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Renter's Guide to Worcester

Welcome to Worcester!

The city's rich history and cultural offerings earned it the nickname “Heart of the Commonwealth”.

Parents magazine named it the 7th best city for families. U.S. News & World Report ranked Worcester the 65th best place to live in the country. It's also the only city in the nation to be named an All-American City award five times.

At 39 square-miles, Worcester is just less than half the size of Boston. It’s also centrally located. Worcester is 47 miles from Boston, 40 miles from Providence, RI, and 63 miles from Harford, CT.

The hottest month in Worcester is July, with an average high temperature of 70°F, while January’s average temperature is a chilly 24°F. The nor’easters that hit the city off the North Atlantic Ocean also make it a prime spot for snowfall. The city gets an average of 64 inches of the snow every winter.

Worcester, MA Demographics

  • Total Population183,382
  • Female 88,941
    Male 94,441
  • Median Age33.8

Cost of Living in Worcester, MA

Overall, the cost of living in Worcester is slightly higher than the rest of the country.

A three-course meal for two people averages around $55, while a cappuccino costs about $3.85. Basic utilities bills for a 915-square-foot apartment are roughly $162 per month, including heating, electricity, waste disposal, and water, which is higher than the national average of $147.

Public transit makes finding your way around without a car easy.  The Worcester Regional Transit Authority provides buses throughout the city. One-way passes are $1.50, and children and seniors are eligible for reduced fares. Monthly and daily passes are available, too.

There's also a commuter rail line, provided by the MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority), that runs from Worcester to Boston and serves over 16,000 passengers a day.

Living in Worcester

One of the best reasons to live in Worcester is its easy access to the top cultural and educational institutions in the area. The city's educated populace and close proximity to Boston make it a top choice for couples and families in New England.

Worcester is also excellent for people in search of diversity. European immigrants settled in the city when it was being built, and their legacy lives on in neighborhoods like Little Italy (Italian families), Quinsigamond Village (Swedish), and Kelley Square (Irish and Polish). The city also remains one of the top destinations in Massachusetts for migrants from Asia and Africa.

On the other hand, a few of the negatives surrounding Worcester include its rank as the 7th most dangerous city in Massachusetts, due to high property and violent crime rates. It was also named the 50th most stressful mid-sized city to live in, based on factors like unemployment, divorce, crime and suicide rates, commute time, and number of cloudy days.

Things to do in Worcester

The people who call Worcester home are never without something to do.

Top entertainment options in Worcester include visiting one of the city’s 1,200 acres of parks, including Elm Park, one of the oldest in the country. It features ponds, ball courts, and a fun playground.

Green Hill Park is the largest park in Worcester, home to ponds, a zoo, a playground, a golf course, and a spot for picnics. Then there's Crompton Park, where you'll find playground facilities and a neighborhood pool. Nearby Lake Quinsigamond hosts the annual Eastern Spirits U.S. Rowing competition, but you don't have to be a pro to try your hand at rowing or other water-based activities on the lake.

Annual events like First Night Worcester and Brew Woo bring families downtown. Then Worcester’s diverse communities come alive at the annual Grecian Festival and Little Italy’s Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Both fests offer music, dancing, and ethnic food.

If there aren't any events going down, you can take a trip to the EcoTarium, which provides fun things for kids to do, like science and nature exhibits, a planetarium, and areas to explore outdoors.

Locals say George’s Coney Island Hot Dogs is one of the best cheap places to eat in Worcester. For the best sushi in town, check out Baba Sushi, and for breakfast, a visit to Annie’s Clark Brunch is a must.

If that weren't enough, Worcester’s proximity to Boston means it's easy to take in some of their pro sports action, courtesy of Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins games.

Culture in Worcester, MA

Worcester has no shortage of culture. From Mechanics Hall, one of the oldest concert halls in the country, to the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, national and local performers and performances are hosted here throughout the year. The Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra gives concerts at Tuckerman Hall, and the Worcester Youth Orchestra shows off its talents at Mechanics Hall. And Worcester Palladium is another great place to take in a concert or play, as well.

For history and art buffs, there are several museums in Worcester, including the Worcester Art Museum, the Sprinkler Factory Gallery, the Worcester Center for Crafts, and ArtsWorcester.

Employment & Economy in Worcester, MA

Thanks to the U Mass Medical School and Worcester Polytech, Worcester boasts a low unemployment rate for medical and healthcare workers.  Abbott Laboratories and Advanced Cell Technology also call the city home, which means scientific and technical occupations are in high demand, as well.

Education is another top employment sector, with nearly 36 percent growth within the last decade. Then there's Hanover Insurance and Polar Beverages, which are both headquartered in Worcester.

Worcester, MA Households

  • Total Number of Households68,576
  • Family 39,170
    Non-family 29,406
  • Children 20,249
    No Children 48,327
  • Average People Per Household2.5
  • Median Household Income$45,472
  • Median Housing Costs Per Month$1,057

Education in Worcester, MA

Worcester is home to some of the best educational institutions in the country.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School was listed as the 4th best in primary care education in U.S. News & World Report’s "America’s Best Graduate Schools" report. Assumption College, Clark University, Becker College, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute are just a few of Worcester’s other higher education institutions.

Of course, nearby Boston is home to some of the most prestigious institutes of higher learning in the world, including Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Tufts University.

But Worcester has plenty to offer the younger ones as well. The city boasts one of the top high schools in the country, Worcester Technical High School. Its principal was a national principal of the year, and President Barack Obama spoke at the class of 2014 graduation ceremony.

Another top high school in Worcester is The Massachusetts Academy of Math and Science, which is located on the Worcester Polytechnic Institute campus. Then there's the University Park Campus School, the 32nd-best high school in the state, as well as a top-ranked school nationally. For the even younger crowd, West Tatnuck Elementary and Worcester Arts Magnet School are among the best schools for elementary-aged children.

Worcester, MA Education Statistics

  • No High School6%
  • Some High School38%
  • Some College22%
  • Associate Degree7%
  • Bachelor Degree17%
  • Graduate Degree9%

Tips for Renting in Worcester

If Worcester sounds like a place you'd like to move, you'd be best served to take a second to get acquainted with a few of the local tenant laws.

In Massachusetts, if a landlord takes a security deposit from you, they're required to pay you 5 percent interest on the amount on the yearly anniversary of your move-in date. And when you move out, they must return the deposit plus interest within 30 days. If it isn’t returned or used for repairs within the specified time period, the tenant is entitled to three times the amount of the deposit.

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