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Boston
  • $1000   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $1844   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $2961   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  northeast US)

100% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands can be accomplished on foot. 5
traffic congestion during special events, Atlantic fog
public transit, symphonies, parkland, museums, local professional sports, pedestrian-friendly 6
dead body disposal, italians, great seafood, technically a beach, moms that still dress like pat benatar, hipster mecca, asian tourists, harvard kids displacing working people, art school dropouts, loud noises, the irish mob, catholics, liberals not welcome, zombieland, universities galore!, family hipsters, lesbians, irish american firemen, murderpan, used to be mobsters here, new chinatown, and allston rat city are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Boston roommate rundown:

Boston is the most densely populated most expensive city in the United States . . . after NYC and the Bay Area, of course.

Just like the larger two, public transport is popular. About a third of Bostonians use public transport daily, and about a third, exclusively. That's underground, bus, plus commuter rail. Since most of the city is compact and densely populated, many prefer to walk around outdoors as well, even in winter.

Prepare to bundle up.

But if you're not walking, be prepared for gridlock . . . hardly anyone offers free parking, yet there's still a lot of commuting, particularly during special events. The city's population can suddenly double, leading to a sudden traffic bubble. You don't want to be on the road with that.

The best advice is to live in a neighborhood near where you'll spend most of your time. In Boston, almost any amount of commuting is associated with annoyance. Avoidance would be enviable.

Boston has a very high cost of living, more or less again, right after NYC and the Bay Area. Salaries tend to be higher too, so for many, it's worth it.

Many whose salaries don't tend to be higher tend to have roommates. And many others tend to have roommates too just to save money anyway. Spend it on seafood instead.

The rest of the Boston roommate lowdown:

  • Boston is the most populous city in Massachusetts, about 675,000 in the city and almost 5 million in the Greater Boston metropolitan region. That makes Boston the third most densely populated large US city and the most populous state capital.
  • Boston is called a "city of neighborhoods" as 23 have officially been designated and they're very diverse architecturally. Most didn't exist even in terms of their land area when the city was founded, but were created by filling nearby tidal areas with gravel.
  • About 1/3 of Bostonians use public transport daily, and about 1/3 of Boston households do not have a car. The MBTA operates the oldest underground transit system in the country, along with many buses and commuter rail.
  • Boston has the highest percentage pedestrian commuting in the country. Much of the city is both compact and densely populated with a huge student demographic, which leads to foot traffic from both preference and necessity. Prepare to wear layers to walk around in the winter.
  • But if you and your roommates do choose to drive within Boston, you should plan more in your budget than cheaper cities. Most apartments don't have spaces included with the rent. Parking most places you'd drive in the city is paid as well, by the hour or monthly.
  • There is a lot of commuting from the suburbs for work and special events. Sometimes the city's population doubles or even triples for short periods, so traffic congestion can get severe.
  • The best advice for commuting around Boston may simply be to try harder to find a neighborhood near where you'll spend most of your time. Reverse commuting and/or not commuting at all during business hours and other citywide excitable moments would also be enviable lifestyle choices for you and your roommates to consider whenever possible.
  • Boston features all four seasons, extremely so. Weather changes rapidly with heavy precipitation. Summer are hot, winters are stormy with lots of rain, snow, sleet, and fog. Heavy downpours and hailstorms are common. Chilly coastal sea breezes lower land temperatures suddenly, then the fog rolls in all along the North Atlantic. You and your roommates will want to pack hoodies.
  • Boston has a high cost of living, one of the highest in the country. Usually only NYC and San Francisco beat Boston for overall expensiveness. However, salaries tend to be higher here too, so for many it's worth it.
  • Boston hosts many professional sports teams, including the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Celtics, and the Boston Bruins. Boston also hosts the Boston Marathon, the world's oldest annual marathon run on Patriots' Day. Locals take their teams very seriously! All older teams are followed by their own exceedingly enthusiastic fanbases.
  • Boston is home to an extremely large number of universities and colleges, including: Art Institute of Boston, Berklee College of Music, Boston Architectural Center, Endicott College, Gordon College, Lasell College, Montserrat College of Art, Mount Ida College, Newbury College, Wellesley College, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Wheaton College, Atlantic Union College, Babson College, Bentley College, Boston Conservatory, Cambridge College, Curry College, Eastern Nazarene College, Emmanuel College, Framingham State College, Massachusetts College of Art, MGH Institute of Health Professions, Pine Manor College, Regis College, Salem State College, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Wheelock College, Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Emerson College, Harvard University, Lesley College, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, New England Conservatory of Music, Northeastern University, Simmons College, Suffolk University, Tufts University, and the University of Massachusetts



After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Boston's:

  • Seafood: Boston is at the head of the Boston Bay, New England's most important seaport. The seafood is sparklingly fresh, so don't miss the lobsters, oysters, and clam chowder.
  • Contemporary Classical Music: From the Boston Symphony Orchestra (one of the "Big Five") to the Boston Pops Orchestra. There's also Boston Baroque, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Boston Ballet, Opera Boston, and Boston Musica Viva . . . and then several annual musical festivals and local events including a Boston Pops concert with fireworks on the banks of the Charles River.
  • Parks: Their system is stunning, one of the best in the country. Along with Boston Public Garden, the Emerald Necklace is a string of parks including Franklin Park, the Franklin Park Zoo, the Back Bay Fens, Arnold Arboretum, and Jamaica Pond. They were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted to encircle the city. Several other parks are scattered around the city as well, so you and your roommates should most definitely chill in at least one of these excellent greenspaces.
  • Old Corner Bookstore: Many claim it's the "cradle of American literature," where Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Nathaniel Hawthorne, James Russell Lowell, and Henry David Thoreau all met and wrote. Boston continues its literary scene with The Atlantic Monthly, the Boston Book Festival, and the Boston Public Library (the first free library in the US).
  • History: Boston is one of the oldest cities in America; it's the scene of several key events in the American Revolution including the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, and the Battle of Bunker Hill. The USS Constitution and Walden Pond are also spectacularly popular with tourists.
  • Boston's so rich with history REALLY there's an historical marker nearly everywhere you turn. You and your roommates could take photos of each other posing throughout history all over the place! Definitely sort of!


Here's the City of Boston's Services, Applications, and Permits: probably of interest to new residents.





Notes

1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.


2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.


3.   From zumper.com.


4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.


5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.


6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.


7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.