Charming neighborhoods and vibrant communities offer an assortment of fun things to do in Worcester.
Near the geographic center of Massachusetts, Worcester is referred to as the “Heart of the Commonwealth.” Worcester strikes an intriguing balance: It’s full of historic charm but is also a modern hub for innovation…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. The median home value in Worcester is $340,000, making it significantly less costly than surrounding cities like Boston.
Still not convinced? Here are five of the area’s most popular neighborhoods that will make you want to pack your bags for Worcester right now.
Many people regard the Canal District as the most active developing area in Worcester, with the neighborhood continually welcoming more restaurants, retail options, community events, and bars and nightlife choices.
One of the most visited attractions is the year-round Worcester Public Market, open Wednesday through Sunday. Other popular attractions include the Worcester Ice Center, which hosts the Worcester Railers Hockey Club, as well as Polar Park, home of the Worcester Red Sox, the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.
The Canal District bustles during the daytime and is growing in popularity as a nighttime destination, with places to mix and mingle like Lock 50 and Café Neo.
Some of the largest and most expensive homes in Worcester can be found in the West Side neighborhood, especially along Lenox Street, Massachusetts Avenue and Salisbury Street.
The median listing for West Side homes is $469,900, according to Realtor.com (August 2021). The public schools are highly rated, and residents here are met with several neighborhood coffee shops and parks, like Cascades Park, which includes trails, a waterfall and a dog park. A must-try restaurant in the area is Westside Steak & BBQ.
Known for its reputation as being the “Little Italy” of Worcester, Shrewsbury Street is where Italian immigrant families and businesses arrived in the early 1900s from Europe and set up homes and businesses.
Today, Shrewsbury Street spans about 1 mile between Belmont and Mulberry streets. One of its landmark buildings is home to the Worcester Lodge #168-Sons of Italy in America – the oldest lodge in the state.
Shrewsbury Street is also widely recognized for its many independent restaurants, coffee shops, and bars and cocktail lounges. Some of those hot spots include Basil n’ Spice Thai Cuisine, Nuovo Restaurant, Volturno, Flying Rhino Cafe & Watering Hole and 111 Chop House.
With a large college student population because of its proximity to Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Highland Street features several stores, restaurants and nightspots that cater to the college crowd. But, of course, college students like their restaurants and nighttime hangouts, and Highland Street does not disappoint. Some of the most popular dining and-mingle destinations include Bean Counter Bakery Cafe and The Sole Proprietor, which has been named Worcester’s best seafood restaurant in local reader polls since 1979.
With an attractive skyline, the downtown area boasts a variety of architectural buildings and interesting destinations like City Hall, Mechanics Hall, Lincoln Square, Federal Square, Worcester Common and Union Station/Washington Square.
Many young professionals have gravitated to the downtown, which features a thriving nightlife, restaurants, coffee spots, small shops and green space.
Main Street is undergoing an $11 million renovation and infrastructure upgrade. Popular downtown restaurants that residents and visitors like to frequent include Deadhorse Hill and the Beer Garden. For a libation and good-time atmosphere, be sure to enjoy a fun outing with dinner at Chashu Ramen & Izakaya and a performance at the JMAC (Jean McDonough Arts Center).