12 Best Places to Live in Massachusetts (By Quality of Life)

by Jem
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Massachusetts is more than just a state; it’s a state of spirit. From its historic landmarks to its prestigious universities and bustling cities, the Bay State offers a diverse range of lifestyles and landscapes. But with its rich history and varied geography, choosing the perfect spot to call home can be a challenge. To help you make your decision where to live in MA, I’ve put together this guide on the best places to live in Massachusetts.

I’ve wandered through Massachusetts extensively over the years, and I can vouch for the state’s incredible diversity and beauty. From the sandy shores of Cape Cod to the tranquil Berkshires, and from the tech hubs around Boston to the colonial charm of Salem, Massachusetts’s diversity is unparalleled. Whether you’re drawn to the academic atmosphere, the allure of coastal living, or the dynamic pulse of cities like Boston and Cambridge, there’s a corner of Massachusetts that feels like it was crafted just for you.

So, where to begin? The ideal location varies for everyone. Some may prioritize proximity to lighthouses or the ocean, others might look for excellent schools, and for many, the cost of living is a crucial factor.

Jump in as I dissect the best cities to live in Massachusetts, based on what matters most to you. As someone who’s experienced the state’s many sides, I’m here to guide you through the best places in Massachusetts to live. I’ve pored over research, analyzed statistics, and engaged with locals to compile a list that caters to every lifestyle and budget. Let’s get started!

The top places to live in Massachusetts for all

The Best Places to Live in Massachusetts  

Excited to explore the most captivating places to reside in Massachusetts? Located in the Northeastern U.S., flanked by New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and the Atlantic Ocean, Massachusetts is a state that truly has it all. Continue reading to unveil the best places to live in Massachusetts tailored just for you.

In search of where to live in Massachusetts? No matter your lifestyle or aspirations, this multifaceted state has a spot that will meet your needs.

  • Best for modern living: Belmont
  • Best for dynamic city life: Boston
  • Best for cultural richness: Cambridge
  • Best for suburban tranquility: Brookline
  • Best for modern amenities: Lexington
  • Best for urban and suburban feel: Medford
  • Best for city conveniences: Newton
  • Best for youthful, artsy vibe: Somerville
  • Best for urban and suburban living: Springfield
  • Best for education: Waltham
  • Best for natural beauty: Wellesley
  • Best for cultural diversity: Worcester

Here are all the top locations in Massachusetts you’ll definitely want to consider: 

1. Belmont

Imagine a place where charm meets modern living, where tree-lined streets are just a stone’s throw away from bustling city life. Welcome to Belmont, a town that effortlessly combines the best of both worlds. Known for its excellent schools and safe neighborhoods, it’s no wonder Belmont is considered as the best place to live in Massachusetts.

The town offers a variety of cabin rentals and outdoor activities, from hiking trails to serene parks, making it a haven for nature lovers. You’ll find a sense of community here that’s hard to come by in larger cities. Local shops and cafes add to the town’s allure, providing a cozy, small-town atmosphere that residents adore.

When it comes to real estate, Belmont doesn’t disappoint. The town is home to a mix of architectural styles, from historic homes to modern apartments. And let’s not forget the convenience factor; Belmont is just a short commute to Boston, making it ideal for those who work in the city but crave a quieter living environment.

In a state known for its high standard of living, Belmont stands out as one of the best Massachusetts towns to live. Whether you’re a young professional or a family looking to settle down, Belmont offers something for everyone. With its blend of natural beauty and modern amenities, it’s easy to see why so many people call Belmont home.

Belmont is a community that skillfully blends the best aspects of both worlds, one of the best places to love on Massachusetts,
Belmont is a community that skillfully blends the best aspects of both worlds, one of the best places to love on Massachusetts,

2. Boston

Ah, the allure of city life! Skyscrapers that touch the heavens, historic landmarks at every corner, and a cultural melting pot of experiences. Boston is where it all comes together. As one of the coolest places to live in Massachusetts, the city offers a dynamic lifestyle that’s hard to resist.

From the cobblestone streets of Beacon Hill to the vibrant murals in the South End, Boston is a city of contrasts. The arts scene is thriving here, with galleries, live music venues, and theaters that offer something for every taste. Foodies will revel in the diverse culinary landscape, from the best dessert places to New England clam chowder and various international delicacies.

For sports enthusiasts, the city is a dream come true. Home to iconic teams like the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Celtics, you’ll never be far from the action. And if you’re into academia, well, Boston is practically a university town with institutions like Harvard and MIT shaping its intellectual fabric.

In the grand scheme of things, Boston is one of Massachusetts’s best cities to live. It’s a city that offers a slice of everything, making it a perfect spot for those who want variety in their daily life. The city’s rich history, diverse culture, and vibrant night life make it a magnet for people from all walks of life.

The lure of living in a metropolis! Towers reaching the sky, historical sites everywhere, and a plethora of diverse cultural activities.
The lure of living in a metropolis! Towers reaching the sky, historical sites everywhere, and a plethora of diverse cultural activities.

3. Cambridge

Picture this: a city where intellect meets innovation, where cobblestone streets are as familiar as cutting-edge tech labs. Welcome to Cambridge, a city that effortlessly combines old-world charm with modern-day brilliance. As one of the best places in Massachusetts to live, Cambridge offers lots of activities, it is a haven for thinkers, dreamers, and doers.

The city is home to world-renowned universities like Harvard and MIT, making it an intellectual powerhouse. But don’t let the scholarly atmosphere fool you; Cambridge is also a hub for nightlife, gastronomy, and outdoor activities. Kayak on the Charles River or explore the myriad of bookstores and cafes that line its historic streets.

When it comes to lifestyle, Cambridge offers a balanced blend. The city is bike-friendly, boasts excellent public transport, and offers a range of housing options from historic homes to modern apartments. It’s a city that encourages you to be who you are, making it a nice city to live in Massachusetts.

In essence, Cambridge is a city that promises the best of both worlds. Its unique blend of academic rigor and cultural richness makes it an ideal place for anyone looking to experience a fulfilling and stimulating lifestyle.

Cambridge is a city that brilliantly blends modern genius with charm from the past.
Cambridge is a city that brilliantly blends modern genius with charm from the past.

4. Brookline

Picture this: tree-lined streets, historic homes, and a community vibe that’s hard to find in a big city. Welcome to Brookline Town, one of Massachusetts’s best places to live if you’re after a blend of suburban tranquility and urban convenience.

Just a stone’s throw from Boston, Brookline offers an escape from the city’s hustle and bustle. The town is a haven for families, with excellent schools and plenty of parks where kids can run free. The Brookline Reservoir offers a peaceful spot for a morning jog or an afternoon picnic.

Culturally, Brookline is a gem. The Coolidge Corner Theatre is an indie movie lover’s dream, and the town’s Jewish heritage adds a unique flavor to the local cuisine and festivals. It’s a nice city to live in Massachusetts, especially if you value community and culture.

In Brookline, you get the best of both worlds: the amenities and excitement of Boston nearby, and the charm of a smaller community to call home. It’s a place that offers a balanced lifestyle, making it a top choice for those looking to settle in the Bay State.

A combination of metropolitan conveniences and suburban peace may be found in Brookline Town.
A combination of metropolitan conveniences and suburban peace may be found in Brookline Town.

5. Lexington

Picture this: A town where history comes alive, where the air is crisp, and the schools are top-notch. Welcome to Lexington, a place that effortlessly combines the charm of yesteryears with modern amenities.

The town is famous for its role in the American Revolution, and you can feel the historical significance as you walk along the Battle Green. Yet, Lexington is far from stuck in the past. With its excellent public schools and safe neighborhoods, it’s the best city to live in Massachusetts for families seeking a balanced life.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do here, from hiking in the Minute Man National Historical Park to kayaking on the Lexington Reservoir. The town also boasts a vibrant arts scene, complete with galleries, theaters, and seasonal festivals.

In Lexington, you get the best of both worlds: a peaceful, community-oriented lifestyle just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of Boston. It’s the perfect blend of history, nature, and modern living.

Lexington is a place that perfectly blends contemporary conveniences with the elegance of bygone eras.
Lexington is a place that perfectly blends contemporary conveniences with the elegance of bygone eras.

6. Medford

Ever dreamt of living in a place that’s a perfect blend of urban and suburban? Medford is your answer. This city is a hidden gem, offering a mix of residential calm and city-like amenities. It’s one of the best areas to live in Massachusetts, especially if you’re a young professional or a student.

Tufts University calls Medford home, adding a youthful vibe to the city. The campus is a hub for cultural events, and the local eateries are filled with a diverse crowd. Medford Square, the city’s heart, is a bustling area with shops, restaurants, and theaters. It’s a good place to live in Massachusetts if you’re looking for a lively community on the North Shore.

The Mystic River runs through Medford, providing ample opportunities for water activities like kayaking and paddleboarding. And let’s not forget the Middlesex Fells Reservation, a sprawling natural reserve ideal for hiking and mountain biking.

In Medford, you’re never far from Boston’s city center, thanks to the convenient public transportation. It’s a city that offers a little bit of everything, making it a well-rounded choice for anyone looking to settle in Massachusetts.

Medford provides a blend of city-like facilities and peaceful residential surroundings.
Medford provides a blend of city-like facilities and peaceful residential surroundings.

7. Newton

Imagine a place where the charm of small-town living meets the conveniences of a city. Welcome to Newton, a suburb that’s just a stone’s throw away from Boston. Known for its top-rated schools and lush parks, it’s a great place to live in Massachusetts for families.

The city is divided into 13 villages, each with its own unique character. From the upscale shops in Chestnut Hill to the historic homes in Newton Corner, diversity is the name of the game. Newton is also home to Boston College, adding an academic flair to this suburban paradise. It’s one of the nice parts of Massachusetts where you can enjoy both tranquility and a vibrant community life.

Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do here. The Charles River runs through the city, offering scenic walking paths and boating opportunities. And if you’re a golfer, you’re in luck. Newton Commonwealth Golf Course is a public 18-hole course that’s perfect for a weekend round.

With its excellent public transport links, getting to Boston is a breeze. Whether you’re a young professional or a family looking to settle down, Newton offers the best of both worlds.

Newton is a suburb that is easily accessible from Boston.
Newton is a suburb that is easily accessible from Boston.

8. Somerville

Craving a youthful, artsy vibe? Look no further than Somerville. This city is a hub for creatives, techies, and everyone in between. With its eclectic mix of cafes, art galleries, and tech startups, it’s one of the best cities to live in Massachusetts for those who thrive on energy and innovation.

Somerville is more than just a neighbor to Cambridge and Boston; it’s a destination in its own right. The city is home to the annual Fluff Festival, a quirky event that celebrates the invention of Marshmallow Fluff, which happened right here in Somerville. This sense of community and celebration makes it among the best Massachusetts cities to live in, especially if you appreciate the unique and the unconventional.

Public transportation is a breeze, thanks to the MBTA Red Line and several bus routes. This makes commuting to Boston or Cambridge simple and stress-free. Plus, the city is bike-friendly, offering another eco-conscious option for getting around.

From the hipster haven of Davis Square to the family-friendly community of Ten Hills, Somerville has a neighborhood for everyone. Whether you’re a young professional or an artist looking to be inspired, this city offers a dynamic, inclusive environment.

Artists, technologists, and all in between congregate in Somerville.
Artists, technologists, and all in between congregate in Somerville.

9. Springfield

Ever wondered where the game of basketball was born? That’s right, Springfield is the birthplace of this beloved sport. This city offers a blend of urban and suburban living, making it one of the perfect neighborhoods in Massachusetts to live for those who want a bit of both worlds.

Springfield isn’t just about hoops; it’s also home to the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden. Yes, the iconic children’s author was born here, and the city celebrates this legacy in style. This cultural richness makes Springfield a nice city to live in Massachusetts, especially for families who value education and the arts.

The city’s affordability is another major draw. Compared to other Massachusetts cities, Springfield offers a lower cost of living without sacrificing amenities. You’ll find a variety of housing options, from historic homes to modern apartments, all at reasonable prices.

Outdoor enthusiasts will appreciate the city’s proximity to the Connecticut River and numerous parks. Whether you’re into kayaking, hiking, or simply enjoying a picnic, Springfield offers a plethora of options for nature lovers. It’s a city that combines history, culture, and outdoor activities in a way that’s uniquely its own.

Springfield provides more amenities at a reduced cost of living.
Springfield provides more amenities at a reduced cost of living.

10. Waltham

A hub of innovation and education, Waltham is often dubbed the “Watch City” for its historical ties to the watchmaking industry. Today, it’s a vibrant community that’s home to renowned institutions like Brandeis University and Bentley University. This academic atmosphere makes it one of the best areas to live in Massachusetts for those who value intellectual pursuits.

Don’t let the scholarly vibe fool you; Waltham is also a foodie’s paradise. Moody Street, often called “Restaurant Row,” offers a smorgasbord of international cuisines. From mouth-watering Italian dishes to spicy Thai food, your taste buds will never get bored here. It’s this blend of academia and gastronomy that makes Waltham one of the great places to move in Massachusetts.

The Charles River runs through the city, providing ample opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and scenic walks. The riverbanks are dotted with parks and green spaces, perfect for weekend picnics or leisurely strolls.

In terms of real estate, Waltham offers a mix of historic homes and modern apartments, catering to a diverse range of preferences and budgets. Whether you’re a student, a young professional, or a family, Waltham has something to offer everyone.

Waltham's longstanding connections to the watchmaking industry have earned it the title of "Watch City" frequently.
Waltham’s longstanding connections to the watchmaking industry have earned it the title of “Watch City” frequently.

11. Wellesley

Imagine a place where tree-lined streets meet top-notch education. That’s Wellesley for you. Home to the prestigious Wellesley College, this town is a blend of intellectual rigor and natural beauty. It’s no wonder many consider it one of the best towns to live in Massachusetts.

Education aside, Wellesley offers a plethora of outdoor activities. The town is dotted with parks, ponds, and trails, making it a haven for nature lovers. The Wellesley Trails system, for instance, provides over 25 miles of walking and hiking paths. It’s the perfect setting for those who want to be close to Boston yet crave a quieter, more scenic environment. This makes it a nice city to live in Massachusetts.

Shopping and dining options are abundant, too. Wellesley Square, the town’s shopping district, boasts a range of boutique stores and gourmet eateries. From high-end fashion to organic groceries, you’ll find it all here.

Real estate in Wellesley leans towards the luxurious, with stately homes often set on sprawling lawns. It’s a community that offers both sophistication and serenity, making it a top choice for those who can afford its charms.

This community combines academic excellence with unspoiled beauty.
This community combines academic excellence with unspoiled beauty.

12. Worcester

Step into a city that’s a melting pot of culture, history, and innovation. Worcester, often dubbed the “Heart of the Commonwealth,” pulses with life. From its thriving arts scene to its burgeoning tech industry, this city is a dynamic hub that’s one of the best Massachusetts cities to call home.

The city’s cultural richness is evident in its museums, theaters, and galleries. The Worcester Art Museum, for instance, houses over 35,000 works of art, spanning 5,000 years of history. It’s a place that offers a bit of everything, making it a top city in Massachusetts to live for those who crave diversity.

Foodies will find themselves in paradise here. Shrewsbury Street, known as Worcester’s “Restaurant Row,” is a gastronomic haven. From Italian to Vietnamese, the culinary landscape is as diverse as the city itself. And let’s not forget the city’s craft beer scene, which has been gaining traction in recent years.

Affordability is another strong suit. Compared to other cities in the state, Worcester offers a more budget-friendly lifestyle without compromising on amenities or quality of life. Whether you’re a young professional or a family, Worcester has something for everyone.

One of the nicest places to live in Massachusetts is this vibrant metropolis.
One of the nicest places to live in Massachusetts is this vibrant metropolis.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Places to Live in Massachusetts                  

Interested in learning more about what are the best places to live in Massachusetts? Here are frequently asked questions about the state’s best living areas.

What is the nicest city in Massachusetts?

If you’re looking for the epitome of charm and sophistication, Brookline town stands out as the nicest city to live in Massachusetts. Known for its lush parks, historic sites, and top-notch schools, Brookline offers a serene yet vibrant lifestyle. The town is a stone’s throw away from Boston, providing easy access to the city’s amenities while maintaining a peaceful, suburban atmosphere. With its diverse population and cultural richness, Brookline is not just a good place to live in Massachusetts; it’s a community that many are proud to call home.

What is the nicest city in Massachusetts?

When it comes to sheer allure and quality of life, Boston often tops the list as the nicest city to live in Massachusetts. Known for its rich history, diverse neighborhoods, and vibrant arts scene, Boston offers a unique blend of traditional charm and modern convenience. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or someone who enjoys the hustle and bustle of city life, Boston has something for everyone. It’s not just a great place to live in Massachusetts; it’s a city that embodies the spirit of New England in a cosmopolitan setting.

What is the best town to live in Massachusetts 2023?

As of 2023, Wellesley Town has garnered attention as the best town to live in Massachusetts. With its top-rated schools, lush parks, and a tight-knit community, Wellesley offers a suburban feel while being just a short drive from Boston. The town is also home to Wellesley College, adding a youthful energy and intellectual vibe to the community. It’s the best Massachusetts town to live, especially for families looking for a safe, affluent, and education-focused environment.

Finding the ideal area to live in Massachusetts can be an adventure in and of itself.
Finding the ideal area to live in Massachusetts can be an adventure in and of itself.

Is Massachusetts voted the best place to live in?

While Massachusetts consistently ranks high in various quality of life metrics, it hasn’t been universally voted as the best place to live in. However, it does excel in education, healthcare, and cultural opportunities, making it a great place to live in Massachusetts for those who prioritize these aspects. Cities like Boston are hubs for innovation and education, boasting some of the world’s leading universities and hospitals.

Is Massachusetts a Fun Place to Live?

Absolutely, Massachusetts offers a vibrant lifestyle that caters to a variety of interests. From the bustling streets of Boston, filled with historical landmarks and a lively arts scene, to the serene landscapes of the Berkshires, there’s no shortage of entertainment. Sports enthusiasts will find themselves right at home with iconic teams like the Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots. Foodies can explore a diverse culinary landscape, from fresh seafood to international cuisines. For those who love the outdoors, the state offers hiking, skiing, and beach activities. There are lots of vacation rentals as well, making it one of the most livable cities in Massachusetts for adventure seekers.

Is Life Expensive in Massachusetts?

Living in Massachusetts does come with a higher price tag compared to the national average, particularly in areas close to Boston. Housing tends to be the most significant expense, followed by healthcare and education. However, the state also offers robust employment opportunities, especially in sectors like technology, healthcare, and education, which can offset the cost of living. High salaries in these industries make it a good place to live in Massachusetts if you’re in these fields. Public transportation is efficient but can also add to monthly expenses if you’re commuting to the city regularly.

Is it Cheaper to Live in Florida or Massachusetts?

When it comes to the cost of living, Florida generally offers a more affordable lifestyle compared to Massachusetts. Housing costs, in particular, are significantly lower in the Sunshine State. Additionally, Florida has no state income tax, which can make a considerable difference in your take-home pay. However, it’s essential to consider other factors like job opportunities, healthcare, and education. Massachusetts excels in these areas, offering high-paying jobs, especially in tech and healthcare sectors, and top-notch educational institutions. In summary, while Florida may be easier on the wallet, Massachusetts offers great places to live with potentially higher earning potential and better public services.

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Live in Massachusetts                   

Embarking on a journey to find the perfect place to call home in Massachusetts is an adventure in itself. From the bustling streets of Boston to the tranquil vibes of Wellesley Town, the state offers a diverse range of lifestyles and landscapes. Each destination we’ve explored has its unique charm and set of advantages, making them some of the best places to live in Massachusetts.

While some places like Brookline and Newton offer top-tier schools and a family-friendly environment, cities like Cambridge and Boston are hubs for innovation and culture. Whether you’re a young professional, a growing family, or someone looking to enjoy their golden years, Massachusetts has a corner that feels like it was made just for you.

So, where is the best place to live in Massachusetts? It’s not just about the cost of living or proximity to amenities; it’s about the quality of life. Massachusetts consistently ranks high in healthcare, education, and overall well-being, making it a great place to live. So, if you’re contemplating a move, this state should be high on your list.

Ready to make the move? Your dream home in one of Massachusetts’ charming towns or vibrant cities awaits you. Take the plunge and experience what it’s like to live in one of the most dynamic and diverse states in the U.S.

The top places to live in Massachusetts right now
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