Known as “the Hub” and “The City on a Hill,” Boston is where all the amenities of a bustling twenty-first century metropolis meet the quaint architectural charm of historic New England.
A dynamic college town that is home to the Freedom Trail and Fenway Park, it has something for sports fans, intellectuals, and everyone in between. In one day, you can catch a Red Sox game, walk through Harvard Yard, and enjoy a lobster roll – all in the birthplace of the American Revolution.
This city’s charming colonial roots along with its modern ethnic and cultural diversity make it a desirable place to live. Here’s everything you need to know before relocating to Boston.
Boston has to offer
Boston has twenty-three different neighborhoods, each with its own character,
from the cobblestone, ivy-covered Beacon Hill (the site of Massachusetts State House and other landmarks) to the eclectic, diverse Jamaica Plain, which borders most of the city’s large parks and green spaces.
Victorian brownstones line the streets of the picturesque – and pricey – South End, home to young professionals and a large LGBTQ+ community. Nearby is Back Bay, the heart of the city, featuring an array of upscale restaurants and designer boutiques on Boylston and Newbury Street.
The recently renovated Seaport District in South Boston is currently the fastest growing portion of the city, with new luxury condos and a lively nightlife scene. For quieter communities, head to the tree-lined “streetcar suburbs” of West Roxbury or Roslindale. They no longer have the trolley streetcars which inspired their affectionate title, but in their place are farmers markets and an arboretum.
Allston-Brighton has large population of college students who frequent the area’s cozy cafes and coffee shops by day and its clubs and bars by night. Across the Charles River (and technically their own independent cities), Cambridge and Somerville also skew young, hip, and brimming with academics.
Families looking for more space might consider the leafy neighboring suburbs of Newton, Belmont, or Brookline. The high cost of housing in the greater Boston area, whether you rent or buy, rivals that of other expensive cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.Collapse
Food & CultureExpand
The culinary options in Boston reflect both its cosmopolitan population and its European immigrant roots.
Authentic Irish pubs can be found all over the city, particularly in areas like Dorchester and Charlestown, but you’ll also have no trouble locating great Thai, Brazilian, and Indian cuisine. A first choice for many newcomers might be fresh seafood like New England clam chowder, lobster, and oysters, which you can order almost anywhere. The North End neighborhood is known for restaurants that serve up traditional Italian dishes with romantic ambience – and for the cannoli at Mike’s Pastries, where the line always extends down the block.
Boston boasts a sophisticated cultural scene as well, from theater and ballet (check out “The Nutcracker” during the holiday season) to museums like the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the site of a famous 1990 theft that remains unsolved. Live music enthusiasts can enjoy concerts at Symphony Hall or at intimate jazz bars. The Museum of Science and the New England Aquarium top the list of kid-friendly, educational activities.Collapse
Families in Boston can choose from private, public, magnet, or charter schools for K-12 education.
74 percent of school-age children in Boston – about 54,000 total – take advantage of the city’s diverse public school system, which includes a full-day pre-kindergarten program as well as resources for students with disabilities.
When it comes to higher education, it’s hard to beat Boston’s offerings. The city is home to thirty-five universities and colleges, including some of the world’s most prestigious, like Harvard and MIT, making it a destination for the most ambitious undergraduate and graduate students. Other highly ranked schools include Tufts, Emerson, Brandeis, Northeastern, and the Berklee College of Music. Many of the city’s events and resources cater to scholars, but all residents are enriched by the various lectures, archives, and exhibits that are open to the public.Collapse
There are a total of thirty medical institutions, hospitals, and specialty clinics in the area, such as the world-renowned Massachusetts General Hospital (a teaching hospital for Tufts and Harvard) and the Longwood campus, which includes the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Boston Children’s Hospital. It’s easy to find specialists and clinical trials in Boston, where a dense concentration of brain power – plus generous private and public funding – fuels cutting-edge biomedical research around the clock.Collapse
Boston is home to the oldest subway system
in the United States.
Locals call it “the T” and generally find it a clean and affordable way to avoid the city’s automobile traffic, which has increased greatly in recent years. The T, along with buses, ferries, and the commuter rail that extends to the outer suburbs, are all part of the MBTA system used by the city’s professionals each day. Boston is also fairly pedestrian and cyclist friendly, for the environmentally conscious, or those who would prefer not to shovel snow off their windshields in February. Rideshare services are always an option too. Boston remains one of the few American cities where it’s not necessary to drive.
The city is serviced by Logan International Airport in East Boston. The MBTA’s Silver Line stops at every terminal and will drop you off downtown.Collapse
Weather & ClimateExpand
Boston winters are notoriously long, cold, and icy, with occasional snowstorms called nor’easters.
But fall and springtime are beautiful, full of sightseeing opportunities and seasonal activities for families. In the fall, many Bostonians enjoy apple picking at local orchards, while taking in the breathtaking colors of the leaves and stopping for cider donuts. In spring and summer, picnics around the Boston Common – America’s oldest city park – are popular, as are strolls through the Public Garden and the Emerald Necklace, home to a variety of flora and fauna. Kayaking and canoeing along the Charles River are popular forms of recreation in warm weather too If you want to get out of the city for a weekend, you can visit the beaches of nearby Cape Cod or take a ferry to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard.Collapse
Jobs & IndustriesExpand
Unsurprisingly, many Bostonians work in healthcare and higher education. Other thriving industries in Boston include pharmaceuticals and life sciences, technology, and finance. The city is home to large, established companies – twelve in the Fortune 500, as of 2018 – as well as innovative startups. The tourism, publishing, fishing, and defense industries, along with the municipal government, also employ thousands of residents.Collapse
Discover other guides
Scroll through to discover more city guides