Top mention: Chashu Ramen + Izakaya
Serving izakaya (small plates), notable main courses and unbeatable ramen, you'll discover a modern approach to Asian cuisinne at Chashu, plus a chic ambience to boot. Chef Son Vo grew up in Worcester and takes pride in elevating the food scene of Downtown. Each dish is a visual work of art and a fusion of flavors. Two local favorites: salmon kushi and spicy red miso ramen.
Cafés, Bakeries & Dessert Bars
Top mention: Bean Counter Bakery Café
The team at Bean Counter specializes in delicious and beautifully decorated wedding cakes, any-occasion cakes and cupcakes, fine desserts and premium coffee. They source the finest local and international ingredients from Worcester to Madagascar and Belgium, with a menu that also includes gluten-free and vegan options, which are highly recommended by local nominators.
Breweries, Wineries & Cideries
Top mention: Redemption Rock Brewing Co.
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. Locals' favorite craft creations include: Poms Not Bombs sour ale and Biere de Fête holiday lager.
Top mentions: Bedlam Book Cafe, Ed Hyder's Mediterranean Marketplace, Thyme Herbal Apothecary, Worcester Public Market
We're fiercely loyal to shopping small—at uniquely curated shops with artisan-crafted collectibles and locally-made goods. And with several highly nominated shops, named above, there's a place for everyone to peruse. Local nominators made special mention of the natural soaps from Shea Luxuria at Worcester Public Market, the Soma Salve from Thyme Herbal Apothecary and the smoothies at Bedlam Book Cafe.
Top mention: Worcester Art Museum
Internationally known for its display of European and American art, Worcester Art Museum is home to a collection of 37,500 pieces spanning 51 centuries. With art carts, hands-on activities and programs, and with a heavy focus on collaboration with local schools, WAM has stood at the forefront of engaging audiences and offering them a meaningful and personal experience. Tip from a local: Bruce W. of Worcester recommends checking out Jewels of the Nile, an exhibit on display through Jan. 8.
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.
Live Music Venues
Top mentions: Indian Ranch, DCU Center, Mechanics Hall
Live music venues around here range from contemporary arenas to neighborhood stages—and everything in the middle. Whether it's the lakeside Indian Ranch, innovative DCU Center or historic Mechanics Hall, there's a spot for everyone to find their beat.
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.
Outdoor Event Venues
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.
Top mention: AC Marriott
With a prime location, AC Hotel by Marriott Worcester 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.
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.