If you are traveling through western New England you will come upon the city of Springfield, the third largest city in Massachusetts. This diverse city with a population of 154,000 has a few nicknames. It is called the “City of Firsts” for its many innovations, including the first American-English dictionary, the first American gasoline powered car and the assembly line in manufacturing. And where would Jordan, Lebron and Kareem be without the city of Springfield? Yes, indeed, the sport of basketball was invented in the late 1800s in Springfield (aka “Hoop City”) by James Naismith.

Springfield is the region’s economic hub, and the surrounding area, with the second-highest concentration of higher-learning institutions in the nation, is home to over 32 universities and colleges. The top industries in Springfield are transportation, education, health services, manufacturing, tourism and government.

There are lots of things to see and do in Springfield. This active city hosts many festivals throughout the year. Each year the six New England states join together in Springfield for one giant state fair, called the Big E, which is among the largest fairs in the country. Other annual festivals include the Springfield Jazz and Roots Festival and the Mattoon Street Arts Festival, which features over 100 exhibitors, food vendors and strolling musicians.

Arts and culture are thriving in Springfield, with five top-notch museums, including the Titanic Museum, the Basketball Hall of Fame and a museum dedicated to famous Springfield native Dr. Seuss. The Springfield Symphony Orchestra has its own majestic Symphony Hall, which hosts symphonies and other theatrical performances throughout the year. For a fun day out, head over to Forest Park, a neighborhood of Victorian and Tudor homes that features a small zoo, walking trails, gardens, ponds and athletic courts. Another great stop is the nearby popular Six-Flags Amusement Park, with jaw-dropping roller coasters and other electrifying rides.

In the Stearns Square district of Springfield there is a vibrant nightlife, with 80 bars, restaurants, clubs and cafes. It is the largest entertainment district between New York City and Montreal, Canada, and is on the top lists of best places in America for singles to go out.

The median home value in Springfield is $152,000. East Forest Park and South End are two popular neighborhoods that offer many shopping options, parks and nearby schools.

If living in a historic New England city with plenty of amenities appeals to you, then a visit to Springfield is definitely in order.