Ultimate Moving to Boston Guide — Everything You Need to Know

Whatever your reason for moving to Boston, there are plenty of other ones that will make you fall in love with it. The notoriously high cost of living in the City on the Hill is well worth it, considering what it has to offer. It’s a sports city, college hub, history-rich place, and the bustling yet somehow small and intimate capital of Massachusetts where you can walk to work every day. So before you get ready to start your new life in Boston, here’s everything you need to know about it.

You’ll fall in love with this beautiful city in no time!

Things to Know Before Moving to Boston, Massachusetts

As someone who’s considering relocating to Boston from afar, you’re probably wondering: “What should I know before moving to Boston?” There are plenty of things to know about the city, and we’ll cover them all in this article, but here are some essential facts to check out before you decide to make the big move.

Housing Is Pricey

The city is small, and housing options are scarce — hence, they’re pricey. Not all neighborhoods are equally expensive, but be sure to check whether you can afford to buy a home or rent a place here.

It’s Not the Best Place for Driving

The streets are difficult to navigate, and the traffic is often hectic. Bostonians prefer walking and public transport.

The City Is Brimming With Historic Sites

Boston is an old city filled with historically relevant places, especially from the Revolutionary War era.

Winters Are Harsh in the City on the Hill

Winters can be quite cold and wet, and snowstorms are not uncommon here. On the flip side, summers are mild, and temperatures are rarely super high.

Art, Science, Education, and Sports All Flourish Here

Whatever your interests, the City on the Hill won’t let you down — it’s an educational and sports hub on the East Coast, and it’s full of museums and galleries.

Bars and Restaurants Close Early

Boston is a college city, and the officials fear it might turn into a nightmare if they extend the work hours of places that are open late. This means the city is not as noisy as most capital cities are.

You’ll have a hard time driving in the city.

Is It Expensive to Live in Boston?

The cost of living in Boston is ridiculously high — in fact, it’s almost 50% higher than the national average. Apart from housing expenses, which are double the national average, you’ll also need a lot of money for utilities and healthcare (the latter is more than worth it as the city is home to some of the best hospitals in the country). However, whether living in Boston is achievable for you depends on your income.

How Much Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Boston?

Exactly how much you need to live comfortably in the City on the Hill depends on many factors, such as:

  • Whether you live alone, with a family, or with roommates
  • In what neighborhood you live
  • Whether you’re buying or renting, etc.

For example, if you’re a single adult, you’d need around $35,000 annually on average. On the other hand, if you’re a family unit of two working adults and two children, you would need about $85,000.

Living in the City on the Hill is expensive.

What Neighborhood in Boston Is the Best for You?

What the best neighborhoods in Boston are for you depends on many factors. Your options are different if you’re a student than if you’re coming with a whole family. If you’re relocating for a job, it’s best to live close to it so that you can easily walk or commute to it as traffic in the city is not driver-friendly. On the other hand, if you’d like peaceful surroundings, one of the quieter suburbs of Boston may be the right pick for you.

The best places in Boston for students include:

  • Allston
  • Cambridge
  • Brighton
  • Brookline

If you’re a young adult, you should check out the following places:

  • Newtonville
  • Cambridgeport
  • West Newton
  • East Cambridge

Finally, if you’re relocating with a family, you might want to consider these:

  • Charlestown
  • Hyde Park
  • Newton
  • East Boston
The city offers numerous quiet neighborhoods for a peaceful family life.

Boston Has a Prolific Job Market

Boston is one of the best — if not the best — East Coast city for those looking for a job. Its unemployment rates are decreasing each year, and businesses are flourishing. The city offers support for small businesses and startups. Whether you’re looking for a place to base your own business or just seeking well-paid employment, you can’t go wrong with the City on the Hill.

If you’re a techie or you specialize in life sciences, this is the place to be as it’s teeming with industry giants, such as Google, Microsoft, Novartis, Merck, etc. There are also many startups with numerous job opportunities for specialists in these fields.

Apart from these two industries, others that are in bloom in Boston include:

  • Finance
  • Education
  • Medicine
  • Tourism
  • Professional and business services

Bear in mind, though, that the job market is highly competitive here, so make sure you present yourself in the best possible light.

The job market is great, especially if you’re a techie or life scientist.

You’ll Be Living in the College City

Education-wise, there is no better place to be. If you’re moving with school-age kids, you can rest easy as there are plenty of public schools to choose from. Private education and suburban school districts are also options if that’s more to your liking.

However, what this city is best known for is higher education, i.e., universities. Boston is brimming with college students as there are many renowned institutions in the area and the surrounding towns. Most notably, these include:

  • MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Boston University
  • Harvard
  • Emmerson
  • Tufts

There are many benefits to being a student in this academic hub, and one of them is subsidized housing, meaning lower rents for students. Another advantage is that the whole area is connected through the city’s trusty public transportation system. As Boston is one of the best-rated cities for walkability, many students prefer to go almost anywhere on foot.

There’s no better place to be a student!

How to Move Around Boston at Low Costs

Boston is the US front-runner when it comes to traffic congestion, with drivers losing almost 150 hours a year stuck in traffic. If you plan to drive around town, forget about it as congestion and confusing streets are bound to drive you crazy. Not to mention that parking is impossible to find, especially in the downtown area, and many residential buildings don’t offer it at all.

On the bright side, this city is one of the most walkable ones in the US, and many people go to work and elsewhere on foot.

Take Advantage of the “T”

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) manages all the public transit options in the city. The most popular and affordable mode of transportation in Boston is the so-called “T”, aka the city’s subway. It’s one of the oldest systems in the country, and it spreads well into the surrounding suburbs.

Other public transportation options include commuter rails, buses, ferries, and water taxis, all reasonably priced. Getting a commuter pass is a great idea if you plan to go to work and more around the city in this way.

The “T” is one of the oldest subways in the US.

Fun Things to Do in Boston

Whether you’re moving to the city alone or with a family, there are plenty of fun and unique things to do in Boston. From walking the historical Freedom Trail to shopping and whale watching, there’s something for everyone here.

For Families

This city is ideal for people with children as it abounds in parks, such as the Boston Common, the USA’s oldest city park. There are many great things to do in Boston with kids, ranging from visiting kid-friendly museums (such as the old Boston Children’s Museum) to taking a boat ride and going to the zoo.

For Singles and Young Adults

Considering the city’s weird laws prohibiting happy hours and closing everything by 2 a.m., Boston nightlife is not bad at all. It may not be the best place to party, but there’s a variety of options for anyone looking to have some fun. The best thing is that everything is in your walking range, so you can hop from a bar to a theater in no time.

For Couples

The capital of Massachusetts is an old, historical city, so it’s not surprising that there are plenty of romantic things to do in Boston. From walking down the Charles River Esplanade and watching over the city from the Skywalk Observatory to hanging out at a jazz bar and taking a museum tour, there are some classy options out there where you can woo your date.

The city abounds in parks and greenery.

Boston Cuisine — Fresh Seafood and Local Beer

If you love to cook, you’ll adore the fact that there are so many farmer’s markets around town, where you can buy fresh, local produce.

When it comes to cuisine, Boston is best known for its amazing and varied seafood, such as served in the beloved Union Oyster House. Apart from that, there’s also a variety of places serving many different foods at a range of costs. Some of the best restaurants in Boston are located in Back Bay, South End, and North End.

Beer Haven

If you’re a beer enthusiast, good news — the city is filled with both small and larger breweries. From the well-known Samuel Adams lager to Night Shift’s superb craft beers, your taste buds will tingle with pleasure.

Here, you’ll eat the best seafood.

Boston Is the Best Sports City

Hopefully, you’re a major sports fan as Bostonians take sports pretty seriously. No one can blame them as they boast four major teams in their respective leagues, and these are:

  • Boston Red Sox (baseball)
  • The New England Patriots (American football)
  • Celtics (basketball)
  • Bruins (ice hockey)

If you’re a true sports enthusiast, you’ll love the fact that there are also numerous college teams in the above sports, with die-hard fan bases in the city. Not to mention that there are many spots around town where you can enjoy a game in a laid-back atmosphere.

What to Know If You Want to Play

If you want to participate, you’ll have a variety of sports teams and clubs to choose from as Bostonians don’t just root for their team — they also play. Some of the most popular options you’ll find include ice hockey, running, and soccer.

Bostonians take sports seriously.

The Unstable Climate of the City on the Hill

If you’re moving from a sunny state, such as THE Sunny State, Boston can be both a blessing and a curse. If you’re tired of hot and dry weather, the Bostonian climate will be a breath of fresh air (quite literally). However, it might get a bit too cold, and rain is abundant.

Bostonian weather is unstable, and people often find it harsh. Biting-cold winters with frequent snowfalls (as well as snowstorms) can be a drag, especially since they inhibit free movement. As we’ve already mentioned, summers are subsequently often warm and pleasant, but thunderstorms tend to erupt often in the afternoon.

Early fall is the mildest season, but throughout the year, the weather is unstable, and you need to make peace with that if you plan to live here.

Better get used to the cold and lots of snow.

Moving to Boston Advice

Moving to Boston, Massachusetts, can be a thrilling experience if you’re ready. The best piece of advice you can receive is to make sure you have warm clothes and a good pair of sneakers. What else do you need to know?

10 Moving to Boston Tips

Here are some final tips to help you settle in this beautiful city and enjoy it thoroughly:

  • The best time for moving is September
  • No one really calls it Beantown anymore — try the Hub
  • Get a bike
  • Always have GPS
  • Choose Dunkin’ Donuts over Starbucks
  • Beware that traffic is (additionally) impacted by major sports events, i.e., a Red Sox game
  • There are great getaways nearby, including lakes, mountains, and beaches, and many are accessible through public transport
  • Apply for MassHealth insurance if you still don’t have a job or your employer doesn’t provide you with health insurance
  • Apply for EZ Pass after you register your vehicle as it will make going through tolls much easier
  • Don’t trust stereotypes — Bostonians are not cold and reserved, and the famous accent is slowly dying out
Without GPS, you’ll be lost in the city’s confusing layout.

Get Ready to Call Boston Your New Home

So is Boston a good place to live? The Massachusetts capital has its challenges — such as the weather and traffic — but there are so many other things that make these issues easy to bear. You might land a dream job here and mingle with the smartest crowd in the US while enjoying the city’s beautiful streets and attractions.

However, first, you have to get there, and enlisting professional long-distance moving services would be a smart move. Experienced Boston movers can make the relocation easier for you by providing moving and packing services, as well as auto transport. If your new home’s not ready in time, you should also arrange for the safe storage of your stuff.

One thing’s for sure — you’re bound to fall in love with your new home!

Written By: Jessica Hill