If you’re considering moving to the Bay State, you’re in luck. Massachusetts is home to a wide variety of vibrant and welcoming communities, each with unique advantages. From bustling metropolises to quiet coastal towns, there’s something for everyone in Massachusetts.
There are so many amazing cities and towns that it’s almost impossible to choose the top 10 best places to live in Massachusetts, but we’ll give it a try. But first…
A Little Bit About Massachusetts
It’s been said that Massachusetts is where America started because Plymouth was the place where the first European settlement was set up in 1620. That historical event served as a forerunner of what was to come because, to this day, this progressive New England state continues to act as a national compass in terms of transformation.
The state first emerged as a farming, fishing, and whaling center. Having had long and uneasy relations with the British monarchy, Massachusetts was the center of the movement for independence from Great Britain.
From there, it transformed into America’s original industrial hub. Towards the end of the 20th century, the Old Colony State would undergo a drastic reinvention as a high-tech and artistic powerhouse in what is now famously dubbed “The Massachusetts Miracle”.
Over the last 300 years Massachusetts has played a powerful scientific, commercial, and cultural role in the history of the United States. Before the American Civil War, Massachusetts was a center for the abolitionist and transcendentalist movements. In the late 19th century, the sports of basketball and volleyball were invented in the western Massachusetts cities of Springfield and Holyoke, respectively.
Massachusetts has firmly established itself as an academically prestigious state. It is not surprising that higher education, biotechnology, information technology, finance, health care, tourism, manufacturing, and defense are its most significant industries. Today, the Greater Boston area alone boasts more IT brainpower than in some major European countries. Both Harvard and MIT in Cambridge are perennially ranked among the world’s most highly regarded academic institutions.
With that little bit of history being shared, here’s our list of the Top 10 best places to live in Massachusetts, in no particular order.
Located just across the Charles River from Boston, Cambridge is a renowned college town and one of the most iconic cities in all of Massachusetts. Home to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge is a hub of higher education and research. The city also has historical sites, museums, and cultural attractions.
Due to its large student population, Cambridge has a vibrant and youthful atmosphere. The downtown area is lively and features a variety of shops, restaurants, and nightlife options. There are also plenty of parks and green spaces located throughout Cambridge.
Established in 1630, Newton is another popular community for those looking for the best places to live in Massachusetts – more specifically, the Boston area. Home to roughly 90,000 residents, Newton is located just west of Boston’s downtown district. Known as the “Garden City,” Newton is an excellent location for those seeking top-tier education. There is an abundance of well-ranking public schools and many private schools throughout the city.
In addition to its excellent educational institutions, Newton is home to many different parks and recreational areas. The city is also known for its lively downtown area, which features a variety of shops, restaurants, and cafes. Newton is the perfect place to call home for those looking for an urban lifestyle with all the amenities of a smaller town.
Springfield is the third largest city in the state and has been nicknamed “The City of Firsts” because of its many historical firsts. The city is also home to several colleges and universities, as well as several museums and historical sites. Springfield is a great place to live for families, professionals, and students alike.
Located roughly 1.5 hours east of Boston, Springfield is home to 17 residential neighborhoods, which are a mix of quiet, suburban-style communities. There are plenty of recreational opportunities throughout the city and attractions, including Six Flags New England amusement park, MGM Springfield, the Dr. Seuss Museum, and the Basketball Hall of Fame museum.
Boasting a rich history, Lexington is another of the best places to live in Massachusetts, especially among families. It is here that the first shots of the American Revolutionary War were fired. The community of almost 33,000 residents commemorates the early days of the struggle for independence on the first Monday of April every year.
The city is home to some excellent public schools and several historical sites. Lexington has many parks, green spaces, and golf courses for those who enjoy spending time outdoors. Popular options include Arlington’s Great Meadows and Hayden Woods Conservation Area.
Lexington is located just northwest of Boston and is considered part of the Greater Boston metropolitan area. The city is accessible via some different highways and public transportation options.
There is no better option for those looking for a coastal retreat to call home than Provincetown. A quaint community of just over 3,000 residents, Provincetown is located on the very tip of Cape Cod. The scenic community is a popular tourist destination with miles of beautiful coastline and plenty of cultural flairs.
Amazingly, Provincetown has managed to maintain its unique identity despite many decades of positioning itself as a cultural hub in the area. What will strike you most about Provincetown is its strong artistic flair that is evident in every little corner within its precincts.
Known as an artistic hub, Provincetown is home to a large selection of art galleries, craft centers, charming cafes, and unique shops. The town is also home to the Provincetown Museum, which chronicles the area’s history.
Of course, no list of the best places to live in Massachusetts would be complete without including the state’s capital city, Boston. Home to over 600,000 residents, Boston is the largest city in Massachusetts and one of the most iconic cities in all of the United States. Boston is a hub of culture and activity, from its rich history to its modern amenities.
Rich with history and culture, Boston is home to institutions like the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, to name but a few. Hospitals such as Massachusetts General Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital lead the nation in medical innovation and patient care.
The city is also home to a number of different professional sports teams, as well as a variety of museums and historical sites. Boston is also known for its excellent educational institutions, including Boston College, Northeastern University, the Berklee College of Music, and Boston University, all located in and around Boston.
Boston Common, near the Financial District and Beacon Hill, is the oldest public park in the United States. Along with the adjacent Boston Public Garden, it is part of the Emerald Necklace, a string of parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to encircle the city. The Emerald Necklace includes the Back Bay Fens, Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Pond, Boston’s largest body of freshwater, and Franklin Park, the city’s largest park and home of the Franklin Park Zoo. Another major park is the Esplanade, along the banks of the Charles River. The Hatch Shell, an outdoor concert venue, is adjacent to the Charles River Esplanade.
Home to about 43,000 residents, Beverly, Massachusetts, is a small city located just 16 miles north of Boston. The city is known for its charming coastal atmosphere and its rich history. Beverly, being one of the oldest cities in Massachusetts, is home to many different historical sites, as well as a variety of shops and restaurants.
As one of the oldest cities in The Old Colony State, Beverly balances a reasonable cost of living with various urban amenities. While nearby Boston is just a quick commuter train ride away, the presence of many restaurants and local attractions in the city itself offers so much that many residents never feel the need to leave.
Sudbury is a beautiful town in Middlesex County with everything going for it. Sudbury is a quiet, safe, and green oasis west of Boston. Its public schools are widely regarded and considered to be among the best in the state.
The town has easy access to medical care, with grocery stores, restaurants, and shops within a short drive. Sudbury is a close-knit community, and its folks often come together for many events, including movies, holiday dinners, and more.
One of Sudbury’s historic landmarks, the Wayside Inn, claims to be the country’s oldest operating inn, built and run by the Howe family for many generations. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote Tales of a Wayside Inn, a book of poems published in 1863.
Sudbury’s 1-acre zoning bylaws had helped the town maintain a more rural character through the 1980s when developments of single-family Colonials and large Capes established it as an affluent location. Economic growth has been restricted to the town’s main thoroughfare, US Route 20. Significant tracts of open space, including wetlands, have been preserved in the northern half of town and along the Hop Brook corridor.
Settled in the 1630s, Wellesley is a typical Massachusetts town renowned for its outstanding school district, something that is evident from the high number of students who attend colleges in the area. One of the most notable includes Wellesley College, a sight to behold thanks to its sprawling campus that perfectly marries the charm of old with modern buildings, with lush landscapes and trees everywhere. Babson College is similarly appealing.
The 29,000 residents who live in this Norfolk County town are spoiled for choice when it comes to outdoor activities, with miles upon miles of trails that pass through every place imaginable, a greenhouse, and quiet parks. Living in Wellesley offers residents a sparse suburban feel, and most residents own their homes. Many young professionals live in Wellesley and enjoy the plethora of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks.
Wellesley is a great place to grow up and raise a family, making it one of the best places to live in Massachusetts! On a nice day, you will find families walking around Wellesley College’s Lake Waban. On colder days you will find art enthusiasts taking a stroll through the Davis Museum & Cultural Center on campus.
Concord is a special town in American history as it is here that the battles that sparked the American Revolution were fought; the battles of Concord and Lexington. The town of more than 19,200 residents also has a great literary history, home to a who’s who of America’s elite authors, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Louisa May Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Their work has been preserved in the rustic and snug wood-paneled town library, which has a dedicated transcendentalist wing.
Located 20 miles west of Boston, Concord is a picturesque New England community of handsome residences, preserved open spaces, family-owned farms, and thriving commercial centers. As the scene of the first battle of the American Revolutionary War (War for Independence) on April 19, 1775, it is considered the birthplace of the nation, where the “shot heard round the world” for liberty and self-government was fired.
Many houses in Concord were stops on the Underground Railroad. The Alcotts, Thoreaus and Emersons were all antislavery activists. The famous Transcendentalists’ sisters, aunts, mothers, and wives formed the “Concord Female Anti-Slavery Society.”
Living in Concord offers residents a dense suburban feel, and most residents own their homes. In Concord, there are a lot of coffee shops and parks, and it’s an alluring location for anyone looking for some of the best schools in the state.
There You Have It
So there you have it, our highly subjective list of the top 10 best places to live in Massachusetts. This list is in no way comprehensive. For us, there are so many beautiful towns in the state that it was hard to narrow it down to just 10, but we had to stop somewhere. We invite you to explore Massachusetts and all of the beautiful places it has to live. If you are interested in any of the areas mentioned above or any other area of MA, our team of experts is here to guide you through the local real estate market and find you a home that fits your needs.
Here at Spectrum Real Estate Consultants Team, we are the top producing team of Realtors at Keller Williams Realty Leading Edge, completing 900+ successful transactions since 2015. Our mission is to provide our clients with world-class service while simplifying the Real Estate transaction through experience, technology, and effective communication.
We chose to be Keller Williams Realty affiliates because we are committed to providing our customers with the highest level of quality and service they can find in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. Our team members are licensed and serve their local communities. Our knowledge and professional experience allow us to identify opportunities and prevent unnecessary setbacks, in the end saving you time, money, and frustration.
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