Located in Central Massachusetts, Worcester is the second biggest city in the state after Boston, and is home to a population of 181, 045. Recognized as the "Heart of the Commonwealth," the city sits in the middle of the state's prominent Metropolitan areas. The city had been recognized as its own region for generations. However, as Boston's city limits have spread, the larger Boston-Worcester-Providence Metropolitan Area has engulfed Worcester. The city is broken into six major areas that include a number of smaller neighborhoods. These Areas include Central City, West Side, East Side, North Worcester, South Worcester and Downtown.
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The area was first founded in 1674, and the city served as the Worcester County seat starting in 1731. The center of the city was a central gathering place for Revolutionary War activities, and the town hall was the location of the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. By the 18th century, the area became a hub for manufacturing, producing a number of goods including textiles, clothing and wire. Much of the industry declined after World War II, but due to a new focus in healthcare and biotechnology the economy has experienced substantial growth in recent decades. With new growth, the citizens have begun to revitalize much of the historical city center with new buildings and facilities and restored historical sites.
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Worcester's culture is largely influenced by Boston and New England, but it boasts a number of activities that are all its own. Many of the older neighborhoods have been reinvented into vibrant local bar, restaurant and club scenes. Shrewsbury Street and the Canal District have seen a major increase in nightlife. The city also hosts a number of arts and culture events annually including stART on the Street, the Worcester Music Festival, the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival and the County's St Patrick's Parade. Worcester follows Boston closely as a center for the arts, and is home to one of the oldest concert halls in the country, Mechanics Hall. The Hanover Theater of Performing Arts features a number of Broadway shows and Tuckerman Hall is home to the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, the community supports programs that foster youth interest in the arts. The Worcester Public School System includes 33 elementary schools, four middle schools and seven high schools. There are also a number of recognized charter and private schools that students are able to attend, and the city is home to a variety of colleges, universities and professional schools. Worcester provides a community with an important emphasis on culture and education and is an excellent place to settle.