Consistently ranked among the top big cities in the country, Boston provides a little something for living. History buffs can follow the Freedom Trail, sports fans can catch a game at the world-famous Fenway Park, art lovers can soak up some culture at the Museum of Fine Art… And everyone can appreciate the thriving brewery scene with its elevated pub food.
With a population of around 675,000 residing in around 50 square miles, Boston is a densely-populated city where old-world charm meets modern conveniences. Hip coffee shops occupy historic buildings with gorgeous architecture, and Gen Z-ers with their AirPods stroll the same streets our Founding Fathers once did.
Are you thinking of making a move to Boston? You’ll find lots to love about living in Boston! And a few less-than-lovable quirks as well.
Here are the pros and cons of living in Boston.
Pros of Living in Boston
First, everything you’re sure to love about living in Boston.
1. Boston’s Killer Food Scene
Located directly on the Atlantic coast, Boston residents are treated to fresh-caught seafood. The clam chowder is perfect for a winter warm-up, and the lobster rolls are perfect year-round. Not in the mood for seafood? How about some Boston baked beans or Boston cream pie? You’ll never tire of Boston’s signature dishes. And let us not forget about the historic Quincy Market.
2. Exceptional Schools
You are probably well aware that Boston is home to the Ivy League Harvard and the world-renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (to say nothing of other prestigious universities like Boston College and Boston University).
But did you know that the city of Boston also has an impressive public education system for lower levels? The Boston public school district is 125 schools strong and boasts one of the most diverse student populations in the nation.
3. Excellent Walkability
Many of today’s young professionals are opting to walk to work to promote health and wellness and reduce their carbon footprint, and Boston makes it easy for you. The old school city layout and infrastructure help Boston to be among the most walkable cities in the country.
4. Ideal Summer and Fall Weather
Everyone knows about fall in New England. You can catch the stunning fall foliage on natural display at the Public Garden and Boston Commons. Less popular, but no less enjoyable, is the summer season with its generally pleasantly warm temps and a few hot days mixed in.
5. Easy Travel Throughout the Northeast
Boston is the perfect home base from which to catch all the best travel opportunities of the Northeast. Enjoy the Maine coast, hit the slopes in Vermont, or take in New York City with a short road trip.
6. Boston sports teams to cheer for
Boston is a sports city! With legendary professional franchises like the Celtics, Red Sox, Bruins, and New England Patriots (who play in nearby Foxboro), you’ll have year-round sports entertainment living in Boston. Not a sports fan? No problem. You can still enjoy the social aspect of going to a game. And you don’t have to like baseball to love a Fenway Frank.
Cons of Living in Boston
Ok, here are the things about living in Boston that you might not love…
7. Boston’s High Cost of Living
Living in a world-class city like Boston is expensive. In fact, the cost of living is 48% higher in Boston than the national average. Luckily, the city also offers high-paying job opportunities to help make your living expenses manageable.
8. Cold, Gray Winters in Boston
Let’s face it, the Northeast region has some cold winters with the potential for excessive snowfall. And Boston is no exception. But for many locals, the duration is the worst part. Winters can seem to stretch on far longer than the three months that are technically winter. If you’re okay with not seeing the sun for a few months, no problem! But if you need sunlight, Boston might be a tough sell for you.
9. Traffic Congestion in Boston
It’s a good thing Boston is so walkable because driving through Boston can be miserable. When it comes to traffic congestion, Boston is one of the worst cities in the country.
But there is more good news: Thanks to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), much of the downtown area can be conveniently accessed by public transportation: train, bus, trolley, or even water. It might take you longer than driving, but it’s an option if you don’t want to deal with driving and parking in the city.
10. Competitive Housing Market with High Housing Costs
Living in Boston means competing with lots of other renters to claim a good apartment or house. In addition to all the professionals and creatives living in the city, there are lots of students in need of off-campus housing. So with high demand and comparatively low supply, housing costs can be high. For a quick frame of reference, the average rent for a non-luxury two-bedroom currently tops $2,500. Your best bet for landing a good place is to work with a real estate agent. And make sure your finances are in order; many landlords expect first and last months’ rent in addition to the deposit.
So is Living in Boston Worth It?
Do all these living-in-Boston pros and cons have you wondering if the city is worth it? Well, it depends on you, your needs, and your goals.
If you want to live in a city full of history, education, culture, restaurants, sports events, and nightlife, and you’re willing and able to pay to make that happen, then it’s probably worth it. After all, any major city with all these amenities is going to cost you. And with exceptional public schools, impressive job opportunities, and the unique Boston lifestyle at your doorstep, a little extra cash might be a small price to pay for the experience of living in Boston.
But if you value sunshine, affordability, and easy driving conditions, living in Boston might not be for you.