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5 things to know about living in Medford

News Medford
Medford is right along the Mystic River.
Medford is right along the Mystic River. Dina Rudick / Globe Staff.

Medford may be most well known as the home of the Tufts University Jumbos, but it turns out the town northwest of Boston has a few other claims to fame. Medford prides itself on being the town described in the famous Christmas song “Jingle Bells’’ (though Savannah, Georgia would dispute that). Fannie Farmer was also born in Medford and became famous for publishing The Boston Cooking School Cookbook in 1896, revolutionizing American cooking.

Along with all this history, Medford is a place for young professionals who commute to the city for work and for families alike.

1. You’ll live in…

This home on Cedar Road North in Medford was the featured Home of The Week in 2012. —Suzanne Kreiter / Globe staff

… a home with a well-documented history. Medford currently has two historic districts in town, but a variety of other homes that have a long history, given the town was founded in 1630 and is the fourth oldest English settlement in America.

Medford also has many resources for people to find out the details about their historic home, such as this brochure from the Medford Historical Society. Homeowners that find out the history of their home can also purchase a historical marker to place outside that shows the year their home was built.

2. You’ll pay…

The exterior of a home on Laurel Street in Medford. —Aram Boghosian for The Boston Globe

… almost the same as in Boston, at least on average. The Zillow Home Value Index puts the median home value for Medford at $438,500, while Boston proper is at $468,000. The prices in Medford have been steadily increasing, as Zillow notes the median home value has gone up 6.9 percent in the last year.

Boston Magazine named Medford as a great location for first time homebuyers in 2013 when the median home price was $355,000. Though it may still be a good place to buy your first home, prices have definitely increased since then, though Boston Magazine notes the tax rates are low for the state.

For $400,000 to $500,000 you can get a single-family home ranging from about 1,500 to 3,000 square feet of living space. Medford has an above average Walk Score at 63, with neighborhoods like Downtown, South Medford, and Medford Hillside scoring higher.

3. You’ll hang out…

A man fishes in Wright’s Pond in Medford. —The Boston Globe

… at a park. There are more than 24 public parks along with other recreational spaces in Medford, taking up in total over 118 acres of land, including baseball fields, swimming pools, basketball courts, playgrounds and soccer fields. In the summer months you can swim, grill, and fish at Medford’s Wright Pond. You can also hike up to Wright’s Tower to see a structure built in 1937 and to look at sweeping views of the Boston skyline.

The Royall House and Slave Quarters. —Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

The top-rated Trip Advisor place to go in Medford is the Royall House and Slave Quarters, which was formerly the home of the largest slaveholding family in Massachusetts and is now a museum. It is the only remaining structure of its kind in the northern United States.

Along with other events open to the public, Tufts University has an art gallery filled with contemporary art with the goal “to animate the intellectual life of the greater university community through exhibitions and programs that explore new, global perspectives on art and art discourse.’’

Torta choriqueso from Tenoch. —Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Choosing where to eat in Medford is not going to be easy, as the town has many high-quality food options spanning across a variety of genres. One of the top-rated places in town is Tenoch Mexican (which also has a food truck), which serves up amazing tortas. There are also plenty of cheap eats and late night options the college students enjoy.

4. Your kids will…

Kids spin hula hoosp during a Luau with other children at Little People’s Childcare in Medford. —Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

… go to a pretty great high school, as Medford High Schools ranks a 7 on the 1-10 GreatSchools rating scale. Other public schools in town all also rank a 4 or a 5. There are also private and religious-affiliated schools in the town.

The Medford Public Library also has a variety of activities for kids, a calendar of events, book clubs and passes for local museums, parks, zoos, and historical sites.

5. You’ll love…

The waning light of sunset came earlier on Sunday afternoon, November 1, 2015 (as seen reflected on the Mystic River in Medford) because of the end of daylight savings time. —Dina Rudick / Globe Staff

… the activities along the Mystic River. The Condon Shell is a live music venue right along the river and is also where the Mystic River Celebration is held each year. You can also walk along the Mystic River State Reservation and Mystic River Watershed, where you can boat and canoe.

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