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downtown worcester, MA at dusk with statue

12 Things to Know About Living in Worcester

Thinking about moving to Worcester? New England’s second-largest city is an affordable place to live on the East Coast, offering plenty of job opportunities, family-friendly things to do, and some of the best craft breweries in the Northeast. Check out these 12 things to know about living in Worcester!

How to Pronounce Worcester

One thing to know about living in Worcester is that the city’s name is not pronounced the same way that it’s spelled. That’s because of its origins tracing back to the English city of the same name in Great Britain. The correct pronunciation of this Massachusetts city’s name is “Wuh-ster,” though you may occasionally hear it as “Wuh-stah” when spoken with a thick New England accent. Believe it or not, many cities in Massachusetts are pronounced differently than their spellings, and Worcester is just one of them!

Live in the City of Seven Hills

Much like Rome, Italy, Worcester is known as the City of Seven Hills because of the many hills that help define the city. However, don’t let the name fool you. There are more than seven hills within the city limits, with approximately 15 hills total in Worcester. But the main seven you will see and hear about are College Hill, Union Hill, Green Hill, Chandler Hill, Hancock Hill, Bancroft Hill, and Newton Hill. These hills are home to residential communities, business districts, and local parks.

Enjoy Affordable New England Living

Moving to New England can be expensive if you choose to live in cities like Boston or Weston. Fortunately, Worcester is one of the more affordable options in the Northeast! The overall cost of living in this Central Massachusetts city is 10% lower than the state average, and the cost of housing is a surprising 39% lower than that the state average, with a median home price at $206,500 and median monthly rent at $975. In addition, Worcester is home to major employers like University of Massachusetts Memorial Health Care, Hanover Insurance Group, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and Polar Beverages, so residents can find great job opportunities among industries like health care, education, and manufacturing!

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Study at Your Choice of School

Higher education is big in Massachusetts, and with 12 accredited colleges in Worcester and the surrounding area, finding higher education nearby is easy! Clark University is a private research university, where you can choose from 30 undergraduate majors such as social sciences or biological and biomedical science. Get your degree at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, which is one of the Massachusetts’ best schools for mechanical engineering and computer science. Worcester State University is another top college in the city, where you can get a degree in top programs like business and marketing. And the University of Massachusetts Medical School is a highly-regarded medical school, where students have the option to be a part of three different programs, including medicine, biomedical sciences, and nursing. No matter what you want to study, Worcester has the school for you!

Roam Through Worcester Parks

Worcester has tons of local parks with plenty of great views and green space to explore! Go for a walk, play a round of disc golf, or take the kids to the playground at Elm Park, one of the country’s oldest public parks—and in the summer, you can enjoy the Elm Park Summer Concert Series, featuring local bands and musicians on Thursday nights. Check out Green Hill Park, where you can visit the free petting zoo at Green Hill Park Farm or hit the links at Green Hill Golf Course. Need somewhere to cool off in the summer? Cristoforo Colombo Park has a giant splash pad that’s perfect for beating the heat!

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

WPI women's rowing team on the water photo by Instagram user @liljess5

Photo via @liljess5

Rowing is a huge sport in Worcester—and it’s one where you can spectate or participate! Attend the New England Rowing Championships hosted by Quinsigamond Rowing Association at Lake Quinsigamond each year in May. Watch rowing clubs and local colleges practice on the 2,000-meter rowing course at Quinsigamond State Park. Do you want to be in the water rather than watching? Take lessons at one of the many rowing clubs in Worcester, including the Quinsigamond Rowing Club, Worcester Boat Club, and Regatta Point Community Sailing!

Visit Worcester Museums

exhibition on the invention of Valentines at Worcester Historical Museum photo by Instagram user @newinthewoo

Photo via @newinthewoo

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Worcester, be sure to check out some of the city’s great museums! Visit the Worcester Historical Museum to learn all about this Massachusetts city’s local history. Explore one of the top historic house museums in New England with a tour of the Salisbury Mansion, where you can learn about local gentleman-merchant Stephen Salisbury. Prefer art museums? Check out the Worcester Art Museum to see paintings and sculptures from all around the world, including an exhibition featuring authentic artifacts from the Middle Ages. Or head to the EcoTarium, a great science and nature museum for kids that has a planetarium, freshwater animal exhibits, and an outdoor wildcat station!

Celebrate the Local Arts

ballet performance at The Hanover Theater and Conservatory in Worcester, MA photo by Instagram user @seanquinn123

Photo via @seanquinn123

Love the performing arts? You definitely don’t want to miss the amazing talent in Worcester! The Hanover Theatre is a renowned theater in Worcester, where you can catch a touring Broadway show, a local production of a play, or classic ballet performances. There’s also Mechanics Hall—home to the historic Hook Organ—where you can see the Worcester-based Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra perform. And don’t forget about Worcester’s annual StART on the Street festival! One of the best things to do in Central Massachusetts, this free event features over 300 artists and craftsman and includes live performances throughout the day, as well as tasty eats from local vendors!

Grab a Bite at Popular Restaurants

pasta from Nuovo Restaurant in Worcester, MA photo by Instagram user @nuovoworcester

Photo via @nuovoworcester

There are so many incredible places to eat in Worcester that cover all ends of the culinary spectrum! Head to George’s Coney Island Lunch for classic coney dogs and Polar Orange Soda. Make your way to Shrewsbury Street to experience some of the best restaurants in Worcester—like Nuovo, an authentic Italian spot where you can try Drunk Ziti or Classic Chicken Parmesan. Visit Smokestack Urban Barbecue for a Brisket Stack and Over The Top Fries. Drop into Deadhorse Hill, a Worcester favorite for brunch, where you can try the decadent Bananas Foster Pancakes. In the mood for something new? Try Salgabom Snacks, a fast-casual Brazilian spot known for its snacks and desserts like Fried Empanadas and Dragon Fruit Mousse. Or warm your soul on a cold day at Broth, where you’ll find delicious ramen in experimental flavors like New England Clam Bake Ramen!

Experience Vintage Worcester Diners

exterior photo of miss worcester diner in Worcester, MA photo by Instagram user @_j_r0ck_

Photo via @_j_r0ck_

Some of the earliest diners were manufactured in Worcester and shipped all over the country by the Worcester Lunch Car Company. In fact, there are many vintage diners still operating today in the city, and they account for some of the best restaurants in Worcester! Miss Worcester Diner is a popular spot with creative french toast options like Banana Split French Toast or Smores French Toast. Stop by Ralph’s Chadwick Square Diner if you’re looking for some delicious burgers and live music. Head out to the Corner Lunch Diner for a classic steak and eggs breakfast and wash it down with a hot chocolate that has a mountain of whipped cream on top. Or stop into the Boulevard Diner, where you can get the Worcester State Omelette or Italian Breakfast, both of which are some of Worcester’s best comfort food!

Sample a Worcester Craft Brew

beer flight from Wormtown brewery in Worcester, MA with Mass Whole, Rocket, Be Hoppy, Sweet Tats photo by Instagram user @cgf_94

Photo via @cgf_94

Worcester is home to tons of great breweries, all creating their own signature draughts! Visit Wormtown Brewery and try the Be Hoppy IPA or Fresh Patch Pumpkin Ale. Pop over to Greater Good Imperial Brewing Company, where you can try the Evana Russian Imperial Stout or one of the other great Passport Series brews. Check out Redemption Rock Brewing Co., which is a taproom and cafe all in one—be sure to try the Woo Palm Beach Sour. Or if you’re looking for a smaller, more intimate spot, head to Flying Dreams Brewing and try the Fuel America Coffee Stout!

Spend a Night on the Town

strawberry cocktail from Still & Stir in Worcester, MA photo by Instagram user @stillandstir

Photo via @stillandstir

There’s no shortage of exciting nightlife to experience in Worcester! Get out with friends at Nick’s, a German-themed bar featuring live music and an outdoor patio. If you want to play a few games of shuffleboard or giant Connect Four while enjoying a drink, head to The Pint. For great live music, The Raven is the perfect spot with cheap drinks to boot. Like a good cigar? Head over to Michael’s Cigar Bar and sit in the relaxing lounge where you can pair a cigar with one of their many beers on tap. For small plates and a large selection of wines, venture over to Bocado Tapas Wine Bar. Or if you love a high-end yet relaxed nightlife experience, visit Still & Stir for one of their unique cocktails like the Bobby Colins or the Bramble!


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About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.