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cities to retire in massachusetts

The Best Places to Retire in Massachusetts 🌳 | Guide to The Best Retirement Communities in Massachusetts

Last Updated on: 10th June 2024, 04:49 pm

Considering retiring in Massachusetts? This popular retirement destination offers a wealth of historic sites, diverse environments, outdoor activities, and cultural events. In addition, you’ll find a scenic coastline, rolling hills, big cities, and quaint little towns. The percentage of the population in Massachusetts over the age of 65 is 16%, making it a state with a large retirement population. In Massachusetts, you can find affordable homes and many active retirement communities.

An attractive draw for retirees is that Massachusetts has a wide variety of living environments to choose from, including mountains, farmland, and beaches. Massachusetts offers many museums, art galleries, and festivals, as well as an array of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. Fresh fish, clams, lobster, and other seafood can be found everywhere in the eastern and western parts of the state. And, Central Massachusetts is full of delicious restaurants as well.

Massachusetts offers many outdoor activities for active retirees, such as fishing, boating, hiking, skiing, and more. You can even learn something new with the Five College Learning in Retirement program at Amherst College, Mount Holyoke, Smith College, Hampshire College, or the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Massachusetts has some of the most successful professional sports teams in the country, including the Boston Red Sox (MLB), Boston Bruins (NHL), Boston Celtics (MBA), and New England Patriots (NFL). When you’ve found your perfect retirement spot in Massachusetts, our senior movers can help make your transition smooth and have you enjoying your best life in no time!

Is Massachusetts a Good Place to Retire?

Historic East End Boston Massachusetts United States Brick Buildings Bakery

In deciding whether Massachusetts is a good place for you to retire, you’ll want to consider factors such as healthcare, cost of living, climate, transportation, crime, and taxes. Here are some of the top things to consider when retiring in Massachusetts:


Massachusetts offers favorable tax conditions for retirees. You will be fully exempt from paying taxes on Social Security retirement benefits and income from public pension funds. However, other types of retirement income, such as income from an IRA, 401k, or other retirement savings account, are taxed at the state income tax rate of 5%. Sales tax is 6.25% in Massachusetts, and property taxes are relatively high at an average of 1.04%. Seniors over 65 can apply for a $1000 tax credit if they qualify on an income basis.

Massachusetts offers retirees several tax incentives, including a refundable credit on state income taxes for real estate taxes paid on Massachusetts property, an exemption of the superannuation retirement allowance from taxation, the Senior Circuit Breaker tax credit, and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, providing free tax help to eligible individuals. 


A top concern for seniors looking for a place to retire is access to good healthcare facilities. Massachusetts has some of the best in the country, including Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. You can find great healthcare options throughout the state.  

Recreational and Outdoor Activities

Enjoying the outdoors and its diversity is easy in Massachusetts. The state offers scenic mountains, national parks, stunning forests, and pristine beaches along its beautiful coastline. Retirees have plenty of opportunities for activities like hiking, camping, fishing, and boating. 

Cultural experiences

Massachusetts is steeped in history and culture. World-class museums, galleries, and performing arts venues, such as the Museum of Fine Arts and the Boston Opera House, are only the beginning. The state hosts some major festivals and events throughout the year, including the Boston Marathon, the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular, and the Salem Halloween Festival.


Massachusetts has four seasons, with mild summers and cold winters, and is the perfect place for retirees who enjoy the change of seasons.  


USNews ranks Massachusetts 7th in public safety and number 1 in property crime rates. Although crime can be higher in major cities like Boston, it is mostly found in certain areas that can be easily avoided. Overall, Massachusetts has many safe communities for retirees to choose from.  

Cost of Living

The Massachusetts cost of living is higher than the national average, including the cost of housing and healthcare. That being said, Massachusetts is one of the top states for retirees based on quality of life.  


Retirees will find good, accessible public transportation options in Massachusetts. Boston has an extensive public transportation network that includes the subway, buses, and commuter rail services with easy access to attractions, healthcare facilities, shopping centers, and more. Retirees enjoy discounted fares and senior passes, making it an ideal place for affordable public transportation. 

Best Places to Retire in Massachusetts

ma harbor bay filled with boats during a sunset

There are many great cities in Massachusetts for retirees, from small towns to beach living to big cities. The best place for you to retire in Massachusetts depends on factors such as your budget, your interests, and your preferences. You might be looking for either independent living in a safe, quiet town or a big city with all the amenities. Here are some of the top places in Massachusetts to retire, depending on what you’re looking for:

Springfield– Excellent Healthcare and Big City Amenities

  • Population: 155,929
  • Share of population 65+: 13.0%
  • Crime rate: 39% above the national average

Located near many assisted living centers, Springfield is an excellent choice for retirees with its affordable housing, top-notch healthcare facilities, and beautiful parks and outdoor spaces. You’ll also find many things to do in Springfield. Some of the top attractions are the Basketball Hall of Fame, Six Flags New England, and the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden.

Popular outdoor activities in the community include swimming, hiking, and boating. Lake Lorraine State Park, Riverbed Park, and the Elwell Island Nature Sanctuary offer lots of options for active retirees looking to enjoy the outdoors. If you’re looking for a thriving mid-sized city that strikes a perfect balance between big cities like Boston and small quiet towns, Springfield is a great option. 

Pittsfield– One of the Best Places to Retire in Massachusetts on a Budget

Aerial View Of Downtown Pittsfield Massachusetts On A Cloudy Spring day

  • Population: 43,927
  • Share of population 65+: 20.0%
  • Crime rate: 1% above the national average

In Pittsfield, retirees enjoy an affordable cost of living and lots of culture. If you’re looking for a low-budget retirement spot in Massachusetts, Pittsfield is a great option. With stunning views of the Taconic Mountains, Pittsfield offers scenic beauty everywhere you look. Retirees find many recreational opportunities in the city as well. The exceptional, low-cost healthcare options for retirees are a big draw in Pittsfield. Berkshire Health Systems caters to senior citizens with programs such as adult daycare, home care assistance, and more and staff specialists in many areas important to seniors. 

For a taste of culture, Pittsfield’s Artswalk downtown showcases an ongoing number of outdoor sculptures and murals created by local artists. Retirees can also enjoy theater, county clubs, golf courses, and more. Outdoor enthusiasts have lots of options to explore nearby hiking trails with breathtaking views. Pittsfield has plenty of historical sites to see, such as Shaker Village and Herman Melville’s home. The good public transit system in Pittsfield allows retirees the opportunity to travel around the area without driving. In fall, Pittsfield and the Berkshires are awash with changing leaves.  

Boston – Best in Urban Living in Massachusetts for Retirees

Boston Massachusetts Usa Historic Skyline At Dusk.

  • Population: 675,647
  • Share of population 65+: 12.3%
  • Crime rate: 4% above the national average

Boston is popular with retirees who are looking for the best in urban living. Boston has a rich cultural scene, excellent healthcare facilities, and a wide range of amenities you won’t find in other parts of the state. Boston has a variety of retirement communities to choose from that offer everything you could want in your retirement. Options include luxury high-rise apartments, single-family homes, and more. Amenities in these communities include fitness centers, swimming pools, and a full calendar of social activities designed for retirees.

The cultural attractions in Boston seem endless thanks to its rich history and include the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the New England Aquarium, and the Institute of Contemporary Art. Retirees can find plenty of recreational activities to enjoy in the city. Walk along the Charles River, explore the Freedom Trail, or take advantage of the many parks and gardens.

Boston has a vibrant nightlife with many bars, clubs, and restaurants for retirees not ready to slow down yet. Boston has cutting-edge healthcare and some of the top medical centers in the country. Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Tufts Medical Center, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute are just a few of the many other world-class research hospitals in the city. 

Yarmouth – A Top Destination for Retirees in Cape Cod

beautiful flowers in front of a modest colonial style home in yarmouth ma

  • Population: 25,023
  • Share of population 65+: 34.0%
  • Crime rate: 65% below the national average

Cape Cod is a well-known coastal region of Massachusetts where active adults enjoy unparalleled beauty and a laid-back beach lifestyle. Cape Cod is dotted with lighthouses and quaint seaside towns. One such town is Yarmouth. While many Cape Cod towns are overrun with tourists in summer, Yarmouth is a quiet oasis from the crowds. Retirees can enjoy Yarmouth’s excellent golf courses, and there are several senior living options in town.

Yarmouth is an affordable choice for retirees in Cape Cod and provides proximity to wildlife, beaches, galleries, museums, and much more. Public transportation is good, or you can travel around on your bike. The health system in Cape Cod is very good, offering retirees in Yarmouth great options for doctors, urgent care centers, hospitals, and continuing care retirement communities. 

Northampton– A Top Retirement Location for Healthy Living

aerial view of northampton ma downtown area

  • Population: 29,571
  • Share of population 65+: 20.7%
  • Crime rate: 30% below the national average

Situated in the foothills of the beautiful Berkshire Mountains, Northampton is a thriving college town. It is home to Smith College, Amherst College, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Hampshire College, and Mt. Holyoke and Smith, all of which offer retirees opportunities for lifelong learning. Downtown Northampton is full of local shops, bookstores, and art galleries. This town in Western Massachusetts has a great retirement home, Rockridge Retirement Community.

The vibrant cultural scene in Northampton includes music venues, theaters, and festivals. Retirees have many entertainment options in the city all year long. Northampton is known for its excellent healthcare and community focus on health and well-being. Cooley Dickinson Hospital is a top provider of medical care and specialized senior care.

Northampton’s commitment to healthy living is showcased by its various parks, hiking and bike paths, and recreational facilities. There are many active adult communities in Northampton to choose from. It’s also close to South Hadley, where many young families live. So, if you have grandkids living there, it’s the perfect spot to be!

Worcester – One of the Safest Cities in Massachusetts

Worcester Massachusetts Downtown Skyline at sunset

  • Population: 18,530
  • Share of population 65+: 20.5%
  • Crime rate: 77% below the national average

Worcester ranks high with retirees for its proximity to good healthcare, affordable housing, and the University of Massachusetts medical school campus. Worcester has a rich culture with lots of restaurants, concert and theater venues, the Worcester Art Museum, and a vibrant arts scene. Worcester is a very safe place to live, with a low crime rate, making it a popular place for retirees.  

With a low cost of living in Worcester, it’s a popular choice. Some of the best retirement communities in Massachusetts are located in Worcester, including The Willows and Tatnuck Park.

Map of Best Towns to Retire in Massachusetts

If you’re looking for the best retirement communities in Massachusetts, you’ll find them in the cities above! There’s so much to love about retiring in Massachusetts. If you’re moving throughout the state, call Mass Bay Movers at 978-587-3775 for a free quote today!


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