Viva Fall River

Must-Visit Spots in Fall River for History Buffs

Jan 31, 2024 | Attractions, Visit

Step back in time and immerse yourself in the captivating history of Fall River, Massachusetts! 

Nestled in the heart of New England, Fall River is made up of a rich tapestry of historical landmarks and significant sites waiting to be explored by avid history buffs. From iconic museums showcasing the city’s industrial past to storied mansions echoing tales of wealth and legacy, Fall River is a treasure trove of fascinating stories and heritage. 

Join us on a journey through time as we uncover the must-visit spots that make Fall River a haven for history enthusiasts. Check out these iconic Fall River destinations for the history buff in your life.


The Lizzie Borden House (157 Third St) –

Whether you’re a fan of Victorian history or a true crime junkie, the Lizzie Borden House is a can’t miss destination. Immerse yourself in the mystery of one of America’s most notorious unsolved murders by visiting the home, which is now a functional bed & breakfast. Explore the Victorian home on one of their guided tours, or, if you’re brave, book an overnight stay in one of their guestrooms. Want to dive into the history of Lizzie Borden even further? We put together a self-guided tour visiting all the sites connected to the infamous case. Click here for the tour!


Lafayette Durfee House (94 Cherry St) –

The Lafayette Durfee House is a living time capsule, nestled in a residential neighborhood not far from Fall River’s downtown. Named after the infamous Revolutionary war figure, General Marquis de Lafayette, who frequently visited the Fall River home of fellow namesake, Judge Thomas Durfee, the house has been dutifully preserved to showcase life in colonial New England. Each year, the House hosts a number of exciting and unconventional events, perfect for the history buff in your life. Events range from educational talks, to living history walkthroughs, to experiential workshops that teach you how to churn butter, make candles or weave fabric like they did in the 1700s. Where else can you grab tea with Martha Washington herself?


Fall River Public Library (104 N Main St) 

One of Fall River’s most beloved community resources, the Library is worth a visit if only for the beautiful, historic building. The Fall River Public Library as we know it today was founded in 1861, as the direct descendant of the Fall River Athenaeum, a private subscription library established in 1835. A new home was commissioned for the library in 1899, during the height of Fall River’s economic success,  demonstrated in its opulent design featuring vaulted ceilings, marble accents and grand staircases. The library also contains a wide array of archival materials and historic exhibits. Drop by and get lost in the sprawling stacks.


The Museums At Battleship Cove (5 Water St)-

If you’re willing to brave a little bit of rain on the deck of the mighty ships at Battleship Cove, you can make a day out of exploring the area. Battleship Cove is a non-profit war memorial and historic military museum with an emphasis on naval heritage and a dedication to honoring the veterans who served in defense of our country. Board the epic USS Massachusetts, view the nearby exhibits and cross the road to the Maritime Museum. Nearby, you’ll find Heritage State Park’s visitor center, which offers exhibits and short film screenings exploring Fall River’s history. From spring til mid-fall, the historic Fall River carousel is open to the public, with a homemade ice cream shop offering sweets on the first floor.


Explore the Olmsted Parks (Various Locations)- 

In the 1800s, Fall River benefited from the boom of the textile industry.  With many residents working long hours indoors in mills, it was important to provide open recreational spaces to support the health and happiness of Fall River’s neighborhoods. The Fall River Commission on Park Improvements, hired Frederick Law Olmsted and his firm to design several parks and green areas in Fall River. Olmsted, now known as the father of American landscape architecture, had achieved fame for his work designing New York City’s Central Park. We put together a self-guided tour taking you through Fall River to the various spaces designed by the historic Olmsted firm.


Architecture Tour (Various Locations)

The rich history of Fall River is visible at every turn. For those who enjoy architecture and historic homes, a free walk or drive through Fall River will reveal many magnificent sights.

Fall River’s Historic Highlands neighborhood, located to the North of the City’s downtown, is home to dozens of beautifully maintained Victorian homes. From the colorful siding to castle-like turrets to the frilly “gingerbread” style adornments, these homes are a feast for the eye. Fall River is also home to several impressive, gothic-style churches— including Saint Anne’s Church on South Main Street, Santo Christo Parish on Columbia Street, St. Mary’s Cathedral on Second Street and the First Congregational Church of Fall River on Rock Street.