Quality of Life

We offer a wide variety and nearly exhausting quantity of recreational and cultural activities, and of some of the region’s best cafés and restaurants—many within easy walking distance of each other. The expanded coastal region is rich in history and opportunities at a fraction of the cost from surrounding metro cities.


In 2023, the median sale price for a home in the Commonwealth was $567,500, in Boston: $760,000 and in New Bedford: $375,000

$14.70/sq ft office rents

$14.63/sq ft retail rents

$1,562 median contract housing rent

Health & Wellbeing

Southcoast Health is one of the largest, fastest growing health systems in MA, serving more than 725,000 residents in 33 communities, with over 675 physicians, covering over 900 square miles

11 major parks, 26 playground and neighborhood parks, over 12 miles of trails and bikeways, 26 acres of beaches, numerous public and private baseball, football, and soccer fields. Most residents live within a 10-minute walk of a park

Complete Streets ordinance passed in 2016

Safe Routes to School Program is a free, federally funded program administered by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation that works to increase safe walking, biking, and rolling among public elementary, middle, and high school students.

The Blue Lane is a cohesive designation for the city’s waterfront path from the CoveWalk and HarborWalk along the South End peninsula to the planned RiverWalk on the banks of the Acushnet River in the North End

New Bedford Farmer’s Market, four locations with over 25 farmers and vendors

New Bedford was one of only 53 communities to earn five Gold Medals in Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Program


UMass Dartmouth’s College of Visual & Performing Arts downtown campus, and School for Marine Science Technology (SMAST) West are prominently located in the city and are just a 5-minute drive from main campus

NBPS serves 13,000 students within 19 neighborhood elementary schools, three state-of-the-art district middle schools, and one comprehensive high school, a regional vocational high school, and a variety of charter and private schools all within the city

Arts & Culture

New Bedford’s first-ever strategic Arts + Culture Plan was published in December 2018, New Bedford Creative: our Art, our Culture, our Futureand first-ever report in January 2024, The Composition of the New Bedford Creative Economy and Economic Impacts.

The Seaport Cultural District is the hub of the city’s vibrant creative community and celebrates the culture of the #1 fishing port in the nation. It features over 100 attractions, including boutiques, craft breweries, art galleries, museums, public art, cultural events, authentic New England seafood, and an array of global cuisine.

Home of one of 428 national parks in the country, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park is an exemplary national model of collaborative partnerships to preserve, protect, and interpret the history of whaling, global immigration, Underground Railroad, women’s history, cultural diversity, architecture and art. It includes an Artist-in-Residence program and makerspace.

The Zeiterion Performing Arts Center is the region’s premiere performance art center, welcoming over 100,000 patrons a year filling the city’s restaurants, hotels, and attractions. The Z supports 180 jobs, with a $5.2 million impact on the local economy, and includes resident companies New Bedford Symphony Orchestra and New Bedford Festival Theatre.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum sees approximately 100,000 visitors annually, with an estimated economic output of $10.1 million based on museum and visitor spending in the region. The New Bedford Whaling Museum has been collecting historic artifacts, manuscripts, rare books, and photographs since 1903. Today, the collection comprises over one million items.

Buttonwood Park Zoo, named by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) as “one of the finest small zoos in the United States.” With over 120,000 visitors annually, BPZOO is one of 240 AZA accredited zoos meeting the highest standards for exhibit quality, animal care, educational programs and conservation projects.

Over 1,000 cultural events and festivals per year, including the largest Portuguese Festival in the country and biggest Cape Verdean Parade in the United States.

500 artists working throughout the city that draw collectors and buyers from New York, Boston, Providence, Cape Cod and the Islands, and more.

The largest selection of antiques and collectibles in the northeast with over 200,000 square feet of showroom space.

“Old textile mills are being reimagined, new restaurants are thriving and exhibitions and parks are expanding to better tell the city’s long history of promoting equality. Museums, downtown artist studios and performance spaces speak to investment in the creative class.”

– Elisabeth Goodridge, The New York Times, 100 MILES FROM … BOSTON: “The Old Whaling Capital of New Bedford Looks Ahead” (2022)

“Through his ongoing support of the initiatives of the arts and culture plan, and his thoughtful leadership, Mayor Mitchell has provided the foundation to bring New Bedford to a position as one of the leading creative cities in America.”  

– Americans for the Arts, who presented Mayor Jon Mitchell with the 2023 Public Leadership in the Arts Award during the United States Conference of Mayors

Named the most creative community in the state by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and named one of the dozen Distinctive Destinations in the US by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

A Community Preservation Act has invested $7.2 million to date in the city’s rich culture, maritime, and textile history.

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