We asked locals to nominate the spots they were grateful for last year, the places and people making the region run as it does. Here's who you nominated most.
Top mention: deadhorse hill
deadhorse hill is a seasonal American restaurant located on Main Street in Downtown Worcester, a restaurant inspired by the New England landscape. The team here relies on hard working farmers throughout the northeast and fishermen along the coast to provide the best possible food at the table. In the evening, the dining room offers an à la carte and chefs tasting menu that speaks of the season, varying based on the availability of ingredients. Several locals gave a hat tip to Chef Jared Forman for his immaculate hamburger creation.
Honorable mention: Fatima's Cafe
Cafés & Bakeries
Top mention: Cedar Street Café
Cedar Street Café is building on the success of the Table 3 Restaurant Group’s offerings of innovative and creative fare, but with a focus on morning and lunch dining. Their café features their own air-roasted coffees, “from scratch” pastries (baked daily), inventive breakfast and lunch sandwiches and salads all made on premises, with a focus on local and fresh ingredients. Local's tip: Try Cedar Street's breakfast skillet.
Honorable mention: Bean Counter Bakery
Breweries, Wineries, Cideries
Top mentions: Redemption Rock & Tree House Brewing Companies
With a straightforward slogan—“Beer for People”—the crew at Redemption Rock believes craft beer is at its best when it brings people together, and when it's accessible, welcoming and safe for all. Tree House brews a vast array of ales, varying based on the season and innovations discovered in the midst of day in and day out brewing. The artisan brewery knows no bounds and is "driven by an intense curiosity of ingredients and how they blend together to create something special." Local favorite: Julius.
Honorable mention: Altruist Brewing Co.
Top mention: New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill
Set on 171 acres on top of a drumlin overlooking the Wachusett Reservoir and Mt. Wachusett, New England Botanic Garden at Tower Hill features a display of the finest plants for cultivation in New England among carefully planned gardens, as well as a robust program and event schedule.
Honorable mention: American Heritage Museum
Top mention: The Hanover Theatre & Conservatory for the Performing Arts
The Hanover Theatre continues to draw over 196,000 patrons annually with its world-class performances and headlining acts like "Les Misérables," "Jersey Boys," "A Christmas Carol," Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, Jay Leno, Neil Young, Aretha Franklin, John Legend, Tony Bennett and more, many of which received a shoutout from locals. Locals' go-to show: "The Nutcracker"
Honorable mention: Mechanics Hall
Live Music Venues
Top mention: Off the Rails
Bringing a bit of Nashville to Worcester, Off The Rails features southern fair with a full country style bar. Live music takes the stage Friday thru Sunday inside the Listening Room, which includes guitars and authentic memorabilia throughout. Whisky barrels and reclaimed wood highlight the interior design here with a focus on a cool southern vibe.
Top mention: Polar Park
With its 2021 opening, Polar Park brought with it a much-anticipated buzz to the game of baseball and the city surrounding it. The stadium stands as home base for the Worcester Red Sox, a Triple-A affiliate of Boston's beloved team. Between their youth clinics and deep connection to the community, the team is a notable staple to the city, with locals particularly expressing gratitude toward WooSox ushers.
Top mentions: Lake Road Living & The O Shop
In the heart of Sturbridge, Lake Road Living is a New England fashion boutique where the team hand picks brands that offer quality clothing with styles for every occasion. They also feature local female artisans that exhibit their hand-made goods from jewelry to skincare products. A local's tip: Get personalized reccs from Tabitha or Macy. At The O Shop, the team believes that bodies should be celebrated with properly fitting bras, lingerie and items that make wearers feel fabulous. The boutique is located in the Tatnuck section of Worcester and includes a variety of high-quality bras, lingerie, sleep, lounge and athletic wear, and professional bra-fitting. The boutique is available for small events and private gatherings ranging from ladies nights to bridal parties, events and workshops. A local's tip: Ask for Tam, Lisa or Katy.
Outdoor Event Venues
Top mention: The Palladium Outdoors
The Palladium stands as a historic concert venue in the heart of Worcester, a spot that prides itself on being extremely artist friendly. The Palladium staff is made up of music industry professionals who have toured with bands all over the world. Some of the acts that have performed there in the past include: The Three Stooges, 311, 50 Cent, All American Rejects, B.B. King, Blink 182, Bob Dylan, Busta Rhymes, The Cult, Dashboard Confessional, Dropkick Murphys, Evanescence, Foo Fighters, Garbage, Godsmack, GWAR, Insane Clown Posse, Jimmy Eat World, Limp Bizkit, My Chemical Romance, New Found Glory, O.A.R , Prince, Puddle Of Mudd, Rob Zombie, Skrillex, Slayer, Slipknot, Taking Back Sunday, Wiz Khalifa, Wu-Tang Clan, Thirty Seconds to Mars and many more.
Honorable mention: Worcester Common
Top mention: AC Hotel by Marriott Worcester
With a prime location, AC Marriott warmly welcomes hotel-goers from near and far. Each of their spaces is built from the ground up with a visionary's spirit and a designer's eye. Within the 170 rooms and suites, visitors appreciate that they get everything they need without paying for what they don't. Worcester's Lisa M. shouts out the bartenders at AC Marriott for providing consistently friendly service. Local's tip: If you're working with a room block, ask for Emily Mulhane.
Honorable mention: the Beechwood Hotel
Top mention: Indian Ranch
Open from May through mid-October, Indian Ranch sits pretty on Lake Webster, offering a scenic spot for camping, a bustling music venue on site and the nearby Samuel Slater's Restaurant—plus, rides on the Indian Princess.