Welcome to the City's Waterfront Visitor Center
We're located on
Fisherman's Wharf in the heart New Bedford's working waterfront. The
Center is housed in the historic Wharfinger Building, also known to many a
mariner as the "Old Fish Auction House" was erected in 1934-35 under the
Work Projects Administration (WPA).
The Wharfinger Building was constructed as
the new offices for the City Wharfinger, an official who collected
wharfage fees and oversaw other shipping activities. The title "CITY
WHARFINGER" is carved into the granite lintel above the building's east
entrance. The building featured a fireplace in the Warming Room where
women and children waited for steamships during winter months. For many
years, the Wharfinger Building was the site the port's fish auctions.
Every morning, the 0700 bell would start the famous scallop auction, which
attracted scores of fishing captains, vessel owners, processors, buyers
and agents. Hauls & prices were jotted down on the massive blackboard.
These brief but frenetic assemblies generally set the market price of
seafood for the nation. These historic rooms have been recently restored.
Today, the Wharfinger Building welcomes visitors from around the
The newest feature of the Wharfinger Building is one of the
oldest artifacts in the city collection. The whaling era William Street
Bell is mounted on a harpoon on the east face of the building and rings Ship's
Bells for mariners and visitors alike. Traditional marine weather
flags are also hoisted daily on the building's mast.
Please drop in for a visit; check out
this old port landmark and browse our wide assortment of information about
the New Bedford area's many historical and cultural attractions. Don't
forget to sign the city's official Whaling Crew Logbook! Or call our
toll-free information line for weekly events: 800-508-5353.
Travel directions to the
Waterfront Visitor Center:
Take I-195 to Exit 15 (Route 18
South - Downtown). At the second traffic light, take a LEFT (be in the
left lane). Take a sharp LEFT onto MacArthur Drive. Take your next RIGHT
onto Fisherman's Wharf (old City Pier #3). We'll have our code flags
hoisted in your honor!
New Bedford Whaling National Historic Park Visitor Center
Located just up the hill from the Waterfront, the National Park's
Visitor Center is housed in the old NBIS bank building (1853) at the
corner of William and Second Streets. The center is an excellent starting
point from which to explore historic New Bedford. Rangers and volunteer
staff will help orient you to what there is to see and do. For information
on programs, events and walking tours: New Bedford Whaling National
Historical Park, 33 William Street, New Bedford, MA 02740. Tel.
508- 996-4095. Website: www.nps.gov/nebe
Parking: Take I-195 to Exit 15 (Route 18 South - Downtown). At
the traffic light, turn RIGHT. Proceed 500 feet up Elm Street. The city's
Elm Street Parking Garage is on your RIGHT. Vehicle height limit: 6'3".
Parking is also available at the Custom House Square Parking Lot. The
National Park Visitor Center is located diagonally across the street from
the Custom House.
Town of Fairhaven Visitor Center
As its name
implies, the beautiful town of Fairhaven, located on the eastern shores of
our harbor, offers visitors many things to see and do. The town center
features exquisite 19th century public buildings and churches. Fairhaven's
Tourism Office offers regular free walking tours of the center of town as
well as tours of Fort Phoenix, its Revolutionary War era fort, which
guards the entrance to New Bedford Harbor. For information on the town's
attractions, tours and visitor services, contact the Town of Fairhaven
Office of Tourism: http://hometown.aol.com/fairhaventours/