Boston is an attractive destination for locals and tourists alike, as this waterfront city offers historic landscapes and amazing opportunities.
More condensed than New York and free of the horrible heat waves that plague southern cities, Boston has a lot to offer. Before moving to Boston, be sure to read up on common Bostonian knowledge and bring your warmest winter hat.
And don’t wear anything with a New York Yankees logo.
Offering top-notch education institutions and a bustling economic scene, Boston has attracted substantial growth in the past decade. Rent and the cost of living are constantly climbing due to the attractive nature of the city. Here are some recent figures to help you get a good idea about what to expect as you prepare to move to Boston.
- Population: 692,600
- Population density (people per square mile): 12,792.7
- Median income: $71,834
- Studio average rent: $2,689
- One-bedroom average rent: $3,524
- Two-bedroom average rent: $4,983
- Cost of living index: 151.7
Popular neighborhoods in Boston
The expansive city of Boston covers 24 unique neighborhoods stretching from the Mystic River in the north to the southern edge of Hyde Park. While locals may debate where the exact lines between neighborhoods are drawn, all can agree each district has its charms and attractions.
- The Waterfront: In this beautiful district, restaurants in the harbor offer the finest seafood, and locals watch boats setting off into the Atlantic Ocean. Home to the famous New England Aquarium, the Waterfront is widely considered one of Boston’s best neighborhoods to relax and unwind.
- Beacon Hill: The charming townhouses of this district line up across from the expansive green space of the Boston Common and Boston Public Garden. The lake here is home to the historic Swan Boats and offers a lush space for year-round festivals and fun activities.
- Back Bay: This bustling area offers high-end shopping along Newbury Street and the breathtaking history of the Boston Public Library and Trinity Church. With all the excitement here, it’s no wonder that this is one of Boston’s neighborhoods where rent is increasing the most.
- Downtown: This large area of the city has somewhat disputed borders but often includes both the impressive Leather District and delightful Chinatown. Parking here in the city center can be a challenge, so plan to shop and discover the many virtues of this area on foot.
- North End: Also called “Little Italy,” the North End hosts an intriguing collection of the best Italian restaurants and many of the oldest buildings in town. Follow the Freedom Trail through important historical landmarks that make this neighborhood a delight to explore.
The pros of moving to Boston
Popular with history lovers, students, entrepreneurs and tourists worldwide, Boston has earned a reputation for its many treasures. The numerous attractions and sights to see can keep even the pickiest resident pleased. While the city has many highlights, here are some of the most popular aspects.
Heartland of American history
Founded in 1630, Boston is one of the oldest cities in the U.S.A. and has worked hard to maintain many historical aspects. Locals will tell you to grab a bite to eat at the massive Faneuil Hall and not to miss reliving early American history at the Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum.
One of the most popular attractions in the city is the famous Freedom Trail. Follow the marked red path through Boston to discover 16 national historical sites on the 2.5-mile-long path.
Best universities in the world
With more than 50 universities and colleges located within the city, Boston is a great place to get an education. Both Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have consistently ranked among the best of the best. The 2020 QS Top University Rankings placed Harvard third and MIT first, globally.
Moving to Boston for a world-class education? Be sure to research the best neighborhoods for college students to find an area that suits your style.
A paradise for sports fans
Sports fans, rejoice. Boston is the home of both the Boston Red Sox and the Boston Celtics. The Sox play their home games at the thrilling Fenway Park, and you can catch a Celtics game at the massive TD Garden. While watching in-person is a treat, sports lovers can celebrate matches in the best sports bars in Boston to really enjoy the sports community here.
True baseball fanatics may even consider living in the Fenway neighborhood to really experience home-game excitement.
The cons of moving to Boston
Despite the many bounties of Boston, it also has some downsides to consider. Located in rugged New England and struggling with both the terrain and the vast number of commuters, this city can give you a run for your money. Here are a few things to keep in mind before considering a big move to Boston.
Weather for the hardy
In Boston, winter is the longest and harshest season of the year. It’s common for temperatures to fall below 0 degrees Fahrenheit in the coldest months of January and February. Expect snowstorms, blizzards and canceled school due to inclement weather conditions.
Construction is a constant in Boston, and the aging highways can’t keep up with the rapidly increasing population. This leads to multi-hour commutes in traffic comparable to that of Los Angeles or New York. Luckily, there are other ways to get into and around the city without a car. Take the subway or join in on the Metro-Boston Bikeshare Program to skip traffic and reduce pollution.
Earn a lot, spend a lot
Boston boasts an impressive median income, but it also ranks at No. 7 among the most expensive cities in the U.S. Consider saving money by avoiding the shopping centers and visiting the many free attractions throughout the city.
How to get started on your move to Boston
Before you unpack in your new home with a harbor view, be sure to visit the Moving Center to get free quotes and more detailed information about your big move to Boston.
Rent prices are based on a rolling weighted average from Apartment Guide and Rent.com’s multifamily rental property inventory of one-bedroom apartments. Data was pulled in December 2020 and goes back for one year. We use a weighted average formula that more accurately represents price availability for each individual unit type and reduces the influence of seasonality on rent prices in specific markets.
Population and income numbers are from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Cost of living data comes from the Council for Community and Economic Research.
The rent information included in this article is used for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein do not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.