2020 Guide to Best Neighborhoods in Boston – Places You’ll Love to Live in

As you might expect from one of the oldest and most important cities in the US, the best neighborhoods in Boston are also among the top places to live in the whole country. If you’re thinking about moving to Boston from another corner of the States, you should know where to look for your future home. Choosing to reside here is certainly a good decision, but which community will be your perfect match? Would you prefer to make one of the historical redbrick houses your new home or maybe settle down somewhere near the expensive shops and vibrant nightlife? We’ve compiled a list of communities to help you decide easier, and have a better idea of what these areas have to offer.

What is the best area to stay in Boston? The answer to that question will mostly depend on why you want to reside here and why did you opt for living in Boston, or The Hub, as it’s also known. Did you decide to come here to study and party, raise children in a quiet neighborhood, or look for a well-paid job? All that information will affect where you should rent or buy a home.

A Brief Overview of Boston’s Neighborhoods

There are 23 communities in The Hub and each one of them is known for its unique cultural, historical, and architectural beauty. They all have plenty of green areas, they’re very walkable and have diverse populations. Currently, around 4.3 million people reside in the metro area of the Massachusetts capital. Dorchester is the biggest community while Downtown is where many of the corporate headquarters are. Back Bay is one of the favorites, while Beacon Hill is one of the most active ones. Brighton is peaceful and good for young professionals, and Allston is one of the safest and best places to live in Boston. Even if you choose last-minute moving, with our guide, you’ll be sure that you’ve chosen the right place for you.

The Hub has many areas that you might find interesting and attractive

Why Is Residing in The Hub So Expensive?

Before we start describing the areas, you should know that the cost of living in Boston is high, and you must be sure that you can afford to be a Bostonian. According to Boston Curbed, there are a couple of reasons for that:

  • The demand for housing is much greater than the supply
  • People who move here, usually stay
  • It’s a college town, so students take up many apartments
  • There are plenty of job offers, so lots of people come here to work
  • Commuting by car is difficult, so many try to pick a place as close to their work as possible
  • There isn’t enough construction

With this in mind, you can understand why the rent is so high. It would be good to move out of state on a budget if you plan on saving some money or to find some other cheapest way to move out of state that works for you. This is also the case with some of the suburbs of Boston, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking about moving to the suburbs in general.

Here’s a short overview of the real estate situation in the communities we picked out for you:

NeighborhoodMedian rentMedian home valueMedian household income
Back Bay$2,160$1,255,710$102,400
Brighton $1,800$516,110$82,300
Allston$1,900$514,400$67,550
West End$2,260$542,100$87,450
South End$1,670$961,350$104,980
North End$2,000$760,000$105,200
Beacon Hill$2,185$986,750$115,300
Charlestown$1,650$712,100$116,800
Fenway $1,800$500,750$43,600
Longwood Medical Area$1,700$426,300$64,600
Bay Village$1,400$1,462,660$116,300

Source: Niche.com

Back Bay Is One of the Best Neighborhoods in Boston

When we talk about the best Boston neighborhoods, the first one we must mention is Back Bay. It’s located right next to Charles River and Commonwealth Avenue is right in the middle of it. Although it is one of the most expensive areas, it features some of the finest shops, upscale hotels, and the best restaurants in Boston, right there on Newbury Street. The Public Garden, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the nation is nearby, so you will enjoy the green spaces and fresh air.

Around 18 thousand people reside in  Back Bay, and most of them rent their homes at the median rent of $2,160. Residents love it and highly recommend it to every young professional. If you’re thinking about where to live in Boston and be centrally located with easy access to all you need, this is the place.

Brighton Is One of the Best Places to Live in Boston for Young Professionals

Brighton is another green community in the northwestern part of The Hub, where Chestnut Hill Reservoir and Gallagher Park are located. Many traditional-style pubs and bars make it a casual place, but it’s also great for anyone who’s coming here to work. You can search for a position when you come, or learn how to get a job before you move, which we recommend. Oak Square is just north, and rents there are more affordable then they are in the rest of Brighton. It’s quieter at night, and no one will wake you up at 2 AM yelling, so that makes it perfect for young professionals and families. It would be good for you to learn how to pack a bicycle for moving because this place is great for biking. Even though there are amazing spots to grab a bite here, there is more good news – The Hub has a pilot program that brings food trucks in this area, which means new options for a good meal.

Brighton is surely one of the top options to relocate in 2020 and offers a great quality of life

West End Is Known as a Mix of Old and New

Surrounded by the riverside, West End is a place that you should pick if you want a diverse and vibrant community. It has been redeveloped during the time, and now it’s dominated by highrises, Massachusetts General Hospital, and TD Garden. Museum of Science, Charles Hayden Planetarium, and Omni Theater are here as well. In the early days, this is where Italian, Jewish, and other immigrants lived, which made a huge impact on what the housing prices were, but now it’s one of the best places to live in Boston MA. It is becoming the tight-knit community that it once was while offering something new every day to each resident:

  • There are a bunch of different restaurants and cafes
  • Museum of Science has very interesting rotating exhibits
  • Charles Hayden Planetarium has been here for over 60 years and it offers great displays for youth and adults
  • Taking a walk by the river is surely one of the most romantic things to do in Boston
West End is a mix of commercial and residential use

Looking for a Diverse Community in the Center? Try South End

Right next to Back Bay is another one of the best areas to live in Boston. When someone says Boston, they think of rows of red brick Victorian houses, and that is precisely what you will find here. No matter what might be your reasons to move, relocating here will be a good decision. This is a cosmopolitan place with a lot of parks, shops, bars, and restaurants. There are many playgrounds where you can go with your little ones, among other things to do in Boston with kids. Public transportation is also very accessible, so commuting will be easy. The quality of schools here is above the average, which is also good to know in case you’re relocating with children.

Based on Our Best Neighborhood Guide: This Is One of the Best Places to Live in Boston for Singles

If you’re moving to a city alone looking for a neighborhood to reside in as a single person, could be the right option. Vibrant nightlife here is great for meeting people after you’ve moved away from friends. There are many ethnicities and races here, many international places to go out, plenty of theatres, galleries, and cafes.

And if you’re moving with pets, there’s Peter’s Park, one of many community parks, but designed especially for dogs. We all know how taking a walk with your dog can start a conversation, so it would be a great way to meet someone.

North End Is a Great Mix of Italian and American Culture

Once you decide you’re moving to Boston’s North End, you’ll become a part of Boston’s Little Italy, its narrow streets and old buildings. Around 10 thousand people reside in one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the nation. Now, in 2020, you can see that it’s densely urban, but also a historic place. The food here is just amazing – there are numerous Italian eateries, pastry shops, as well as seafood joints such as Boston Sail Loft and Rocco’s Cucina and Bar. Quincy Market, a historic market complex is also located here. Cobblestone streets will take you to Paul Revere’s house and Old North Church, while the Freedom Trail will be just beneath your window.

This is a touristy location, so real estate can get pricey, but living here means being part of history. Because we’re talking about a place that’s always crowded, it also means it’s very safe – the crime level here is very low. Consider employing professional packing services right away and become another satisfied resident of the North End.

Beacon Hill Is a Perfectly Picturesque Place

Right next to Common Park and Public Garden lies Beacon Hill, the best place to live in Boston, according to many. There’s so much to see and do in this protected historical district – Massachusetts Gold Dome State House is right here, African American National Historic Site, many old streets that resemble New England’s vibe, and so much more. Redbrick houses, narrow and steep streets, brick sidewalks, and gas street lamps give a unique vibe and make you feel like you’re in the past. The Frog Pond surface freezes when it gets cold, so if you’re moving in winter, you will see a public ice-skating area. Rent the skates or bring your own and enjoy the frosty magic of this community.

In 2020, around 9 thousand people call this lovely district their home. This is a quiet, walkable community, where everything you need is close, and the people are very friendly. The median rent that you will pay for a one-bedroom apartment is higher than the national median rent: $2,200 compared to $950. But the quality of life here guarantees that you will love being a Beacon Hill resident.

People with kids will find this place amazing

Once You’re in Charlestown, You’ll Get to Walk the City Square Park Every Day

Charlestown was once an English Puritan city, and that left a permanent mark. Today, this community is ranked as one of the top ones to raise a family. It’s safe, pretty affordable, and overall a wonderful place to call home. The residents live right next to the waterfront, in a historic community known for its many monuments, parks, and harbors. Square Park is just one of the many you’ll get to experience while not even leaving your community. There are also a lot of playgrounds such as Doherty, William Zeke Marsden, and Edwards. You won’t have a problem finding a parking spot here, so getting auto transport from a relocation company will be a good idea.

Charlestown is well connected to Downtown

Looking for the Safe Neighborhoods in Boston? Give Allston a Chance

Are you looking for a secure community and you’re wondering What are the safest neighborhoods in Boston? Look no further – this is the one for you. If you’re moving while pregnant or you’re relocating with family, Allston should find its way on your shortlist. Excellent schools that The Hub is widely known for are serving this community, such as Brookline High School and Boston Latin School. It’s also very diverse and friendly, so you’ll have no problem meeting new neighbors. Everything you need is within walking distance, such as stores, shops, restaurants, and other amenities. Almost a third of Allston’s area is a green space used as sports fields. It’s very well connected to other parts of the city, so commuting won’t be an issue.

Families should choose Allston

Fenway-Kenmore Is a Friendly Community With Many Museums

Fenway-Kenmore is very safe, it has a lively nightlife, easily-accessible stores and shops, and every Red Sox fan will love it. Most of the bars and eateries are around Kenmore Square, as well as more than a few clubs and sports bars. Commuting to Longwood Medical Area is short, and it’s close to Back Bay. One of the best-known art institutions, the Museum of Fine Arts is here. Imagine living within walking distance from the world’s most famous artworks? Fenway-Kenmore residents know the feeling. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is another great place to spend your day at. This is a breathtaking old mansion with a mix of European, American, and Asian paintings, furniture, sculptures, and plants.

We can’t skip the Symphony Hall, an acoustic concert hall that continues to wow people with its acoustics and shows. Boston Latin School is right here, and several high schools so your kid won’t have to travel anywhere to get a top education.

Bring Your Furniture and Buy a Home Here

Buying a home here would be a great idea because it has the lowest median home value of all communities we listed here. In case you can’t enter your place right away, you can always ask for storage services from the relocation company you hired. Reputable and professional Boston long-distance movers can offer you a whole month of their high-profile storage units for free, so you don’t have to waste time searching for the local storage in which you won’t be sure of the conditions. Units of relocation companies are climate controlled and have non-stop surveillance. You can be sure that nothing will be lost or misplaced.

Fenway-Kenmore is a place that offers many benefits

Bay Village Is the Smallest Community Here, but With an Amazing Personality

If you’re moving from a small town to a big city, and you expected a big community, you may be surprised to find out how small this neighborhood truly is. Still, it has everything you might need. It is a beautiful historic residential district with gas lamps, pocket parks, and old houses. It’s very close and well connected with Downtown, South End, and Back Bay. It would be smart to rent here since the median monthly price you will pay for renting is the lowest of all areas we listed.

That’s not the situation with new buildings. As the local media state, by early 2022 there’s supposed to be a 19-story building with apartments to rent. Studios are expected to start at $3,500 a month, while two-bedroom apartments could be around $7,000.

Just a thousand people reside in Bay Village

Longwood Medical Area Is Perfect for a Medical Student

Another one of the best neighborhoods to live in Boston is this medical campus next to Fenway-Kenmore. Even though this is a small place, there are several hospitals here, and many more are serving it. Brigham And Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital are some of the biggest ones. Research institutions and schools are also plentiful. Harvard teaching hospitals and other medical facilities are located here as well.

This is a busy community, perfect for students and professionals. If you’re seeking a job in the medical industry, this is the place where you should find a home. It’s not only work here – there are a lot of world-class cafes and eateries, too.

Looking for work? Try relocating to Longwood

There Are, However, Some Parts of Boston That Are Not As Good

As any major metropolis, B-town has its own share of not-so-good areas that you might want to avoid, at least for now. Here are some of them.

Where should I not live in Boston?

When you ask a Bostonian: What are the bad parts of Boston, it’s likely that Roxbury will be the answer. The rent here is very close to the national medium so it is rather affordable, but the crime level is not exemplary. However, this community is developing and doing its best to fix the problems they have. There is a lot of construction and investment going on.

This community needs a lot of work, but the progress is visible. There are nice houses, safe, and quiet parts, but there also are some loud and dirty ones. If you choose living closer to Milton, you will feel safer, but other parts aren’t that good.

It has a poor livability score, and its crime level is the biggest issue. It is declining, but it still isn’t where it should be. The cost of living is lower than the rest of the communities, but buying or renting here might not be the smartest option.

This neighborhood is a decent part of The Hub, but still not nearly as good as the other contenders on our list. You might want to be careful while walking at night because the crime level has affected how people feel around here. It can get noisy, and there aren’t that many job offerings.

Have You Picked Your Favorite Area in B-Town Yet?

When reviewing all of these communities that we singled out, there’s a small chance that you still didn’t make up your mind about settling in The Hub and trying some of the unique things to do in Boston. However, there are a lot of great communities here, and not all of them could fit the list, but you’ll surely find your favorite area that has everything you need, be it the vibrant Boston nightlife or one of the highly-rated schools and universities. The Hub will welcome you and you’ll feel like a local in no time.

Written By: Christina Henry