Exploring the Best Suburbs of Boston – The 2020 Guide

The capital of Massachusetts, or The Hub, is a global metropolis featured among the top 30 most economically powerful cities in the world. If you want to be in the vicinity of big-city amenities and opportunities but not actually live in the urban jungle, consider one of many suburbs of Boston as your next home. No matter where you choose to live, with the help of a wide road and public transportation network, you can reach the center of the metropolis in no time.

Approximately 80% of Massachusetts’ population lives in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, and newcomers can get confused while finding their footing around the location. If you are considering moving to Boston suburbia, you might wonder Where should I live if I work in Boston? Or What cities are outside of Boston? To help you navigate through various communities on Boston’s periphery, we created the list that will help you find the spot that can cater to your needs.

What Cities Are Outside of Boston and What Are the Best Suburbs

Long before you hire professional Boston movers to pack and move your belongings, get to know the location you are moving to. Figuring out how the wide-area is organized and divided will make house hunting and adapting to the new environment much easier.

Even though the population of the Hub is around 692,600, the process of urbanization created the Greater area where 80% of all MA population lives. The distinction between different locations be a little confusing to a newcomer, that’s why you should make a basic difference among:

  • City neighborhoods – there are 23 official neighborhoods made up of around 84 sub-districts.
  • Inner suburbias – first-ring areas that are not within the city limits, such as Chelsea and Brookline
  • Outer suburbias – they come after the first-ring areas, the example being Lexington
  • Satellite cities – they are located within 40 miles around The Hub, like Salem and Marblehead.

Ultimate Guide to Figuring Out What Are the Best Suburbs of Boston Massachusetts

When living in Boston, you need to find the perfect place to call home. Moving to suburbs is not only for those escaping fast and urban lifestyles. Numerous locations around The Hub can be great for families, young professionals, commuters, and people on the budget. Finding the location that will suit your lifestyle requires looking into the overall cost of living in Boston, as well as crime rates, school ratings, commute time, and income.

Source: Google Maps

Salem Is One of the Most Affordable Suburbs of Boston Ma

Many things beyond the spooky and fascinating history make Salem an interesting spot. Even though it is famous for witch trials that occurred hundreds of years ago, its affordable housing options, good schools, and diverse entertainment options make it a popular living location.

When looking for a place, know that there are plenty of old ones, whose origin spans across four different centuries. All have unique styles, from the First Period built during the time Salem was a fishing community in the 17th century to Colonial Revival from the 19th. According to data from the website Niche, half of the residents own their properties, and the median cost of a home is $347,000. However, if you want to be like the other and rent an apartment, get to know the average renting price:

  • One-bedroom apartment in the center is $1,020
  • One-bedroom in other areas is $840
  • Three-bedroom apartment in the center is around $1,700
  • Three bedrooms in other locations are $1,385

Every part of the location has some historical qualities, even some roads are still covered with original cobblestone. Thanks to Salem’s small coverage area of 18 square miles, almost everything you need is within walking distance. Additionally, when you need to head out to The Hub, you can hop on an MBTA bus or use Commuter Rail, which will take you to the metropolis in no time. Salem is well-connected with the metropolis via Route 114 East, and if you want to drive, it will take you around 30 minutes to reach Downtown.

Salem Is More Than a Witch Area

Residents nowadays don’t plan on hanging or drowning anybody, and the witches are a thing of the past. Still, some of the unique things to do in Boston metro area are located here:

  • Every horror movie fan will geek out while visiting Count Orlok’s Nightmare Gallery. A private collection of full-size monster creations made out of latex and silicone. Spookily decorated gallery hosts creatures such as Nosferatu, and Linda Blair from The Exorcist.
  • The House of the Seven Gables is a famous book written by Nathaniel Hawthorne, but it is also a house located on the water of Harbor. You can take a tour through this uniquely constructed house with many chimneys, pointed gables, and gloomy exterior.

No matter if you are moving in summer or relocating in winter, Salem is always buzzing with tourists and a variety of entertainment options. However, there is more to it than the witch trials. You can have a nice night out without visiting museums and haunted houses. Make a reservation at some of the best restaurants in the Boston metropolis and enjoy delicious food.

If you like Italian cuisine, stop by Bambolina or Flying Saucer Pizza Company and indulge in some pizza and pasta. For those that like snacks, arcade games, and booze, Bit Bar is the answer, and when you crave something sweet, go to Dairy Witch and have a banana whipped frappe or Butter Cup sundae that will make your day awesome.

Brookline Is Where You Should Live If You Work in Boston

Young professionals live all over the metropolis. However, one of the best neighborhoods in Boston for ambitious working folks is Brookline. The place is well connected to the Downtown via Commonwealth Avenue and Massachusetts Turnpike toll road making it easy to reach all urban city amenities.

Data from the website Niche shows that this is a fairly youthful location, where most residents are between the ages of 18 and 34. The high education status, where 53% of residents have a master’s degree or higher, reflects in a high median household income of $113,500, while income per capita is $68,025 a year. If one of the reasons for moving is a career, you might wonder how to get a job before you move? Luckily, the unemployment rate in Brookline is just 3.2% making the job search a bit easier. The most common occupations are in management, education, and business, so if you work in one of these fields, don’t hesitate to pack up your bags and relocate.

Additionally, Brookline is 75% safer than other locations in the US, and the crime rates are 55% lower than the national average. When living here, you will have 1 in 1058 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime.

Are you planning on renting or buying a property? Brookline has a mixture of housing options ranging from single-family and senior homes to modern condos and apartments. Median home value is $885,700, while a monthly rent is $2,200.

Brookline Has Plenty of Entertainment Options

Boston nightlife is vibrant and unique, and living in Brookline won’t stop you from experiencing it. Check out The Ellis Room and have some cocktails while listening to live music or have a pint of ale in the old-school Irish pub O’Leary’s. When you don’t feel like dancing, you can kick back and enjoy a meal at one of the numerous restaurants around the place, many of which are located along the Beacon street. Stop by Taberna de Haro, have some tapas, or taste New York-style sandwiches at Michael’s Deli.

There are more than a few restaurants and coffee shops around.

Arlington Is a Great Location for Outdoor Enthusiasts

If you move to Arlington, you will be staying in the birthplace of Samuel Wilson, also known as Uncle Sam, and this is the fact that residents still celebrate. There is Uncle Sam Day, Uncle Sam Committee, and Uncle Sam Plaza. This is a neighborhood rich with history, especially from the American Revolution.

Outdoors enthusiasts will love staying in Arlington because of abundant green surfaces throughout the location. Those that are moving with pets will appreciate Menotomy Rocks Park and Spy Pond Park. Spend the day playing fetch with your pet and enjoy forest-like surroundings. If you are looking for things to do in Boston with kids, know that Arlington has plenty of basketball courts, soccer fields, and playgrounds where you can spend some quality time with your offspring. Additionally, Arlington has 81% lower crime rates than the national average, so you don’t have to worry about becoming a victim of the felony while enjoying nature.

When you are done running around, and you need to eat, check out restaurants such as Acitron Cocina Mexicana and have some tasty tacos and fajitas or grab a cup of joe at Mystic Coffee Roaster.

There Are Plenty of Different Housing Options Available

If the outdoor activities convinced you to pick up your bags and relocate to Arlington, know that homes here come with some history. Arlington offers to newcomers Colonial, Victorian, and Queen Anne style accommodation, and if you are looking for a more modern vibe, there are some condos on the market.

A poll from Niche shows that 82% of residents rate the property interior as good or excellent. Also, the data shows that almost 60% of residents own their residences, and that median home value is $609,800. However, if you opt for renting, you will need around $1,645 a month.

Additionally, settling down in Arlington can help you reach financially because the median household income in the location is $107,085. If you are looking for work, the biggest employers here are IBM, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Deloitte.

Enjoy the outdoors every chance you get.

Newton Is One of the Best Boston Suburbs When It Comes to Education

How would you feel living in the vicinity of some of the world’s renowned schools? Top rankings and diversity of educational institutions attract not only families with kids but also young folks looking for some higher education. There are public and private schools as well as colleges and universities.

Enroll your kids in one out of 15 elementary educational institutions, send them to one out of four middle or choose between two public high schools. When it comes to private education, you can pick among institutions like Fessenden School for boys, Solomon Schechter Day, a conservative Jewish, and Mount Alvernia High School and Academy for girls.

If you are moving to a city alone, looking for higher education, know that there are six colleges in Newton. Besides worrying about what to pack for college, you have the task of choosing among many educational programs that can help you master Law, Hebrew language, liberal arts, psychology, and many others.

Aside from excellent learning opportunities, Newton is a hotspot of romantic things to do in Boston. All of those moving for a relationship looking for a way to surprise their partner should make a reservation at one of many local restaurants. There is everything from steaks to pizza and sandwiches. You can also spend the day at Hemlock Gorge Reservation, Chestnut Hill Reservoir, or Bullough’s Pond and enjoy nature at its finest.

Did all of these make you consider Newton as your next destination? If it did, you could start looking for accommodation, and according to Niche, around 72% of people own their residence. Following their footsteps, you will need around $886,100 to buy a property or $1,830 to rent it.

Newton Is Well-Connected With Other Areas

The benefits of living here keep impressing newcomers, one of the most important ones is the fact that the location is well connected with the rest of the metropolitan areas. Consider shipping your car to your new place, you won’t regret it.

Interstate 90 runs east and west through the location, while Route 128 slices the western part of the location. There are also Route 30, 16 and 9, and on the north Center and Winchester Streets. When you want to ditch your car, use MBTA light rail.

This is a town with excellent educational opportunities for everybody.

Lexington Is One of the Safest Places

Safety should be one of the top priorities for all folks, especially those relocating with children, or moving from a small town to a big city. Bigger places tend to be less safe than smaller, tight-knit communities. However, even in urban jungles, you can find a safe oasis where you kids can safely play outside, and you don’t have to worry about their well being. According to data from website AreaVibes, Lexington is one of the safest places in the metropolis.

Year over year crime in Lexington has decreased by 23%, making the location 93% safer than other cities in the US. Additionally, overall crime rates are 86% lower than the national average, and you have a 1 in 282 chance of becoming a victim of a felony.

This community, 30 minutes out of The Hub, can offer newcomers a variety of styles when it comes to housing, and current government initiatives are creating even more options. Lexington is a place where more than 80% of people own their residence. If your long term plan is to settle down, buy a house, you will need around $849,500, however, if you want to rent, you will need approximately $2,250 a month.

LocationMedian Household IncomeMedian Home ValueMedian RentTotal crimeYear-over-year crime
Salem$65,565$347,000$1,2402,079 per 100k people-23%
Brookline$113,500$885,700$2,2001,162 per 100k people+10%
Arlington$107,085$609,800$1,6453,383 per 100k people-9%
Newton$139,700$886,100$1,830768 per 100k people-1%
Lexington$172,750$849,500$2,250355 per 100k people-23%
Marblehead $115,510$632,600$1,500591 per 100k people-29%
Chelsea $51,840$323,400$1,3602,101 per 100k people-34%

Source: AreaVibes/Niche

Living in Lexington Will Transport You to Another Time

Lexington will sometimes feel like a time machine because of many history-related events and celebrations. If you are itching to get to know the location, start with the tour of the Hancock-Clarke House built in 1737. Afterward, you can check out Lexington Green, also known as the site of the first battle of the American Revolution. There are also Buckam and Munroe Tavern, meeting spots during the wartime. Mark Patriot’s Day celebration in your calendar because that’s when members of the Minute Men Company and His Majesty’s Tenth Regiment of Foot reenact the Battle of Lexington. After that spectacular show, you can enjoy parades and other events.

When you are done with learning about the past, stop by at one of many restaurants and enjoy delicious food, and since almost 25% of residents are Asian descent, there are a lot of dinners inspired by eastern cuisines. If you are craving Asian food, stop by Formosa Taipei, Royal India Bistro, or Changhai and have a tasty meal. However, if you prefer making your meals on your own, get local produce, meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables at Wilson Farm.

Lexington is one of the safest locations in the metropolis.

Marblehead Is an Elite Suburb

How would you feel living in the spot with roughly nine miles of shoreline? Marblehead has been one of the greatest Massachusetts fishing towns throughout history due to enormous cod stocks off its shore.

Nowadays, Marblehead is famous as one of the world’s yachting capitals, but also for its luxurious vibe. Around 78% of residents own their residences, and even though the median home value is $632,600, however, you can find a property for a price of $215,000 but also for 3 million dollars. Housing options are diverse, and you can find condos, co-ops, luxurious single-family homes, and multi-family properties. On the other hand, if you opt for renting, you will have to pay around $1,500 each month.

There are plenty of pros of living in Marblehead. Beaches are the first on the list. There are more than a few beaches, but the most famous one is Devereux Beach hosting five acres of sand, playgrounds, and picnic areas. This is where you come when you want to observe fireworks on the Fourth of July. Little Harbor, Trustees of Reservations, and Gerry Island also have beaches but considerably smaller than Devereux. You can’t explore all of those shores without hopping on a yacht and sailing around. Marblehead is the perfect spot for whale watching, master sailing, and learning about boats.

Next on the list of benefits come history sites and museums, and Marblehead has plenty of those. Stop by Abbot Hall and learn why the town is named a “Birthplace of the American Navy“, or check out coastal fortification Fort Sewall.

When you have enough of Colonial-styled buildings, you can get physical and join The Lynch/van Otterloo YMCA gym, where you will find fitness classes and cardio machines. There are also pools and gymnasiums. If you have kids, YMCA offers them Children’s Island, a mile from the shoar. Here kids can enjoy day camps, learn how to sail, or hike and enjoy camp stories.

Let’s say you are too busy to cook. Marblehead has plenty of dining out options that will satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Start your morning with classic breakfast at local favorite and rustic Driftwood. Before hitting the sandy beaches, swing by Shubie’s and pick up sandwiches, salads, or grilled cheese for your children. Grab a lunch and one of the oldest family-run eateries, The Barnacle. This restaurant with a 60s vibe serves up seafood but mainly fresh lobster rolls. If you can’t find an empty table at The Barnacle, try nearby The Landing that also serves seafood on a deck overlooking the harbor. When the dinner time comes, put on some nice clothes and head to fancy Five Corners and have some salmon and gelato. If you are in the mood for a drink, check out bars Maddie’s Sail Loft and Swampscott and have a taste of some strong drinks or cocktails.

You Will Need a Car

While you are getting organized to move, know that you will probably need a vehicle while living in Marblehead. Figure out how to move a motorcycle, ship your car, pack a bike, or let the professionals do it for you because you will most definitely need them to get around.

There is no commuter rail service throughout Marblehead, so reaching other locations won’t be easy without a vehicle. Luckily, a network of streets and roads connects the neighborhood with the rest of the metropolis. Lafayette Street connects Marblehead with Salem on the north, while Humphrey Street and Atlantic Avenue connect it with Lynn.

Marblehead is a famous yacht town not only in Massachusetts but in the whole US.

Chelsea Is Ideal for Commuting Families

Are you looking for a place that is not too far away from all urban amenities? Chelsea is 4 miles north from The Hub, meaning that the commute time is around 20 minutes. Take the Route 1 North Expressway, and you can reach Charlestown on the south or Rever on the north. If you don’t want to drive, use Commuter Rail or MBTA busses that can take you to Logan Airport or Downtown. Chelsea is well-connected, so you won’t have a problem reaching the desired destination.

Chelsea is a renter’s spot, where more than 74% of people rent their places. The median rent is $1,360 a month. However, if you opt for buying a property, you will probably run into many multi-family homes. There are also duplexes and triplexes, though there are few single-family residences, you will mostly find condos for sale. With residential development, luxury buildings are popping up in the area more often now, especially in Admirals Hill. Future homeowners should also know that the median home price in Chelsea is $323,400.

Even though the variety of school options leaves something to be desired, your kids can pick among four elementary, two charter, and three middle educational institutions, while there is only one high school. Also, there is one private school, a community college, and Everest Institute. Luckily, you will live nearby other neighborhoods with better educational opportunities, so your children’s education won’t suffer.

Schools might not be great, but living here means you will be staying in a spot with crime rates 19% lower than the national average, and constantly decreasing. Making it a top-notch choice for families.

If you are looking forward to earning a median household income of $51,840, you will need stable employment. When relocating for a job in Chelsea, there are things to consider, like figuring out who the biggest companies are and looking for new employees. According to Glassdoor, one of the largest job and recruiting sites, Chelsea’s biggest employers are:

  • MIT – education
  • MathWorks – Computer Hardware & Software
  • Harvard University – education
  • Mass General: Chelsea HealthCare Center – health care services
  • Fidelity Investment – banking

When you want to relax after a long day at work, you can sit by the water, and watch the Mystic River from the Mary O’Malley State Park. You can also enjoy cherry trees, wind sculptures and plenty of recreational activities. If you are a beer drinker, stop by Mystic Brewery, which specialized in farmhouse style ales. Break the ice and meet your new neighbors, invite them to a game of paintball. There is an indoor arena located on Webster Ave with three different fields that can be a perfect friend date. For more down low evenings, stop by Ciao! Pizza and Pasta, Fusion Foods, and enjoy some tasty dishes. Anything else you need that you can’t get in Chelsea will be available to you after a short ride Downtown.

Community Development Makes Chelsea a Great Place to Live in

Chelsea’s local community is pretty active and passionate about making this the best neighborhood possible. If you are looking for a constantly improving and developing community, you can’t go wrong with settling down in Chelsea. There are plenty of organizations that help the local government make the spot better than before.

CAPIC is an organization that serves Chelsea, and its programs range from childhood education to tax preparation programs. TND – Chelsea Thrives promotes a healthy environment, financial mobility, and it offers affordable housing options. TND works with plenty of public and private institutions, and it has been a helpful partner in reducing crime over the years.

Additionally, with the Capital Improvement Plan, investments are focused on parks, streets, and sidewalks improvements and on building development and water and sewer upgrades.

If you are used to being active in your community, don’t worry. Being a resident of Chelsea means you will have plenty of opportunities to impact the development and improvements of the location.

Enjoy the view of Mystic River from the park.

The Hub Is a Great Place to Settle Down in

A diversity of neighborhoods, excellent work and educational opportunities, and fun outdoor activities is what attracts all kinds of people to The Hub. No matter if you are moving alone, with the family, including children or with a partner, you will surely find one or more places that can potentially cater to all of your needs. If you are on the budget, there are more affordable options like Salem, but if you are looking for top-notch schools head out to Newton. There is something for everybody, making The Hub one of the greatest places to settle down in Massachusetts and the whole US.

You made the decision to relocate, and while you are saying goodbye to your friends, give a call to a professional moving company. Professionals can help you pack and relocate without a fuss while you are relaxing and learning about your new neighborhood.

Written By: Blake Shaw