Nestled in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts, Westfield is a charming city with a long history and a vibrant community. Known as Whip City due to its production of whips in the 20th century, Westfield is now a suburban town with a truly urban feel. From its scenic parks to annual community events, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
But what is Westfield, MA, known for? If you’re looking at homes for sale in Westfield or are just curious about what the city has to offer, this Redfin guide has everything you need to know. To give you a taste, read on for 10 things to love about Westfield.
1. Stanley Park
Stanley Park is a famous landmark that draws thousands of locals and tourists alike. Known for its over 300 acres of meticulously maintained gardens, peaceful walking trails, and recreational facilities, this is a park you shouldn’t miss. The park also hosts events during most weekends, including a summer concert series, movies in the park, and other seasonal celebrations.
Perhaps the most famous part of the park is its gardens. The Stanley Park Rose & Flower Garden has over 30 varieties of roses and hundreds of bushes, while the Asian Garden contains a Torii Gate and a Japanese Tea House. There is also an arboretum, greenhouse, wildflower garden, rhododendron display, and much more.
2. Rich history
First settled by colonists in 1669, Westfield was the westernmost town in Massachusetts for over 50 years, and today is a quiet city that boasts a deep sense of heritage and care. The city is home to numerous historical places, including the Dewey House, which was built in 1735, and The Old Burying Ground, which was erected in the 1600s and is still a local treasure.
The Westfield Historical Society plays a large role in preserving the region’s history by maintaining buildings and keeping a thorough collection of artifacts. You can view some of these pieces at museums in the area. Local schools also celebrate the region’s past by visiting regional historic sites every year.
3. The Westfield River
The picturesque Westfield River meanders through the city, offering a natural playground for outdoor enthusiasts. A major tributary of the Connecticut River with many forks, the river allows for kayaking, fishing, swimming, and more.
There are many places in Westfield and surrounding areas to access the river, depending on the activity. For example, if you want to swim, head to the Jacob’s Ladder Trail. For kayaking, visit Robinson State Park or C.M. Gardner State Park. Fishing, tubing, boating, and more are also popular activities.
4. Parks and recreation
Beyond Stanley Park, Westfield boasts numerous other parks and recreational facilities. The Westfield Riverwalk is a scenic trail along the Westfield River, perfect for leisurely walks and picnics. Intersecting the Riverwalk is the Columbia Greenway Trail, which offers over 3 miles of multi-use path within Westfield, and continues over 80 miles to New Haven, Connecticut. Meanwhile, the nearby Noble View Outdoor Center offers hiking, camping, and breathtaking vistas of the Pioneer Valley.
If you’re interested in a day trip, the Berkshire Mountains are only an hour or so away. Home to renowned natural beauty, year-round outdoor recreation, music festivals, farm-to-table restaurants, and luxurious getaways, the Berkshires offer something for everyone no matter the season.
Additionally, the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail is also a must-see, traversing the Metacomet Ridge of Pioneer Valley.
5. Amelia Park Children’s Museum
The Amelia Park Children’s Museum is a cherished spot for people of all ages to learn, explore, and connect with friends and family. This hands-on, STEM-focused museum is designed to spark creativity and curiosity throughout its many rooms and exhibits. For example, the Dino Dig allows for children to dig for bones and fossils using a map, while the STEM center offers magnetic walls, gravitational experiments, and more. Exhibits are constantly evolving to cater to people of all ages, so you’re sure to find something you love.
The museum is particularly popular for school field trips, birthday parties, weekend adventures, and summer camps. There is also a membership system, which may be useful if you attend frequently.
6. Arts and culture
Westfield is a vibrant hub of arts and culture. It’s a community that celebrates creativity, local talent, and holidays. The Westfield Creative Arts Center and the Westfield Athenaeum regularly host art exhibitions, musical performances, book readings, and community gatherings. The Westfield Farmers Market is also a popular gathering place every week on Thursdays from June through mid-October.
Additionally, the city puts on larger events year-round, such as a holiday craft fair, Decemberfest, dozens of musical performances, local races, fireworks shows, and much more.
7. Great dining scene
Westfield’s culinary scene has blossomed in recent years. With an array of restaurants offering diverse cuisines, from Italian at The Tavern and Emma’s Everyday Gourmet, to Latin food at Santiago Family Restaurant and sushi at K’s, there’s an option for every palate. Lastly, don’t forget to try the classic American fare at The Elm Street Diner.
8. Westfield Fair
The Westfield Fair is an annual tradition dating back to 1927 that harks back to the city’s agricultural roots. Located at the Western Massachusetts fairgrounds, residents and visitors alike flock to this event every summer in mid- to late-August. The fair features primarily agricultural themed events, such as livestock exhibitions, carnival rides, rodeos, tractor pulls, and live entertainment, along with delicious fair food.
9. Convenient location
Westfield’s strategic location puts it within easy driving reach of the bustling cities of Springfield to the East, Hartford to the South, and the Berkshire Mountains to the West. This makes Westfield an ideal base for exploring Western Massachusetts and all it has to offer, from cultural attractions to outdoor adventures.
The area also offers limited public transit in and around Westfield, including routes to Springfield. Unfortunately, getting to a larger city like Hartford and Boston without a car requires a long bus or train ride.
10. Strong sense of community
Above all, Westfield is known for its community. Whether it’s the annual parades, volunteer opportunities, or the many local events, residents come together to support one another and make Westfield a welcoming and wonderful place to call home.
What is Westfield, MA, known for? Final thoughts
Westfield is a city that captures the essence of New England charm. With its exceptional educational institutions, suburban feel, natural beauty, thriving cultural scene, and close-knit community, Westfield stands out as a hidden gem in Western Massachusetts. So, if you’re considering living in Westfield and want to buy a home or rent an apartment, you’re sure to find something to love.