An LGBT Guide to Worcester

Situated at the crossroads of New England’s major cities, Worcester has a thriving culture and downtown to match its central location.

The largest city in central Massachusetts is now the second-largest city in New England, with only Boston having a bigger population. Plus, in addition to its fast-growing pride celebration, the Human Rights Campaign Municipality Equality Index recently awarded Worcester a rating of 100, making it one of only three cities in the Commonwealth to get a perfect score.

During a trip, what will you find? Here’s a quick preview

If your next visit to Worcester will be your first one, start at the Worcester Art Museum, a truly exceptional institution that has stood on Salisbury Street since the turn of the 20th century. Today, the art museum has a collection that rivals museums in global cities, with more than 35,000 pieces housed inside.

Together, the works span a time period of more than 5,000 years, including paintings, sculptures, photography, prints, drawings, decorative arts and more. Cassatt, Gaugin, Monet and Goya are just a few of the luminaries whose art is on display in the Worcester Art Museum, which is open Wednesday through Sunday.

Visitors more partial to the performing arts might be more interested in a show at The Hanover Theatre, a venue that was originally built just a few years after the art museum. After a few nips and tucks during the past decade, the theater is back in grand condition, hosting several performances each month that offer classical music, bawdy comedy and everything in between. The DCU Center, another venue that hosts all kind of shows and doubles as a sports arena, is good to scout in advance, too.

If time outside is your thing, Worcester and the surrounding area has much to offer in that respect, too. Worcester is about a half-hour’s drive from Wachusett Mountain, where adventurers can find 22 trails, eight lifts and one 1,000-foot vertical drop. Closer to the city and better suited to travelers who prefer a stroll, Broad Meadow Brook is New England’s largest urban wildlife sanctuary. With 400+ acres, Broad Meadow is excellent for guests of any age who need some fresh air, and it can be found at 414 Massasoit Road in the city.

When it comes to dining and lodging, Worcester’s Beechwood Hotel treats guests to the best of both worlds, not to mention convenient location. For meals, the hotel’s Ceres Bistro has you covered, and for overnights, there are plenty of comfy options. Beyond the Beechwood, O’Connor’s Restaurant & Bar in nearby West Boylston and Pomir Grill are great to grab a bite. The Residence Inn, Courtyard Marriott and the newest addition to Worcester’s hotel scene Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton, opening March 22, 2016, are also very suitable for overnights.