Within 15 minutes of downtown Boston, Everett is a diverse community on the Mystic River, with a hardscrabble background.
Prominent on the skyline here are the chimneys of the Mystic Generating Station, expected to fully retire in the mid-2020s.
Other former industrial areas along the riverfront have been replaced by a shopping center, a waterfront trail and spots for axe throwing and indoor climbing.
Surely the biggest transformation took place in 2019, when Wynn Resorts opened the casino resort, Encore Boston Harbor Casino, with more than 670 rooms.
Everett’s many old factories and warehouses have also proved to be fertile ground for innovative craft beverage businesses, with a cluster of breweries and a distillery dubbed the Fermentation District.
1. Encore Boston Harbor Casino
About a decade after it was first proposed, in 2019 this luxury casino resort opened on the Mystic River, laying down a milestone in the city’s modern history.
Part of the Wynn Resorts brand, Encore Boston Harbor came at a total cost of $2.6 million, and helped regenerate a big chunk of waterfront, with a performance lawn, riverside trail (Harborwalk), waterfront restaurants and a viewing deck.
The casino has more than 2,700 slots and close to 200 table games, in an opulent environment with 40-foot ceiling and chandeliers on the main floor, and a terrace level for high-limit rooms and private gambling salons.
There’s a selection of bars and lounges at the resort, along with dining options from white tablecloth (Rare Steakhouse, Fratelli, Red 8) to Shake Shack and Dunkin’.
2. Northern Strand Community Trail (Bike to the Sea Trail)
Everett is at the very start of a growing multi-use trail that wends its way through several North Shore communities before arriving at the coast in Lynn.
If you’re in the mood for a day at the beach, you can get to the Atlantic in under 45 minutes on two wheels.
When we wrote this article the Northern Strand Community Trail was ten miles long, but was in the process of being extended down the peninsula to Nahant and also south from the original trailhead in Everett to touch the Mystic River waterfront.
Much of the trail is on the old Saugus Branch of the Boston & Maine Railroad, dating back to the mid-19th century.
3. Night Shift Brewing
The first of a clutch of craft beverage businesses in a light industrial area in Everett is Night Shift Brewing. This operation was founded at this location in 2012, and has since opened branches in Boston and Natick.
Night Shift Brewing lives by the philosophy “All Styles Welcome”, which applies to everything from beer lineup to clientele and staff.
Among the beers on draft when we made this list were drinkable lagers like Lime Lite, a range of hoppy IPAs (Santilly, Fluffy, The 87) and a big choice of hard seltzers in flavors from blood orange mango to lychee papaya.
There’s live music here up to five nights a week, as well as a rotating choice of food trucks, and all kinds of fun activities, from board game speed dating to Monday night trivia.
4. Glendale Park
Right in front of Everett High School, the city’s community park dates back to the turn of the 20th century.
Baseball has been played here for all that time, and in 1928 Babe Ruth took the field for a benefit game following the Beacon Oil explosion in Everett in February of that year.
There are three ballfields at Glendale Park, all surrounded by a multi-use trail, with a children’s playground by the entrance at Elm St and Ferry St.
Along Elm St you’ll find the Rec Center, home to the Allied Veterans Memorial Swimming and Wading Pool, open during the school summer break, as well as the Allied Veterans Memorial Rink. In July, Glendale Park is also the venue for Everett’s Independence Day celebrations.
5. Short Path Distillery
This small-batch distillery opened in Everett in 2015. The name, “Short Path” refers to the distilling process in a pot still—the shorter the path between evaporation and condensation, the more intense and complex the distillate.
To achieve this, Short Path Distillery uses handcrafted copper stills imported from Portugal, along with high-quality ingredients that are sourced locally where possible.
In the lineup of spirits are malt, rye and peat-smoked whiskeys, as well as a range of gins, rums, triple sec and amaro.
You can get to know how these are made on a tour, while the bar here is open seven days a week, with a fine selection of cocktails.
6. Bone Up Brewing
A few steps from the Northern Strand Community Trail is another craft brewery that opened in 2016, and has a large beer garden.
The first thing to say about Bone Up Brewing is that it has a devoted community attending all kinds of quirky events like Stoner Metal Yoga, dog pool parties and a Paint Your Pet Workshop, to go with plenty of live music, themed trivia nights and pop-up food options.
As for beer, Bone Up Brewing is a marriage of Belgian and American brewing traditions, making Belgian-style Tripels and a Farmhouse Ale to go with hop-forward IPAs and malty Porters, Stouts and Dark Ales. You can order a flight with four 5oz pours, and there’s a choice of bar snacks, sourced locally.
Wrapping around Encore Boston is a long riverside path, open to the public 24 hours a day all year round.
Beautifully lit and edged by trees, shrubs and flowerbeds, the Harborwalk has opened up a big piece of the waterfront to the public for the first time in more than a hundred years.
You can look out over the last stretch of the Mystic River, and survey the Amelia Earhart Dam, constructed in 1966 to keep saltwater out of the river.
West of the casino resort, the trail curls around the Gateway Center and up to the mouth of the Malden River where it connects with Gateway Park.
8. Mary O’Malley State Park
Close by in Chelsea is another pretty waterfront space, where Island End River meets the Mystic River. Here you’ll be greeted by lush, sloping lawns, and a lot of shade under the trees in summer.
Rising in front of you is the impressive structure of the Tobin Bridge, the largest in New England and opened in 1950. To the south you can make out a section of the Boston skyline.
There’s a pier with a small pavilion and dock, as well as a recently upgraded playground for kids and tennis courts.
9. SkyZone Trampoline Center
Part of that national chain of indoor trampoline parks, SkyZone Everett opened in a large warehouse in 2011 and has a host of bounce-related attractions.
The main space is the Freestyle Jump area, where pretty much every surface except for the ceiling is lined with trampolines, for non-stop action.
Elsewhere there’s a dodgeball area, foam pit, basketball hoop for slam dunks, the gladiator-style Skyjoust, a Ninja Warrior course, a warped wall, bungee trampoline and the Junior Jump Zone, designed for children four years old and under accompanied by parents.
10. Aeronaut Cannery & Taproom
You won’t run out of craft beverage experiences in Everett, as the beloved Boston area beer brand Aeronaut has recently opened its third location here.
With a stripped-back industrial style, The Cannery has a taproom and 18 Aeronaut brews on draft. The selection spans lagers, sours and IPAs, ensuring there’s something for all tastes.
A few of Aeronaut’s perennials are Robot Crush (Pilsner), Boreal Kingdom (NEIPA), A Year with Dr. Nandu (American IPA) and Hop Hop & Away (Session IPA).
This is the perfect space for events like live music shows, trivia nights and even a dodgeball league. For food, Aeronaut teams up with the local Venezuelan eatery, Carolicious, making arepas and bowls.
11. MetroRock Climbing Center
One sport enjoying a big surge in the last few years is climbing, and it has much to do with indoor centers like MetroRock in Everett.
This cavernous space has walls with plentiful overhangs that will give seasoned climbers a workout. But if you have no previous experience, you can still drop in for some bouldering.
This ropeless activity involves auto-belays, with thick gymnastics on the ground for a soft landing.
If you’re serious about getting into the sport there’s an Intro to Climbing Class, taking place everyday and familiarizing you with equipment and basic techniques.
For one-to-one tuition there are customizable Personal Training Programs, taking your skills to the next level.
12. Revolution Axe Throwing
This axe throwing attraction opened in 2019 in the same industrial park as the MetroRock Climbing Center and Sky Zone.
The founders of Revolution Axe Throwing were introduced to the sport on a trip to Canada and saw its potential for fun nights out with friends and corporate outings with a twist.
Almost anyone can throw an axe with some accuracy, and there are patient and friendly instructors to show you the basic technique and how to keep score.
If you want to test your skills against other enthusiasts there are even axe throwing leagues, in which you’ll compete for up to two hours a week for eight weeks.
13. Lt Joseph Wehner Park
In the very north of Everett, this compact triangular park announces your arrival from Malden with the “Welcome to Everett” sign.
Lt Joseph Wehner Park is an endearing space, with bench-lined paths weaving through lawns and past flowerbeds.
But what really puts this park on the map is the bandstand, which is a stage for outdoor events in the summer months.
This includes the Concert in the Park series, bringing a mix of soul, Latin American music and classic rock in June, July and August. The city also organizes outdoor summer movie nights at Everett Veterans Memorial Stadium.
14. Gateway Center
West of Encore Boston and traced by the waterfront trail there’s a large outdoor shopping center with around 30 stores.
When we wrote this list, a few of the big retailers at the Gateway Center were Gap (factory store), Michaels, PetSmart, Target, The Home Depot, Bath & Body Works, Five Below and Costco.
These stores are accompanied by a clutch of chain restaurants, like TGI Fridays, Texas Roadhouse and Chuck E. Cheese’s, with a branch of McDonald’s and local mainstay, Mike’s Roast Beef, just around the corner.
15. Independence Day Celebration
There’s a day of live entertainment and family fun each year at Glendale Park to mark the 4th of July. Among the long-term recurring traditions in Everett are kids’ contests for decorating wagons, bicycles and doll carriages.
There’s also a ton of activities for children to enjoy, from carnival games to inflatables and face painting.
There’s a program of live music all afternoon and into the evening, and if you get hungry there’s food freshly grilled by ISD workers and other volunteers. Naturally everything is topped off by a crowd-pleasing fireworks show.