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Boston, Massachusetts downtown.

12 Things to Know About Living in Boston

Moving to Boston? One of the Northeast’s best-known historical cities, Boston is the most populous city in New England and one of the best places to live on the East Coast. This cultural hub offers endless entertainment, convenient transportation, and excellent outdoor recreation. Check out these 12 things to know about living in Boston!

Thrive in a Northeastern City

Brownstone Apartments. Photo by Instagram user @jcthiel

Photo via @jcthiel

Boston is a cost-effective place to live in New England! Already ranked as one of the best cities to buy property, the Boston real estate market is projected to see a 3.9% growth in home sales in 2022. A few affordable places to live in Boston include trendy neighborhoods with big-city amenities like East Boston, North Dorchester, and Roslindale. Though rental properties and real estate in Boston—like most of Massachusetts—can carry a higher price tag, housing costs are offset by bigger salaries and inexpensive transportation. In fact, the median wage in Massachusetts is among the best in the country, and unlike federal income tax, there aren’t any state tax brackets in Massachusetts. Bostonians can save even more money by taking public transportation and enrolling in the Mass Save program to lower their energy costs at home.

A Steady Economy with Plenty of Job Opportunities

Boston provides ample career opportunities in top industries like healthcare, education, business, finance, and hospitality, thanks to its growing job market! In fact, Boston is ranked as one of the best cities for jobs and best cities for singles and young professionals due to its strong economy and diverse job market. Bostonians wanting to pursue a career in health services can find employment at some of the best hospitals in the nation, like Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Boston Children’s Hospital. The City on a Hill is home to the renowned Boston University, international travel experts Grand Circle Travel, and finance giants Putnam Investments and Fidelity Investments—as well as several Fortune 500 companies‘ headquarters, including General Electric, Liberty Mutual Insurance, and Wayfair.

Experience Top-Notch Public Transit & Excellent Walkability

Boston Buildings. Photo by Instagram user @maroseha

Photo via @maroseha

Nicknamed “The Walking City,” Boston is considered a pedestrian’s paradise—nearly 50% of residents walk or use public transportation to get around Boston for work. The bustling capital of Massachusetts is one of the top commuter cities in the U.S. because of the MBTA‘s strong public transport system—often referred to as “the T” by locals. Get to Downtown Boston and its surrounding areas through quick connections on the Red, Orange, Blue, and Green subway lines. Use the MBTA Commuter Boat to commute from the Boston Harbor. Residents can also take advantage of the city’s bicycle-sharing program, Bluebikes, while pedaling on Boston’s many bike-friendly paths. Or if you’re looking to reach further destinations, hop on a plane at the Boston Logan International Airport.

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Earn Your Degree at Excellent Boston Schools

Harvard University. Photo by Instagram user @harvard

Photo via @harvard

Looking to pursue higher education in the Boston area? The city has over 200,000 college students enrolled in top-rated schools! Attend a private Jesuit institution that’s a leader in liberal arts and science at Boston College. Enroll in Boston University and work toward a degree in one of its premier programs, like education, engineering, healthcare, or law. Receive an Ivy League education at one of the most prestigious universities in the world, Harvard University. Pursue a degree in science or technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Advance your education or study abroad with Emerson College. Take part in student organizations like the literary magazine or radio station while attending the University of Massachusetts Boston. Learn among creative scholars with bold ideas and a profound impact on the world at Tufts University. Or find graduate programs in engineering, journalism, or political science at top-tier research institute, Northeastern University.

Explore Boston’s Rich History

Old North Church. Photo by Instagram user @dmcnamara55

Photo via @dmcnamara55

Boston was a major location during the American Revolution, so there are always historical sites in Boston within walking distance. The Freedom Trail is an excellent way to understand Boston’s contribution to America’s Colonial history. Walk the 2.5-mile route packed with 16 historically significant sites like Old North Church, Boston Common, Bunker Hill Monument, the USS Constitution Museum, and the Paul Revere House. Then take a trip to the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum to see interactive exhibits, live actors, and a replica of 18th-century sailing vessels that started a revolution. Or tour the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum to learn more about the legacy of President Kennedy and his enthusiasm for public service.

Spend Time Outdoors

Boston Public Garden. Photo by Instagram user @ducklasagne

Photo via @ducklasagne

Living in Boston means you get to experience four seasons and enjoy year-round activities in one of the best cities for outdoor recreation! For weather reports, look to the John Hancock Weather Beacon, a Boston landmark that changes color to show local weather conditions. Ranked as one of the best cities to live near the ocean, Boston is home to popular spots for fishing and sailing, like Revere Beach and Charles River Esplanade. Walk winding paths in the Public Garden to view over 80 species of plants, or ride on the Swan Boats. Run or bike at Boston Harborwalk, a 43-mile linear park along Boston’s shoreline. Bring your clubs and play at the second oldest golf course in the U.S. at historic William J. Devine Golf Course. Explore the Bear Dens at Franklin Park or take in spectacular views of the Boston skyline at Piers Park. Ride the carousel with your kids, browse local art, or order from food trucks at contemporary public park, Rose Kennedy Greenway. Or row through Jamaica Pond in the Emerald Necklace park system.

Participate in Family-Friendly Activities in Boston

With lots of kid-friendly activities available throughout the metro, Boston is one of the best cities for families! Watch dinosaurs battle and feel the ground shake as your family walks through the Dino Safari inside Faneuil Hall Marketplace. See the Penguin Exhibit or Olympic Coast Exhibit at the New England Aquarium. Catch a family-friendly film under the night sky at Mayor’s Movie Nights. Explore the solar system at the Charles Hayden Planetarium, or check out fun, educational, and interactive exhibits like Arctic Adventure or Engineering Design Workshop at the Museum of Science. Admire African lions or western lowland gorillas at the Franklin Park Zoo. Or teach your little ones to ice skate at the Boston Common Frog Pond.

Cheer for Boston Sports Teams

Boston Celtics Basketball. Photo by Instagram user @celtics

Photo via @celtics

Boston is one of the best sports cities in America because of its quality professional teams and passionate fans. It’s hard to find a bar in Titletown that’s not playing the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, or Bruins games. Catch the Boston Bruins (NHL) on the ice at the TD Garden or come back when the ice is swapped for parquet so the Boston Celtics (NBA) can take on their rivals. Head to Gillette Stadium to see the six-time Super Bowl Champions, the New England Patriots (NFL). Cheer on the Boston College Eagles at a football game or the Harvard Crimson in basketball. Or enjoy America’s pastime with the Boston Red Sox (MLB) at the famous Fenway Park.

Discover Boston’s Local Arts Scene

Boston Opera House. Photo by Instagram user @mellyjo34

Photo via @mellyjo34

A thriving arts scene lives inside the City of Notions’ many museums and theaters. Discover local acts looking to make it big at Brighton Music Hall. Get tickets to Hamilton, Wicked, or Swan Lake at Boston’s acclaimed Citizens Opera House, or see Broadway shows, musicals, and comedy acts at Emerson Colonial Theatre. Study the works of world-class artists like Rembrandt, Monet, Kahlo, and more at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Watch Oscar-nominated short films or help create installations at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). View over 7,500 paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and other artworks—as well as over 1,500 rare books—from a private collector at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. See acts like The Strokes, Foo Fighters, and Metallica headline at the Boston Calling music festival. Or dress to the nines and enjoy a show by the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Attend Community Events & Festivals

Boston has a variety of events that are worthy of participation! Compete in the Boston Marathon, or cheer on the runners from the sidelines. Get into the New Year’s Eve spirit with musical performances, fireworks, and ice sculptures at First Night. Meet international winemakers and sample food from New England’s best chefs at the Boston Wine and Food Festival. Celebrate Independence Day at some of Boston’s best historic landmarks with Boston Harborfest, or camp out for the Boston Pops Firework Spectacular after listening to the Boston Pops Orchestra. Enjoy a traditional Irish meal while celebrating at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Or catch live Caribbean performances at the Boston Caribbean Carnival.

Eat at Amazing Restaurants

Food at Cheers Boston. Photo by Instagram user @cheersboston

Photo via @cheersboston

Boston is well-known for its lobster, New England clam chowder, Boston baked beans, and as the birthplace of Fig Newtons, but that’s not all that this city serves. Head to North End for Italian dishes, Chinatown for Asian delicacies, Roxbury for Caribbean plates, or stay near Boston’s Waterfront for fresh seafood. Try Wellfleet Clam Chowder, Spanish Octopus, or Nantucket Bay Scallops from Neptune Oyster. Pop into Woodman’s for Chubby’s Original Fried Clams or Fried Lobster Tails. Feast on the Giant Norm Burger or Frasier’s Chicken Panini while sipping on Cheers Root Beer at Cheers, the bar that inspired the TV show. Save room for a slice of authentic, original Boston Cream Pie at Parker’s. And if you decide to catch a game at the ballpark, there’s nothing like a famous Fenway Frank!

Enjoy Boston Nightlife

Nightlife at Venu Boston. Photo by Instagram user @shotbyek

Photo via @shotbyek

There are plenty of fun nightlife options to choose from in Boston! Laugh the night away at comedy club, The Wilbur. Dance and throw back some drinks at Down Nightclub. Groove to hip-hop and Latin music on the dance floor at Venu Nightclub. Go out with friends for drinks like a Lone Pine IPA, Hudson North Cider, or Havoc Sour Cherry Mead at Bukowski Tavern. Order cocktails like Pump Up the Jam, Pineapple Skies, or Storm Warning for happy hour at Sip Wine Bar & Kitchen. Head to one of the best gay bars in Boston for Trivia or Karaoke Night at Club Cafe. Or try a Boston Lager or Snow Day Stout while dining on the rooftop at the Samuel Adams Boston Taproom.


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Pinterest graphic: Living in Boston, MA: 12 Things to Know

About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.