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Living In Boston, MA

Getting to Know Boston, MA

Living in Boston puts you in the middle of a lot of American history. Founded in September 1630, it's one of the oldest cities in the country. It's also central to much of American history, with many significant events before and during the American Revolution happening there. 

The city is always exciting, with almost 5 million people in the metropolitan area and more than 12 million people visiting each year. Whether you're looking for Boston luxury apartments, a studio, or a cheap place to sleep for those few hours you're not exploring the city, you can find exactly what you need. Here are some of the area's highlights.

Boston Neighborhoods

Allston-Brighton: Boston University and Boston College are in Allston-Brighton (two separate areas, but often treated as a single neighborhood), making it great for students. It also has a large number of young professionals, so many bars and restaurants have popped up to appeal to the 20-something crowd. 

Brookline: Want to be close to the city, but have a quieter, more suburban feel? Then you'll want to look at Brookline. It's quite affluent, with many large estates and one of the oldest country clubs in America. It's also close enough that you can get to the city itself with a short train ride. 

Cambridge: Cambridge sits on the Charles River, but that's not the real appeal of this neighborhood. Harvard and MIT are located nearby, making the area one of the more extreme examples you can find of feeling like a college town. If you like the liveliness of a college town and want to be near a strong art and musical culture, Cambridge is a great place to live. 

North End: Two things define North End: American history and Italian food. Here in the oldest neighborhood in the city, you'll find the Freedom Trail and all of its historical landmarks, as well as the "little Italy" of Boston, with as much great Italian food as you'd want. 

Somerville: This is the densest and most diverse area in Boston. If you want a neighborhood with a mix of many different people, you'll find it here, from young professionals to families to recent immigrants. It's also home to many different restaurants from all over, so it's perfect to live in (or even just visit) if you're big into trying new restaurants. 

Boston Landmarks

Freedom Trail is one of the most popular tourist attractions and the site of many historical landmarks. A 2.5-mile brick path, it's a lot of history concentrated into a relatively short stretch. You'll find places like the Old Corner Bookstore, which has been standing since 1718. It was first used as a pharmacy then later as a bookstore. Though it's no longer a bookstore, it still has the same design that it had throughout the centuries. 

Also along the Freedom Trail is the Park Street Church, where gunpowder was stored during the War of 1812, the Paul Revere House, which was built in the late 1600s, the site of the Boston Massacre, and the burial ground for famous figures such as John Hancock and Samuel Adams. Located in Downtown, it's located close to many neighborhoods and there are many apartments available for rent nearby. 

Education Hotspot

More than just a charming city with lots of history, Boston is a top spot for higher education. Known as the "Athens of America," Boston and the surrounding area is home to numerous colleges and universities with a myriad of academic programs, such as Harvard, Boston College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Berklee College of Music, and Boston University. So regardless of what your interests are, there's likely a school in Boston for you. 

If you're into the arts, you might want to rent an apartment near the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University. Designed by artists for artists, this revered institution is dedicated to providing education for pioneers in the arts, whether it's sculpture, painting or sketching.

Average Rent in Boston

While rent varies significantly by neighborhood, residents in Boston can expect a higher average rent than most big cities, with an average of around $2,800 a month.

Did You Know?

Whether you're strolling the greens at Boston Common or sunning yourself at Revere Beach, you're taking in part in history. Boston is home to the nation's first public park and first public beach.

Public Transportation in Boston

To ride Boston's subway, called the "T," you can purchase a CharlieCard at any subway station and use the color-coded maps to plan your route.

Boston Events and Festivals

Each year brings a full slate of events to Boston, including festivals for foodies, St. Paddy's and Christmas celebrations, and local traditions like Boston Harborfest and the world-famous Boston Marathon.

Free Things to Do in Boston

Some fun free things to do in Boston include walking the Freedom Trail, picnics in Boston Common and tours of the Boston Public Library, Commonwealth Museum, and Samuel Adams Brewery.

Boston Sports

If you're a sports lover, there's no better place to be than Boston, the home of die-hard fans. Your new home in Boston puts you near the famous Fenway Park, where you can catch a Red Sox game, and the TD Garden, where the Celtics and Bruins play. You'll also be a short distance away from Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots and the New England Revolution. 

If you're an athlete yourself, you might be interested in participating in the Boston Marathon or the Head of the Charles, the largest regatta in the world. There are also a number of parks and recreational sites where you can organize a pickup game with your friends. 

Things to Do with Kids in Boston

Boston offers a lot of free things for families to do, and our top picks include stargazing at the Coit Observatory, playtime at the waterfront park on Castle Island, and the historical and cultural activities offered by the Highland Street Foundation's Free Fun Fridays.

Boston Outdoors

Located on the water, Boston is great for nature enthusiasts. Situated near several beaches and only a few hours from Cape Cod, Boston is perfect for people who love to get out and bask in the sun during warm months. You can even leave straight from Boston Harbor and spend an afternoon whale watching! If you're looking to be more active, you can rent a canoe, kayak or sailboat or sign up for a rowing class.

If you love hiking, there are plenty of nearby trails and even a few mountains to climb nearby, including Mount Washington and Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. You'll also find plenty of parks for jogging, skateboarding and other fair-weather fun, or exercise your green thumb at an urban planting center like Fenway Victory Gardens.

Finding the Best Nightlife in Boston

With many college students around, Boston has some serious nightlife. Whether you're looking for a hopping club where you can dance or a low-key coffee shop to unwind at the end of a long day, the city has plenty of options.

The Paradise Rock Club hosts national touring acts and large local bands. The Middle East is another great place to catch a live performance and indulge in a few drinks. With plenty of taxis available to get you back to your apartment, you don't have to worry about finding a designated driver.

Here are a few more picks for great nightlife spots:

Getaways from Boston

You have a lot of major cities near you in Boston. New York City is about a four hour drive, Philadelphia is five, and Washington, DC is about eight. There are also a lot of relatively cheap flights, which cut those travel times to about an hour and a half. Looking to get away from the crowded cities? Cape Cod is a 70 mile drive away. 

Boston Communities

Boston has wonderful social communities within the city. You can find social groups to connect with others who enjoy the same activities or to try something new with fellow members of collective communities like seniors, veterans and pet lovers.

Senior communities in Boston

There's a large senior community in Boston. In fact, there are more than 60,000 seniors over the age of 65 in Beantown, equaling more than 10 percent of the population. Another 18,000 are between the ages of 60 and 64. And within a decade, seniors will make up a fifth of Boston's population. As a multi-generational city where many families have lived in their neighborhoods for epochs, Boston's senior community is robust and close-knit. Boston offers a number of support organizations for seniors to help the community stay connected and strengthen social, economic and cultural development. Boston offers a bevy of resources to assist and support the senior community and spark independent and healthy senior living.

Social activities and organizations for seniors

  • Beacon Hill Village is a social membership organization for Boston seniors in Back Bay, Beacon Hill, Downtown, Kenmore/Fenway and a number of other neighborhoods. The Village, open to adults over 50 but with most members in their 70s, offers support, social and wellness programs, including exercise and meditation classes, special interest discussion groups, talks and presentations by local cultural, academic and political leaders and day trips and excursions to places like theaters and concerts, museums, Fenway Park, the Harbor Islands and the Berkshires.
  • East Boston Social Centers Active Adults Center is an organization dedicated to keeping seniors healthy, active and connected. The center, which is open to adults over 55, keeps seniors socially connected to their peers, and offers exercise programs, dance classes, home and hospital visits, arts and crafts programs, guest speaker presentations focused on senior issues, anti-crime training, grief counseling, parties and picnics and community and volunteer service programs.
  • The city of Boston Centers for Youth & Families' Thanks For The Memories Café is located in Dorchester, and is a place where seniors (or anyone, frankly) experiencing memory loss issues and their caregivers can gather in a safe, supportive space, enjoy coffee and refreshments and participate in conversation and activities like speakers, art and games while interacting with others like themselves.
  • The Metrowest 60+ Wicked Awesome Social Group! is a social organization based in Natick for seniors in their 60s who feel too young to be disengaged from society or may be disconnected from friends and family with busy lives. The group promotes fun and companionship along with a number of scheduled events like cocktail hours and concert outings under the motto, "You are too young to miss out on the fun. You're never too old to make new friends."

Caregivers and health care suggestions for seniors

  • Boston Senior Home Care is a non-profit organization linking seniors to programs and services to help them live independently, as well as providing support for caregivers and families. The organization provides case management, service planning, social support and healthy lifestyle initiatives for older adults and education programs for caregivers.
  • Ethos Boston is a private non-profit assisting seniors living at home in neighborhoods like Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury, Hyde Park and more. The organization provides a range of free and discounted services and support initiatives in home care, personal care, nutrition, counseling, money management and more.
  • The Massachusetts Senior Care Association represents a number of senior care services and support care organizations, including nursing facilities, rehab clinics, assisted living residences and retirement communities. It also supports scientific data studies to help seniors, advocates on senior legislation and maintains a free consumer information and referral telephone hotline for seniors needing assistance.

Apartment Guide renting resources for seniors

Apartment Guide's Senior Living Renter's Guide is an all-inclusive, educational resource for seniors that are looking for a place to live. From nursing homes to senior living communities, you'll find in-depth information to help you understand what each entails so you can make the best decision.

Military and veteran communities in Boston

From the earliest moments of our nation in Lexington and Concord to the Battle of Bunker Hill, Boston has been at the forefront of military conflict in America. And after each conflict, the city has opened its doors to its veterans and returning military combatants. More than 325,000 veterans live in Massachusetts and the Commonwealth houses six active military bases. To protect those that protect us, the city of Boston is at the forefront of active military and veterans' services, assisting our nation's defenders with resources in housing, disability, healthcare, legal needs, employment and pension and more.

Local organizations for active-duty military and veterans

  • The Greater Boston Veterans Collaborative is a group tasked to connect veterans with a broad supportive network of organizations through meetings, events, research and support service groups in health and wellness, employment and education, advocacy and policy initiatives and home and living.
  • The Massachusetts Military Support Foundation is a non-profit organization with regional offices throughout Massachusetts offering active military and veterans help during times of critical need and personal crisis. Through donations, grants and fundraisers, the foundation supports a number of service programs, including scholarships and education services, school supplies, food insecurity assistance, family services, transition assistance, financial assistance and Coats4Vets.
  • The Massachusetts Fallen Heroes Veteran's Edge program, an offshoot of an organization dedicated to honoring fallen service personnel, provides a number of services to active military personnel and veterans and their families. Programs offered by the organization include healthcare, housing, civil service employment, legislative lobbying, vehicle assistance and InnoVets, Boston's first veteran-focused business incubator.
  • Veterans Legal Services offers assistance to veterans in Boston promoting stability, financial security and self-sufficiency through comprehensive, affordable and accessible legal services. The organization partners with shelters, courts and support services to help reach veterans who would otherwise go without essential legal services.

Mental health and healthcare support for active-duty military and veterans

  • Home Base Veteran and Family Care is a partnership funded by the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Program helping service members and veterans heal from "invisible wounds" like traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorders associated with military service. The program is the largest private sector clinic in America with the sole focus of "helping at-risk Veterans and Military Families regain the lives they once had" through clinical care, research and education.
  • Fisher House Boston is a non-profit offering housing and support services to families of veterans and active military members while their loved ones are receiving treatment at area hospitals or at VA facilities. With a mission similar to the Ronald McDonald House for families of children, the organization also hosts events for families and offers a slew of fundraisers.
  • The New England Center and Home for Veterans' Veteran 360 program focuses on behavioral and mental health issues around severe mental illness and substance abuse disorders. The program also has a service to assist older veterans with medication management and social outings.

Apartment Guide rental resources for active-duty military and veterans

Apartment Guide offers a number of articles and guides to help veterans, active-duty military members and their families with housing resources.

Pet-friendly communities in Boston

Bostonians love their pets. More than half of Hub residents own a pet, with nearly a quarter of Massachusetts residences being dog households and 34 percent owning cats, the 11th highest total in the nation. The city has friendly pet parks and paths, yappy hours and salons and services to keep your Boston Terrier or Maine Coon looking and feeling their best. You can see pets aplenty in nearly every neighborhood going for a stroll or just showing off their stuff in a store window.

Resources for pet lovers in Boston

  • Pawsh Dog Boutique in Back Bay is true to its name, an upscale, couture boutique and groomer, famously patronized by Gisele Bundchen for her and husband Tom Brady's three pups Lua, Scooby and Fluffy. The shop offers nail clipping and tooth cleaning services, a food delivery and a return service for chewed-through toys.
  • Tails Boston is a family-owned and operated pet service in Jamaica Plain offering daycare, cage-less boarding, healthy food, accessories, transportation, private dog walking and cat care. The boutique facility features first aid- and CPR-certified pet techs, a soothing atmosphere for your pet and even a "dognasium" for exercise.
  • Dr. Jake Tedaldi's Vetcall is a two-time Best of Boston Best Veterinarian with a private, at-home visit service for dogs, cats and "pocket pets" throughout the Hub. The Harvard and Tufts grad makes his house calls in a roomy black Hummer with the license plate "ANIMAL," complete with a virtual traveling pet hospital with examination table and full medical kit with a pocketful of treats for bribery and reward.
  • Boston for the Dogs is a dog walking and training community in Roslindale offering hour-long dog hikes, group walks and even "pee break" services. The 2018 Best of Boston Dog Walker winner also offers a variety of one-on-one training services, including aggressive behaviors, housebreaking, obedience, confidence building, AKC Canine Good Citizen training and testing and more.
  • Jeana's Dirty Dog Salon is a specialty cage-free dog and cat grooming service located in Cambridge founded by the eponymous Jeana Ward, a 40-year veteran of the pet industry who earned her chops working with rare cats at the Nashville Zoo. Her shop offers grooming, day care, walking and even beak trims for birds!

Pet stores and business in Boston

Animal shelters in Boston

  • Animal Rescue League of Boston is a 120-year-old, no-kill organization located near Back Bay and South End. The donation-only-based non-profit rescues 20,000 animals a year, and offers services including vet care and field services, as well as advocated for treating the root causes of animal cruelty and neglect.
  • Great Dog Rescue New England is a non-profit, shelterless volunteer-run dog no-kill rescue group focused on assisting homeless and abandoned canines. The organization -- based in private foster homes across the region rather than a central location -- has placed more than 13,000 pets in permanent homes, and also campaigns for owner education, medical transportation, community outreach and pet overpopulation.
  • Last Hope K9 Rescue, located in the heart of the North End, is a no-kill rescue and adoption center serving greater New England. The volunteer-supported organization is connected to the Central Arkansas region, rescuing abandoned, neglected and abused dogs from high-kill shelters and placing them up for adoption in Boston. The rescue accepts all dogs regardless of age, pre-existing medical conditions or breed.
  • The 130-year-old Gifford Cat Shelter operates in Brighton, just outside the city, offering a roam-free, no-kill home for stray, abused and unwanted cats where they're free to roam the open facility, nap in a sunbeam and receive plenty of love and attention by potential new rescue owners.

Apartment Guide resources for pet lovers

Apartment Guide is dedicated to helping pet lovers find housing for them and their furry, feathery and fishy loved ones, offering a detailed pet-friendly housing guide and a slew of helpful articles on pet-related topics from making your home dog safe to building fanciful play areas for your kittens.


Frequently Asked Questions About Boston

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