Culture About Quincy, Massachusetts

Quincy, Massachusetts is a historic city located just south of Boston. With a population of over 90,000, Quincy has a rich cultural heritage and lively contemporary arts and entertainment scene. Here is an in-depth look at the culture of Quincy, MA.

History and Cultural Heritage

Early Settlement

Quincy was first settled in 1625 by English colonists. The area was originally part of the Mount Wollaston section of Braintree and was incorporated as its own town in 1792. Some key historic facts about early Quincy:

  • It was named after Colonel John Quincy, grandfather of President John Quincy Adams.
  • Quincy was briefly renamed Braintree in 1792 before taking back its original name.
  • The John Adams Birthplace, John Quincy Adams Birthplace, and Peacefield (home of four generations of the Adams family) are national historic sites in Quincy.

Immigration and Diversity

Quincy has long been a diverse and welcoming community. Key waves of immigration include:

  • 19th century Irish immigrants who came to work in the granite quarries and railyards.
  • Late 19th/early 20th century immigrants from Italy, Scandinavia, Greece, and Eastern Europe who came to work in the thriving granite and shipbuilding industries.
  • Mid-20th century Asian immigrants, including many Chinese settling in the Wollaston neighborhood.
  • Late 20th century immigrants from Vietnam, Cambodia, and Central America.

This diversity is reflected in landmarks like the United First Parish Church, which displays on its walls murals devoted to Quincy’s different immigrant communities.

Historic Architecture

As one of the oldest communities in the United States, Quincy is filled with historic architecture dating back to the 17th century:

  • The John Adams and John Quincy Adams Birthplaces – Two of only four houses in the country used by two presidents.
  • The Dorothy Quincy Homestead – Home of founding father John Hancock’s wife.
  • The Josiah Quincy House – Built in 1770, this Georgian mansion is the headquarters of the Quincy Historical Society.
  • The Woodward School for Girls – Opened in 1894, this is an all-girls private school housed in a beautiful Victorian Romanesque building.
  • United First Parish Church – Established in 1639, the current building from 1828 features unique Gothic Revival stone architecture.

Contemporary Arts and Culture

While Quincy honors its past, the city also has a thriving contemporary arts and culture scene. Key venues and events include:

  • Quincy Center for the Arts – This nonprofit arts organization holds community theater productions, concerts, art exhibits, and classes year-round.
  • Quincy Art Association Gallery – Run by the Quincy Art Association, this gallery features rotating exhibits by local artists.
  • Thomas Crane Public Library – The main library branch holds author talks, lectures, art exhibits, and children’s programs.
  • Quincy Farmer’s Market – Open from June to October, this weekly farmer’s market features live music from local bands.
  • Fourth of July Parade – Quincy holds a major Independence Day parade through the center of town every July 4.
  • Quincy Porchfest – This annual music festival held in September sees bands perform on front porches around the city.

Ethnic Culture and Diversity

Quincy is a diverse community with rich ethnic culture. Here’s a look at some of the key cultural groups and ethnic enclaves within Quincy:

Asian Culture

  • Wollaston – This neighborhood south of Quincy Center has been the heart of the city’s Asian community since Chinese immigrants settled there in the late 19th century. Key sites include the Wollaston School (first school for Chinese children outside of San Francisco or New York) and the Quincy Chinese Language School.
  • Kam Man Food – This massive Asian supermarket supplies ingredients and products from across China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia.
  • Buddhist temples – Quincy is home to several Buddhist temples, including the Wollaston Buddhist Temple and the Quincy Buddhist Temple.
  • Lunar New Year Festival – Quincy celebrates the Lunar New Year with a parade and festivities in and around Quincy Center.

Irish Culture

  • Hibernian Hall – Built in 1895, this hall has long served as a social center for the city’s Irish American community.
  • St. Patrick’s Day Parade – March brings a celebratory St. Patrick’s Day parade through Quincy Center.
  • The Irish Pub – This pub and restaurant features classic Irish food and drink and live Irish music.
  • Squantum Association – This Irish American social club organizes community events and celebrations.

Italian Culture

  • Italian restaurants – Quincy has dozens of Italian restaurants and pizzerias, like The Townshend, Osteria La Civetta, and Fat Cat Pizza.
  • Sons of Italy – The city has an active chapter of the Order of the Sons of Italy fraternal organization.
  • St. John the Baptist Church– This Catholic church held masses in Italian for generations of Italian American parishioners.

Other Ethnic Groups

Other ethnic groups like Greeks, Scandinavians, and Southeast Asians have added their own flavor to Quincy over the years. Key cultural organizations include the Hellenic Association of Quincy, the Quincy Point Congregational Church (founded by 19th century Scandinavian immigrants), and the Southeast Asian Coalition of Central Massachusetts.

Food and Dining Scene

Quincy has a diverse restaurant landscape with plenty of great spots for dining out. Here are some of the highlights:


With easy access to Boston Harbor and the ocean, Quincy excels at fresh seafood. Top spots include:

  • The Fours – Clam chowder, lobster rolls, and other New England seafood classics.
  • Fat Cat Restaurant – Creative seafood dishes like miso salmon and lobster mac and cheese.
  • Black Rock Seafood – Chili crab and other Chinese seafood specialties.
  • The Ritz-Carlton Marina – High-end seafood and gorgeous marina views.

Asian Cuisine

Reflecting its diversity, Quincy has exceptional Asian food, including:

  • Peach Farm Restaurant – Dim sum favorites like har gow dumplings and barbecue pork buns.
  • Fuji 1546 – Elegant sushi and Japanese cuisine.
  • Pho Pasteur – Big bowls of pho noodle soup.
  • Kam Man Food – Chinese roast duck, cha siu bao, and dim sum.

Italian Food

Quincy has countless Italian restaurants, with standouts like:

  • The Townshend – Upscale modern Italian dishes and great cocktails.
  • Osteria La Civetta – Charming BYOB serving handmade pastas and Neapolitan pizzas.
  • Fat Cat Pizza – Creative wood-fired pizzas like clam and pancetta.
  • Grassi’s Italian Restaurant – Old school red sauce joint open since 1935.

American Favorites

For familiar American staples, popular options include:

  • The Fours – Pub food like burgers, wings, and nachos.
  • Westney Farm Restaurant – Locally-sourced New American cuisine.
  • Craig’s Cafe – Cozy breakfast joint known for fluffy pancakes.
  • Tony’s Clam Shop – Fried seafood and burgers right on Wollaston Beach.

Parks and Outdoor Activities

Quincy offers plenty of parks and natural areas for enjoying the outdoors.

Major Parks

  • Merrymount Park – This 67 acre park has walking trails, sports fields, and a scenic reservoir.
  • Adams National Historical Park – Includes many smaller parks and historic sites like the birthplaces of John and John Quincy Adams.
  • Quincy Shore Reservation – Has walking and biking paths with views of downtown Boston across the bay.


  • Wollaston Beach – The largest beach with a beautiful crescent shoreline.
  • Quincy Shore Drive Beaches – A series of smaller beaches along Quincy Shore Drive including Nickerson Beach and Kendall Square Beach.

Outdoor Activities

Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy:

  • Sailing, kayaking, fishing, and swimming in Boston Harbor
  • Hiking trails through the Blue Hills Reservation
  • Basketball, tennis, and beach volleyball at courts around the city
  • Biking or rollerblading along the Quincy Shore Drive bike path
  • Playing ball at Rotary Field, Veterans Memorial Stadium, or Adams Field

Local Attractions and Entertainment

Quincy has a good variety of attractions and entertainment options right in town.

Museums and Historic Sites

  • Adams National Historical Park – Includes the birthplaces, homes, and gravesites of John Adams and John Quincy Adams.
  • Quincy Historical Society Museum – Exhibits on local history inside the 1754 Josiah Quincy House.
  • United First Parish Church – Church with crypts containing the bodies of John and Abigail Adams and John Quincy and Louisa Adams.

Performing Arts

  • Quincy Community Theatre – This local theater company puts on Broadway musicals, comedies, and dramas.
  • Eastern Nazarene College – The college hosts plays, concerts, and art shows open to the public.
  • Quincy Symphony Orchestra – Professional orchestra that performs regularly at Quincy High School.

Historic Sites

  • Fort Square – Earthen Revolutionary War fortification with guided tours in summer.
  • Thomas Crane Public Library – Main library with beautiful architecture and historic manuscript collections.
  • Fore River Shipyard – Site of the shipyard where many famous vessels were built until the 1980s.

Family Entertainment

  • Quincy Quarries Reservation – Hiking trails and cliff jumping at an old granite quarry.
  • Wollaston Golf Course – Public 18-hole golf course open since 1926.
  • Fastlane Entertainment – Bowling, arcades, laser tag, and go-karts.
  • Bare Cove Park – Recreation area with a free petting zoo.

So in summary, Quincy has a remarkable range of cultural offerings – from exploring its historic role in colonial America, to sampling authentic ethnic cuisine, to taking in a play at a local theater. With its diversity and lively mix of old and new, there are many ways to experience the rich culture of Quincy!


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  • Head east on Interstate 90 toward Boston. Take exit 25B to merge onto MA-3 S toward Quincy/Cape Cod. Take the Burgin Parkway exit and turn left onto Burgin Pkwy. Turn right onto Quincy Ave. Turn left onto Federal Ave. 22 Federal Ave is on the right.
  • From downtown Boston, head south on I-93 S. Take exit 7 toward Quincy. Keep left at the fork to continue on MA-3A S. Turn right onto Burgin Pkwy. Turn left onto Quincy Ave. Turn right onto Federal Ave. The destination is on the right.
  • Get on I-93 S toward Boston. Take exit 9 for MA-3A toward Quincy/Braintree. Turn right onto Burgin Parkway. Turn left onto Quincy Ave. Turn right onto Federal Ave. 22 Federal Ave will be on your right.