Areas to live in Boston/Cambrige

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 02, 2009 9:35 PM GMT
    Hey guys,

    I'm moving to the Boston/Cambridge area next spring and wanted to see if anyone has suggestions for reasonably priced neighborhoods to live in. I'm currently leaning toward toward living in Cambridge because of the convenience.
  • Devon_Fury

    Posts: 69

    Aug 03, 2009 2:39 AM GMT
    I just made the move from a well to do Chicago Suburb. Boston has a lot of neighborhoods- so what are you looking for in the hood and what kind of price range are you looking at? Be aware that Beantown is the second most expensive city this side of the Rockies.
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    Aug 03, 2009 3:02 AM GMT

    Rents in and around Boston have remained stubbornly high. That said, I think there is much to be gained by paying a premium and perhaps sacrificing size for being near things that interest you. Where will you be working or studying? That could help narrow things down a bit.
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    Aug 03, 2009 3:12 AM GMT
    I live in Cambridge. Certain areas are better than others but they are really putting a lot of money in new apartments/condo's in the East Cambridge area.
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    Aug 03, 2009 3:40 AM GMT
    I'll be at Harvard, so Cambridge makes the most sense. Apartments and studios near campus seem to be pretty damn expensive though. It'd be nice to walk to campus, but it's not mandatory. I don't mind having a smaller place if it means I'm close to restaurants, shops, theaters, etc. Also, commuting in by subway is fine, but I don't want to spend more than 30 min each way. I can't really spend more than 1200/mo, and would prefer to spend less than that.

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    Aug 03, 2009 5:43 AM GMT
    If you're willing to take a roommate, I think you can easily find a place where your share of the rent will be less than $1200.

    I'm moving out of a pretty nice 3BR/2BA right now, in Cambridgeport / Central Sq, and the total here is around $3200 I think. The 2BR/1BA I was in before this was $1425 (but the two rooms were tiny).

    If you have a bicycle you can get around most of Cambridge in no time, and can probably find pretty affordable stuff around Central Sq. I have one friend who rides his bike year-round, but even if you don't do that, Central Sq is only 1 stop away on the T from Harvard Sq, or you can ride the #1 bus up Mass Ave.

    Harvard Sq is more expensive and more touristy than Central Sq. Porter Sq and Davis Sq are nice enough too, and quiter than Harvard Sq, but then you're getting even further away from Boston itself. Although, honestly, I rarely go into Boston to just "hang out" - you'll find everything you need on this side of the river (restaurants, theaters, etc).
  • captproton

    Posts: 316

    Aug 03, 2009 9:05 AM GMT
    Depends on what you require. If urban living is what you want, you can probably find something close to Harvard, provided you are a Rockefeller or a Kennedy. The suggestions here seem right on the money. No pun intended.

    Keep in mind, though, that Boston has an extremely convenient transit system that links the suburbs by rail. Yeah, it means taking a train, but the northbound trains run through some very nice and cheaper areas. And they run until midnight.

    Swampscott and Salem aren't far. Maybe 20 minutes from Boston. You connect at North Station and from there you can get to the Red Line to Harvard very easily. The subway system is color-coded and among the easiest in the world to navigate.

    When I was at Harvard, I lived on campus. What I know about Cambridge and Boston, even now, is that it is VERY expensive, unless you share with roommates. I still visit the area, especially the North Shore where my mom lives.

    Somerville (pronounced "summerville") is next to Cambridge and is a little more affordable.

    If you have a car, parking in and around Cambridge, especially Harvard Square, is a nightmare. And the frustration doubles in winter because they don't get to the sidestreets for days. If you want to have a car, then the burbs would be better because you can take the train and get where you need to go without any parking hassles. Parking in Boston is also problematic and expensive.
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    Aug 04, 2009 2:18 AM GMT
    Thanks for the replies y'all. I'm stoked about moving to Beantown.
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    Aug 04, 2009 2:52 AM GMT
    captproton saidDepends on what you require. If urban living is what you want, you can probably find something close to Harvard, provided you are a Rockefeller or a Kennedy.

    Living in Boston is going to cost you but it will be well worth it. One suburb is pretty much like the next, but urban living in the Boston mode is unique. It's one of the things you'll most treasure about your student experience. Boston is a beautiful city incredibly rich in cultural resources, much of which are freely available to those on student budgets.
    In law school I had an apartment on the north slope of Beacon Hill. It was small and expensive but the neighborhood was among the city's most charming and the location was central.
  • stevarino7

    Posts: 149

    Aug 04, 2009 2:59 AM GMT
    If you are looking to be close to Harvard, but want some thing a little bit cheaper, I would say go to Somerville. Davis Square is a great spot and only a few T stops away from Harvard. The only negative to this is you are outside of Boston, so if you choose to go into Boston it is a little bit harder to get home at night (a more expensive taxi ride). But that would be the case if you were to live in Cambridge, as opposed to Boston.

    If you want to live near Harvard but be on the Boston side, I would look around comm ave/north beacon street area, so you could walk or bike to Harvard as opposed to taking the T. From the Boston side, to catch the red line you have to go to Park Street. So if you live some where away from the red line, I find it a pain to go all the way into the middle of the city to get to the red line just to get back out towards the Cambridge/Somerville area through the red line (I was in the Fenway).
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    Aug 04, 2009 3:21 AM GMT
    I use the MBTA every day to go to work, and go through Harvard Square all the time. I live in Arlington, which is just west of Cambridge (Somerville is north), and it's actually pretty easy here. There's a bus to Harvard Square every 10-15 minutes, and I'm walkable to the Red Line, which goes through Harvard. I used to live in Cambridge, but the rent goes down (and quality goes up for the same price) if you look at Arlington. You can walk to the Alewife stop on the Red line from East Arlington, and then it's only 10 minutes on the train.

    Somerville is good too, but there aren't many direct connections. You have to walk or bus it. I like it here as I have options. Also, I ride my bike on the bike path to the train, so it's really nice.
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    Aug 14, 2009 7:38 PM GMT
    There is also Chelsea and East Boston which have some great areas and affordable rents.
  • jrs1

    Posts: 4388

    Aug 14, 2009 8:11 PM GMT

    I'm in the process of moving to Boston's Harbor. I can't wait to get a place and begin to settle into the atmosphere of the old Bean myself. good luck to you!
  • Zia1912

    Posts: 4

    Aug 14, 2009 8:19 PM GMT
    I lived in Somerville for a year and thought it was fine. Davis or Porter Square are a quick ride on the T to Harvard. It's also not that long of a walk when the weather is pleasant.
  • brcm07

    Posts: 19

    Aug 14, 2009 8:22 PM GMT
    You'll want to be at least near a T station since the T is a fairly reliable way of getting around. Though if you're going to be at Harvard, you might as well live in and experience Cambridge. Harvard Square is the nicest and busiest but also the most expensive... Central Square is a bit sketchier but much cheaper and also just a 5 minute bike ride from campus. You could also consider Inman Square and other areas north on the Red Line such as Porter Square and Arlington.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 15, 2009 11:46 AM GMT
    You want to live in Cambridge if possible. If not, Somerville or Allston, which are more affordable. Just ignore Boston itself.
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    Aug 15, 2009 11:55 AM GMT
    Call a REALTOR like me or another one within the encircling Hwy 128.

    ;-)
  • seaportman

    Posts: 1

    Aug 15, 2009 12:20 PM GMT
    Good morning and hope youhave had some luck with your search.

    Have lived in the metro area and downtown Boston since age 15....including Allston, Cambridge and Sommerville....all of which have their pro's and cons.

    Cambridgeport, Sommerville and North Allston, and Watertown all are on subway/ bus lines into the square and in good weather biking is an option as well.

    you may want to check out the student housing office for help and of course Craigslist is great resource..

    By profession I am a real estate broker...so know the ins and outs of the business well....if nothing else can give advice.

    On another note I have a friend who lives here in Boston...is a sort of Nerdy computer geek and avid outdoors man so youguys might find you have some things in common....if your coming from Michigian please bring Diet Vernors.

    Charles
    Seaportman
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 29, 2009 11:09 PM GMT
    I've pretty much decided suck it up and pay to live in Cambridge. I think it'll be worth it to be close to Harvard and everything else. Thanks again for all the advice.

    Also, if any of you Bostonians are into rock climbing, hit me up!