New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

An urban National Park in the Historic District in Downtown New Bedford

The City That Lit the World

"The town itself is perhaps the dearest place to live in, in all New England, nowhere in all America will you find more patrician-like houses, parks, and gardens more opulent, than in New Bedford…all these brave houses and flowery gardens came from the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. One and all, they were harpooned and dragged up hither from the bottom of the sea."  H. Melville, "Moby-Dick"

Start your visit at the national park visitor center to get a brief orientation, view the park's free official orientation film, The City that Lit the World, pick up maps and brochures, view exhibits and plan your day. Take a guided or self-guided tour to learn more about New Bedford's fascinating history, visit our partner institutions, attend special programs and events that take place in the park year round and explore the many shops, restaurants and galleries located in and around the park. Partner sites include the New Bedford Whaling MuseumRotch-Jones-Duff House and Garden MuseumSeamen's BethelWaterfront Visitor Center and Schooner Ernestina.

New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park was established by Congress in 1996 to help preserve and interpret America's nineteenth century whaling industry. The park, which encompasses a 13-block National Historic Landmark District, is the only National Park Service area addressing the history of the whaling industry and its influence on the economic, social, and environmental history of the United States. The National Park visitor center is located at 33 William Street in downtown New Bedford. It is open seven days a week, from 9 AM-5 PM, and offers information, exhibits, and a free 22-minute orientation movie every hour on the hour from 10 AM-4 PM. The visitor center is wheelchair-accessible, and is free of charge. Walking tours are offered daily during the summer months. Check the schedule of events for specific programs. For more information, call the visitor center at 508-996-4095, go to, visit the park's Facebook page, Twitter feed or YouTube channel


33 William St
New Bedford, MA 02740
Phone: 1-508-996-4095

Additional Information

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