Sometimes called "P-town", the town is known for its beaches, harbor, artists, tourist industry, and its reputation as a gay village.
The town includes eight buildings and a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places.
In the mid-1960s, Provincetown saw population growth. The town's rural character appealed to the hippies of the era; furthermore, property was relatively cheap and rents were correspondingly low, especially during the winter. Many of those who came stayed and raised families. Commercial Street gained numerous cafes, leather shops, head shops - various hip small businesses blossomed and many flourished.
In the mid-1970s members of the gay community began moving to Provincetown. In 1978 the Provincetown Business Guild (PBG) was formed to promote gay tourism. Today more than 200 businesses belong to the PBG and Provincetown is perhaps the best-known gay summer resort on the East Coast.
Since the 1990s, property prices have risen significantly, with numerous condo conversions causing some residents economic hardship. The recent housing bust (starting in 2005) has so far caused property values in and around town to fall by 10 percent or more in less than a year. This has not slowed down the town's economy, however. Provincetown's tourist season has expanded to the point where the town has created festivals and weeklong events throughout the year. The most established are in the summer: the Portuguese Festival and PBG's Carnival Week.