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10 Things to Know Before Moving to Melrose, MA

Written by Aislyn Hobbs

Melrose is a lovely Massachusetts town that is located north of Boston and not far from the coast. Thanks to its closeness to the state capital, Melrose has become famous as a desirable place to settle down, boasting charming neighborhoods, excellent schools, and stunning old residences. 

The current population of Melrose is approximately 28,000, and it is increasing daily due to the influx of new residents. Some 71% of the population was born in Massachusetts, and many of those people spent their whole lives in Melrose.

Keep reading, as we talk about ten things to know before moving to Melrose, MA.

1. The cost of living is 44% higher than the national average

Melrose has a cost of living index of 144. Being so close to Boston, it’s no surprise that it has such a high cost of living. The median home price in Melrose is $817,354.

The yearly cost of living for one adult in Melrose is $46,861. This is more than both the state of Massachusetts’s cost of living of $42,532 and the national average of $38,433. It also includes the cost of food, child care, transportation, health care, taxes, and other needs.

2. Melrose has lovely year-round weather

Melrose is situated in the very center of New England, right on the coast of Massachusetts, so its inhabitants get to enjoy all four seasons every year. Melrose experiences temperatures between 21 and 82 degrees on a year-round average. Even though Melrose is lovely in the spring and summer, the town really comes into its own in the fall when the leaves turn a riot of color. 

From November through February, Melrose transforms into a winter paradise, with an annual snowfall of approximately 48 inches. Before you move to Melrose, make sure you have a sturdy shovel for clearing snow off your driveway and a good rake for fall cleanups.

3. Melrose is a safe place to live

 Melrose is safer than most places in the United States when looking at crime rates. The rate of violent crime like murder, rape, robbery, and assault is 10.7 in Melrose. That is much lower than the average violent crime rate of 22.7 across the whole country. 

For property crimes like theft, burglary, and vehicle theft, Melrose also has a lower rate of 16.3 compared to the nationwide average of 35.4. Overall, Melrose has far less crime than typical national levels, making it a very secure area to live.

4. Live in Melrose communities like Melrose Highlands, City Center, and Fells

Melrose is well-known for its lovely suburban communities, which are characterized by spacious homes and low crime rates. 

With an average home price of $660,000, Melrose Highlands is one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Melrose. Nevertheless, with an average monthly cost of only $1,500, Melrose Highlands offers more reasonable rentals compared to the rest of the city. Many of the apartment buildings and single-family residences in the area date back to before 1940.

In City Center, the heart of Melrose, you’ll find different homes for sale with a median price of $514,000. The area shares Melrose Highlands’ mix of single-family homes and apartment complexes. The abundance of classic colonial and Victorian homes and excellent walkability scores have made City Center famous.

Situated on the southern end of Melrose, Fells, a beloved neighborhood, provides more affordable housing options, with a median property price of $490,000. Apartments and single-family homes coexist in Fells, making it a typical suburban area. Compared to Melrose Highlands and City Center, the houses here are a little bit newer; in fact, a lot of them were built after the year 2000.

5. Melrose Public School District has six schools

The public schools in Melrose are a wonderful example of the community’s dedication to its youth. There are a total of six schools in the Melrose Public School District: five elementary, one middle, and one high. 

Students at Melrose High School have the opportunity to participate in over 65 organizations and extracurriculars, take 22 AP classes, and participate in five foreign exchange programs. The school went so far as to win GreatSchools.org’s 2019 College Success Award!

6. Melrose Wakefield Hospital and the Hallmark Health System are the two biggest employers

The local economy in Melrose is doing quite well, so if you’re looking to get a job in this city, the thriving job market is an advantage. With a median salary of $93,434, Melrose is home to around 16,000 people who work in what are mostly service, technology, healthcare, and academic sectors. 

Melrose Wakefield Hospital and the Hallmark Health System are the two largest employers in the town, with about a thousand employees each. The proximity of Melrose to Boston attracts a lot of people who aspire to reach prominent positions in the city’s thriving tech, banking, and government sectors.

7. Eat at Giacomo’s or Turner’s Seafood Grill and Market

Melrose has a ton of restaurants you can choose from. Every night, Giacomo’s offers mouthwatering Italian dishes. You won’t be able to get enough of the exquisite pasta meals like frutti di mare and typical antipasto on the menu.

Want to know where to get the best seafood in Melrose? You’ll find everything you need at Turner’s Seafood Grill and Market, where they have a complete raw bar and serve traditional seafood meals including deep-sea scallops, boiled lobster, lobster bisque, and New England clam chowder.

Other great restaurants to try out are New Style Asian Food, The Bangkok, Ernie’s Lunch LLC, Ocean Sushi Restaurant, and Sushi Corner.

8. It’s very close to Boston

Melrose is perfect for those who commute to Boston every day because of its closeness to the city and its accessibility to major highways. Boston is just 8 minutes (1½ miles) away.

The town’s location between Route 1 and Route 93 makes it convenient to reach the city and other important areas (Route 95/128 is also nearby!)

9. Explore the outdoors at Middlesex Fells Reservation or Pine Banks Park

If you have a passion for the great outdoors, Melrose stands out as the perfect haven for you. The town takes pride in being home to the Middlesex Fells Reservation, a natural oasis with trails for hiking, biking, and leisurely walks. This expansive reserve allows residents to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. 

Beyond that, Pine Banks Park is another cherished destination, providing not only serene picnic areas but also sports fields for recreational activities. The community-oriented design extends further with a dedicated dog park, ensuring that residents and their furry companions have ample space to enjoy the outdoors. 

10. There’s a lot to explore at Downtown Melrose

Downtown Melrose is a lively place with lots to offer. You’ll find a mix of shops, restaurants, and cool spots. Whether you want a good coffee, a tasty meal, or some shopping fun, you’ve got it in Melrose. It’s not just about stuff – there’s a cool local vibe that makes it a great spot for everyone in town.

Grab some ice cream at Melrose Common Market & Ice Cream, shop for general needs at Buckalew’s General Store, or purchase gifts at Hourglass Gift Gallery.

Final Thoughts

Melrose, MA, presents an attractive package with its quaint charm, excellent schools, and proximity to Boston. Embracing all four seasons, it offers picturesque weather year-round, a safe community, and a thriving job market.

Though the cost of living is high, Melrose’s various neighborhoods cater to diverse preferences. The town’s proximity to Boston and its delightful outdoor spaces make it an attractive place to call home.   

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