Somerville is located in Middlesex County and just 2 miles north of Boston. The city is the most densely populated community in New England and one of the most ethically diverse cities in the nation because of the myriad of immigrants from all over the world. According to the city's official website,
"Today, Somerville is an eclectic mix of blue-collar families, young professionals, college students and recent immigrants from countries as diverse as El Salvador, Haiti, and Brazil. More than 50 languages are spoken in Somerville schools. With a large immigrant population, Somerville celebrates its diversity through numerous ceremonies celebrating cultural traditions and holidays."
Residents and commuters have easy access to the Boston area or northern New England mountains, lakes, and beaches by hopping onto I-93.
Somerville has been recognized as "the best-run city in the Commonwealth" and has been the recipient of the National Civic League's All-America City Award in 1972, 2009, and 2015.
In 1630, Somerville was first settled as a part of Charlestown but was later established as its own town in 1842. The town was then officially incorporated as a city in 1872 because of the growing population and increasing industrialization.
During the American Revolution, parts of Somerville, which was then Charlestown, were critical military positions. The historic Powder House was the home for the gunpowder used in the Revolutionary War. Paul Revere's famous "Midnight Ride" also went through the town at the time. General George Washington gave the orders to raise the first Grand Union Flag at Prospect Hill on January 1, 1776.
Somerville is Arts Central. Only New York City has more artists per capita. As one of the most exciting art centers in the country, there are several umbrella groups that sponsor events including ArtsUnion, Brickbottom Artists Association, and the Somerville Arts Council. Each summer, there is a weekend-long ArtBeat Festival in which Somerville's artists transform Davis Square into one of New England's largest and most innovative art destinations.
In 2014, Somerville opened Assembly Row, the city's latest center of art and industry. Located along the Mystic River, the square offers places for shopping, dining, working, living, playing, and creating.
Along with Assembly Row, the other city squares offer a mix of ethnic restaurants, bars, shops, and small businesses.
Somerville is defined by its city squares that help mark neighborhood boundaries. The most active squares are Davis Square, Union Square, Ball Square, Teele Square, and Magoun Square. The majority of residents tend to rent their homes in the city. The city gives off an urban suburban mix, as it is located just outside of Boston. According to a current resident,
"I have lived in Somerville for most of my life, and I love it with my whole heart. The atmosphere is friendly, welcoming, and diverse. It is extremely accessible and pedestrian/cyclist friendly, and the restaurants/shops are great!"