Where in Boston should we live? Why?
March 3, 2008 12:26 PM   Subscribe

Where in Boston should we live? Why?

My wife and I are planning to move into Boston this summer, from Davis Square in Somerville.

We're happy to consider any type of building / space, other than that we're both somewhat averse to lofts. We'll be renting. We anticipate spending something in the 3k-4k/mo range for a 2-3 bedroom.

We're not really sure about what areas we should be considering. The only firm requirement is a very easy commute to Copley Square / the John Hancock Tower. Walkable would be ideal, but using the Orange or Green line (any subline -- they all stop at Copley) could work too.

I've looked at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neighborhoods_in_Boston,_Massachusetts, and many of the linked neighborhood-specific pages. This was somewhat helpful. Where can I read more along these lines?

So what are the best areas to live in Boston meeting the commute requirement? Why?

I'm not specifying much about our preferences because I want to read about what makes different areas great. And also because I'm not sure that we know exactly what we want -- other than that we want to try really living in the city instead of just nearby.
posted by Perplexity to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
SoWa. It is as close to Davis Square as you'll get in Boston proper. FWIW I should think you'd want to stay in Davis Square...within walking distance to Redbones. YUMMY
posted by Gungho at 12:34 PM on March 3, 2008

I just moved out of Davis last month. So sad to not be in walking distance to Redbones :(
posted by tiburon at 12:42 PM on March 3, 2008

I recommend you check out South Boston. It's a peninsula, so there's never very much traffic noise. It's gentrified a lot and is a lot less dirty and gritty than depicted in recent movies I will not mention. It's close to downtown, and the 9 bus goes right down Broadway and then to Copley. And there's a very wide range of options in terms of expense and neighborhood fanciness.
posted by Plutor at 1:00 PM on March 3, 2008

I moved to Beacon Hill recently and I love it. Everything is close: three different grocery stores, dry cleaners, shoes and clothes, the Common, lots of restaurants, a library, etc. It's pricey but at your price range you could probably rent a nice 2 bedroom. I live closest to Charles Station (2 min walk), but State St and Government Center are all walkable within 10-15 minutes (actually Arlington is just a little bit more than that I think). In particular I like where I am since all my friends are on the red line in Cambridge; it's a very easy jaunt to see them. Also, my place to Copley station is about 20 mins... Charles - Park - Copley. I do it pretty regularly during rush hour to go to the gym.

Cons: parking (I rent a garage spot), and yeah it's kind of pricey. Such a fun neighborhood, though!

Feel free to MefiMail me if you want to hear more.
posted by olinerd at 1:07 PM on March 3, 2008

bay village is nice. also, generally, the south end. (not to be confused with south boston)
posted by rmd1023 at 1:25 PM on March 3, 2008

I lived in Bay Village for years and years, its right behind Park Square, walkable to Copley without a problem, and for those bad weather days, its in the middle of several bus lines and the orange line is just outside the neighborhood (NEMC stop)...and its generally quiet, people know each other...when I left 3 years ago, we'd had the same beat cop for as long as I can remember...I joined the Navy and left for 6 years and he was still there when I moved back! Spitting distance to Chinatown (yum!) and the big main library too!
posted by legotech at 1:29 PM on March 3, 2008

i lived on beacon hill for a couple months while getting some medical care at mass general, and it was Awesome (note the caps).

cons: parking; hella expensive; no obscenely close t stations; sq footage likely small

pros: location in the middle of the city; can walk to copley (plus it's an awesome walk through the gardens); beautiful place to live, architecturally and culturally; nice people (plus some snobs); grocery store in walking distance (whole foods on cambridge)

good luck!
posted by ncc1701d at 1:42 PM on March 3, 2008

I would take a look at the South End between Columbus and Tremont (or maybe even down to Washington). I lived about 40 steps from the Lawrence/Chandler/Clarendon intersection for about six years and miss a lot about it:

You'll have a no longer than 10 minute foot commute to work. Imagine not having to squeeze yourself onto a trolley every morning or wait for an orange line car that never frigging comes.

You've got enough rent flexibility to live in a beautiful 130 year old bowfront, a renovated commercial space, or an amenity-filled modern building.

You can walk to nearly anywhere in Boston Proper in 20 minutes. 10 or 12 to the Public Garden and lots of little parks all over.

Convenient to some of the best dining in the city and all the shopping you might want to do.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:51 PM on March 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

And the term "SoWa" rankles me almost as much as "Beantown". Some marketer made that up. (But there's plenty of nice places south of Washington)
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:53 PM on March 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

With the prices you're willing to pay, you could find something really nice in the South End or even Back Bay.

I live in Southie and like it, but I'm a broke grad student. If I could throw down a couple grand or more in rent, I'd move in a heartbeat to the neighborhood Mayor Curley is describing. Beacon Hill is nice, too, but a bit further of a walk, and most places there are tiny. In the South End you'll have a lot more options when it comes to living space.

Good luck!
posted by emd3737 at 3:03 PM on March 3, 2008

I'd really recommend the South End. I spent the summer by the Symphony T stop, and now & then I'd walk to the BPL through the south end, and it was terrific. Back Bay seemed to get more traffic, though I guess its closer to the T stops. Depending on where you are in Beacon hill, there are pretty easily accessible T stops -- the green line goes by the commons, and Bowdoin & Charles/MGH are on the other side, & will get you to the green line. The area around Charles St. was nice to run through - no clue about living there, though.
posted by devilsbrigade at 3:49 PM on March 3, 2008

the term "SoWa" rankles me almost as much as "Beantown". Some marketer made that up because it sounds so much better than "by the Pine Street Inn"
posted by InkaLomax at 4:32 PM on March 3, 2008 [1 favorite]

the term "SoWa" rankles me almost as much as "Beantown". Some marketer made that up because it sounds so much better than "by the Pine Street Inn"

As per 'The South End is Over.'
posted by ericb at 12:43 AM on March 4, 2008

Thank jebus somebody commented on that stupid SoWa name... It gives me a chance to clarify. Yes it is abutted by the SE Expressway, the Mass Pike, Pine Street, and a down-trodden industrial area. The South End near Washington isn't all that bad, but if you aren't careful you could end up on a border street that will never seem safe no matter what they call it.
What I guess I really wanted to say is WTF? You live in one of the coolest, smartest areas already. You can walk to a movie theater! There's a Jazz club! there's an authentic Irish pub! My God man Redbones! Think of the BBQ! You're on the Red line, minutes from Harvard Square! Central Square! Minutes from Alewife and Fresh Pond! Why move?

disclaimer: I moved out of Cambridge 20 years ago and have regretted it since.
posted by Gungho at 1:46 PM on March 4, 2008

I've lived in on both the Back Bay and South End side of Copley Square, and I must say the South End totally kicked Back Bay. Much more cozy, less traffic, more neighborhoody, friendlier people. Look between Columbus and Tremont North to South, and Berkley and West newton East to West. Key street to look on is Appleton. Everyone from my doctor to random strangers I meet have lived there at some point, and WE ALL MISS IT! Super bonus for snagging a place on the cobblestone part. Try the apricot rolled scones at the Appleton bakery, make The Butcher Shop your second kitchen, stroll to the hardware store and CVS at the end of the street, make friends with the cat at the organic convenience store on Clarendon, and LOVE your 10 minute walk to work.
posted by Snower at 6:40 AM on March 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

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