Nicknames: Woo-town, Woostah, The Woo
Big-city life that's intimate, affordable, manageable
Worcester is one of those rare cities blessed with a rich history yet energized by an ambitious vision for its future. The second-largest city in New England was a gritty player in the Revolutionary War, found its footing as an industrial giant, and has since evolved into a hub for eclectic cultural offerings, dynamic professional opportunities, and a collection of 10 colleges and universities that offer a vibrant student experience.
Worcester gives its residents the best of both worlds: the intimate, affordable and manageable scale of a small city balanced with the pulse and rhythms of big-city life. It's where Worcester native/comedian Denis Leary delivered his first punchline and 1960s radical Abbie Hoffman, another local boy, raged for social justice. Major League Baseball's first perfect game was thrown here, and Mark Twain and Charles Dickens once lectured in fabled Mechanics Hall, which still hosts concerts, galas and important speakers. Find out 30 Things we love about Worcester.
The gateway city
This former factory town lays claim as a center for biotechnology research, health care, financial services, higher education and green energy—an ideal setting for landing the right internship or job, and launching an enduring career. Worcester's location in central Massachusetts is one of its greatest assets, since the cities of Boston, Providence, Hartford and Springfield—and the terrific prospects they offer in the media, financial, medical and insurance fields—are only a short drive away.
A community to embrace
Above all, Worcester is a community: its diverse, tightly knit neighborhoods are a broad mix of immigrants dating back to the Yankee settlers and continuing with the arrival of Armenian, Irish, French-Canadian, Vietnamese, Brazilian and many other groups, whose distinctive cultures continue to shape and flavor the city.
Many Clark faculty and students engage with the city as true partners, especially in the harder-hit areas, where they work toward solutions for issues like urban poverty and lack of opportunity. Of particular note is the University Park Partnership, a longstanding collaboration between Clark and its surrounding community, that is a national model for how a university should work to revitalize its neighborhood.
Currently, the first LEEP (Liberal Education and Effective Practice) Pioneers are applying their intellectual talents to major Worcester-based projects involving such matters as land preservation, art history and literacy education. Students are meshing their academic skills with real-world work experience to produce outcomes that will have tangible benefits for the city. Clark's Community Engagement and Volunteering Center, which maintains a comprehensive database of agencies and volunteer needs, is a further example of how the University prides itself on being a good neighbor.
Dine out, relax, explore
Worcester offers boundless cultural and recreational opportunities. The city's restaurants, from the fine-dining establishments of Shrewsbury Street to the neighborhood diners that serve hearty appetites into the wee hours, are a food-lover's dream. Broadway-quality shows hit town at the Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, and the hiking trails in the Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary carve out a natural oasis within the city limits.* If you want more, you can be at the foot of Mount Monadnock, New Hampshire, or dive into the surf at Narragansett Beach in Rhode Island, or make a dinner run to Boston's North End—all within an hour's time.
Worcester Art Museum. One of the best small art museums in the country. Open to the public since 1898, it was one of the first museums to exhibit photography as a fine art, and the first in the nation to purchase works by impressionist Claude Monet.
DCU Center. The Central Massachusetts venue for everything from rock concerts to circus performances to sporting events.
Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts. A beautifully restored venue for Broadway tours and nationally recognized performers.
Mechanics Hall. Internationally regarded as one of the world's great concert halls for its superb acoustics and inspirational beauty.
ArtsWorcester. ArtsWorcester exhibits and promotes local contemporary artists, free of charge to the public. The art gallery hosts an annual College Show each February. The 13th annual show opens Feb. 3, 2017.
American Antiquarian Society. Founded in 1812 by Revolutionary War patriot and printer Isaiah Thomas. One of the premier repositories of documents relating to U.S. history before 1876.
Ecotarium. Established in 1825 as the Worcester Lyceum of Natural History. Notable for being the first in the nation to offer a tree canopy walkway open to the public, and as the birthplace of the first polar bear born and raised in New England.
Worcester Historical Museum. Unique documents and artifacts vital to the study of Worcester history.