First, let’s get the name straight. If you’re local, you surely cringe every time you hear someone pronounce the first syllable of Woburn as “woe.” The real pronunciation, you know, is “woo.” It rhymes with “new.” Once you’ve got the name down, you can get to know the city itself, a historic community with decidedly modern sensibilities.
Woburn may be most recognized as a place of convenience. Nestled into the junction of Interstates 93 and 95, Woburn is home to major chain retailers and restaurants, making it an easy-to-reach destination for running errands or grabbing a bite. But just under the commercial surface, the small suburban city offers a family-friendly way of life, forward-thinking culture, and community spirit that make its residents passionate advocates for their hometown.
“It just has so much to offer,” said Jodi Crowley, a realtor with Lamacchia Realty who is also on the Woburn Business Association’s membership committee. “I could go on and on and on—Woburn is awesome.”
Just 11 miles north of Boston, Woburn is an easily accessible community for commuters. But with nearly 40,000 residents, it is also sizable enough to support thousands of jobs for locals. The city’s character has a similar quality, mixing a little bit of urban bustle with a lot of small-town charm.
The heart of Woburn is, appropriately, the city center, home to graceful historic homes and independent businesses housed in historic brick buildings. A white church steeple keeps watch over the town common in iconic New England fashion. The striking public library, designed by the same architect who dreamed up Trinity Church in Boston’s Copley Square, is in the middle of a $31.5 million modernization and expansion, but passersby can still catch glimpses of the arched windows and elegant stone exterior.
Downtown Woburn is known for its incredibly diverse dining offerings. Top-notch burgers and pizza are easy to find, but there are also options for those with more adventurous palates. Brazilian churrasco, Indian curries, Chinese dishes featuring hand-pulled noodles, Spanish tapas, Northern Italian pasta dishes, and Korean rice bowls are all available in the space of just a few blocks.
The rest of the city is a patchwork of commercial and residential areas. To the west, Cummings Park and West Cummings Park house hundreds of businesses from cleaning services to software firms. Plenty of eateries dot the developments as well; try local chain b.good for flavor-forward burgers and salads made from locally sourced ingredients. To the north, the Woburn Mall, Target, and Lowe’s create a weekend errand hot spot. Houses from the modest to the grand occupy neighborhoods throughout.
Lovers of nature have several options within the city as well. Just outside the city center, Horn Pond offers a destination for relaxing or getting some exercise along miles of wooded trails. Mary Cumming Park, which straddles the border between Woburn and Burlington, offers walking paths and guided nature programs.
Entrepreneurs also find Woburn a welcoming place. The city has been rated a BioReady Community by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, and the biotechnology sector is thriving there. Independent businesspeople praise the Rotary Club and the Woburn Business Association for helping forge networks and promote local enterprises. “I really like the dynamic,” says Tyler Gates, a local financial advisor with Edward Jones. “Once you get embedded in the community and you built that loyalty, you get the utmost respect.”
Woburn’s exceptional sense of community makes it an excellent place to raise a family, say residents both past and present, and local nonprofits and charities play a vital role in connecting and supporting the town, according to Crowley. The recently renovated Boys and Girls Club and the North Suburban YMCA provide resources for fitness, sports, nutrition education, and even homework help. Over the past decade, the city has rebuilt or replaced some of its older schools, cementing its commitment to education.
Summer kicks off with the annual Flag Day carnival and fireworks, and in the fall, the annual Halloween parade is a much-anticipated event that draws people from many surrounding towns. Last year, the city commemorated its 375th anniversary with events throughout the year, including community cleanups, baseball games, festivals, and a celebratory gala.
“It’s a really great family community,” says Crowley.
Date of Settlement: 1640
Date of Incorporation: 1642
Area: 12.6 square miles
Zip Code: 01801, 01888
Median Household Income: $83,872
Woburn Memorial High, Joyce Middle, Kennedy Middle, Altavesta Elementary, Goodyear Elementary, Linscott Elementary, Reeves Elementary, Shamrock Elementary, Malcom White Elementary, Hurld Wyman Elementary
Actor Eric Bogosian, Cars drummer David Robinson, Olympic medalist Courtney Kennedy, inventor Charles Goodyear, physician John Martyn Harlow