15 Best Things to Do in Hudson (MA)
A former industrial city with Irish and Portuguese roots, Hudson is a resilient place that has bounced back from several setbacks over the years.
One of his is the fire that destroyed 40 of his buildings in the city center in 1894. Then, after World War II, the city’s lifelong footwear industry declined, and major employer Intel closed its semiconductor factories in the city during the Great Recession.
Still, Hudson is welcoming residents and visitors more than ever. It’s all due to the transformation sweeping Main Street, transforming it into a gourmet destination with innovative shops and live music all year round. Multi-purpose railroads connect downtown Hudson with Marlborough and Maynard, and a top military museum has recently opened east of the city.
1. Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge
On the train, enter a US-designated National Wildlife Refuge past the American Heritage Museum. Fish and Wildlife Service, and one of eight reserves that make up the Eastern Massachusetts National Wildlife Refuge.
This exclusive getaway is dotted with ponds, springs, and marshes and has a mantle of pine and hardwood forests. It is an important stopping point for migratory birds in spring and autumn.
One of the most attractive things about this 2,230-acre site is that it sits on the grounds of Fort Devens Sudbury Training Annex, which was hastily built in 1942 and exposes about 50 original ammunition dumps in the woods.
They add mystique to hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing tours, while White Pond Road has boat launches and moorings, and abundant water attracts kayakers.
Located on the Assabet River Rail Trail, this award-winning Escape Room attraction is one of the few companies based in the refurbished Hudson Mills complex.
Puzzlescape was founded in 2016 and moved to its current location in 2021. It has a playful and cartoony feel to it.
Puzzlescape’s villain is “Pepe La Scuzz”. Main He is an evil mastermind who must be defeated in the “Legend of Pepe” room. For 2 to 6 players with a choice of endings.
At the time this list was made, the other rooms available were the horror-themed Something Wicked (2-8 players) and Escape the Cape (2-6 players), an entry room that bypasses the Bourne and Sagamore Bridge traffic jams.
This room is open to children ages 12 and up without a parent, making it a good starting point for young puzzle solvers.
3. Danforth Falls (Danforth Conservation Area)
North Hudson has 80 acres of city-owned forest managed by the local Conservation Board.
The facility is located on the idyllic Danforth Creek that runs along the east side and is a busy fishing spot each spring. From Lincoln Street, you can start a flat trail that follows the creek all the way up to the falls.
This is most striking in the spring after a season of heavy rains or after the snow has melted. The surrounding grounds also include the 450-foot summit of Phillips Hill, a slightly more challenging trail of steep, rocky terrain with beautiful views to the west.
4. Rail Trail Flatbread Co.
One of Hudson’s long list of beloved local businesses, the Rail Trail Flatbread Company is located across Main Street from the New City Micro Creamery.
This community-based, socially conscious flatbread pizza restaurant opened in 2012. The headline here is the wood-fired, hand-twisted sourdough pizza, which comes in a variety of imaginative flavors (gochujang BBQ chicken, spanakopita), including many vegan and gluten-free options.
Poutine, tacos, burgers (including the Impossible Burger), mac and cheese, and other comfort foods are also on the menu, along with over 20 draft beers on tap.
5. Medusa Brewing Company
Main Street’s reputation for good independent business lives up to this craft brewery with a large, rustic taproom and a beer garden that might surprise you.
When it comes to beer, Medusa is known for its hoppy IPAs, with Laser Cat (Imperial IPA), LightRunner (Hazy IPA), Lola (IPA), and Duchovni (Czech Pilsner) as their main beers.
These are the stars, but they’re also just a few of the many draft beers on tap, whether your taste is malty, hoppy, or sour.
Seeking the perfect accompaniment to live music in the taproom on Friday nights, the brewery partnered with local company Taco Gato, now operating as a permanent in-house taqueria.
6. ArtsFest Hudson
Hudson has a vibrant arts scene, and the easiest way to get an overview of it is to attend this festival on the first Saturday in June.
Like many events where cities reinvent themselves, this is a new tradition, but one that is really gaining ground.
Two stages host live, family-friendly performances from morning to evening by an international program of music artists and dance groups.
At the same time, there will be more than 50 craft booths showcasing Hudson’s wide range of creative talents. Young people who attend the festival can participate in activities such as face painting and crafts until he kicks off with a 5km run in the morning.
7. Art in the Hall
Hudson’s 19th-century chateaux town hall doubles as a farmer’s market and an art gallery.
Since 2004, the River’s Edge Arts Alliance has curated Art in the Hall exhibitions to promote the work of artists in the city.
Featuring works by artists from various disciplines, these exhibitions typically last several months and are updated several times a year, so there’s always something new to discover. The gallery is open during normal opening hours and has unlimited access.
8. Hudson Farmers’ Market
The Farmer’s Market is held in front of City Hall in the heart of downtown Hudson on Tuesday afternoons from mid-June to September.
In addition to this main market, keep an eye out for pop-up markets at the beginning and end of the year, April, May, November, and December.
Each week, the Market Facebook page will feature a list of participating vendors and live performers as part of the Market Music Series.
During a typical week, you can expect stalls selling fresh seasonal produce, fresh seafood, grass-fed meats, honey, spices, jams, bread, and sweets, as well as a handful of craft stalls.
9. Ferjulian’s Farm
Another farming business with many years of experience, Fell Julian’s Farm has been family owned and operated since 1942. The 70-acre farm is Hudson’s only working farm, and Booth is open from Patriot Day in April through early December.
The season begins with greenhouse flowers, with over 100 varieties of annuals, as well as perennials, vegetables, herbs, and hanging baskets.
Farm stalls begin selling produce in June, and everything Fell Julians offers throughout the season is handpicked and taste-tested.
From July to September the PYO Flower Garden is held and in early October the Sunflower Festival takes place over 10 days with about 30,000 flowers up to 1.5 meters high.
10. Honey Pot Hill Orchards
In the immediate vicinity of Stowe is a working family farm dating back to 1926 that welcomes visitors for a variety of growing and harvesting activities.
At Honey Pot Hill Orchard, fruit picking begins with blueberries, plums, and peaches in July and continues through the long apple season into fall.
The farm grows more than 25 varieties of apples, and you can check the detailed harvest schedule before you arrive.
The farm shop has all the fresh produce, including jams and jellies, freshly squeezed cider, and baked goods such as cider donuts.
Children will have a lot of fun watching farm animals. In the fall you can solve mazes or take a carefree hay wagon ride for a perfect day in the countryside.
11. Downtown Hudson
Always lively, social, and fun, Hudson’s CBD fits most people’s ideas of what a 21st-century downtown should look like.
Shopping locally is easy, as Main Street is full of vibrant shops with creative concepts that pique your curiosity.
All of this is no coincidence, as changes in downtown Hudson since the early 2010s have responded to the Great Recession and its impact on the city’s economy.
Many events bring downtown life to life, including weekly farmers markets in the summer, seasonal pop-up markets, Artsfest in June, Celebrate Hudson in September, and the weekly Downtown Music Series every Thursday and Saturday night in the summer.
12. American Heritage Museum
It’s no exaggeration to say that Hewlett-Packard engineer Jack Littlefield (1949-2009) had a passion for historic military hardware.
Since the early 1980s, he has amassed over $30 million worth of tanks, howitzers, armored vehicles, rocket launchers, and personnel carriers to restore and display to the public.
That dream came true in 2013, after his death when the Littlefield Foundation donated his collection to the Collings Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation and public display of transportation history.
Hardware at the American Heritage Museum is grouped by campaign or theater, with a primary focus on World War II. That means Eastern Front, North Africa, Italian Front, Battle of the Bulge, D-Day, Battle of Berlin, plus additional zones for Korean War, Vietnam War, Cold War, Gulf War, and War on Terror.
13. Assabet River Rail Trail
The multipurpose rail line, which has been in service since 2005, will run through downtown Hudson and eventually connect Marlborough and Acton.
The Assabet River Rail Trail runs on the converted trackbed of the Fitchburg Railroad’s old Marlborough Branch (completed in 1855).
At the time of this writing, the trail was virtually complete except for his 5.4-mile section between the South Acton MBTA station and the Maynard-Stowe route.
Starting at Wilkins Street, the trail continues seamlessly through Hudson, providing a safe commute between downtown Hudson and downtown Marlborough. If you need bike accessories and services, head to Assabet River Bicycles right next to the Downtown Trail.
14. New City Microcreamery
Discover the joys of liquid nitrogen ice cream at this unique shop, established in 2015 and already having stores in Sudbury and Cambridge.
If you’re wondering about the benefits of liquid nitrogen over ice cream, this ultra-low temperature substance produces smaller ice crystals, giving the ice cream a much smoother texture.
Flavors include proven classics such as chocolate, mint chips, and cookie dough, as well as a variety of New His City creations, from cannoli to baklava, creme de his mente and chocolate, vanilla his bourbon to creamsicle.
What is not advertised is that there is a bootleg on this property.
15. Wood Park
This delightful little public park is located along the Assabet River just upstream from downtown Hudson. This makes Wood Park an ideal location for community events held at the Victor Dyer Music Shell.
That’s the case with the Wood Park Summer Concert Series, which runs all summer and starts at 6 pm.
From 3.30 pm onwards we offer a wide range of artists and styles.
This event is intended for families. We recommend bringing snacks, lawn chairs, blankets, and bug spray.
In addition to playgrounds and picnic areas, there is a footbridge across the river that connects to a local Portuguese club. Drop into the water under the bridge to drop a fishing line or launch your kayak.