Settled in the middle of the 18th century, Melrose is predominantly residential with exquisite Victorian homes dating from the late 1900s. Melrose has a long-standing tradition of supporting residents' housing, education, employment, health, shopping, entertainment, recreation and leisure needs. Melrose is proud of its cultural facilities, including the 75-year old Melrose Symphony Orchestra and its Victorian downtown area Another vital component of the quality of life in Melrose is its varied open space and recreation facilities. Ell Pond is a large natural feature in Melrose's center. In addition, the city is surrounded by a "green belt" which includes the Middlesex Fells Reservation to the west. Melrose's recreational facilities include two golf courses, Pine Banks Park and Morelli field, a state-of-the-art baseball facility.
Melrose has access to many nearby highways including Route 1 in Saugus, Interstate 93 in Stoneham, Route 16 In Everett and Route 128/Interstate 95 in Wakefield. The city is also served by the MBTA. Service includes five bus routes and three commuter rail stations: Wyoming Hill, Melrose/Cedar Park, and Melrose Highlands.