gets its name from this memorial dedicated to those who fought in the Korean War. We did mention we were here in early September, right? The flags are at half-mast because we were here on September 11. Although this concludes our tour, if you continue heading further south towards the ocean you'll find more beaches there to enjoy.
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For More Information
Hyannis Chamber of Commerce
Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District
Check out these other nearby Main Streets!