Living in Boston – What it’s Like, Tips, Pros, Cons and More

Are you thinking about what is living in Boston like? Massachusetts capital is a cradle of America’s firsts – first public park, first university, one of the first hospitals, first lighthouse, first subway, home to the oldest restaurant that’s still open, and oldest Major League Baseball stadium. With its green areas, many neighborhoods, diverse population, and attractions, The Hub, as it’s also known, is one of the most popular destinations in the US. If you are thinking about relocating here, there’s some information that you should check out before you embark on a long-distance move.

So, what should you know before you decide that you’re moving to Boston? Do the pros outweigh the cons? How much will you spend, and can you find a job easily? What should you avoid, and how to get around? We will address these and many more questions and concerns in our guide.

Let’s Start With Living in Boston Pros and Cons

Before you decide that you want to come here, you should get familiar with the pros and cons of living in Boston. Once you list them out, you will know exactly where you stand. Every community has its good and bad sides, and we’ll be honest about them. After spending many years here, we figured out what most locals love and dislike about their hometown.

Why should you live in Boston?

This place is well known for Harvard, MIT, Berklee, Northeastern, Tufts, and other highly-rated universities. It’s a student’s community, and because of that, there’s a lot of young people. Top students choose The Hub for higher education, and if you’re among them, decide what to pack for college and join them. Harvard is also the oldest and one of the leading universities in the US.

Knowing that you have great hospitals in your community is an important thing and a big relief. You won’t have to travel anywhere if you wish to have the finest treatment at the hospital because The Hub is home to some of the national top-ranked healthcare institutions such as Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

The job market here is thriving because The Hub is one of the richest cities in the nation. Many young people are relocating here because of job opportunities. If you’re wondering how to get a job before you move, you should research who are the biggest employers in the place you’re going to, and the above-mentioned hospitals and universities are just that.

What is it like to live in Boston weather-wise? The Hub has all four seasons, which many consider a pro. Springs and summers are simply wonderful here. Before you book a move, see when is the best time to move so you can avoid the rain and snow, especially if you’re moving out for the first time.

This is a green place, and everyone who’s been here even once can confirm that. The community has more than 2,300 acres of parkland – 217 city parks, including Boston Commons, the oldest public park in the US, dating from 1634. Public Garden is the first public botanical garden in the US, and it’s right here. If you’re moving with pets, this community is just right for you. It’s also one of the cleanest places in the nation, with the freshest air.

This area was the arena of many major historical events, so many parts of it are some kind of attractions and landmarks. Once you come, you’ll be able to see Freedom Trail, Old State House, Trinity Church, Fort Independence, a bunch of museums, and many other beautiful and important sites.

Going sightseeing is the same as going to work since there’s a lot of beautiful old architecture, wonderfully arranged gardens and parks, attractive neighborhoods, and a lovely view of the waterfront.

Residing here means that you’ll never lack good food. This area is known for its seafood and Italian food. Even the oldest restaurant still open, Union Oyster House is here. Bostonians are mostly known for their baked beans, but the truth is that nobody eats that anymore. Now, everyone is proud of how good their clam chowder and lobster roll are.

What are the downsides of being a Bostonian?

This place is getting more and more expensive every day. The rents are notoriously high, which makes residing in Downtown very difficult. It’s very important to choose where you shop for groceries since it makes a significant difference at the end of the month. Costs here are similar as in Los Angeles and Seattle.

You can expect cold, snowy winters and grey sky from the beginning of November until the beginning of April in this city. What makes winter even harder to bear are the blizzards and storms. If you’re moving in winter, prepare for possible weather hazards.

One thing that Bostonians say about their hometown is that it wasn’t made for that much traffic. A lot of one-way streets make it complicated for driving, and some might even say that there’s a lot of bad drivers. Learn how to pack a bicycle for moving and ride to your destination, or simply walk.

How Much Do You Need to Live Comfortably in Boston? Here’s What Costs You Can Expect

Knowing the true cost of living in Boston is crucial for deciding whether you should relocate or not. This place is not for everyone, and calculating the costs (but being real with yourself) will secure you stress-free moving.

How much money you will need monthly depends only on the way you spend, and of course, where you choose to live. According to Numbeo.com, a single person needs around $1,150 per month, without the rent, which can be anywhere from $2,000 to $4,250.

Rents make 44% of an average salary, which is the case almost anywhere, but here they demand paying the broker’s real estate fee as well. The most important part is that the average monthly salary here is $5,000 after all the taxes. Living and working in Boston is a piece of cake with a yearly salary of around $80,000, according to some calculations. That includes the mandatory costs plus doing all the amazing unique things to do in Boston, including enjoying the Boston nightlife.

There are ways to live here on a budget. Firstly, the suburbs of Boston are more affordable than residing in the center. The location of the real estate is what determines the price, so if you opt for moving to the suburbs, it will cut some of your costs.

If you’re moving to a city alone, try to rent with a roommate. That way, you will split the housing costs in half, and it will be a lot more affordable. Try finding a roommate and an apartment on Craigslist.

Tip: Cross country relocation can be expensive, so you should learn how to save on moving costs and move out of state on a budget.

How Easy Can You Find a Job?

Working in Boston might be one of your reasons to move because of its job market. This is the place for business, making new contacts, and building your career. Finding employment is easy here – check out websites such as Monster, Indeed, and Craigslist, do some networking and check out what are the most popular jobs.

According to the Boston magazine, the list of jobs you should be looking for when getting a new position in Boston goes like this:

  • Marketing Manager
  • Software Developer
  • Registered Nurse
  • Management Analyst
  • Medical Scientists
  • Accountants and Auditors
  • Sales Managers

Don’t forget the things to consider when relocating for a job if you wish to have a pleasant experience when you start living in Boston, MA.

Tip: Learn how to get a job before you move, so you don’t end up here without any regular income of money.

This city is where all young professionals flock, and it's easy to find work

What Are the Best Neighborhoods for Living?

This city has so many neighborhoods rated with an A+ by Niche, a website that ranks schools and neighborhoods, that it might be hard to choose which one you prefer. We’ll list them out and show you some of the main things about each of them so that you can make up your mind more easily.

Here Are 7 Best Places to Live If You Want to Rent a Home

  1. Back Bay will make you fall in love with it instantly. It has everything that you can ask for – easy access to public transportation, great options for food, shopping, and entertainment. It’s centrally located, so you can just walk to any corner of The Hub.
  2. Allston is very safe and student-friendly. It’s also suitable for young professionals. One part of this community is quieter, while the other (North) has many bars and vibrant nightlife. Restaurants are plentiful, and you’ll enjoy the variety of international food.
  3. Fenway should be your choice if you’re looking for an urban community with a lot of students and colleges around. It’s close to Fenway Park, and it has everything you need – from restaurants and parks to great stores and supermarkets.
  4. West End is a very diverse and fun community. It’s where Massachusetts General Hospital is, as well as the Charlesbank Park. Around 4 thousand people reside here, and most of them have master’s degrees or higher.
  5. Brighton offers a great quality of life. It’s walkable and bike-friendly, so you can avoid traffic. Residents describe it as a place where you can have fun in your 20s and raise a family. This community has it all – it’s safe, it’s close to public transportation, and it’s very diverse.
  6. Longwood Medical Area is suitable for everyone who’s interested in residing in a safe place, so it’s good for kids and families. Highly-rated schools and hospitals are here, including the Children’s Hospital.
  7. Bay Village is another amazing place in The Hub with lots of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and parks. The Center for Adult Education is here, while Common and Public Garden are nearby. It’s a dense urban community with around 1,300 residents.

Tip: When you come to the part when you’re getting to meet new neighbors, keep in mind that Bostonians can be rude, but they will respect you. They pretty much go by the rules and ask to be treated with respect.

The Hub has so much to offer in all parts of town

Traffic Is Slow, but Public Transportation Works Just Fine

If you ask anyone local what’s it like living in Boston, Massachusetts, you’ll most definitely hear that the traffic here isn’t good. If you plan to get auto transport, keep in mind that some streets are narrow and there’s a lot of one-ways. The population is large, so there’s the reason for traffic congestions.

Luckily, there’s “the T” that will get you anywhere you want. Subway is old, but it’s functional. Once you arrive, you should learn the lines which are named after colors, and you’ll be just fine. There are taxis on the land and on the water, but remember that they are rather expensive. Here’s what costs can you expect for transportation:

One-way Ticket (Local Transport)$2.70
Monthly Pass (Regular Price)$90
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)$3
Taxi 1 mile (Normal Tariff)$3
One Gallon of Gasoline$2.77

Source: Numbeo

Tip: The most practical way to get around is by walking. If the weather isn’t too cold, get your shoes and walk anywhere you want. It’s a faster, healthier, and easier way to commute.

Shipping your car with moving company vs. driving
There are ways to avoid traffic jams

Hospitals and Schools Here Are Among the Best in the Nation

This can go without saying because everyone knows how good schools, universities, and hospitals are in The Hub, but we must mention it. Boston’s Harvard University is the oldest one in the nation, and it currently ranks as the third in the world, while MIT takes the first place. General Hospital is the original teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, and also one of the best in the country. This city is the leader in medical care, it’s constantly innovating, and providing everyone with first-rate healthcare.

Many people are thinking about relocation here because of education and healthcare

Safety Varies With the Location

As in every large community, safety isn’t the same everywhere. For example, if you plan on moving to one of the best neighborhoods in Boston, you will enjoy the beauty of an organized and clean place, with an almost non-existing crime. Most people can’t afford that, so they must settle for some cheaper options, and that’s where the crime rate is higher than in the center. Still, there are plenty of safe neighborhoods in The Hub, so don’t worry about finding one. Some of the safest areas are Back Bay and Allston.

Most people feel safe in The Hub

Restaurants Are the Foodies Reason for Moving Here

You won’t be hungry here – that’s for sure. Once you come, you’ll see how many different options you will have for every meal, and each one will be tasty. The Hub is known for Italian food and seafood, so if you love lobsters and cannoli, this will be your heaven.

Some of the best restaurants in Boston are also some of the oldest ones, such as the Union Oyster House that endured two World Wars, and Parker’s Restaurant, where John F. Kennedy proposed to Jackie.

You should check out the Quincy Market, the historic market complex, which is a treat to an eye. Numerous food shops are there, so it might be hard to choose from. Faneuil Hall Marketplace is another food hall with the local market and authentic yummy meals.

Make sure you come hungry to Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry, two most famous Italian bakeries here, and try their specialties. They are both in the North End in Hanover Street.

Tip: If you’re looking to save some money, avoid eating at the touristy eateries. Try visiting neighborhood spots – you will get a tasty meal for less money. Galleria Umberto and Regina Pizzeria are some of the more affordable options.

The Hub Has All Four Seasons

Yes, the winters are cold, but that’s not the only thing you can expect here. Boston’s climate is a humid subtropical one, and it’s affected by the Atlantic Ocean and the winds that blow here. Springs, summers, and autumns are mild, warm, and beautiful. Locals love the fact that summers can be hot, but also sometimes fresh and pleasant. Once the winter is over, you’ll get to enjoy the perfect temperatures here.

The Winter Is One of the Factors Why Some People Don’t Like Living Here

Even though the other three seasons are wonderful, some people can’t stand the cold here and choose to relocate somewhere else. Snowstorms and blizzards can be severe and cause damage, which can make the winter here unbearable. January is the coldest month, with temperatures of 22.3°F to 35.8°F.

Tip: Months with the highest UV index are June, July, and August, so avoid sunbathing and staying long in the sun without sunscreen.

Freezing weather comes in December

What Can You Do When Living in Boston

The Hub has everything to keep you busy – from all the national “firsts” and history to clubs, bars, and restaurants. Outdoor activities are also very popular here, so hiking and biking always come as an option.

You’ll find many things to do in Boston with kids, as this is a pretty family-friendly place. Visiting the museums, parks, and playgrounds are just some of them.

There are also plenty of romantic things to do in Boston. You can bring your date/spouse to some rooftop bar and enjoy the view of the skyline, or go for a walk at the Public Garden. The waterfront is also beautiful. You can go to the harbors and marinas and have some seafood right next to the ocean.

You'll never be bored here

This Is a Sports-Loving Place

Another important thing about this place is that Bostonians are serious about their sports teams. Their hometown is where the oldest Major League Baseball stadium is – Fenway Park. Apart from being a landmark, Fenway (also called the Green Monster) has been an active Red Sox home field since 1912. Sport is very important here, and they have several major sports teams.

You Might Become a Real Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots or Bruins Fan

An amazing way to fit in is to start watching games and cheering. It’s a part of the culture here, and Bostonians are very proud of that. It’s not only baseball but also basketball, ice hockey, and football. Even soccer and rugby.

If you already are a fan of The Hub teams, you're more than welcome

Let’s Summarize – Is Boston a Good Place to Live?

This place was ranked as one of the best in the US several times, and it’s definitely a good place to reside in. If you have in mind the costs that are higher than in other major cities, The Hub might seem too expensive, but there’s a good reason for that. This place offers an amazingly good standard and the quality of life, there are plenty of job opportunities and education and healthcare are top-notch. If you’re thinking about relocating, you can be well aware of how residing here looks like. If you ask us, there are no reasons not to start packing right away, call reliable Boston movers, and relocate right away.

Written By: Christina Henry