Before you pack your bags and move to this New England city, there are a few things you should know. While you may think it's all about lobster rolls and thick accents, Boston offers a lot more.
No matter which Boston neighborhood you end up moving to, these bits of info will help ease your transition to your new city.
1. The city is surrounded by small towns.
Boston is not surrounded by endless sprawl, but rather small towns and suburbs. Plenty of folks commute into the city from Boston Area towns like Waltham, Watertown, and Concord. If you're looking for a break from the city, these cute little towns are a short ride away via their commuter rail.
2. There are a lot of old colleges and universities nearby.
Boston and the surrounding areas are home to some prestigious higher education institutes. Therefore, the area is filled with college students studying at Boston University, Boston College, MIT, Harvard University, and more.
Side note: Harvard Square and the MIT campus are in Cambridge, not Boston.
3. Sports are a big deal.
Even if you're not a fan of professional sports, don't hate on the local teams. Oh, and make sure you see at least one baseball game at Fenway Park.
And please, please, please know who the home teams are. In case you don't know them already, here's who you should be rooting for:
- NFL: New England Patriots
- MLB: Boston Red Sox
- NBA: Boston Celtics
- NHL: Boston Bruins
One more thing about sports (seriously, they're a big deal): before you catch a train, know that game day will have an impact on crowds on the T.
4. The city is filled with so many pieces of history.
Boston was founded in 1630 and has since played a major roll in United States history. One of the best ways to explore some of the city's historic sights is to stroll along the 2.5 mile-long Freedom Trail. You'll walk past the Paul Revere House, Granary Burying Ground, and more. Just be prepared to share the path with lots of tourists.
5. Staying out late? Don't count on the T to get home.
The public transportation system in Boston is vast and connects most of the city as well as many surrounding areas. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates a subway system (more commonly referred to as the T), bus lines, commuter rails, and even ferries.
However, this isn't New York City, and subways lines stop running around 1 a.m., even on weekends. Don't count on the red line to get home after a late night.
6. Put on your walking shoes.
Bostonians know how to walk. Since the city is so small and pedestrian-friendly, it's easy to get around the area on foot. Whether you're window shopping the boutiques of Newbury Street or heading to the grocery store, don't be afraid to put on some sneakers and get your steps in.
7. There's a neighborhood for everyone.
Boston is filled with neighborhoods, and everyone can find a place to call home. Neighborhoods range from the college student filled Allston-Brighton to the hip Back Bay to the homey Jamaica Plain.
8. The city is old but becoming more modern every day.
While many people know Boston for its history, the city isn't stuck in the past. New construction continues to add modern buildings that mix in with brownstones and cobblestone streets. Also, the city is an innovation hub for areas such as biotech, medicine, and financial services.
9. You can find beautiful green space.
Tired of all those brick buildings? You're in luck. While Boston doesn't have a ton of green space relative to the number of residents, most Bostonians live within a 10-minute walk to a sizable park. Some of the most popular options are the Emerald Necklace, Boston Common (not Commons), and the adjacent Boston Public Garden.
10. "Beantown" is a thing of the past.
Locals find this nickname about as appealing as a bean cocktail, so few people refer to the city by this old-school moniker. There's no need to look for a nickname — just call it Boston.
11. You don't need to bring a car.
As we've said, Boston is walkable, and you can take public transportation throughout much of the city. Not only is carless life doable, but you might prefer it. Driving in the city is a pain due to the disorganized street layout. Parking is always stressful, and winter snow leads to temporary parking bans and the need to shovel out your car.
12. It's more culturally diverse than you may think.
If you think Boston has a lack of racial and cultural diversity, think again. The area's demographics continue to increase in diversity, especially in neighborhoods including Dorchester, Mission Hill, and Hyde Park.
13. Real estate prices are high compared to the rest of the US.
If you're coming from New York or San Francisco, you might not bat an eye at Boston's housing costs. But rental rates and home prices in Boston are expensive compared to cities like Dallas, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. The overall cost of living is also higher than in most of the United States.
14. Yes, winters are cold and snowy, but Boston also has sun.
Like many Northeastern cities, Boston winters often require parkas and snow boots. So, don't just pack a sweatshirt and think you'll be fine. Still, it's not all doom and gloom.
Boston summers can get hot and sunny, and pop-up thunderstorms happen at least a few times during the warmer months. Yes, people wear shorts and sandals here.
15. The borders of the City of Boston can be confusing.
Since the Boston area is compact, many areas flow seamlessly into each other. Brookline, Somerville, and Cambridge aren't within city limits. Rather, they're their own cities. Still, it's easy to walk or drive out of the City of Boston without realizing you did so.
16. There's a difference between the South End and South Boston.
While they might sound similar, these two neighborhoods are not the same. I repeat — South End and South Boston are two different areas.
South Boston, or "Southie," is a neighborhood with working-class roots and a strong Irish heritage. It's a big neighborhood and encompasses areas including Telegraph Hill and the Seaport District. The South End is much smaller than Southie. It's an artistic area with refurbished Victorian homes.
17. The library is more than just a place with books.
As the first public library in the US, the Boston Public Library first opened in 1848. The current building was built in 1895 and its architecture and style rivals that of Hogwarts Library. Even if you're not looking for a book or a place to study, it's worth visiting just to look around.
Ready to move to Boston?
With these tips, you'll be a step ahead when you make the move to Boston. After a few months of living there, you'll be able to offer your own insider knowledge to future Bostonians.