Worcester, Massachusetts

Woo-Town

The BUZZ

What's it like to live in Worcester

What advice would you give to someone who is moving to Worcester, MA?

So you’re moving to Worcester? I am a Worcester Swede - historically an Eastern US city with a large Swedish population. Due to the metal manufacturing in Worcester in late 1800s and later Swedes were recruited for employment. Most of the Swedish heritage is gone unless you know where to look for it. Now Worcester is a large city with a large minority population.

It has always been, and still is, a city of two faces. There are neighborhoods of lovely homes, theatre, music, restaurants, universities, many things to like, and it is a city with the issues of a city. Close to Boston and not too far from the ocean, there is a lot to offer. The cost of living is dramatically lower than Boston.

What is Worcester, Massachusetts like nowadays?

Worcester is the latest “it” city. The transformation in a few short years is astounding. Worcesterites have always had an inferiority complex due to its proximity to Boston and Providence, but the last several years has caused even the most cynical Worcester native to strut just a bit. Years of decay have completely reversed itself as developers from Boston and elsewhere have recognized the potential and comparatively low cost . Barely a day goes by without an announcement that a new development is in the works or an underused factory area is going to be retrofitted for the latest in technology. The luring of the Boston Red Sox triple A farm team from Pawtucket has spurred a $240 million project in the already booming Canal District. College grads are actually opting to stay in the “heart of the Commonwealth” due to the many good paying jobs in the burgeoning biotech field and elsewhere. The word “hip” and Worcester were never used in the same sentence, but that has all changed. New restaurants and clubs open weekly and it’s now known as a destination for foodies. Against all odds, the former “utility closet of New England” as once described by the New York Times is once again flexing its muscles as New England’s second largest city.

What are the good and bad neighborhoods of Worcester, MA?

I'll start w best areas to worst

Salisbury street area

Tatnuck square and June street area (for the most part), it gets nicer the closer you get to the jewish section. Sorry but I'm being honest.

Upper Burn coat and the streets between west Boylston street and burn coat

Some parts of lake Ave and Hamilton are good

Massasoit is good

I'm half asleep so bear w me.

Stay away from grafton hill, Vernon hill, Belmont hill, pleasant street for fucking sure and Def any roads north of pleasant like Russell street, I can't think of the others rn. Stay the fuck out of anywhere between main south and Webster square. The cherry valley side if Webster Sq is nice tho. Stay away from Millbury street are, 3gs sports pub, in that area, there's always trouble. And absolutely stay away from Southbridge street/Canterbury area

I'm thinking of moving to Worcester! Tell me pros and cons

I'm in my mid-30s, but I've lived in Worcester a long time now, after living in Boston for a while. I still work in Cambridge, and the main difference to me is just how small Worcester feels. It's actually pretty big and spread out, but there's lots of parts I just don't go to. Not because they're dangerous or anything, but because there are huge parts of the city that are just super-residential and boring and have nothing going on… maybe Worcester is sort of like a giant Hyde Park with a couple of tall buildings.

I don't really think of "going out" here the same way I did in Boston, where my friends and I would basically pick an area and spend the afternoon or night shopping, dining, drinking. IE, go to Pour House on Boylston St and hit up Bukowski's stroll down Newbury St, etc. or hang in Allston Village where there's a bunch of food, bars, dessert, shops. When I go out in Worcester, it usually involves driving or ubering from one place to another.

I definitely felt a dip in quality in terms of nightlife, but there are a handful of really cool bars here (thinking Nick's, Vincent's, Ralph's, Hotel Vernon, Electric Haze, Armsby Abbey), and the restaurants are really good and more coming up. The bummer part is that it feels like a lot of new places (especially downtown) are very corporate and not very good, and the negative effects of gentrification are a bit worrisome (people and businesses being priced out).

Walkability and the 'connectedness' of the city has been a major gripe for me… so many spots where sidewalks just end and it just seems like this place is pedestrian-hostile. Like drivers are shocked that people would actually be out walking in the city.

As others have said, the prices here are great, and I was able to buy a big house and a big yard, but I can't walk anywhere since it's so residential where I'm at for at least like 1.5 miles in every direction. I do not feel like I live in the 2nd biggest city in New England.

To me, driving into Cambridge has definitely worked better than trying to take commuter rail because of the flexibility, but I think it depends where you're headed. I'm able to be really flexible with my schedule, working at home 2-3 days a week. On days I do go in, I try to leave Worcester early (like 6am), and head home when my in-person meetings are over… either mid-day or afternoon so I don't get stuck in evening commute. My wife also works, and we have a young child, and it's actually worked OK.

Worcester on the rise