24 Summer Hours in Hyannis – What To Do

Hyannis, the economic center of Cape Cod, is the largest of the seven Barnstable villages. By all accounts, it nearly qualifies as a city, and is perhaps the first major “town” on Cape Cod people think about when they consider a visit.

Likewise, it can be an overwhelming place to try if you’re only in the area for a day. What shops should you browse? What tours, restaurants and activities can you squeeze into just 24 hours?

No need to be overwhelmed, here’s our guide to spending a day in Hyannis.

The Daily Paper

8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. – Breakfast and a Paper
The Daily Paper (644 West Main Street and 546 Main Street) is a mainstay for early risers on the Cape. It has the laid-back atmosphere of a diner and the quality of food to match; with all of the standard egg, pancake and hash dishes and equally-delicious healthy options (the cranberry-walnut wheat pancakes may just beat out any normal flapjack this side of the canal). Another mainstay on Main St. is The Sunnyside Restaurant on the east end. Family owned and operated, the Sunnyside has tasty daily blackboard specials for breakfast and lunch. Check out some of the homemade pastries and cakes always available under glass on the counter.

9:00 a.m. to noon – Morning on Main
Like Chatham, Hyannis is known for its “main drag,” and for good reason. The mile-long Main Street is best experienced in the morning: a brisk walk through the length of it will help burn off that breakfast and give you an idea of which shops to stop by first. And there is plenty to choose from: Main Street has a musical instrument shop (Jack’s Drum Shop, 347 Main), an independent record store (Spinnaker Records, 596 Main), multiple candy and ice cream joints, clothing establishments to fit nearly every style and even a surf shop (Boarding House, 354 Main).

KA_Hyannis_JFK museum3_11315For American history buffs, perhaps a walk through the JFK Hyannis Museum (397 Main) and through the Kennedy Legacy Trail is more appropriate. The museum chronicles the Kennedy family’s involvement with Hyannis and how different family members influenced each other and their surroundings. The Legacy Trail, which begins at the museum, is a collection of 10 sites which provide intimate insights into how the family and president specifically influenced Hyannis.

Noon to 1 p.m. – Lunchtime
There’s no shortage of food in Hyannis, as it is probably the most diverse area on Cape Cod – there is literally a food for every taste. But if you’re into Mexican, you’re in luck. Mi Pueblo (459 Main) is perhaps the most legitimate establishment for this kind of food. Expect to get the best burrito in town, but don’t be weary of trying one of their traditional specials.

KA_Hyannis_Green Lotus Cafe 2 funny sign_11315The Green Lotus Café (349 Main) is the first, and so far only, dedicated vegetarian and vegan restaurant on Cape Cod features innovative sandwiches, desserts, coffee, tea, juices, bubble tea and healthy snacks.
Columbo’s in the 500 block of Main St. offers authentic Italian fare in a relaxed atmosphere. Don’t leave without checking out the amazing desert case and gelato bar.

1 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. – Afternoon Adventures
If you’ve spent enough time downtown, try a tour of the two most famous factories on Cape Cod: Cape Cod Beer and Cape Cod Potato Chips.

Even those who prefer wine will enjoy a tour of the Cape Cod Beer factory (1336 Phinney’s Lane). The company was initiated by Hyannis locals Todd and Beth Marcus and brewed their first Cape-centric ale in 2004. Brewery tours run once daily at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Beer tastings are available for a $5 fee, which buys you five 3oz. samples and a logo tasting glass to bring home. The most popular beer on a year-round basis and the brewery’s flagship beverage is the unique “Cape Cod Red.” This North American amber ale is described as “smooth and mellow” with caramel and toffee malt notes.

Cape Cod Chips are ubiquitous among snackers nationwide for their old-fashioned, kettle-cooked crunch. Folks from eastern Canada all the way down the eastern seaboard crave the product for a host of reasons: for some, it reminds them of a summer spent near the beach or at house parties. Others grew up with it packed in their school lunches. The guided tours are worth their salt, so to speak: they bring hungry crowds from the conveyor belt which brings in the potato loads, to the vat of oil where workers hand-stir the chips while they fry, and the giant tumblers which coat the final product in seasoning.

KA_Hyannis_Albertos2_113155:30 to 6:00 p.m. – Dinner
Alberto’s Ristorante (360 Main Street) features Northern Italian food with homemade pastas, sauces and hand-picked wines. If you’re feeling something a little lighter, try the unique pizza at Pizza Barbone (390 Main Street) or diverse selection of burritos at Burrito Bistro (790 Iyannough Rd #5). Whatever you do, make sure you don’t spend too much time out to eat, because there’s more you can do with your night in Hyannis than just call it after supper is over.

6 p.m. to Whenever – Cape Cod Nightlife Seeing a concert at the Melody Tent (21 W Main Street) is somewhat of a Cape Cod rite of passage. The tent seats over 2,000 audience members and puts each one of them within 50 feet of the rotating stage. Acts range from Top 40 headliners to more obscure singer-songwriters and comedians.

For more of an upscale party vibe, try Embargo (453 Main Street), a lounge and bar offering tempting tapas like tempura fried vegetables with sweet chili aioli. Embargo has DJ’s, live entertainment and sports on the big screens to keep the party going, along with a collection of killer craft cocktails.

By Adam Forziati

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