One Day in The Canal District - The Perfect Itinerary

Posted: August 15, 2018

Although The Canal District’s once flowing water canal is now underground, this district has resurfaced as one of the the fastest growing neighborhoods in the city. Overflowing with trendy restaurants, chic shopping and live entertainment; this area is worth exploring, even if it’s only for one day.

Kelley Square: Your First Adventure

The famous Kelley Square intersection is the inspiration for many bumper stickers and funny memes. This southern entrance to The Canal District is Worcester’s most famous intersection - and it will get your blood pumping for the day ahead. So buckle up and prepare yourself for a fun day of exploration. 

Breakfast at Birch Tree

Located in the center of the Canal District is the Crompton Place Building, a restored mill bustling with trendy shops and chic restaurants. 

Inside you will find Birch Tree Bread Co. - a bright and airy bakery and cafe that serves up coffee from local roasters, and offers a menu that revolves around fresh artisinal breads milled with organic grains from nearby farms and locally sourced meats.

What to try: Breakfast sandwich on a homemade bacon fat brioche bun paired with a maple latte.

You can always come back for lunch and try their popular turkey bacon or grilled cheese on freshly baked coriander raisin bread. 

If you are visiting on a Wednesday or Friday, take advantage of pizza night. Look out for live music every weekend and monthly beer dinners. 

Hunt for The Canal’s Buried Treasures

You don’t need to leave the building to continue on your journey to Crompton Collective, a curated boutique marketplace with a mission to celebrate local independent gift makers and a love of old things.

Head downstairs to enter into an indoor world of creative inspiration and artistic expression. From antiques to vintage treasures and shabby chic home decor; it will be a feast for the eyes and take you on a treasure hunt to find the perfect souvenir for your trip.

You will also find one of the few year round farmer’s markets open every Saturday from 9 AM - 12 PM.

Don’t leave the building without checking out the most Instagram-worthy eclectic shop in Worcester: Seed to Stem. This “Lifestyle and Plant Boutique” boasts unusual botanicals, natural wonders, terrariums, and many more unique goods. 

Lunch and Cupcakes 

Head to Water Street for a slice of culinary history. Weintraub’s Jewish Delicatessen serves up delicious and reasonably priced sandwiches and sides. Dining at this nostalgic deli is like stepping back into old school Worcester. Local photos from the 1930’s line the checkered walls and remind us of Worcester’s immigrant past. Not much has changed in this deli in the past 25 years, and the locals like it that way. 

Keep deli hopping with a stop for homemade ice cream at The Broadway Restaurant, which has a family-friendly vintage vibe, or head further north and step into new Worcester at the “from scratch bakery": The Queen’s Cups.

A recent addition to the Canal District, this sweet spot offers unique cupcake flavors including blueberry and bacon, chocolate cannoli, waffle churros, and cookie dough crumb. If you’re there on a Thursday, come back for after-dinner dessert and check out the live music. 

Historic Walking Tour or Ice Skating

Take a fun historic walking tour around the district. The Canal District has an online interactive walking tour equipped with audio clips outlining the history of each building and images from the past. Find the interactive walking map here. Follow along on your phone by clicking on the map to bring up the audio for each historic building you pass. 

Or, visit the brand-new Fidelity Bank Worcester Ice Center located on Harding Street. On Saturday nights an Ice Jam is hosted, where you can skate and enjoy a live DJ for only $5. Inside you will also be able to check out the newly opened smoothie and coffee cafe, Steam Energy. Make sure to check out the ice center website for varying public skating hours. 

If you're wrapping the day up before 5pm, make sure to check out The Pie Store at Table Talka must visit destination, where the iconic Table Talk Pie has been produced since 1924. The Pie Store offers the nostalgia of 'yesteryear'.  Make sure to stock up on $.50 fresh pies to take home and choose from unique flavors not available everywhere.

After Dark in The Canal District 

From amazing food and bars to live entertainment; there’s something for everyone here when the sun goes down.


Kummerspeck - A full service butcher shop and farm to table restaurant with bar. The charcuterie board is created with house-made meats and is a must-try. 

Bocado Tapas Wine Bar - Spanish tapas restaurant with a sultry ambience. Known for their sangria and fried goat cheese. 

Smokestack Urban BBQ - A mixed bayou and barbecue vibe with cajun food. The brisket is a favorite. Come for Thursday Bacon Happy Hour.

The Dive Bar - If craft brew is your thing, the Dive Bar is your place. Enjoy a craft beer on the patio and grab some apps from the famous Mama Roux food truck on-site.

Lock 50 - An intimate dining retreat offering an innovative menu and versatile selection of wine. Leave dinner to the experts and indulge in the Chef's Tasting Menu, perfectly accompanied with wines selected by an experienced Sommelier. 

Nonna's Pizza and Pasta - A casual environment offering Traditional Grandma-Style Pan Pizza cooked in a classic brick-lined oven. 


The Ballot Box - A political-themed bar in the heart of Kelley Square. Explore national and local political memorabilia while enjoying fun drinks like the best selling 'Trumptini'.

Electric Haze - Hookah Bar and live music lounge with an LBGTQ dance party on select Fridays and live music throughout the week.

Cafe Neo Greek food and drinks that look like works of art. Complimentary buffets on Tuesdays and Saturdays and  karaoke 7 days a week. 

Whisky On Water - A unique bar with over 300 different whiskeys on the menu and a night club with two floors for dancing and live music.