Moving is a big life decision. You could be relocating for work, to be with a significant other or maybe you just need a change of scenery. Whatever the reason, it’s important to familiarize yourself with your new city and prepare for the move. If you are moving to Boston or are just considering a move to the major East Coast city, we have created the ultimate guide for what you need to know.
Founded in 1630, Boston is rich in American history. Today, the city is a thriving urban center. Approximately 667,137 people live in Boston, according to the United States Census Bureau.
Of those people, 47.8 percent are men, and 52.2 are women. Additionally, Governing magazine ranked the strength of state economies based on factors like per capita GDP, personal income per capita and job growth. The top five states are:
As the capital city of Massachusetts, Boston plays a significant role in the state’s economic strength, and it also ranks high when it comes to equality. In terms of non-discrimination laws, fair employment, law enforcement, municipal services and relationship with the LGBTQ community, Boston earned a perfect score of 100 points from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
Types of Homes
Of course, you’ll need a place to stay when you’re living in Boston, so you will need to determine whether you are going to rent or buy. It’s the third most expensive city to live in the United States, but there is a wide variety of options when you are on the market for a new home in this city.
If you are looking to buy, you’ll find homes for sale. If you’re looking to rent, there are also townhome and apartment rentals in Boston. As of 2013, the average prices for different home types in Boston are:
- Mean price of a detached house: $402,463
- Townhouse in a two-unit building: $804,212
- Townhouse in a building with three to four units: $422,160
- Townhouse in a building with five or more units: $608,953
- Median gross rent: $1,263
When it comes to buying, size has a big influence on price. Here are average home prices in Boston based on the number of bedrooms:
- One-bedroom: $322,500
- Two-bedroom: $357,000
- Three-bedroom: $320,000
- Four-bedroom: $725,000
When it comes to renting an apartment, the average price based on the number of bedrooms is:
- Studio: $1,854
- One-bedroom: $2,260
- Two-bedroom: $2,828
- Three-bedroom: $2,977
During 2016, the price of homes in Boston’s suburbs has been flat, while the price of homes in the city and its urban center continue to climb.
The next important step is selecting the Boston neighborhood you will live in. The right neighborhood depends on so many factors, including your commute to work, price, nightlife and the atmosphere. Boston is a city comprising a collection 23 neighborhoods, each with distinct characteristics. Here is a quick snapshot of each neighborhood:
- Allston. Allston is one of the city’s most diverse neighborhoods with a mix of students, young professionals and immigrants. Harvard Avenue, Commonwealth Avenue and Brighton Avenue are a few of the main streets in Allston.
- Back Bay. Back Bay is home to some of Boston’s most famous buildings, as well as beautiful, older homes. Back Bay is home to the Boston Public Library, Prudential Center and John Hancock Tower.
- Bay Village. One of the most expensive Boston neighborhoods to live in, Bay Village is a smaller neighborhood made of up rows of brick buildings that house both shops and homes. Boston’s theater district is in this neighborhood.
- Beacon Hill. Beacon Hill is one of Boston’s oldest neighborhoods and is home to a number of historical sites. The neighborhood reflects the city’s colonial roots with brick sidewalks and a number of antique stores.
- Brighton. Brighton is a family-friendly neighborhood with plenty of multi-family homes. If you are looking for townhome rentals in Boston, Brighton may be a good place to start. Washington Street is the central street in this neighborhood.
- Charlestown. Charlestown is a north-side city flanked by the Boston Harbor and Mystic River. Charlestown has a long history as an Irish neighborhood, though today it has many different people living there.
- Chinatown-Leather District. Chinatown is central spot for Boston’s Chinese community. The neighborhood is a mix of residential, commercial and historical buildings. The Leather District is a small area — just nine-blocks long — and it has a mix of residential and commercial buildings.
- Dorchester. Dorchester is the largest neighborhood in Boston and is home to a diverse population, but many Vietnamese live here. The Vietnamese Community Center and number of Vietnamese restaurants are part of the Dorchester community.
- Downtown. Boston’s Downtown is the city’s busy center and is home of the historic Freedom Trail. The Downtown area has a stretch of waterfront space and a number of sites alive with activity throughout the year, including the City Hall Plaza.
- East Boston. East Boston is a waterfront neighborhood and is also home to Logan Airport. Many buildings in this neighborhood have a view out across Boston Harbor.
- Fenway-Kenmore. Baseball fans will immediately recognize this neighborhood as the home of Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox. The Fenway-Kenmore neighborhood is also the location of the Boston Symphony Hall and Museum of Fine Arts.
- Hyde Park. Hyde Park is Boston’s southernmost neighborhood, which offers a blend of suburban living and city atmosphere. Fairmount Avenue, Hyde Park Avenue and River Street are some of the main streets in this neighborhood. Hyde Park also has two business districts: Cleary and Logan Square.
- Jamaica Plain. Jamaica Plain is home to a large Latino population, young families and more. Boston’s famous Emerald Necklace park system borders this neighborhood.
- Mattapan. The Mattapan neighborhood is known for its efforts to be environmentally friendly, as well as its strong African American and Caribbean community. The neighborhood has great resources for families, such as the Mattapan Boys and Girls Teen Center.
- Mid-Dorchester. Mid-Dorchester is a collection of four different sections: Uphams Corner, Bowdoin/Geneva, Four Corners and Codman Square. Each section has plenty of restaurants. Additionally, the area has begun to see a surge of new development.
- Mission Hill. Mission Hill has a mix of different home types including condos, triple-decker houses and brick row homes. This neighborhood is just a mile from the Downtown area.
- North End. North End was the home of Paul Revere. Today, the neighborhood is home to many Italian Americans. North End also has plenty of outdoor spaces, including an outdoor pool.
- Roslindale. You will find shopping, dining and plenty of green space in the Roslindale neighborhood. Roslindale is also home to the Arnold Arboretum.
- Roxbury. Roxbury is in the midst of a renewal period and is rapidly becoming one of the city’s business districts. The neighborhood includes Dudley Square, Crosstown and Grove Hall.
- South Boston. South Boston has a strong sense of tradition. The neighborhood’s beaches and recent renewal make it a popular place to live today. The neighborhood’s Fort Point area is a magnet for Boston’s community of artists.
- South End. South End, near Downtown, is home to many young professionals, families and members of the LBGTQ community. South End has a large collection of brownstone buildings as well as a large collection of parks.
- West End. West End is considered an up-and-coming neighborhood due to its growing residential numbers. TD Garden and Massachusetts General Hospital are in the West End neighborhood.
- West Roxbury. West Roxbury has acres of sports fields and trails as well as many single-family homes. The neighborhood is famed for being visited by literary figures such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Boston is a diverse city, with both people who have generations of history in the city and people who have recently moved there. Either way, you will find the people who live here to be well-education and to have a lot of city pride.
The city has more than 30 colleges and universities, in addition to being located near Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
One interesting note is the typical Boston accent so often used and talked about in popular culture is not nearly as widespread as you might think. However, Boston does have some regional slang you will notice after living there for some time.
Transportation is another big item to check of your list when preparing for a move. Will you be driving or taking public transportation?
Like any city, owning a car in Boston can be challenging. You have to think about parking — both paying for and finding a spot. In Boston, you’ll find street meters for parking. Additionally, depending on where you live, you could need a residential parking permit. There is also the question of traffic. Boston’s one-way streets, roundabouts and ramps are going to be busy and, at first, a little confusing.
If you’ve decided against driving as your main form of traversing the city, Boston does have public transportation. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority operates subways, trolley cars, buses and boat service in the city. The entire system is known as the “T.” The T stops running at 12 a.m., but you can flag down a taxi if you are staying out late.
The job market and income prospects in this city have a positive outlook. Boston, and New England in general, has shown job growth over the past year. From May 2015 to May 2016, Massachusetts had job growth rate of 1.5 percent, while unemployment is on the decline. The education and healthcare industries have had the largest job growth over the past year, while the leisure and hospitality markets are close behind in new jobs.
In 2015, the median household income for Boston residents was $55,775, up 3.83 percent over the past year and up more than five percent over the past three years. This income is more than $23,000 greater than the overall median household income for the United States.
Health coverage is an essential benefit and an important issue to consider when you move. Massachusetts has one of the lowest rates of uninsured individuals in the country — just four percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation — thanks in part to the state’s universal healthcare system. This system has been in place for a decade.
Boston is a city of seasons. You can expect sunshine, rain, leaves to change color and snow. Here are a few quick things to know about the weather in Boston:
- The city gets an average of 2,615 hours of sunshine every year.
- Boston gets an average of 44 inches of snow and 43.76 inches of rain on an annual basis.
- January is generally the coldest month of the year, with an average low temperature of 22 degrees Fahrenheit and an average high temperature of 36 degrees Fahrenheit.
- July is the hottest month with an average high of 81 degrees Fahrenheit and an average low of 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The spring months of March, April and May have moderately cool weather, ranging from a low of 31 degrees Fahrenheit to a high of 66 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The fall months of September, October and November also have moderate temperatures ranging from 38 degrees Fahrenheit to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are coming from somewhere else on the East Coast or from the Midwest, this type of weather will be nothing new. Just remember to evaluate your wardrobe and stock up clothing for the colder months ahead if you are from somewhere with a more temperate climate.
Things to Do
People love to live in cities because there is so much to do, and Boston is rich in entertainment options. There’s something for everyone, such as:
Boston is big on sports. The Red Sox are the first thing many people think of when they think of this city, and this American League baseball team plays at the famous Fenway Park. The Red Sox last won the World Series in 2013.
Just outside the city, Gillette Stadium hosts the National Football League’s New England Patriots and the Major League Soccer team the New England Revolution. The National Hockey League’s Boston Bruins have won the Stanley Cup six times. The Boston Celtics, the city’s National Basketball Association team, and the Bruins play at TD Garden in the city. The Boston Breakers, the city’s Women’s Professional Soccer team, play at Harvard Stadium. The city also hosts the Boston Marathon.
Sports fans will find plenty of teams to root for and watch in Boston.
Boston is home to a number of theaters and museums. Listen to the Boston Symphony Orchestra or go the Boston Opera House. You can see a Broadway Show at Wang Theatre or catch a comedy act at Wilbur Theatre as well.
The city also has one of the first public libraries in the country. The Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Science, Museum of African American History and New England Sports Museum are just a few of the city’s cultural institutions open to the public, too.
In addition to Boston’s cultural sites, you can explore some of the country’s early history at places like the Paul Revere House, the U.S.S. Constitution Museum and the Freedom Trail.
Every year, the city holds the Boston Calling music festival over Memorial Day weekend. Some of the city’s most popular live music venues include The Sinclair, The Royale and Paradise Rock Club.
Some of the best places in the city to shop include Newbury Street, Copley Place, Prudential Center and the Boston Public Market. You will find trendy boutiques, staple stores and plenty of places to eat.
- The outdoors
If you enjoy walking, running or just visiting green space, Boston has plenty to offer. The city is home to the Arnold Arboretum, Boston Common, the Public Garden and more.
Food and Drink
Every city has a strong opinion on what constitutes good food, including Boston. Luckily, Boston has some truly delicious dishes that earn it a reputation for tasty food. Boston is known for baked beans, as well as for some New England staples like clam chowder and lobster.
Try homemade baked beans made from a 150-year-old recipe at Durgin Park. Fall in love with Maine lobster rolls at Neptune Oyster. Sink your teeth into one of the city’s best burgers at Craigie on Main. Last, but not least, you will have to try the city’s famous dessert — head to Omni Parker House to indulge in a piece of Boston cream pie.
In addition to restaurants, Boston has nearly 30 different farmers’ markets. These markets give Boston residents easy access to fresh, locally-grown foods.
If you are interested in nightlife, Boston’s bars stay open until 2 a.m., and the city has a mix of bars and clubs for every style and mood. If you are looking for a sports bar, try The Harp near TD Garden. Wine drinkers will love BISq, while mixology enthusiasts will flock to the Baldwin Bar. Boston also has a healthy brewery presence if you are interested in craft beer.
All coffee drinkers will be eager to know what their new city has to offer when it comes to the morning caffeine fix. Boston has its fair share of Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts shops, but it also has many local cafes to offer. The family-owned Little Figs has drip coffee as well as a regularly changing menu of espresso options, and Cafenation also has widely lauded coffee selection.
Making the Move
Moving day is one of the most stressful days anyone can experience. The best way to alleviate the stress is to be prepared as possible. You already know the basics of packing up before the movers arrive, but there are some moving day issues specific to Boston you should know, too.
If movers are transporting your belongings in a moving truck, the city recommends getting a moving day parking permit. This permit guarantees you a parking space on moving day and ensures you will not have to worry about getting a ticket on an already hectic day. You can apply for a pass online or in person at the Public Works office at City Hall.
It is also important to know that the majority of leases on Boston begin and end at the beginning of September. This makes September 1 a very busy moving day. If you are one of the many people moving on this day, be prepared for restricted parking and street closures.
The city of Boston also recommends everyone carefully select a moving company. Any company providing moving services in Massachusetts has to be licensed by the state’s Department of Public Utilities. You can review movers through that department. You can also review potential movers through the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
Let Boston Luxe Help You Find the Home of Your Dreams
Whether you have always wanted to live in Boston or the city has drawn you for another reason, finding the right home can make the difference in your overall experience. Whether you want to rent or buy, Boston Luxe Real Estate can help you find just the right fit. From apartments and townhouses for rent to single-family homes to buy in Boston, we will find you a place that will make this glorious city feel like home in no time.