ITT Tell me about living in Boston

It’s official, my husband accepted a kick ass job offer this morning and Boston’s the destination.

So tell me what you love about living in Boston–and yes, you can tell me what you hate too.

Neighborhood recommendations are good, although we are pretty sure we’d rather live IN Boston (don’t need to worry about schools, DO need to avoid million dollar houses).

It’ll be a while before I get out there given the housing market (we won’t carry two mortgages), but I’d love to hear what those of you who live there think about your town.

You’re gonna have that million-dollar house problem inside Boston too. Well not literally–you can find things less than a million dollars, of course–but you don’t think condos inside Boston are cheaper than condos outside Boston, do you? But they are smaller, for the same money.

If you want to live in Boston proper, I like the South End the best. It’s kind of like the Tribeca of Boston. Back Bay is nice too but I prefer the diversity of the South End. If you mean anywhere in Boston, not just right in town, then you have a lot more options and price differentials for housing (although nothing is cheap). Brookline is also nice, esp. Brookline Village and the Washington Square area. Parts of South Boston are also really cool–the Fort Point Channel area has some beautiful lofts. It’s an area that has been greatly gentrified in the past 10 years, so it’s probably going to increase even more in value. Parts of East Boston (Admirals Hill, for instance) area beautiful but you’d have to deal with the Tobin Bridge. Charlestown is another fun interesting area but the T service is not so hot out there.

If you plan to take the T a lot, avoid living on the B on the Green Line. You will slowly grow to hate being on that train.

Where is your hubby’s job? That will dictate a lot. Is he planning on driving to work?

Technically he’ll be located at Seaport. Supposedly the company will be moving to south station (?).

I do know that atm driving is about the only way to get to the current location (which has been a source of pain for the rest of the employees and a consideration to why they are moving.

REALLY appreciate all replies, we are currently in the Kansas City metro area and while both of us have done a fair amount of business IN Boston, that’s not the same thing as living there.

South Station is a major hub for the subway and the commuter rail. That opens up a lot of terrain further away from the heart of the city.

I’d definitely take a look at Roslindale, which is a lovely community with the Commuter Rail close by, a revitalized town center, and close to the Arnold Arboretum if you want to get into nature in the middle of the city.

Winter can suck if you don’t get out there and enjoy it. Do you ski or want to learn?

This is true. Heck, even Providence RI would be a possibility, its only an hour away from South Station by commuter rail and the housing is generally cheaper.

Are you familiar with the MBTA? Their website is here: That might help you get an idea of what commuting times might be like.

I’m a little out of touch with the neighborhoods in and around Boston proper having lived in the suburbs for more than 10 years now but if I or my wife were working near South Station and schools were not an issue I would also look at the Quincy area, and Milton.

Say Telemark, any particular type of skiing you would recommend? :smiley:

As far as what I love/what I hate: The dysfunctional politics at the state level drive me crazy but its no worse than a lot of places. I only observe Boston politics from a distance but things generally seem to get done, eventually.

The entire area seemed very insular to me when I moved here from New York 20 ( :eek: ) years ago. There seemed to be a real attitude of “just because something works somewhere else doesn’t mean it’ll work HERE” (Boston, Mass, or New England in general). Thankfully that seems to be slowly melting away, possibly under the weight of the huge numbers of people from around the country and around the world that move here every year.

There is a lot of diversity in Boston and the area which is nice. You can meet people from all over. The small group of people I work with has one person born in Cuba, one from Brazil, one from South America (Guyana, I think), one from Vietnam, one from Iran, two from China and one from Russia as well as several plain ole Americans. My son’s school has a lot of parents from India and China, the town I live in apparently had a fair proportion of Finns as settlers.

One consequence of this is there are good ethnic restaurants pretty much everywhere in and around Boston.

There is also of course a lot of historical and cultural stuff. In and around Boston you have a lot of the Revoulutionary War sites. The Boston Harbor Islands are beautiful and easy to get to and many of them have historical forts and whatnot on them. Then of course there are the museums like the MFA, the Gardner and the Museum of Science (which I think isn’t as good as it used to be). Further out you have places like Concord MA which also has Revolutionary War sites as well as places dealing with the lives of Thoreau, Emerson, and Louisa May Alcott.
Within a couple of hours drive you have Cape Cod to the South (overrated from Memorial Day to Labor Day IMHO). To the North you have Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont (I love coastal Maine). The White Mountain area of New Hampshire also never disappoints me. If you do ski or decide to learn there are many places to go, that would probably warrant a thread of its own.

I’m a grad student at BU and we live in Waltham. It’s about a forty minute commute in, and I think it’s well worth it. For 900 a month, including heat and hot water, we have a huge one bed room, a parking space, a full size kitchen and a closet that I think may be bigger than my brother’s apartment in the city. Granted my T pass runs about 150 a month, but when you think about it, you sure as hell couldn’t get this apartment walking distance from BU for 1050. The Waltham line goes into North Station, so that might not be the best option, but consider that lines that go into South Station. And there is plenty of culture in the suburbs, as well.

Oh yeah, I love it here. This is where I grew up. I tried to leave it, but it didn’t work.

I can’t imagine any housing in Kansas would translate into something similar in Boston. $300,000 houses don’t exist really although you might be able to buy a nice 1 bedroom condo in the general Boston proper area for that if you try very hard. Starter homes in semi-decent although not great nearby suburbs might start at 400K but generally more. Truly decent places may start at 500K although that might take some effort and serious compromises on schools, house size, and location.

It can be done because many people do it although I haven’t quite figured out how. If you are swimming in cash and just mean that $750K would be fine but not $1 million then you could do just fine.

The Back Bay is where I would probably pick for the shear Boston experience and tony Newbury street. Allston-Brighton is focused among students but it is very diverse and has a lot to offer even for older people for less money than other places. The public schools tend to be pretty bad there however. Brookline is a suburb surrounded by Boston proper and is very exclusive. Newton is a suburb that abuts the Boston-Brighton area and is very nice. Both Brookline and Newton are very expensive however and the selection of sub million dollar homes is going to be rather limited but the schools are excellent.

East Boston overlooks Boston harbor to the city skyline and has easy access through the T- line but we are talking serious diversity there and not what most people would consider livable with kids, The schools are terrible by any measure.

Renting won’t be as bad as buying but you indicate that you have kids so that would mean at least a two bedroom. A nice one can be found with compromises for about $1500 a month in lesser areas and $2000 a month for some pretty good ones.

I interpreted the OP to mean she DIDN’T have kids. Maybe she’ll come back and clarify.

I guess you are right on a re-read.

We are in the enviable position of being w/o kids, so no need to worry about schools except of course when we go to sell.

And yes, we know our mortgage payment will probably triple and may well quadruple. We have a very nice situation in the mid-west with a century-old house that’s way too big for the two of us and the three kitties, and a mortgage that makes our friends and family back East cry with envy

We’ll be downsizing massively and that’s fine too. I feel a little stupid living in a house this size with just us. We end up “living” in about 750 square feet of our house, and think we could be really comfortable in 1000 square feet (assuming it’s divided in ways that make sense for us).

We also plan to ditch his car and keep mine, although mostly NOT driving it. What’s car insurance like in MA? That’s one area we didn’t thoroughly check out when deciding between Boston and Seattle.

Again, these responses are so helpful. He’ll be there by the end of the month. I’ll be there when I both sell this house and get a job.

I never thought car insurance was that high, at least compared to any housing differential. Car insurance is heavily regulated in MA. We pay about $1300 a year for a BMW and an SUV driven about 20,000 a year each. That never struck me as very high and we did live in the Allston-Brighton area of the city itself when we first got married. YMMV but I don’t believe that is the same killer that other things are even if it is somewhat higher than Kansas. The city itself has its own auto perils but at least we don’t have to worry much about our cars getting sucked up in a tornado and landing 5 miles away every other month or so. :slight_smile:

I pay 2000 a year for car insurance and I drive a 5 year old Dodge Neon. That was the only thing that was cheaper in California. And I’ve never had a traffic violation.