Thinking about moving to Medford? If you’re looking for a safe suburb of Boston with its own rich history, outdoor recreation, and short commute to downtown Boston, you’ve found it.
Originally named Mistick when it was settled in 1630, it was renamed Meadford for “the ford by the meadow.” Medford offers a great quality of life and low crime with a small-town feel. Paul Revere’s midnight ride went through Medford Square with an annual re-enactment, and it was here that “Jingle Bells” was written after local James Piermont watched a sleigh race.
Located in the shadow of Boston, Medford has its own unique history despite its much younger age. The history of Medford, MA includes one of history’s biggest bank robberies and jewel heists in 1980 involving crooked police and the Depositors Trust Bank in Medford Square and the Mob execution of Joe Notarangeli by the Winter Hill Gang in 1973.
The city was once known for Medford Rum, crackers, bricks, and clipper ships when it was a manufacturing center in the late 19th century. Today, Medford, Massachusetts is known for Tufts University, the Middlesex Fells Reservation, and the Medford Square shopping center.
With a short drive just minutes to downtown Boston and Boston MBTA service (with a new Medford/Tufts MBTA Green Line station in the works!), living in Medford, MA has so much to offer. Here’s what you need to know.
Table of Contents
Medford, MA Population & Demographics
Medford is in Middlesex County, Mass just seven miles northwest of downtown Boston. Located on the Mystic River, the city is bordered by Somerville, Stoneham, Malden, Winchester, and Arlington. The Middlesex Fells Reservation, a preserve covering over 2,000 acres, is located to the north with a large portion within the city limits.
The population of Medford is 59,659 and it’s one of the largest cities in Middlesex County. With just eight square miles of area, Medford is densely populated with 6,934 people per square mile. It’s part of the Greater Boston metro area with a population of 4.9 million and a larger combined statistical area (CSA) population of 8.4 million.
An affluent suburb, Medford has a median household income of $96,455, 10% higher than Greater Boston and 20% higher than Massachusetts.
Like many areas of Greater Boston, Medford has a large Irish-American population especially South Medford, once a traditionally Irish community. The affluent West Medford neighborhood is home to an historic pre-Civil War African-American neighborhood. The racial and ethnic composition of the city is 71% white, 10% Asian, 9% Black or African-American, and 6% Hispanic. Nearly 22% of the population is foreign-born, 20% higher than Greater Boston, with 37% from Latin America, 35% from Asia, and 23% from Europe.
Additional Medford demographics:
- Median age: 35.3
- Sex ratio: 51% female, 49% male
- Per capita income: $49,994
- Poverty level: 8.8%
- Educational attainment: 54% bachelor’s degree or higher (10% higher than Boston metro average)
Is Medford, MA safe? Absolutely! The Boston area is considered very safe for a large metro area. The Medford crime rate is 55% below the national average with 68% less crime than average. There are 1,066 crimes per 100,000 people. While living in Medford, MA, you will be served by the Medford Police Department.
Many notable people are from the city or have lived here. Famous Medford residents include: Peter Chardon Brooks, one of the richest people in post-Colonial America, former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, actress Jessica Biel (attended Tufts University), Alexis Ohanian (founder of Reddit), Amelia Earhart, and Loren Bouchard (creator of Bob’s Burgers).
What Is the Cost of Living in Medford?
Is Medford, MA expensive? The Medford cost of living index is 157 which makes it 57% more expensive than the national average. By comparison, the Massachusetts cost of living index is 127.
Healthcare is 17% lower than the national average, typical for Massachusetts, but almost everything else is more expensive. Transportation, utilities, and groceries are all about 12% over the national average, but housing is what really pushes living expenses so high.
Planning to buy a house? Typical for Massachusetts and particularly the Boston metro area, Medford, MA real estate is expensive. The median home price is $802,500, up 15% year-over-year, with a median of just 22 days on market. That’s even more expensive than the median Boston home price of $725,000. You can learn about Middlesex County, MA property taxes here.
Planning to rent while living in Medford? Average rent is $2,987 which makes it more affordable than Boston ($3,549) and Cambridge ($3,319) according to RentCafe.
Medford, MA Neighborhoods | Best Places to Live
Get ready for living in Medford, MA with a look at some of the best neighborhoods to choose from. Here are just some of the top places to live for families and commuters.
South Medford – Adjacent to Tufts University Across the River
South Medford is the portion of the city on the other side of the river next to Somerville and Cambridge. Located right next to the university, it’s popular with students and families and offers some of the lowest tax rates in the area.
West Medford – Affluent Neighborhood with Public Transportation
Once home to the richest and most influential families of Boston, West Medford is today popular with commuters thanks to the commuter rail stop and close proximity to downtown.
Wellington – Close to Malden & Mystic River
Nestled along the Mystic River and bordered by Malden to the east, Wellington is a great place to live for renters and families who appreciate nearby entertainment, shopping, and outdoor recreation. You’ll be within walking distance of the Mystic River State Reservation and the Wellington T Station on the Orange line – the only MTBA stop currently serving the city aside from a commuter rail stop.
Best Apartments in Medford
Looking for great places to rent? Here are some of the most popular apartment buildings in the city.
- Lumiere Apartments offer luxury living on the banks of the Mystic River in one of the newest apartment communities. Rent starts at $2,200.
- Wellington Place Medford apartments start at $2,800 with a resort-style pool, fitness center, and media lounge.
- Mystic Place Apartments is a renovated and pet-friendly complex with all utilities included.
Climate & Typical Weather for Medford MA
Be ready for plenty of snow and rain ahead of moving to Medford, MA! The city gets 48” of annual rainfall and 52” of annual snow per year, both well above the U.S. average. There is some form of precipitation about 134 days per year.
While winters in Medford get very cold with an average winter low of 19 degrees in January and 115 average nights below freezing, summers are very comfortable. The average summer high is an ideal 82 degrees!
Learn more about the Boston climate here.
Top Things to Do in Medford
Ready to explore things to do in Medford, MA ahead of your relocation? You’ll find plenty of outdoor recreation with dozens of parks in Medford MA including some of the region’s best state parks with boating, swimming, and hiking. There are also tons of historical sites and attractions to explore.
You’ll enjoy excellent shopping at the historic Medford Square in downtown Medford, MA as well as Fellsway Plaza, Meadow Glen, and the Shops at Station Landing. Local supermarkets include Wegmans, ALDI, and Whole Foods Market. The amenities and excitement of the big city aren’t far either! It’s just 6 miles from Medford, MA to Boston, MA!
One of the best parks for enjoying the Mystic River, this public nature preserve offers miles of hiking and biking trails, swimming, and boating.
This beautiful, scenic destination in the woods is within Middlesex Fells Reservation and offers sweeping views of the nearby Boston skyline.
Wright’s Tower, Medford, MA 02155 (617) 727-1199
This historic Medford landmark is a hidden gem. It seats 1,900 and hosts live comedy performances, national musical acts, and more.
Chevalier Theatre, 30 Forest St, Medford, MA 02155 (781) 391-7469
Additional attractions in Medford:
- Middlesex Fells Reservation
- Royal House and Slave Quarters museum
- Flynn Rink
- Mystic Lakes State Park
- Dugger Park
Best Restaurants in Medford MA
Ready to see the delicious cuisine and fun eateries you’ll enjoy after moving to Medford? Here are just a few of the top places to eat.
- Tenoch Mexican. This popular counter-serve chain serves up classics like tortas along with beer and wine. Tenoch Mexican, 24 Riverside Ave, Medford, MA 02155 (781) 395-2221
- Semolina Kitchen + Bar. This Mediterranean-style eatery offers wood-fired pizza and a huge selection of rotating beers and wine. Semolina Kitchen + Bar, 572 Boston Ave, Medford, MA 02155 (781) 219-3871
- Bocelli’s. A long-standing fixture, Bocelli’s is the best place to eat in Medford when you’re looking for authentic Italian cuisine. Bocelli’s, 374 Main St, Medford, MA 02155 (781) 396-7070
Medford, MA Jobs & Average Salary
With an unemployment rate below the national average and projected future job growth of 40%, Medford, Massachusetts is a great place to live and work. Education and retail account for many of the jobs in Medford with Tufts University and the school district being major employers. Many people living in Medford work in Boston and surrounding areas. Here’s what your short commute from Medford to Boston looks like.
The average salary is $77,000 or $20.63 per hour according to Payscale with wages trending upward 0.9%. The median household income is $96,455.
Medford Schools & Higher Education
Moving to Medford with kids? You’ll be served by Medford Public Schools which has 4 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 3 high schools and enrollment of about 4,500 students. The high schools include an alternative school, a vocational-technical high school, and Medford High School, ranked #112 among Boston metro high schools.
Thanks to its close proximity to Cambridge and Boston, you will have some of the country’s top universities and colleges within minutes. The City of Medford is home to Tufts University, a prestigious private research university. The city is less than five miles from Harvard University, Boston University, Emerson College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Lesley University as well as Bunker Hill Community College.
Medford Statistics & Information
- Medford zip code: 02153, 02155, 02156
- Area code: 781 and 339
- Medford, MA county: Middlesex
- Time zone: UTC-5 (EST)
- Elevation: 14 feet
- Area: 8.68 square miles
Map of Medford MA
Tips for Living in Medford MA
- Pro: Short commute to Boston and served by the MBTA
- Pro: More affordable rent than Boston
- Pro: Excellent outdoor recreation and rich history
- Con: High cost of living and high home prices for the Boston area
Does moving to Medford, MA sound like the right decision for you? Once you’ve narrowed down your options and have a general date in mind, give us a call at Mass Bay Movers! Our Medford movers will give you a free, personalized estimate and help you plan your relocation.