Though I fully acknowledge that these lists can get silly, I’m still proud to report that our own Somerville, MA, just across Fletcher Field from where I’m sitting (Fletcher being situated, as it is, near the border between Somerville and Medford), was included among Lonely Planet‘s “Best in the U.S.” spots for 2016! That’s nice recognition for a town on the move.
For those readers from large cities, it can be hard to capture the relationship between Boston and its near neighbors. Boston itself (that is, the city as incorporated) is a pretty compact place. Though it wriggles in multiple directions (the neighborhood of Allston over here, Jamaica Plain over there), it’s an old city and the lines were tightly drawn. Wikipedia tells me that Boston covers 48 square miles (124 square kilometers), compared to New York’s 468 square miles (1214 square kilometers). The resulting effect is that some of the neighboring towns are really (regardless of what Lonely Planet might say) not suburbs in the traditional American sense. Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline — they’re all neighboring cities, not the leafy towns that “suburb” usually connotes. Or, as Wikipedia goes on to say, there’s the City of Boston (24th largest in the U.S.), the Greater Boston area (tenth largest in the U.S.), or the Greater Boston commuting region (sixth largest in the U.S.). Somerville is squarely in Greater Boston.
Anyway, that little digression aside, there are a lot of reasons why Somerville is receiving recognition at this time. Suffice it to say that the city has truly evolved over recent years into a great location for folks in the Fletcher demographic. (Note its #6 spot on a 2015 list of Top Cities for Hipsters.) From Davis Square to Assembly Square, Somerville has lots to offer, whether for two years in graduate school or for the long term.