DescriptionHyannis, the largest of the town of Barnstable's seven villages, is Cape Cod's main transportation hub. Cape Air and its subsidiary Nantucket Airlines, Island Airlines and a variety of charter operations are headquartered at Barnstable Municipal Airport, 480 Barnstable Rd.; phone (508) 775-2020. Terminating in downtown Hyannis, the CapeFLYER offers rail service from Boston to Cape Cod. The passenger train operates Friday through Sunday from Memorial Day to Columbus Day; phone (508) 775-8504. The Steamship Authority , a car and passenger ferry, operates daily year-round from Hyannis to Nantucket; phone (508) 771-4000 for information or reservations.
Hyannis' harbor is deep enough to accommodate oceangoing yachts. Kalmus Park Beach (670 Ocean St.), Orrin Keyes Beach (at the southern end of Sea Street) and Veterans Park Beach (at Ocean and Gosnold streets), are popular with visitors, as are a number of sandy spots nearby—particularly Craigville Beach in Centerville.
The Hyannis area also will forever be linked to one of the most famous of America's political dynasties. Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. and his wife Rose began vacationing here in the 1920s; by the '60s, the family's Hyannis Port property had become known as the “summer White House” of President John F. Kennedy. Today, many pay their respects to the nation's 35th president at the John F. Kennedy Memorial, on Ocean Street in Veterans Memorial Park. Fronted by a small pool and fountain, a fieldstone wall features a large medallion with JFK's likeness. The waterfront site on sailboat-dotted Lewis Bay also embraces the Korean War Memorial, picnic facilities and a playground.
The future of the Kennedy's original white clapboard home at 50 Marchant Ave., facing Nantucket Sound, is uncertain. In 2012, the residence where former Massachusetts senator Edward M. Kennedy spent his last years was donated to a nonprofit educational institution bearing his name. But while the historic house could one day be opened to the public, for the time being, the only way for tourists to get a good look at the 6-acre Kennedy Compound is by boat.
Visitor InfoHyannis Area Chamber of Commerce 356 South St. HYANNIS, MA 02601. Phone:(508)775-2201
Self-guiding toursThe Hyannis Kennedy Legacy Trail highlights 10 sites connected to the prominent family. Posted at every stop is a matrix barcode that, when scanned by a smartphone, serves up an audiovisual presentation. Included are St. Francis Xavier, the Kennedy clan's summer church; Hyannis Armory, the site of JFK's presidential acceptance speech; and the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum (397 Main St.), where printed brochures of the 1.6-mile-long walking tour may be obtained.
ShoppingPerfect for rainy days, the Cape Cod Mall at 769 Iyannough Rd. (SR 132) is the cape's only traditional indoor mall. Macy's has two stores here, one of which focuses entirely on women's clothing and accessories. The shopping center's other anchors are a two-story Barnes & Noble and a Sears.
The Hyannis Main Street Waterfront District offers more than 200 businesses, from upscale seafood restaurants to eco-friendly shops trading in organic cotton T-shirts. While most of the action is centered on Main Street, a handful of artists' studios, including Sarah Holl ArtSpace , are on Pearl Street. In tiny Bismore Park, on Ocean Street overlooking Hyannis Harbor, the HyArts Artist Shanties feature the works of Cape Cod painters, sculptors, jewelry makers, photographers and other creative types. The quaint wooden shacks are typically open Memorial Day through September.
NightlifeThe Hyannis Main Street Waterfront District's compact size makes barhopping easy.
Stroll along Main Street and take your pick from the commercial lane's wide variety of drinking establishments and restaurants, many with patios. One of the chicest spots is emBargo (453 Main St.), a tapas bar drawing twenty- and thirtysomethings with naughty-sounding specialty martinis and mind-blowing close-up magic à la David Blaine. Late night, the plush venue transforms into a dance club with thumping house music and a $10 cover charge; phone (508) 771-9700.
For classic tavern shenanigans like karaoke (Wednesdays) and trivia (Thursdays), stroll over to the divey Seaside Pub on Main (615 Main St.), where you'll often find locals jamming to DJ-spun Top 40 hits (Fridays and Saturdays) or glued to the big Sox/Patriots/Celtics/Bruins game of the day. As if you needed another reason to stop by, the pours here are heavy and the prices are cheap; phone (508) 815-4517.
Things to SeeCape Cod Central Railroad