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420 in 508: Getting Stoned in the Cannabis Capital of the NorthEast

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Travis Duda

In a recent survey LawnStarter ranked Worcester as one of the top 20 Best Cities to Get Stoned. They compared 94 U.S. cities (where recreational cannabis is currently legal) based on 12 key indicators of a smoking good time. Among them: The volume of Google searches for “marijuana” and “weed,” access to dispensaries and head shops, and availability of 420-friendly lodging and smoking lounges. With those metrics, it’s no surprise that our beloved city ranks high among the highest, but Worcester has a lot more to offer local stoners aside from great access to some quality bud. Here are some suggestions to help round out your next Worcester cannadventure. 

For starters, obviously visit one of our many dispensaries and grab yourself something tasty. From here, a lot of our visiting stoners like to begin by seeking out the infamous Burnside Fountain, and imbibing enough to where he’s able to talk to you and tell you just exactly what he’s doing to that turtle. Once the novelty wears off, feel free to wander the blocks around Downtown. There are a number of great restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and other dining experiences that offer a wide variety of culinary stylings throughout the heart of the Commonwealth. At one point, you could have watched a movie at the old Paris Cinema, however now it’s BYO porno and you have to hope the Beer Garden isn’t overcrowded with prudes. 

Thanks to the efforts of groups like POW! WOW! Worcester, there is a plethora of public art to explore and admire while here and high on the devil’s lettuce. If you’re already Downtown, a good place to start would be the side of the Hanover Theatre. There’s an awesomely trippy mural by the artist Insane 51 that has just been enhanced with the installation of a pair of 3-D glasses. The oversized spectacles allow viewers to see the effect of the artist’s intended work. If that’s not your style, no sweat! There are over 150 pieces of sanctioned public art dispersed throughout the entire city, with more unsanctioned creations being added nightly. So go find your next new favorite. It could be the optical illusion “Stop War” one or maybe you’re more of a fire breathing love dragon? You won’t know until you go explore. 

You sportier stoners should make your way over to Newton Hill and find a pretty decent 18-hole disc golf course. Totally free to play, as long as you have the discs. Or if you don’t play, it still makes for an interesting walk. I once encountered a homeless guy that was sleeping on a bench behind the 14th hole’s tee box. I asked him to play through, to which he replied “knock ya socks off.” It’s one of the many unique challenges that make Newton Hill a fun course to play. If playing one person catch isn’t your bag, consider one of the many basketball courts, handball courts, fields, splash pads and public pools available to locals, especially now that we’re on the brighter side of the pandemic. 

Maybe you’re looking to get back to nature? The city of Worcester might not be your first thought for nature activities, but have you been to Broad Meadow Brook? With five miles of trails, it’s one of the largest urban wildlife sanctuaries in the North East and when you’re there, it’s easy to forget that you’re in the second largest city in New England. You can also enjoy a shorter walk along the trail and boardwalk near the Blackstone Heritage Corridor Visitor Center. Or just go roam our streets and see what you see. My wife and I have taken many baked excursions trying to find our way down the streets we haven’t been to or searching for old ghost signs and interesting new places we haven’t been to yet. 

This list barely scratches the surface of all the reasons why Worcester is one of the greatest US cities to be stoned in. With Covid restrictions waning, more opportunities and experiences will abound. We have great spots for live music, professional sports, video game bars, a place where you can pay to hit a bunch of stuff with a bat and not to mention places like The Summit Lounge that allow public use in their private club. The real question is, how long until Worcester moves to it’s rightful position at the top of the list?

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