There’s a reason why 6.8 million people love calling Massachusetts home. For some, it may be the lure of a coastal beachfront; for others, Massachusetts may mean big opportunities in the state’s medical industry, one of the leading in the nation. Whatever the reason, one thing is clear - Massachusetts simply has the size, beauty, and academic and job opportunities other states seem to lack. If you’re thinking about living in the Bay State, one of these top places might be the perfect spot.
Massachusetts is located on the eastern (Atlantic Ocean) coast of the U.S. It’s bordered by Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York; and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The state capital is Boston, and over 80% of Bay Staters live in the Greater Boston area. Massachusetts is also ranked third nationwide for population density. Two of the state’s other largest cities are Cambridge and Lowell.
Massachusetts’s diverse geography ranges from the hilly, rural region of central Massachusetts and the Connecticut River Valley to the east, to the Berkshires along the state’s western border. Large bays, like the Massachusetts Bay, dominate the Massachusetts coastline. Winters here are infamously cold, with temperatures occasionally dropping below zero. Summers offer a welcome respite from the chill; summer highs can top out at 80 degrees.
Unlike other scenic states, Massachusetts oozes culture, style, and sophistication. Several of the nation’s leading universities are located here, including Harvard University (the oldest college in the U.S.), Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the nation’s oldest high school, Boston Latin School. Boston is an important center for the performing arts, and many big museums are located here and throughout the state. There’s also a long list of rural towns and beautiful beaches well worth a visit. The arts are a big part of the draw here, but taxes and a high cost of living mean nothing comes cheap here, so be prepared to open the purse strings.
Even if you base yourself in one of the vibrant cities like Boston or its close neighbor, Cambridge, it’s still easy to reach the state’s many natural and historic sites, the coast, or quaint country towns in an hour. It’s this mix of urban sophistication and rural charm that really turns on the appeal for Massachusetts. Some of its trendiest places are also the smallest, where local artisans make charming crafts and brewers make craft beers.
With an abundance of such great cities and neighborhoods, finding the best place to live in Massachusetts isn't easy. We'll give you a head start as these cities are our picks for the best places to live in Massachusetts. To further customize your list of the best places in Massachusetts, you can also specify by search radius, population size, home/rent budget and what metrics (like amenities, employment, or cost of living) are most important to you.