Worcester Pilots Wayfinding Project
You’re likely to see something new during your next visit to Downtown Worcester. Residents and visitors will now spot temporary sidewalk and storefront window decals and new street banners popping up Downtown, all part of the Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District (BID)’s “tactical” pedestrian wayfinding and district branding initiative. The wayfinding project promotes Worcester’s restaurants, retail, and cultural offerings, supporting the BID’s goal to encourage more people to walk around Downtown. 

Wayfinding signs include QR codes linking to downtownworcester.org, encouraging visitors to travel a block or two further to explore events and activities beyond their original destination. The project also includes translating the downtownworcester.org website into Spanish, Portuguese, and Twi. This will help bring greater awareness of the diverse array of businesses and attractions available in Downtown Worcester.

This effort, in partnership with the City of Worcester, is thanks in large part to a $75,000 Travel and Tourism Recovery grant through the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism. This follows the BID’s successful 2021 “When in Worcester” campaign, a partnership with The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts and the City of Worcester, which highlighted the outdoor performances of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar on the Worcester Common and local restaurants, among other attractions. 
Enjoy ArtsWorcester’s Upcoming
Gallery Exhibits
Worcester is filled with color and creativity, something residents and visitors will find at ArtsWorcester’s upcoming gallery exhibits. The organization believes that contemporary art is a fundamental piece to creating a vibrant and educated city that is a destination for work, living, and play. 

“The Tenth Annual One: A Members’ Exhibition” returns for its annual show from Thursday, July 14, through Sunday, August 21, at the ArtsWorcester Main Galleries, 44 Portland Street. ArtsWorcester members were invited to exhibit one artwork they felt most drawn to, regardless of medium or theme. Karl Cole, art historian and Curator of Images of Davis Publications, and Co-Curator of the Davis Art Gallery will award $500 in prizes. 

“Material Needs 2022” runs from Thursday, September 8, through Sunday, October 9. The exhibit features Worcester County artists who received awards ranging from $500 to $1,500 to create new work, art that is both new to the region and to the artist’s practice. Supported by anonymous grants, these projects include extruded ceramic sculptures, mixed media portraits of notable historical women of Worcester, and enamel works inspired by African traditions. This program has been running since 2013 and has supported the work of 89 artists. A public reception is scheduled for Friday, September 16, 6–9 p.m.
New Dining and Lighting
at Mercantile Center
After roughly 18 months’ worth of delays induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ruth’s Chris Steak House is scheduled to open its doors in Downtown Worcester on August 1st. Ruth’s Chris promises an unforgettable steakhouse experience, serving USDA Prime steaks that arrive sizzling on a 500° plate and offering an impressive wine selection. The restaurant at Mercantile Center can accommodate 285 guests, including an outdoor patio that can seat 40 patrons. The eatery has a spacious bar and multiple dining rooms suited for business meetings, private parties, and date nights. This is the fourth Ruth’s Chris location in Massachusetts, following Boston, Somerville, and Waltham.
There’s still more to see! A new display of color-changing LED lights and recently planted trees behind The Mercantile rooftop bar and restaurant complement artist Sophie Tuttle’s peregrine falcon mural and make the space even more inviting. These updates are just some of the ways Downtown Worcester is constantly evolving with new art, attractions, and experiences.
Slate of Broadway Shows Coming to
The Hanover Theatre
The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts has an eclectic lineup of shows for its upcoming Broadway Season, from comedy to Disney to musical classics. Performances include: 

What makes events at The Hanover even more exciting is a first-in-the-nation opportunity to use EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) for tickets. Patrons can use their EBT card to buy tickets through the “Card to Culture” opportunity, which opens doors to arts and culture experiences for low-income families. Most events are just $8 per ticket with this opportunity, and an EBT card must be presented in person at the box office. There’s a maximum of four tickets per family, and the “Card to Culture” price only applies to select events, excluding tickets to Broadway shows. More information is available online here
Photo Credit: Scott Erb Photography
More Downtown Housing Options
Hit the Market
The Grid District has a new housing addition! The former Cheney Ballard Building at 517 Main Street has been gutted and renovated by Alaris Construction, beautifully restoring the historic building and getting it ready for new tenants. New windows were re-created in the dwelling’s original configuration, copper downspouts and dormers were added, and the brick exterior was cleaned and refurbished. The building’s historical exterior is complemented by its modern interior.

This prominent building has gone from rundown to renewed. Eight new apartments are available, adding much-needed housing Downtown. A growing Downtown housing market will amplify the district as a destination.
Downtown Worcester Survey
Serves Up Insights 
During Worcester’s Tercentennial weekend in June, the Downtown Worcester Business Improvement District (BID) surveyed the diverse crowd celebrating the City’s 300th birthday and received numerous insights as a result. 

Of the 284 people who filled out a survey, about 70 percent had driven Downtown, while most others had walked. Half of the respondents had visited Downtown Worcester within the previous week. The most popular reason people reported they come Downtown is to dine, followed by attending a game, seeing a show, and shopping.

  • Respondents came from five states and 55 different zip codes.
  • Massachusetts visitors came from locations across the Commonwealth, from Agawam to Attleboro, Salem to Stow, and as far away as Falmouth.
  • New Englanders traveled from Manchester, Connecticut, and Manchester, New Hampshire, among other locations.
  • The respondent who had traveled the furthest came all the way from Sebring, Florida, a journey of almost 1,400 miles.
  • Three-quarters of the respondents said they would like to see more free, family-friendly public events in the district. More retail and shopping options and more public art were requested by close to half of those surveyed.
  • Thirty-six percent were looking for added dining, and 18 percent requested more housing. (They will be pleased to read the previous article!)

Not only did the survey provide the BID with helpful information, but it also enabled the organization to grow its email list to continue telling Downtown’s story.
June Streetplus Report
Our Downtown Worcester Ambassadors spent June pulling weeds, watering flowers, and pressure-washing sidewalks. The 35 hours of pressure-washing covered 146 block faces. The team removed overgrown brush on Maple Street sidewalks, removed grit and grime with their mobile pressure washer from a Waldo Street sidewalk, and tidied overgrowth along the fence on Chatham Street. The Ambassadors checked in with local businesses on 923 occasions and offered directions to visitors 219 times. In total, our Ambassadors were out for 1,359 hours, removing 5,040 pounds of trash and 5,891 cigarette butts. In need of services on public property within the BID area? Call our Ambassador Service Request Line at 508-414-9953 or fill out our service request form. Our Ambassadors also can help remove graffiti from your Downtown property
Follow us on Instagram
The focus of our Instagram page is to highlight the businesses and people of Downtown Worcester. Follow our page for our shop local/eat local series, community event announcements, did you know facts, and Downtown history.