Located in the heart of New England, Worcester strikes an intriguing balance: It’s full of historic charm, but is also a modern hub for innovation. Artists open their galleries and studios in converted factories, and the city practically doubles as an urban art gallery with dozens of eye-popping murals. A restaurant renaissance, hiking and biking trails (and nearby skiing), plus beloved parks make this Central Massachusetts city a fun place to live. But the economy is thriving, too. Biotech is the backbone of the economy, with the Massachusetts Biotechnology Research Park built in 1985 and dedicated to advancing biotechnology sciences — one of the first of its kind in the country. Thanks in part to a strong pipeline of highly educated graduates from local colleges, Worcester is also known for having a young, skilled workforce, who appreciate the relative affordability of the housing market as they launch their careers.
Top Industries and Employers: Healthcare, medical research, life sciences and biotechnology are key industries here.
Best Coffee Shop: Find ethically sourced coffee and a cozy environment with stocked bookshelves at Acoustic Java. The coffee shop also hosts live music and has a chess club.
Best Local Beer/Brewery: With the motto “A piece of Mass in every glass,” the brewmaster at Wormtown Brewery makes sourcing local ingredients a priority. The “Be Hoppy” Ipa is one of the brewery’s greatest hits.
Must-Have Meal: Armsby Abbey’s mac and cheese with a breadcrumb crust is made with a blend of cheeses and IPA, and, not surprisingly, has garnered a devout following.
Best Co-Working Space: An interesting concept, Be Studios is a co-working photography studio in the heart of downtown.
Best Meetup Spot (When Meeting Up Is a Thing Again): Ice cream, tacos, burgers, teriyaki: there’s something for everyone in your group to enjoy at the Worcester Public Market.
Creative Hub: The Worcester Art Museum houses paintings and sculptures from around the world.
Favorite Weekend Activity: Enjoy a concert in Mechanics Hall, a stunning venue with A+ acoustics.
Free Way to Have Fun: Hang out in Elm Park; go ice skating on the pond in the winter and enjoy the concerts in the summer.
Local Dream Job: Volunteer tour guide of the Bancroft Tower, a 56-foot high miniature feudal castle that’s rarely open to the public
- Brittany Anas