Boston is one of America’s most welcoming cities. With the best quality of life in any US city and eight in the world ahead of ninth-placed San Francisco, anyone would easily love to call Boston home.
You can be sure: Boston earned its national and global ranking – for various reasons. The city hosts everything that could boost its citizens’ social and financial wealth, from a relatively affordable cost of living to relatively low local crime rates. Lastly, easy access to healthcare and public transportation, a good climate, and healthier air quality were some of the factors in the ranking surveys.
If you still doubt Boston’s reputation as one of the best places to live and work in the US, walk up to the average Boston resident and ask what they think about their city. The average Beantown resident would list even more perks this city affords them, including the fact that several top US universities call Boston home.
‘The T,’ a nickname for Boston’s public transportation system, is so successful that other cities would do well to follow its blueprint. Additionally, Boston hosts a vast section of America’s Colonial history. For instance, its harbor was the site of the historic tea party. There’s no need to doubt: if you’re renting and looking to buy property in the best neighborhood somewhere in the US, look no further than Boston, The Hub of the Universe.
This guide shows you the best Boston neighborhoods to include in your search, even if you’ve never lived in the city. You’ll also find useful statistics, trends, and data about the city and its neighborhood to help you make informed decisions about relocating to Boston.
Boston Real Estate Trends
Before we delve into the various Boston neighborhoods and their notable features, here’s an overview of Boston’s real estate market.
Boston real estate is in a growth spurt at the moment. Data from The Greater Boston Association of Realtors says there’s a 10 percent rise in value for single-family homes and 6 percent for condos. Meanwhile, rent in Boston averages $3,600 for a three-bedroom apartment. And as commercial activities thrive in places like Boston Harbor, residents have various ways to grow their investments over time.
Your Guide to the Best Neighborhoods in Boston
Factors that determine the best neighborhoods in Boston to invest in real estate, other businesses, and live in include cities with:
- median sale prices near or above the city’s average
- steady growth in home values
- sufficient demand
- rising rent prices
The potential value of a home or property depends on the neighborhood and the type of loan an investor can access. Even with the city’s high prices, there’s always a chance you can find a good deal or impressive long-term investment within the boundaries of Boston.
If you’re a young professional with a penchant for Boston’s skyline view, Eastie is the perfect choice to fulfill this dream, enjoy the small-town feel, and save some money.
East Boston is a fast-rising neighborhood with a great view of the city and the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll only need to get used to the noise from the busy airport if you’re a light sleeper.
Although, there are a few Latino bars where you can enjoy smooth Salsa and Reggaeton sounds with airplane sounds for background Bass.
East Boston has a breathtaking view, presenting the Boston skyline in magical detail. It’s close to Logan Airport, which makes it perfect if you love to explore.
Shops and restaurants here are decent, with the city hosting many great restaurants like the award-winning Santarpio’s Pizza. However, you might sometimes leave East Boston to enjoy other Boston perks unavailable in East Boston.
South Boston is the perfect Boston neighborhood for young, single working-class people and students craving fine dining and a waterfront neighborhood. It’s one of the neighborhoods bordering Downtown Boston.
Fondly called Southie by locals, this traditional city neighborhood provides easy access to the waterfront and has the smaller Seaport District neighborhood attached to it. The Fort Point Channel separates South Boston from Downtown Boston. At its finest, Southie is a locale with good public transit and a thriving community.
One of the top Boston neighborhoods, tradition, and loyalty mean everything here. You’ll find a solid devotion to everything, including its sports teams. Yes: loyalty, pride, and celebration are running themes in the local culture!
Drinking is rife in the neighborhood. But you’ll be surprised at how seriously residents take the St. Patrick’s Day Parade – they seize the day to transform their community as torrents of visitors descend on South Boston grounds from all over Boston.
While public transit in the area is desirable, you can take walks and improve your circulation. Families, nature lovers, and athletes in the neighborhood walk on South Boston’s multiple beaches as a favorite pastime.
Before we round off on Southie, one cool thing we like about Southie is the number of intercultural bars and restaurants here that ensure you can enjoy taste-bud-rousing menus at all times.
Rondo’s Sub shop is one of Boston’s pride, offering tasty giant steak and cheese sub you can savor while rolling with the locals at the Lincoln Tavern and Pub every Friday night. In a suburb with pride in drinking, margaritas flow with abandon on those days. Locals are happy with Loco Tequeria’s gluten-free menu, Capo’s Italian cuisine, and various other options worldwide.
Lastly, Southie’s dense population is growing as more ambitious folks like you choose to make this place home.
On the south side, while Boston has a dazzling waterfront, cuisine variety, strong community bond, and low crime rate (desirable qualities for any neighborhood), getting these on a platter in South Boston means affordable housing is scarce here.
The Boston University Medical campus is in South End. Professionals and their young families seeking a blend of tradition and innovation want to look no further than South Boston.
Ever heard of Assassin’s Creed, Fallout 4, Good Will Hunting, and The Town? One thing those movies have in common is Charlestown, Boston.
Besides the big-screen blockbusters, Charlestown is known for its historical importance. The famous Battle of Bunker Hill – one of the first of the American Revolutionary War – happened in this “ancient” Boston neighborhood in 1775.
A bearer of the finest moments in US history, Boston’s oldest neighborhood offers you the Bunker Hill Monument, Charlestown Navy Yard, St. Mary-St—Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, and USS Constitution. But you’ll also find great shops and restaurants in this lively area.
While I agree you may not always go to historic places all the time, you’ll probably become a regular at the city’s oldest bar – the Warren Tavern.
You might not need a car in Charlestown; your sneakers will complement the excellent public transit system. The Orange Line offers excellent access to The Hub – which Bostonians call Downtown – and other parts of the city.
For young professionals and young families who value peace and tranquility, Somerville is there for you to take a break from the Boston epicenter in Somerville.
This cool suburb with gorgeous brownstones is one of the best neighborhoods in Boston and the entire country, offering a boisterous charm and a rich history.
Being an ever-growing community, Somerville is densely populated. Located just north of Boston and Cambridge, it’s seen more people in recent years, and housing prices are way higher than ever. But its unique charm and suburban appeal remain some of its most prized selling points.
Besides movies at the Somerville Theatre, Somerville hosts several incredible tourist attractions, including Porchfest and the What the Fluff Festival. Porchfest is a roving music festival played on front porches, while ‘What the Fluff’ celebrates the marshmallow fluff invented by a neighborhood resident.
The suburb is known for appreciating culture, supporting artists, local commerce, thrifting, and great food. You’ll have happy times buying from the Davis Square Farmers’ Market in Somerville.
Leone’s Sub Shop, Victor’s Deli, and other old-time favorites are still going strong, and if you have kids, Chuckie Harris Park’s giant slide can help create timeless family memories.
The Museum of Bad Art in the basement of the Somerville Theatre is the signature of Somerville’s eerie charm. You’d always have options for fun and outings in Somerville.
When a decent transportation system, walkability factor, exciting parks, excellent schools, and a safe community are your most prized values, Somerville is undoubtedly your dream neighborhood.
Brighton & Allston
Do you desire the Bostonian lifestyle without the price tag? Then, the Brighton & Allston neighborhood is where you need to be as a student or professional on a tight budget. Brighton & Allston has three things going for it. It’s close to Downtown Boston, affordable, and hip.
Brighton & Allston is strategically nestled, so Boston College, Boston University, and Emmanuel College have easy access. That’s a win for students, but it’s also one of Boston’s safest enclaves. For context, your lost wallet will likely be returned to you (with a few bucks added in): so much for one of the most welcoming US cities!
Despite its safety and proximity to notable centers in the city, Brighton & Allston remains highly affordable. The Brighton Music Hall features talented bands that always serenade the 400+ in attendance. The Harvard Stadium has typical fans, but it’s more than a walking distance of Fenway Park’s Red Sox fanatics.
But if that’s still too much for you to handle, how about you try the Metropolitan Waterworks Museum? You’ll learn much about water and the first metro water system. If running tickles your fancy, the Charles River will cheer you on as you prepare for the Boston Marathon in Christian Herter Park.
Besides the fact that it’s home to the Boston University main campus, Bostonians love Allston food. First-class Korean restaurants and other lunch spots keep appetites alive all year, and their delicacies are second to none.
While Allston offers the vibe, Brighton sports the attractions. These twin neighborhoods combine to help students and young professionals stay cozy without robbing a bank.
Jamaica Plain is an excellent residential area if you want to buy a house for diversity and community. It is one of Boston’s more vibrant and best neighborhoods that longtime residents affectionately call “JP.”
Instead of national store chains, JP residents are committed to supporting local businesses. Another reason you can buy prime housing in this neighborhood is the reliance on fair-trade commerce practices, renewable energy, and ethical agriculture. Houses here reflect a marriage of Colonial and Georgian architecture, with just a stroke of modernity in the spirit of the times.
But folks don’t just love Jamaica Plains’ houses; the labyrinth of green spaces called the Emerald Necklace Conservancy brings a glow to their hearts and pride that’s not found elsewhere.
Residents can enjoy Olmsted’s legacy in any way – biking, hiking, and lying to soak in Boston’s healing afternoon sunshine.
The green spaces connect to the rest of Boston, so if you’d rather walk or cycle, use the conservancy to avoid busy roads.
How would you like to live within a stone’s throw of Harvard and MIT? Cambridge is the perfect choice if you’re given to academics and prefer a short commute to either school.
Hosting two globally-respected universities has earned Cambridge the title “Intellectual Capital of the World.” Despite having a small-town feel, it still offers the benefits of big-city living, and it’s likely the best neighborhood for academic pursuits.
Some of America’s finest academic minds live in Cambridge, helping it to maintain a progressive, liberal, and civic-minded reputation. Around 30 percent of the neighborhood’s diverse population was born outside the US.
Strict city limits promote cycling, walking, mass transit, and clean energy. However, Cambridge’s road network is connected to surrounding neighborhoods, so that you can expect heavy traffic during rush hour. You’ll do well to find a way to work on your mobile device while commuting at this time.
More than 600 bars, cafes, and restaurants line the Cambridge cityscape. You can try a new one every day for nearly two years! Oleana’s Eastern Mediterranean home-made desserts, Gustazo’s Cuban Kitchen and Bar’s cocktail menu, and Mamaleh’s Delicatessen’s breakfast menu are local favorites that will whet your appetite all year.
It’s a no-brainer to see how this can be the best neighborhood for schooling at all levels. Exploring the outdoors is also safe – the area has 16 public parks and open spaces.
Alternatively, residents gather at night in North Point Park for a vivid view of Boston. Located on the magnificent Charles River, residents can enjoy boating and rowing sprees. Other fun events include the Head of the Charles Rowing Competition and the Dragon Boat Festival.
Cambridge is serene and lively at once, but you’ll need deep pockets to live in this city that offers the best of both worlds.
Beacon Hill & West End
As a rising professional, you’ll enjoy living a few streets away from Downtown. Beacon Hill is one of Boston’s original neighborhoods, replete with cobblestone streets, gaslit streets, and federal-style row houses – a true historic beauty. Like Back Bay, it is a protected historic district in Boston.
Beacon Hill alone could have made the neighborhood one of the city and state’s most expensive. However, the Urban Renewal of the 1950s and 1960s made West End a “beneficiary” making housing in the overall neighborhood more affordable and adaptable to your budget.
This is one of the centrally located Boston neighborhoods. As part of the Black Freedom Trail, the Museum of African American History belongs in Beacon Hill. What else would you find? The Boston City Hall, Charles Hayden Planetarium, Hatch Memorial Shell, and Museum of Science are examples of galleries, museums, and other attractions generously dotting the narrow streets of Boston’s landscape.
Bars, cinemas, and theaters comprise the sparse nightlife and entertainment scene, but you can count on being home earlier than you expect. In Boston, there’s little playing around after 2.00 am. Studying and working is what people here appear to enjoy more.
Get your trainers ready to visit the Sports Museum or another sports bar with your entire family. For more baseball fun, Lederman Park is the place to be.
Boston Common, an urban park that is both lush and historic, sits on the edge of Beacon Hill. It held British troops during the American Revolution. Other parks, Charles River, and greenery make the Boston street view an impressive one.
Beacon Hill is home to some of the city’s high-end restaurants, so you’ll enjoy the food. They’re pricey, but the experience is priceless – think red lobster and a pint of Sam’s!
Fenway & Kenmore
Want to experience Downtown without being in Downtown Boston? Fenway & Kenmore is as close as it gets. Students, young professionals, and even Red Sox fans can enjoy these fine neighborhoods in Boston and make memories they won’t find elsewhere.
Because of the Red Sox, Fenway Park, and the few bars and coffee shops around, sports defined Fenway & Kenmore. But things have changed over the last few years, and the city has grown in culture and entertainment.
It hosts historic buildings, but there are luxury buildings too. That means there’s a variety of houses to suit any budget. Having many baseball fans and college students around makes great food cheap and easy to find in Fenway & Kenmore.
The Boston Latin School is one of Massachusetts’ top schools. If you plan to raise kids in Fenway & Kenmore, you might want to check it out.
You’ll probably catch the Sunday stroll bug, which is good. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Mary Baker Eddy Library, Massachusetts Historical Societal, and Museum of Fine Arts are some of the cultural displays. Without trying too hard, you’ll find a few more on your own.
A few more attractions: Fenway is where you’ll find the famous Boylston Street, the end of which lies the finish line of the Boston Marathon right in front of the Boston Public Library.
The Back Bay Fens features many ponds, lakes, and idyllic rose gardens that let you write unique Valentine’s Day stories. Meanwhile, Fenway Park and Riverway I Park are two of the finest parks you’ll find hard to ignore here.
Ah! There’s plenty of noise from Fenway as fans roar away on game night. Hopefully, baseball is your thing.
Fenway & Kenmore is worth calling home though it could be more affordable. Of course, when you have academics, history, sports (and sports bars), modern pastry, seafood, and insane amounts of beer all stuffed in one roll, it’ll likely not come cheap. You can count on this: your experience of Fenway & Kenmore is never subsidized.
What You Should Know Before Moving to Boston
You may have one or a few favorite neighborhoods in the Shining City Upon a Hill. Here are a few things to note before finally selecting a Boston neighborhood to live in.
Moving to Boston can blindside you in some ways, and otherwise, it’s the beginning of the experience of a lifetime in the best neighborhood money can buy. You want to know a few things before picking a neighborhood to pitch your tent.
On a general note, Boston is an expensive city. However, you’re likely to find things that fit into your budget. You only need to know that living in Boston means you may not need a car – the city transport system is that reliable. That will help to control your monthly spending.
When winter hits, you’ll probably need to plan to have more Dunkins around. The night ends early in Boston compared to elsewhere, perhaps because of the high student community. But you’ll always have activities, bars, theaters, and museums to explore.
Despite not being as affordable and having a high student population, Boston is soothing enough for anyone to consider moving there. It’s one of America’s most important cities, and its great minds continue to add to its rich history, whether in academics or sports.
If you live in one of America’s most significant cities, you’ll feel the rush of being in an ongoing history book. Who knows? If you move to Boston, you may earn your page in one of the world’s top knowledge hubs.
We understand: choosing the best neighborhood to stay in the Boston area can be challenging because good choices are abundant. Each one has its downsides, but it’s essential you stay in a neighborhood that enhances your academic, social, and professional well-being.
Boston offers housing that’s a warm blend of the past and the present, even adding a glimpse of the future appealingly. Do you need professional guidance on renting or buying a home in Boston? Look no further than Homes by Ardor, a leading real estate company with services across Boston. We’ll help you buy a house for the best possible price in one of the best neighborhoods in Boston. Homes by Ardor is only one phone call away. Call us today or contact us here.
What Is the Real Estate Market Forecast for Boston in 2023
Zillow estimates the average home value in Boston-Cambridge-Newton area stands at $606,309 – a sharp rise of 5.4% in just a year.
How Do I Choose a Neighborhood Boston?
First, think about your lifestyle and what type of community you want to live in. Do you want hustle and bustle or a quieter atmosphere? Next, consider the accessibility to public transportation and your daily commute. What’s your budget? This will play a significant role in determining where you can afford to live. Lastly, explore the area and get a feel for the local scene to see if it aligns with your values and interests. With these factors in mind, you can confidently choose the right Boston neighborhood for your needs.
Which Part of Boston Is Most Expensive to Live
Seaport is Boston’s priciest residential area, with the average home fetching a cool $2.07 Million. Looking for deluxe city living? Look no further than Boston’s chic Seaport district, perfect for those seeking an upscale lifestyle.
In her 25-year career, Steph Wilkinson has been involved in the acquisition, marketing and sales of over $3 Billion dollars of residential real estate. A number of years ago, Steph transitioned into Brokerage Leadership for National real estate brands and tech start-ups. She has served as a Business Strategist for real estate agents and brokerages alike and is also a real estate coach and trainer. In her new role with the Iconic Team, Steph will be responsible for the growth of the team and will be working with all of our agents to increase their productivity and bottom line.
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