Fall River is a locals’ city. It is industrial, urban, and sketchy in certain areas, but the familiarity between neighbors gives it a small town charm. With families that have lived in the city for several generations, residents here have a historical connection with one another, which builds strong communities and breeds refreshingly friendly, personable, and respectful citizens… during the daytime, that is. The mind tends to get loosey-goosy after nightfall.
Apartment Hunting Tips
Crime. There is some gang activity in Fall River, however, it is isolated to the south side of the city for the most part. Like other cities around the area, Fall River has its nice neighborhoods and its not so nice neighborhoods. Areas to avoid after dark include Corky Row, Sunset Hill, and The Flint neighborhoods. Generally, the safer neighborhoods are located farther north, the central neighborhoods can be hit or miss, and the south side has a few havens where strong communities are fighting to take back their neighborhoods. Be sure to drive around the streets of your potential home before committing to any rentals, especially after sunset when the rough and tough come out to play.
Transportation. Fall River has an excellent public transportation system around town, as well as bus routes that run to neighboring cities, such as Boston. Driving is a breeze as well, with little traffic and less snow than cities farther inland. When Boston gets a blizzard, Fall River gets rainfall. When the snow does stick, the highways and primary roads are always the first to be cleared, so look for an apartment near these areas if you are worried about the winter commute. The city does get a bit of traffic in the summer, with beach-bound Boston folk making their way down Interstate 195 and Highway 24 towards Newport.
Heat. Know your biggest strength, and you shall know your biggest weakness. In Fall River, the historic vibe of old Victorian mansions and converted mill apartments is one of the most intriguing reasons to live here. However, many of these old buildings rarely get renovated, and the old, drafty structures can be hell on your heating bill in the winter. Tenants in these highly revered rentals get stuck paying hundreds of dollars a month to heat their homes, which can really hurt if you’re not prepared for the enormous expense. Places that do renovate will always advertise their upgrades, as it is a key selling point for the locals that have already learned this hard lesson. You can also do some weather proofing of your own with a little caulk, some thick curtains, and lots of warm blankets.
Downtown. Downtown Fall River is a memory of the past. In the 1960’s, the construction of I-195 right through the middle of downtown resulted in the demolition of many 19th century relics, including the old City Hall, the second Granite Block, as well as several businesses. Today, you can meander through dive bars and coffee shops, as well as the Fall River Heritage Park, located on the banks Battleship Cove, the world's largest collection of naval warships open to the public. There are also some amazing Portuguese restaurants on Columbia Street, as well as Chaves Market, a great Portuguese grocer. $$ - $$$$
Highlands. The highlands area is located farther north, with two distinctive neighborhoods, the Lower Highlands and the Upper Highlands. The Lower Highlands are a street car suburb. This neighborhood is full of century-old Victorian mansions converted into apartments, lined down the walkable streets that feel a little more urban, yet still safe enough to let the kids run around. The Upper Highlands are more suburban, with mid-century, single family houses and larger yards. The highlands area features North Park, designed by the same Cedric Law Olmstead of New York City’s Central Park. There are also a few good private schools in the neighborhood, which are worth a look, as Fall River’s public school system has become notoriously terrible. $$$$
Corky Row. South of I-195, near Plymouth Ave. and 2nd St., Corky’s Row is a historical district that began with Irish immigrants who came to work the mills. Many old houses from the late 1800’s still stand, converted into four, five, and six family apartment homes, a.k.a. deckers. The old Tecumseh Mill has also been converted into affordable housing. The neighborhood is pretty rough. However, it is worth visiting the Corky Row Club, established in1938, where neighbors come together over Irish brews, sports, and holiday events. $$
The Flint. One of the more dangerous neighborhoods in Fall River, this area is full of housing projects and rundown streets. However, it is pretty safe to walk through by day, and well worth it for the local eats and dive bars. Apartments range from Section 8 housing to fully equipped luxury apartments with swimming pools, spas, hot tubs, tennis courts, billiards rooms, and more, all securely gated in to feel extra safe after sunset. $ - $$$$$
Globe Village. This area is essentially the south side, and is home to two of the roughest neighborhoods of Fall River, Sunset Hill and Southend. It’s cheap, has instant interstate access, and excellent views of gangsters dumping their “lawn trimmings” into Mt. Hope Bay. $ - $$
Maplewood. Maplewood is a reasonably safe area for the south side. The apartments are mainly three and four story converted houses, and most tenants are required to pass a background check. There is a strong sense of community, and a neighborhood association that is working hard to make their streets safe enough to enjoy the nearby parks. There is a boat ramp on the southern border of the neighborhood, as well as a few good Portuguese restaurants and pizza places nearby. $$$
Northend. Far, far north, this neighborhood is popular among people looking to get far, far away from the south side. The suburban hills located in between the Taunton River and the Freetown Fall River State Forest are quiet, safe, and secluded, with spectacular views of the river and the industrial skyline. $$$$
That’s Fall River for you. It isn’t big, it isn’t pretty, but it has got more character in its little pinky than any tourist-fueled-McMansion-loving yuppie city could hope to have in its whole metaphorical body.
-By Katy Comal