As a person who lives in the Western world, the odds that you have heard of Cambridge are high. Nevertheless, it may surprise you to discover that there are two cities called Cambridge. While one is a famous British city, home to the prestigious Cambridge University, the other – the subject of today’s article – is a serene town in Massachusetts.
Cambridge, MA, is a historical city known for its vibrant culture, never-ending hustle-and-bustle, and scenic sights. The city is a renowned tourist destination and is arguably the most academic city in the US. Aside from the solid academic presence and favorable climate, many other factors make the city so endearing.
In this article, we shall x-ray the Cambridge life by discussing its various neighborhoods, lifestyle choices, and housing options available in the city of Cambridge. Enjoy!
The City of Cambridge: An Introduction
Nestled along the famous Charles River, the city of Cambridge is a historian’s wonder. With over 110,000 people, it is home to various internationally recognized institutions and locations.
The city is a few kilometers away from the neighboring city of Boston, which sits just across the river, thus making it a part of the greater Boston area. The two cities’ proximity makes it easy for tourists who wish to explore Cambridge and Boston.
Cambridge also houses two of the world’s most prestigious universities, namely Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology – fondly called MIT. Thanks to these prestigious universities, their diverse population, and the thriving art scene, the town of Cambridge in Massachusetts offers an all-in-one living experience.
It is also home to Lesley University, Hult International Business School, and Radcliffe College, which became a part of Harvard University in 1999, and a few public schools.
Aside from being a well-known academic town, it is the 4th most populous city in Massachusetts and the ninth most populous in New England. It is also home to landmarks such as the Longfellow House and the Mount Auburn Cemetery. Nearby cities include Somerville, Boston, Arlington, etc.
Though many believe Cambridge County is separate, it is not. Instead, Cambridge is part of Middlesex County. Also worthy of note is that George Washington lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for nine months, from where he helped drive the British forces out of Boston, and he would remain in the city until April of 1776.
Living in Cambridge
There is a widespread belief that Cambridge is the city for the academicians – a place where nerds and bookworms go to duel intellectually. While that may be true due to the presence of private schools and universities such as Harvard University and MIT, there is more to Cambridge than being a meeting point for scholars.
Cambridge is fun in every sense. Since it is a breeding ground of talent and a world of education, it is unsurprising that the city has over ten neighborhoods – all with distinct characteristics, buildings, amenities, and experiences.
Therefore, before you move to Cambridge, MA, Homes by Ardor urges you to evaluate these neighborhoods to find which suits you best critically. Nevertheless, be you a student, a working professional, or a young person looking to start a family, you will find a community in Cambridge.
Particularly, lovers of the water will enjoy the city due to its proximity to the Charles River and Boston Harbor and the continuous presence of tourists. Below are a few of the popular neighborhoods in the city, from mid-Cambridge to East Cambridge.
Harvard Square can be regarded as the best-known neighborhood in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and is commonly referred to as Mid Cambridge or the heart of Cambridge.
It is located at the intersection of three busy streets: Massachusetts Avenue, Brattle Street (also called Tory Row), and John F. Kennedy Street, forming a triangular plaza. Its popularity may be attributed to its strategic location near Harvard College.
Nearby is the Cambridge Common, a park and playing area. It is common to spot college students and families around, as Harvard Square is a popular hangout spot. The high presence of restaurants and bars in this neighborhood also contributes to this.
Harvard Square has numerous monuments and landmarks, some dating back to the Revolutionary War. Some notable landmarks include the Harvard Yard and the Harvard Museum of Natural History.
One of the quieter and smaller neighborhoods in Cambridge, Cambridgeport is a riverside neighborhood on the city’s northwest side—Massachusetts Avenue and the Grand Junction Railroad border it.
Cambridgeport is a predominantly residential neighborhood studded with tree-lined streets and olden-style homes. Its proximity to the Charles River and the city of Boston makes it a standard intercity route.
From its bubbling nightlife to its cultural diversity and variety, Central Square is what the Gen-Z call ‘the bomb.’ If you love fun and outings, consider the neighborhood of Central Square. Situated at the junction of Massachusetts Avenue, Prospect Street, and Western Avenue, it’s the original home of famous Hollywood actor Ben Affleck.
A part of the neighborhood is listed as a National Historic Site and includes several notable landmarks, such as the Cambridge Public Library. Central Square has several ethnic restaurants, shops, and bars that the city’s population appreciates well.
Fans of the Kardashians are probably screaming at the name of this neighborhood for apparent reasons. The area is one of the newer ones in the city and is rapidly growing to become one of the most popular, thanks to the heavy presence of research institutions, tech companies, and budding startups.
The square is often referred to as the most innovative square mile in the world due to the area’s predominance of businesses and startups. Safe to say, it is the Silicon Valley of Cambridge. It is located at the intersection of Main Street and Broadway, northwest of the Charles River.
Away from its thriving business scene and ethnic restaurants, Kendall Square hosts a weekly Farmers Market every Thursday of the summer months. This activity attracts people from all over the city and surrounding towns.
This neighborhood is another predominantly residential area filled with family homes and apartments. It is the ideal choice for young professionals and families who are looking for quiet living spaces. The tranquil streets and lanes provide a great communal area for residents and are one of the reasons why it is a desirable residential place.
Thus, if you want to move away from the chaos and bustle of the city, a neighborhood like this is a desirable option. Other notable neighborhoods in town include Inman Square in mid-Cambridge and Porter Square, among others.
Housing in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Variety, they say, is the spice of life. Hence, it is no surprise that Cambridge has various housing options for would-be city residents. The list is endless, from sky-high luxury apartment buildings to 19th-century homes to student condominiums.
According to the latest Zillow housing study conducted in March 2023, the average home value in Cambridge is $908,129, while the median rent in Cambridge is $3,571 From the above statistics, it is clear that the median housing price in Cambridge is higher than the average in Massachusetts.
The cost of living is also higher. Nevertheless, the beauty of the city and its unique opportunities make it worthwhile. Below are some of the most common housing options for the Cambridge Highlands, Middlesex County, and Massachusetts residents.
This housing option is perfect for students who wish to explore the city while being a part of the university community. Though it is significantly costlier than the average student housing, it is more upscale and offers a great living experience.
Do not think apartments are reserved only for college students and university youngsters. They are great for young professionals who have yet to be ready to purchase properties. Apartments range from small studios to expansive multi-room suites. Prices vary but usually range anywhere from $2000 to $5000.
Popularized by movie stars and celebrities, condominiums buildings are very present in Cambridge. They are similar to apartments, with the main distinction being that condos are owned and not rented.
It is a perfect option for those ready to purchase properties but who need help to foot the responsibility of maintaining an entire home. Other standard housing options include single and multi-family homes.
Tips for Finding Housing in Cambridge
House-hunting is not easy in any city; talk more of a city as vibrant as Cambridge. With limited space and a teeming population of two or more races, residential property hunting in the city is a job. Nevertheless, some tips make the process easier by the day:
Set a Budget
Before you begin any activity involving spending money, making a budget that regulates your spending is crucial. This fact also applies to residential property hunting. Setting a budget that limits your choices to options you can afford is necessary.
Cambridge, MA’s population is rising, resulting in a steady increase in home prices. Thus, if you go into the market without a budget, you will likely settle for a property outside your spending capability.
Consider Your Lifestyle
Are you an indoors person, or do you love the outdoors? Do you prefer the chaos of an urban center, or do you thrive better in the country? All these are crucial questions you must answer before settling for any housing option in the city.
Your lifestyle plays a significant role in determining the kind of property best for you. Say you are a fan of the water, a home near the river will be best for you.
Take Your Commute into Consideration
In a city as busy as Cambridge, MA, USA, you must live near your workplace to allow an easy commute. Traffic can be a problem; trust me, you want to avoid getting stuck on a vital workday. Thus, the safest option is to find a home close to your place of work.
Hire a Trustworthy Real Estate Agent
As a layman, many terms and concepts in the real estate industry can go over your head quickly. However, with the aid of a real estate agent, the process (especially the tedious paperwork) is made more accessible and swifter. With the assistance of the renowned experts at Homes by Ardor, your house hunting is easy and swift.
The Cambridge Lifestyle
Life in Cambridge is terrific – from the food to the art scene to the racial diversity. Concerning food, there is a vibrant food scene in the city fostered by the rampant presence of cafes, restaurants, and food trucks.
From Indian to regular American to Mexican, the food options are endless. A Yelp study revealed that 1,800 restaurants operate in the city; thus, there is always a new place to visit daily. Seafood is also readily available, thanks to the city’s proximity to the Charles River. With the help of the expert opinion from Homes by Ardor consultation, you can find the best options.
Culturally, Cambridge edges out its neighboring cities due to its abundance of cultural events. From art exhibits to folk festivals to music concerts, there’s always a cultural event to attend.
The highlight of the summer that attracts guests from other towns (north or west) is the annual Cambridge Arts River Festival which features various dance performances,
A common sight in Cambridge is the talented street musicians who serenade passers-by with beautiful music.
Transportation in Massachusetts
Transportation in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is like every other city. Whether you are interested in intra-city or intercity commutes, many options exist.
The city’s primary transportation medium is the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). This public transportation system manages a network of buses and trains throughout the city and neighboring cities.
If you are enamored by train travel, then the Red Line is your best bet. It is one of the busiest lines in the Massachusetts Bay Company, connecting Boston to the heart of Cambridge.
In search of the surest way to get to Harvard Square and grab a quick cup of coffee or watch a play? Don’t worry; hop onto the Red Line, which will take you to your destination hitch-free (except if you are unlucky to board on maintenance day).
Bus travel is also a viable public transportation, especially if you do not enjoy underground travel. The robust bus system can take you to any corner of the city council. Bikes are also common in Cambridge, thanks to the numerous bike lanes and thriving bike-sharing programs.
If you want to commute in a fun way, you can take advantage of such programs, rent a bike or scooter, and enjoy a therapeutic ride to your destination.
With over a million passenger trips recorded every year in the city, it is evident that the public transportation system in Cambridge is entirely reliable. With the introduction of new technology, commuting in the city is getting even better, so do hop on and enjoy the ride.
Cambridge is a great place to live if you’re looking for convenience, culture, and an abundance of amenities. From the beaches of the Charles River to modern apartments that boast cutting-edge appliances, there’s something here for everyone. The unique neighborhoods let you choose the perfect feel while affording you access to educational opportunities, shopping, nightlife, and more. Whether you’re relocating or just passing through, one thing is clear— life in Cambridge is like no other in Massachusetts or beyond. It’s truly the city where dreams are made with historic charm and modern conveniences that make it the ideal place to call home. Don’t let any preconceived notions stand in your way; if you’re considering a move, take some time out of your day to dream about what life in Cambridge could be like!
If you are keen to move to Cambridge for a fresh start, you will need all the help you can get. Thankfully, Homes by Ardor is a reputable real estate agency that is ready to assist you every step of the way. Homes by Ardor bridges the gap between you and your dream home – from providing financial consultations to handling the required paperwork. Contact us today to get started.
Where Is Cambridge, Massachusetts?
Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a famous city in New England, specifically Massachusetts. It is home to major institutions, landmarks, and parks such as Harvard University, Alewife Brook Reservation, Fresh Pond Reservation, etc.
What County Is Cambridge, MA, in?
Cambridge is located in Middlesex County of Massachusetts.
Are Boston and Cambridge the Same City?
No, they are not. Though they are in the same state, they are two different cities.
Kris Reid is the CEO of Ardor SEO, a company that helps real estate professionals get more leads and customers to predictably grow their business.
Over the years, Kris acquired extensive knowledge of SEO and its practical applications in various industries, with the main focus on real estate.
In 2021 Ardor launched the Icons of Real Estate Podcast to share proven strategies from the top producing icon agents with the real estate community.
After obtaining the real estate license in 2022, Kris joined eXp Realty and launched Homes by Ardor, the platform that was built to be the fastest way to buy or sell a house. Homes by Ardor also provides leads for its partner companies and realtors.
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