If you’re from Massachusetts, then moving to Fitchburg can be intimidating. The city has built a rather poor reputation in the last few decades.
Once, Fitchburg was a bustling mill town like many others in Worcester and Middlesex County. While it may have declined over time, it surely hasn’t lost its historic charm.
If you’re thinking of moving here, then hopefully, we can clear up some questions for you. Here’s everything you need to know about moving to Fitchburg, MA!
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1. The City Isn’t Alone
The first thing you need to know is that, like St. Paul and Minneapolis, Fitchburg is a twin city with Leominster. While most cities are surrounded by towns for efficiency, they occasionally border each other.
However, make no mistake. Fitchburg and Leominster are two different cities, although residents of either will often spend plenty of time in the other.
2. The City Is Small
The City of Fitchburg feels more like a town. Even with Leominster, the population of the two is only around 82,300. Leominster accounts for 41,600 and Fitchburg has around 40,700 residents.
Compared to Worcester or Providence (~180,000 each), that’s less than half of their populations when you combine the twin cities.
3. Get Used to Hills
Fitchburg residents will be the first to tell you that they live in the hilliest city in the county. While this is a highly contested topic with San Francisco, there is an argument to be made for Fitchburg.
All throughout the town, you will find nothing but hills of all lengths and steepness. You’ll have beautiful views on the top of them and loud car engines trying to climb from the bottoms.
If you’re used to walking or biking to work, this may pose a serious challenge. People often joke about how the hills and potholes are the reason for so many mechanic shops in the city.
4. The People Are Friendly
Regardless of any stereotypes you hear about Fitchburg, the people here are very friendly. We’ve never been nervous about interactions on the street here, as they’ve all been polite and well-intended.
5. There Are More Restaurants Than You Think
Fitchburg and Leominster are certainly not New York. It’s a small city surrounded by rural towns and small suburbs.
Keeping that in mind, there are still decent restaurants in town to enjoy. Mexican, Chinese, and Italian restaurants are all over town, and most of them offer DoorDash, which is popular in the area!
If you’re close to Leominster, there are even more there.
6. There’s Plenty of Nature
If you love swimming, hiking, or just enjoying the great outdoors, there’s a surprising amount to do around Fitchburg. Beginner hikers can get great views from the summit at Mount Watatic, which is only 15 minutes away. More experienced hikers could head to Mount Monadnock in under 45 minutes.
There are also plenty of popular skiing destinations nearby, including Mount Wachusett and others nearby.
Also, there are plenty of parks, conservation areas, and state forests in and around the city. We highly recommend Coggshall Park in Fitchburg or Willard Brook State Forest in Ashby!
Downsides of Living in Fitchburg, MA
The downsides really depend on your needs. If you’re looking for an affordable, spacious apartment and easy access to local shops, then this is the perfect home for you.
However, if you’re expecting all the amenities of Boston or the quiet feel of Vermont, then you’ve come to the wrong place.
Everybody has different needs, especially with family or pets. If you have a family, choosing the right neighborhood is all you need to do. There are plenty of quiet neighborhoods with quick access to parks and schools.
All in all, it’s an affordable place with decent people all around. There isn’t much around, but that might be exactly what you’re looking for!
Is Fitchburg’s Reputation True?
First, we need to address the elephant in the room, and that’s Fitchburg’s poor reputation. If anything, Fitchburg is known in Massachusetts as a drug-ridden has-been with corrupt city politics. Is it well-deserved?
To start, I’ve lived in Fitchburg for a year and a half and in Central Massachusetts for nearly my entire life. I’ve seen Fitchburg from an inside and outside perspective. I’ve also had friends living in the city since high school.
No, Fitchburg is not as bad as they say. However, it does warrant some discussion.
Drugs & Poverty
Fitchburg’s local politics are less than ideal. The city does have a drug problem and the city’s only response has been to increase the police budget every year (currently $8.9 million) without offering any mental health or substance abuse services.
Opioids have been a problem, homelessness has been a problem, but they aren’t addressing it appropriately, which is, unfortunately, the case in many cities across the county.
However, if you’re worried about crime or any of these problems being in your face or overwhelming, they really aren’t. The biggest complaint we’ve had from living there is all of the loud, souped up Honda Civics backfiring. Otherwise, the people in town are nothing to fear.
Overall, Fitchburg is a fine city with easy access to a lot of New England along with a few hidden gems of its own. There isn’t much to do in the area, but that might be what you love most about it, as Fitchburg often has a small-town feel.
Check Out Fitchburg for Yourself
Fitchburg has a bad reputation in Massachusetts, and it certainly isn’t the most glamorous spot in the state. However, if you’re looking for an affordable destination to live in the area, then Fitchburg can serve you well. It’s not nearly as bad as people say it is.
Stay up to date with our latest reviews of your favorite New England destinations and feel free to share your experiences and learn from others in the comments down below!
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