Exclusive | Provincetown: Introduction

This travel guide was last updated 9/08. There may be places that changed since then. Call ahead, and please let us know about any corrections or new places of interest.

It's hard not to love Provincetown, or P-town as anyone who has been there calls it. The gay women and men who visit cross age, economic, body, social -- and to a lesser extent -- racial strata. P-town is easy to reach by car, ferry, or plane from Boston. The town boasts a wide range of lodging options, including many outstanding gay guesthouses. In addition to specialties like clam chowder and lobster with drawn butter, the town also offers plenty of stellar restaurants turning out creative food on par with some of New England's best restaurants. By day there's the beach, shopping, historic and cultural offerings, bike paths, a growing crop of world-class art galleries, and the classic T-dance every summer afternoon. By night you can catch music, comedy, or cabaret acts by nationally known performers, or indulge in fun, affordable nightlife for men and women. Bars and clubs close at 1 a.m., although partying continues through the wee hours.

Provincetown is at the very tip of Cape Cod, famous for its Atlantic Ocean beaches and great sand dunes. The town is adjacent to the ocean, fronting Cape Cod Bay with postcard views, without much of an in-town beach. P-town's center stretches west to east along the bay and is just a few blocks wide, creating a column of activity centering along Commercial Street, the main drag. Proximity to Boston makes it particularly popular with Beantown denizens and other New Englanders, but visitors come from all over the world for its distinctly New England feel, enhanced by fresh ocean breezes and namesake Cape Cod architecture.

Few if any of the guesthouses offer the steamy sexual-playground atmosphere common in Palm Springs and Fort Lauderdale. The scene isn't prudish, but it is less sexualized and more couples-oriented than Fire Island; also, crucially, P-town is also as much a playground for lesbians as for gay men. For this reason, guesthouses in Provincetown tend to be less male during all but the busiest period of the year; off season, most of the gay-owned properties draw a mix of gays and straights. And with the legalization of gay marriage in Massachusetts, P-town has become highly popular with couples celebrating weddings or honeymoons. You can find romantic isolation here, settling into a quaint guesthouse with a good book and/or lover.

Related Articles:
Provincetown: Gay Life
Provincetown: Where to Stay
Provincetown: Where to Eat
Provincetown: Where to Play
Provincetown: What to See & Do
Provincetown: Where to Shop
Provincetown: Artistic/Cultural
Provincetown: Resources

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