Moving to New Bedford

Welcome to your grand adventure of relocating to New Bedford, MA - a quaint maritime city that's brimming with authentic culture, vibrant art scene, and rich historical heritage. Housing the largest fishing fleet in the eastern seaboard and with an irresistible charm reminiscent of a bygone era, New Bedford promises a unique experience braced by the Atlantic winds. Strap in as we dive into the depths of this city, unraveling everything you need to know in this comprehensive New Bedford relocation guide. Care to join us on this voyage?

Moving to New Bedford, MA landscape image

What to Know Before Moving to New Bedford


1. A World-Class Maritime History

Did you know New Bedford was once the "Whaling City" of the world? Right on the south coast of Massachusetts, New Bedford made its mark as one of the globe's top whaling ports in the 19th century. Nowadays, it is home to the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, where you can engulf yourself in this rich maritime history. Also, be sure to pay a visit to the Seamen's Bethel, a chapel mentioned in Herman Melville's famous novel "Moby-Dick".

2. A Welcoming Artistic Scene

For art enthusiasts, New Bedford does not disappoint. It is packed with an array of art galleries and cultural squares that host dynamic community events, exhibits, and concerts throughout the year. The New Bedford Art Museum with its wide-ranging collection of fine art is a must-visit. So is the monthly AHA! Night, a community celebration of arts and culture. And a little insider secret - the city holds the title for one of the most "Artistic Medium-sized Cities" in America!

3. Fresh Seafood Galore!

If you're a seafood aficionado, you're in for a treat! As a coastal city, New Bedford offers an enticing array of fresh catches, from clams to scallops and everything in between. Make it a point to dine at the many seafood restaurants lining the port area. For a unique culinary journey, don't miss the chance to try to portuguese cuisine which reflects the city's significant Portuguese community.

4. It's Not Just About Whales

This might come as surprise, but the Buttonwood Park Zoo is a hidden gem that also makes New Bedford, well, New Bedford! This small but lovable zoo is popular amongst locals and tourists alike. It's perfect for a family outing with a variety of animals, play areas and educational programs. Plus, a bonus point - it's one of the finest small zoos in the United States.

5. A Quiet Beach Town

Contrary to the bustling life in Boston, New Bedford is a delightfully quiet coastal town. It's the perfect escape from the city's hustle and bustle with tranquil beaches and a slow-paced environment. Fort Taber Park and West Beach are popular spots to relax, take long walks, or enjoy a picnic while drinking in the panoramic ocean views.

6. The Birthplace of the World's Most Expensive Perfume

How's this for a fun fact? Amelia R. Allaire, a New Bedford native, revolutionized the perfume industry in the 19th century with her brand "Pinaud" - estimated to have created what is now considered the world's most expensive perfume. So, not only did New Bedford leave its scent mark in the whaling industry but also in the perfume world. You can certainly smell the success!

In conclusion, with rich maritime history, vibrant cultural scene, and unique trivia to its name, New Bedford is certainly a fascinating city to move to. Whether you're a history buff, an art enthusiast, a foodie or someone who simply appreciates a charming seaside town of character, you'll find your place in New Bedford, MA.

' What to know before moving to New Bedford, MA image
See the 10 Best Movers Nearest You
(Unbiased) Ranking of the top movers in every city.

Pros and Cons of Living in New Bedford

Pros of Living in New Bedford

Rich History and Culture

New Bedford, known as "The Whaling City," has a proud history dating back to the 18th century. As a resident, you will enjoy the city's numerous historic sites, unique architecture, and the acclaimed New Bedford Whaling Museum. The city's diverse neighborhoods and multicultural communities contribute to a vibrant art, music, and food scene.

Waterfront and Beaches

As a city by the sea, New Bedford offers ample waterfront access for swimming, boating, fishing, and other water activities. The city is home to several beautiful beaches including Fort Taber Park and East Beach. New Bedford Harbor also serves as a breezy and peaceful environment for relaxing or taking a leisurely stroll.

Community Events

New Bedford hosts a variety of community events throughout the year. Whether it's the annual Working Waterfront Festival, the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, or the Summer Sound Series, there is always something happening. These events promote community interaction and provide residents with lots of entertainment options.

Lower Cost of Living

Compared to many other parts of Massachusetts, New Bedford offers a more affordable cost of living. While it's still higher than the national average, housing, groceries, and utilities tend to be cheaper. This makes it an attractive option for individuals or families looking to settle down without breaking the bank.

Access to Quality Healthcare

New Bedford is home to several top quality healthcare facilities. Southcoast Health, the largest healthcare provider in the region, operates three hospitals and numerous clinics in the city. The presence of these medical institutions ensures the city's residents have access to high-quality healthcare services close to home.

Cons of Living in New Bedford

Known for High Crime Rate

Unfortunately, New Bedford has a crime rate that's relatively higher than the national average. While the city and local law enforcement work diligently to reduce these numbers, it's a factor that prospective residents should consider.

Economic Challenges

While it's more affordable than other parts of Massachusetts, New Bedford has a relatively high unemployment rate and pockets of poverty. For some residents, finding economically rewarding employment within the city can be challenging.

Inconsistent Public School Quality

While there are some exceptional schools within the city, the overall quality of New Bedford's public schools is inconsistent. Some schools still struggle with below-average standardized test scores and high dropout rates.

Lack of Top-Tier Shopping and Dining Options

While New Bedford offers a range of shopping and dining options, it lacks the high-end retail outlets and gourmet restaurants that larger cities or more affluent suburbs typically have. Residents looking for a more upscale shopping or dining experience may need to travel outside the city.

Weather Conditions

Like much of New England, New Bedford's weather can be challenging. Winters can be harsh, with heavy snowfall and cold temperatures, while summers can be humid. If you're not used to seasonal changes and heavy snowfall, it might take some time to adjust.

Modern day picture of New Bedford, MA highlighting pros and cons of living in New Bedford, MA

Is New Bedford a Good Place to Live?

New Bedford, MA is a great place to live because of its rich history, coastal charm, and vibrant arts and culture scene. Besides, it's a haven for seafood lovers, offering some of the freshest clams, lobsters and scallops you'll ever savor. And let's not forget about its friendly neighborhoods, beautiful parks, and excellent educational institutions making it ideal for families and students alike!

What Is New Bedford Famous For?


Historic Whaling Industry

Once known as "The Whaling City," New Bedford was the whaling capital of the world during the 19th century. Fascinating remnants of this era, including a charmingly cobblestoned district, are still visible and well-preserved today.

Working Waterfront

New Bedford's working waterfront is known for being one of the highest revenue-producing fishing ports in the country. From scallops to lobster, you'd be hard-pressed to find fresher seafood elsewhere!

New Bedford Whaling Museum

The New Bedford Whaling Museum provides a deep dive into the city's whaling history with a vast collection of artifacts and exhibits. From intricate scrimshaw carvings to a life-size replica of a blue whale, the museum is a captivating journey back in time.

Festivals and Cultural Events

Oh, the celebrations! New Bedford is known for its vibrant array of cultural events and festivals. From the Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, the largest Portuguese festival in the world, to the colourful Summerfest Folk Music and Art Festival, there's always something to enjoy around town.

' Capital building of New Bedford, MA in artistic rendering

Overview of Tax Rates

Property Tax

As of 2023, the property tax rate in New Bedford, MA is $14.94 per $1,000 in home value. This is comparatively high when considering the average property tax rate in the US, which hovers around $1.07 per $1,000 of home value.

Sales Tax

The sales tax rate in New Bedford and throughout Massachusetts is currently at 6.25%. This is slightly lower than the national median of 6.88%, making consumer goods relatively affordable in comparison to other states.

Income Tax

Residents of New Bedford, MA are subject to the state of Massachusetts flat income tax rate of 5%. This is considerably lower compared to the median state income tax rate of 5.25% in the nation.

Housing Market

The New Bedford, MA housing market offers a distinct advantage in terms of affordability. With a median home value significantly lower than the national average, it's an attractive option for buyers seeking cost-effective home ownership. The competitive rental market, with rates lower than national and state averages, is appealing for short-term stays or individuals transitioning to homeownership. However, the appreciation rate, although positive, is slower compared to other US areas. Overall, New Bedford provides value for money, but potential investors must consider a longer turn-around for substantial return on investment.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in New Bedford, MA is considerably lower than in many other American cities. Expenses such as housing, groceries, and healthcare are generally cheaper in New Bedford, offering residents more disposable income. Also, local taxes are competitive, providing an additional financial benefit. This lower cost of living doesn't compromise the city's charm or amenities, with New Bedford offering a rich cultural scene, attractive neighborhoods, and excellent schools. Hence, New Bedford emerges as a viable option for those seeking a more affordable, high-quality living experience.

Weather & Natural Disasters

New Bedford, Massachusetts, experiences a blend of continental and oceanic climates, characterized by cold winters and warm summers. The average temperature varies from 24degF in winter to 80degF in summer. The city sees considerable rainfall throughout the year, with the highest precipitation typically in March. Snowfall occurs in winter, averaging around 34 inches annually. The coastal location makes New Bedford susceptible to tropical storms and hurricanes, particularly between June and November. Nor'easters also pose a significant threat, bringing heavy snowfall or rain, violent winds, and coastal flooding. Additionally, New Bedford has experienced minor earthquakes due to its proximity to the Ramapo Fault Line. Despite these potential threats, the city is renowned for its fresh sea breezes and the captivating beauty it inherits from its maritime climate.

Typical weather in New Bedford, MA

Economy & Job Market

* Healthcare and Social Assistance

* Retail Trade

* Manufacturing

* Education Services

* Accommodation and Food Services

Ahoy! Let's embark on a voyage through the economy of New Bedford, Massachusetts. Our first port of call is the city's seafaring history, which is steeped in whaling and fishing traditions. At the height of the whaling era in the 19th century, this "Whaling City" was one of the wealthiest in the world. Today, our starboard side shows New Bedford's transformation into a much-diversified economy. The city has traded in its blubber for healthcare and social assistance, retail trade, manufacturing, education services, and the accommodation and food services sector. Its bustling port still remains the heart of the city's economy, hosting famed scallop and seafood industries.

If you're ready to weigh anchor and move to New Bedford, you should be prepared for a bit of a mixed sea breeze when it comes to the job market. The city's unemployment rate is a touch higher than the national average, floating around 7.2%. Never fear though, you can find a wealth of opportunities within the healthcare industry, the top employer in this historic city. Carry your compass towards the area's hospitals and medical centers for the best chance of employment. Retail trade and manufacturing are also industries to explore, as well as the education sector thanks to the presence of a number of schools and universities. If you fancy the high seas and the smell of salt air, the fishing industry always has a ready berth for hardy seafarers. Full steam ahead, matey, and welcome to New Bedford!

Traffic and Transportation

Oh la la, New Bedford, Massachusetts: where the commutes are truly something to sing about! The average commute time is a mere 21.4 minutes. That's less than the national average - just enough time to listen to a podcast episode or enjoy a cup of coffee! Now, how do you weave your way through the city? You might hop aboard the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority (SRTA) with their buses darting to all major areas of the city. For those seeking a touch of high altitude, New Bedford provides easy access to Logan International Airport in Boston and T.F. Green Airport in Providence. Whether you're a land lover or a sky flyer, New Bedford ensures a smooth ride. So, fasten your seatbelts and get ready for a comfortable and exciting journey in this charming coastal city!

What is the traffic like in New Bedford, MA?

Best Neighborhoods in New Bedford

1. Buttonwood Park

Not only the site of one of the finest zoos in New England, Buttonwood Park Zoo, the Buttonwood Park neighborhood offers a charming mix of both old and new. With its beautiful park - a favorite among families, joggers, and wildlife enthusiasts - you'll find plenty of ways to keep busy all year round, from breezy summer picnics to winter skating. Its pleasing mix of architectural styles, ranging from quaint Cape Cods to charming Victorians, make the neighborhood visually appealing as well. Leisurely walks here can feel like stepping into a different era. It's also home to many local businesses and restaurants, making it a convenient locale for all your needs.

2. Downtown New Bedford

If you're a lover of history and urban environments, Downtown New Bedford might be your new favorite place. As the cultural and economic heart of the city, here you'll find a wide variety of shops, cafes, galleries and cultural hotspots - including the renowned Zeiterion Performing Arts Center. The cobblestone streets and old whaling captain mansions remind you of New Bedford's rich maritime history. Bonus points if you're a seafood lover because this place boasts some fantastic seafood restaurants.

3. South end

If easy access to serene beaches is high on your wish-list, the South End of New Bedford is the area for you. Beyond the beaches, the neighborhood takes pride in its well-maintained parks and recreational facilities. The neighborhood is extremely picturesque, with stunning views of the ocean from Fort Taber Park. The historic Fort Taber itself serves as a draw, offering countless outdoor activities and a touch of history for the curious explorer.

4. West End

The West End neighborhood offers a vibrant, creative vibe that artists or those seeking an artsy neighborhood would admire. Its diverse array of local businesses, eateries, and boutiques give it a unique charm. The neighborhood is also home to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth College of Visual and Performing Arts, adding to the artistic atmosphere of the community. Its beautiful tree-lined streets and historic homes offer a somewhat tranquil escape from city life.

5. North End

Known for its strong community spirit and tight-knit feel, the North End of New Bedford offers a lot for those seeking a sense of belonging. It features clean and attractive suburban-style streets, many sporting well-tended gardens. There's quick access to a variety of stores for shopping as well as various local and ethnic cuisines to explore. It's also regarded as being family-friendly, with access to top-rated schools and plenty of options for children's recreational activities. All set against the backdrop of Brooklawn Park - one of the largest in the city.

So there you have it - five fabulous neighborhoods in bustling New Bedford. From the peaceful suburbs of the North End to the historic charm of Downtown, there's a neighborhood to suit every preference when relocating to this coastal gem of a city. Whichever one you end up choosing, you'll surely enjoy the rich history, natural beauty, and community spirit that New Bedford has to offer.

Best neighborhoods in New Bedford, MA image

Things to Do

Ahoy, New Bedford! A rich, maritime scene with a wink of whimsy and waltz of history. Now, whether you're a freshly relocated resident, or a wistful wanderer, within this classic coastal city, there's an adventure waiting to wriggle its way onto your calendar. Here, from the well-known to the "Wait, really?", are the top seven things to do in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

1. Awe at the New Bedford Whaling Museum

Ah, the majesty of the sea captured within the walls of the greatest collection of maritime art and whaling artifacts and exhibits. From the half scale whale ship--yes a ship!--to galleries that echo the call of ocean travel, the New Bedford Whaling Museum is a must-visit for any would-be whaleman or history buff.

2. Dine in Candlelight at Brick

And speaking of history, enter into a moment of time at Brick. A former bank building has been lovingly converted into a dining experience complete with a vault--though your dinner won't be locked away. Serving up a great selection of Italian dishes and mouth-watering steaks, this restaurant is more than a meal, it's an evening out.

3. Unleash Your Creative Spirit at the New Bedford Art Museum

Art aficionados, here's your stop! The New Bedford Art Museum is an artistic Eden complete with rotating exhibits, a robust permanent collection, and workshops. Perhaps your move was to reignite your creative spirit? If so, the buzzing community of local artists here will surely inspire!

4. Walk Along the Cobblestone Streets of Downtown

Discover an enchanting blend of history and modern city life in the cobblestone streets of downtown New Bedford. Lined with specialty shops, cafes, and galleries to explore, you might just feel like you stepped into another era. Don't forget to enjoy the sculptures and murals throughout this bustling district!

5. Go Ape at the Buttonwood Park Zoo

Oh, the places a day at the zoo can take you! From the Australian outback to the wilds of Africa, the Buttonwood Park Zoo will have you oo-ing and ah-ing at the range of creatures represented. The Zoo's commitment to conservation should warm the heart of any nature-lover making their new start in New Bedford.

6. Sink into the Hidden Harmony Bookstore

Here's a secret: tucked away in town lies the Harmony Bookstore, a charming, quiet retreat for bookworms. A treasure trove for used and rare books, it's the perfect place to discover a hidden gem or to simply enjoy a moment of serene solitude in your new city.

7. Relish the Delights of the Ocean Explorium

Most locals can't tell you about this one! The Ocean Explorium is a marine science public education center that offers interactive exhibits and marine animal tanks. You can touch rays, sea stars, and other ocean critters. It's edutainment at its finest!

Well, there you have it! Seven superior things to offer an unforgettable welcome to New Bedford. Breathtaking museums, delicious cuisine, playful animals, immersive art, and the surprise delights of the Ocean Explorium and Harmony Bookstore. Ah, New Bedford, you charmer, you've got it all, and more! Bon voyage, dear newcomer. We're waiting to welcome you to our shores.

Things to do in New Bedford, MA?

Find Movers for Your New Bedford Relocation

Having explored the delights of New Bedford, it's time to make your move. Whether you're relocating across country or within state lines, you deserve a moving experience that's as smooth as possible. Allow Great Guys Moving to simplify the process by connecting you with top-notch movers known for exceptional service and competitive pricing. All of our moving companies are licensed and insured ensuring maximum protection of your valuable belongings. Make the smart choice. Request a free moving quote from Great Guys Moving now, and begin your exciting New Bedford adventure without the usual stress of moving. Let us turn your new chapter into a delightful journey.

See The Best Movers For Moving To Massachusetts From...

Find out how much your move costs!