Moving to Boston
Are you moving to Boston? This historic city offers plenty to suit both families and younger singles.
But like any move, there will be a number of unfamiliar aspects that you need to know.
Our free, in-depth Moving to Boston report includes info on:
• The best areas to live
• The good schools
• The average monthly rental prices
• The excellent public transport system in the city
Putting Boston on the Map
It may be “America’s Walking City,” but Boston also features an extensive transportation system to help you navigate smoothly, from Harvard to the harbour.
• TAKE THE “T”. Boston’s public transportation system is operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, but locals know it simply as the “T”. It offers subway, bus, trolley car and boat service to just about everywhere in the Greater Boston area and beyond. Subway stops are colour coded – Red Line, Green Line, Blue Line, Orange Line or Silver Line. To ride the T, you need to purchase a CharlieCard or CharlieTicket. These can be purchased at most subway stations at vending machines and at select convenience stores.
• Operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Boston’s Commuter Rail services the outlying Boston suburbs. Service is available from several T stations, but most departures take place at South Station, North Station or Back Bay Station.
• The bus service is widely available throughout Massachusetts, with expanded late night service. All intercity/interstate buses depart from South Station. Ticket counters are located on the third level of the Transportation Center. The Logan Express bus stops at all terminals. Be sure to allow extra time during rush hour periods.
• Blue bikes is the bike sharing system providing over 100 stations and 1,000 bikes available in Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, and Somerville.
• With its compact size, short blocks, numerous subway (or underground) stops and compact size, downtown Boston is a walker’s paradise. Some of Boston’s most celebrated and historic neighbourhoods – Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Chinatown, North End, and more – are within a short walk of the city centre, known as downtown. Thousands of people walk through downtown each day.
• Logan International Airport, officially known as General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport and also commonly known as Boston Logan International Airport, is the international airport located in East Boston. It has six runways and four passenger terminals and employs an estimated 16,000 people. To reach the city, take the T, the free shuttle bus, the Logan Express or a taxi.
Boston maintained a position as the 3rd most expensive rental market in the U.S this year and is one of the country’s oldest cities. Its gorgeous brownstones, modern apartment complexes, museums and history and an array of restaurants and bars make this a great lifestyle city. Whether you’re looking for a neighbourhood that’s very name will impress, or a funky, quiet square in Cambridge, the guide below will give you plenty of ideas.
If you’re looking to impress, you can’t do much better than Boston’s esteemed Back Bay. Rent in Boston doesn’t get much higher, but apartments don’t get much nicer, either. The location is perfection for a socializing city-dweller, sitting right on the outskirts of the gorgeous Boston Commons, the scenic Charles River, and the shopping centres such as Newbury Street, The Prudential Centre and Copley Plaza. You’ll never have to look far to find a restaurant or bar. There are multiple T and bus stops, but most people living here have a car. It’s perfect if you can afford it.
Northeast of Back Bay, the other side of the Boston Commons, is Beacon Hill, perhaps the most photogenic of all Boston neighbourhoods. A more peaceful and cultural version of Back Bay, there are plenty of high-end boutique shops, including some of the city’s most interesting antique stores, plus some incredible restaurants — both casual and high end. T stops are close by, but you’ll most likely want a car (or to Uber) if you’re living here.
Once you let people know you’ve moved to the North End, you’re going to have to be prepared to answer the question, “what’s your favourite Italian restaurant up there?” It’s a reasonable question, considering this was a historically Italian suburb. With narrow streets and fabulous historic buildings, you’ll feel like you’re in a time warp. Rents vary, ranging from college student prices to executive prices. There are Green and Orange line T-stops, but more importantly, it’s home to Neptune Oyster bar.
Not long ago, the South End was kind of a scary place to be in. But now it has an amazing food scene, great nightlife options, and there are plenty of young families moving in every day. New high-rises are being built, but part of the charm of living in Boston is moving into a beautiful old brownstone building. The area is only serviced by the Silver bus line, so you’re going to need a car. However, you’re right in the heart of the city, only a short ride from the glamour of Newbury Street and the tranquillity of the Boston Commons.
CAMBRIDGE (Harvard Square, Central Square, Porter Square)
Living in Cambridge makes you a neighbour of M.I.T. and Harvard universities. The main squares to live in are Harvard, Central, or Porter. Harvard Square is almost like a mini-city, with masses of great restaurants, new and old, countless public transport options, and lots of students wearing Harvard sweatshirts. Central Square has a little less polish and a little more personality; you’ll find funkier bars and restaurants, and if you’re into indie music, you’ll be right at home in the famous Middle East nightclub. Somewhere between those two is the more domestic and calm Porter Square. There are apartment buildings, but Porter has plenty of great duplexes to rent.
Are you looking for a happy medium between all of the Cambridge neighbourhoods? Somerville’s Davis Square fits the bill. Choose between apartment living or a house, then explore the hidden gems this area has to offer. Foodies should consider Davis—the area boasts authentic Irish, Italian, Mexican, Indian, and more cuisine, plus its home to what is arguably Boston’s best BBQ joint: Red Bones.
Who lives and works in Boston?
With a population of around 685,200 residents, the top 5 employers are a mix of healthcare, educational and retail: Partners Healthcare, University of Massachusetts, Stop and Shop Supermarket Co, Harvard University and Steward Healthcare System, with professional services, pharmaceuticals, technology and financial services also rating highly.
Approximately 80 206 of residents have a Bachelors degree or higher. 385 000 adult men and women are employed in full-time employment.
The Best Bits
• A staggering 63 museums and 31 theatres will keep the culture-vultures happy for a very long time.
• There are numerous fine dining restaurants in the metropolitan area with the most famous being Neptune Oyster, The Capital Grille and Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse.
• The Boston Duck Tour has nothing to do with duck watching! Rather, it is a series of historical tours of the city in replica World War II amphibious DUKW vehicles.
• Whale watching is operated by Boston Harbour Cruises.
• The Boston Red Sox. It is almost obligatory to support this famous professional baseball team. After all, they’ve won the World Series 8 times. Their home ground is Fenway Park.
• Boston Common is the oldest city park in the US, measuring almost 50 acres. Located centrally in downtown Boston, this public greenspace dates back to 1634. Janis Joplin held her largest ever concert here. Other parks include Boston Public Gardens.
• Faneuil Hall Marketplace is a shopping centre with 3 historic market buildings and a promenade.
• Chinatown, downtown, is the cultural centre of the Chinese community. Dumpling houses, dim sum restaurants, seafood spots, bakeries, gift shops and food markets are dotted throughout the area.
• There are literally dozens of historical buildings and sites throughout the city.
• Lawn on D is a green space on D Street. It becomes a playground for all ages in the summer, with lawn games, music concerts, giant swings that light up after dark and a beer hall.
• Legend has it that the city’s helter-skelter streets were formed to allow the cows to graze on Boston Common. It is one of Boston’s enduring myths.
• Close to Boston Common, James Allen’s biography can be seen by members of the Boston Athenaeum. It is bound by his own flesh.
• The control room operator at the weather station on the top of the old Hancock building receives a call and flips a switch. This alerts those in Boston, who can see the top of the building, to a light system forecasting the weather, thus: solid blue, clear view. Flashing blue, clouds due. Solid red, rain ahead. Flashing red, snow instead.
Bringing the Kids
The school system works like this. Elementary schools consist of kindergarten and grades 1-5. Most kids start kindergarten at age 5. Grade 1 starts at age 6. Middle school is grades 6-8 (ages 11-13), with high school 9 -12 (ages 14-18). Public schools are free of fees.
Like the UK, the USA works on a school catchment system where students are assigned to a school based on where they live. It’s probably better to choose the school first, then find suitable accommodation.
There are a number of good public schools in the Boston area, including Acton-Boxborough Regional High School, Raymond J Grey Junior High School and Blanchard Memorial School, all rated A+.
Charter schools offer a higher standard of education and stick to the state curriculum but are mainly state-funded, while Magnet schools offer a high standard of teaching and follow the International Baccalaureate.
There are a number of private schools in and around the city. These are generally quite expensive and require students to pass an admittance exam. However, they do not operate on the catchment system.
Fifteen international schools, including one educating in German, are expensive and very suitable for short-stay expat children but many parents do not find it necessary with the great choice of good public schools.
Along with Harvard and M.I.T., there are a number of excellent universities.
Relocating to Boston
With an excellent supply of high-quality accommodation in great areas, fantastic schools and universities, the theatres and museums and plenty of green spaces, Boston appears to have everything, including the ocean.
The educated workforce, low tax structure and a collaborative spirit between the government, businesses, and universities add up to create a very business-friendly environment.
Choosing accommodation in the right area with the right school for the kids may prove difficult, along with lease negotiations and property checks. Using an experienced relocation expert will pave the way for a successful, stress-free move.
Average Monthly Rent - Boston