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A Guide to the Boston Neighborhoods You’ll Love, From Allston to West End

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Welcome to Boston, home of strong accents, the best pubs, and more historical markers on any given street corner than you can count. Though its mostly known as America’s birthplace, Boston is a thriving modern city, home to – you guessed it – a whole lot of neighborhoods. If you’re a newcomer, getting to know all the Boston neighborhoods can be stressful, especially if you’re trying to find the right one for you to call home. On the one hand, who doesn’t want to live in historic Beacon Hill, but on the other hand, everyone seems to be in Dorchester. It’s hard to find the right Boston neighborhood to call home – and that’s why we’re here to help.

We’ve pulled together a list of Boston’s top neighborhoods to help you get to know which Boston neighborhood you should call home. So sit back, relax, and start dreaming about those beautiful New England summers! Your Boston neighborhood decision is about to get easy:

*Rent calculations gathered by RentCafe.

A Guide to All the Boston Neighborhoods You’ll Love

Allston/Brighton

Image Source: Reddit Boston

Average one-bedroom rent: $2,615

While technically Allston and Brighton are two different neighborhoods, they’re so intertwined that it’s easier to group them into one. With Boston College right on the neighborhood’s edges and the city of Cambridge just a stone’s throw away, this Boston neighborhood is a mixed bag of everyone from college frat boys to middle-aged business professionals. If you’re looking for a quick commute, downtown is half an hour away on the T, so Allston is the perfect place to stay close to business during the day, then come home for the killer music and food scene at night.

Back Bay

Image Source: Where Traveler

Average one-bedroom rent: $3,266

Just a stone’s throw from the downtown financial district, Back Bay is home to Boston’s most sophisticated urban residents. Don’t expect to bargain hunt here: vintage brownstones and new luxury apartments are equally sought after, and they all come with a hefty price tag. But if you’re ready to live the high life, Back Bay is the place to do it. While it’s right on the water, it hasn’t lost any of its modern chic-ness, as its streets are lined with the finest restaurants and shops the city has to offer. You may go broke, but you’ll never go bored.

Bay Village

Image Source: Curbed

Average one-bedroom rent: $3,291

If you thought Back Bay was opulent, you haven’t seen anything yet. Bay Village is to Back Bay what Beyonce Knowles is to Solange: the older, cooler, and probably way wealthier sibling of the pair. Bay Village is similar to Back Bay, but with deeper historical roots and higher prices. It’s still close to downtown, so it’s still a convenient place to live, but it’s a bit harder to find a place: Bay Village real estate is some of the most coveted – and of course, most expensive – of all the Boston neighborhoods.

Beacon Hill

Image Source: HomeAway

Average one-bedroom rent: $2,967

While Beacon Hill may lovingly be called Boston’s “royal neighborhood,” it has none of the opulence of neighboring Back Bay or rigidness of Downtown. It’s more relaxed, more historic, and full of old Boston charm. Finding a place to live here isn’t exactly cheap, but with the lush Boston Commons and the Downtown Financial District just next door, not to mention the chance to live in a historic house, the price is worth every penny.

Charlestown

Image Source: Compass Real Estate

Average one-bedroom rent: $2,772

More so than any other neighborhood, Charlestown is the Boston neighborhood where you’re most likely to find an Irish pub on every block. As Boston’s first official neighborhood, Charlestown – or just “the town” – is recognizable to tourists as home to the Battle of Bunker Hill Monument, but is less well known to be the home to a swarm of young Bostonian families. As such, it’s a much sleepier area – and a much cheaper one, too. Not only is it a great option for families, it’s one of the best Boston neighborhoods for younger folks who prefer sleepy nights in to long nights out on the town.

Chinatown

Image Source: Boston Magazine

Average one-bedroom rent: $3,332

The only Chinatown gathering left in New England, Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood is a hub of cultural diversity. It’s also one of the only places in the world where you’ll see U.S. Revolutionary War monuments alongside hallmarks of Chinese-American history. For those looking for a more diverse immersion in Boston, Chinatown is the place to be. And if you’re a foodie, it’s not a bad spot, either: Chinatown really is the city’s culinary hub. But gentrification has left its mark on prices, so don’t expect to find a cheap apartment in this popular Boston neighborhood.

Dorchester

Image Source: Airbnb

Average one-bedroom rent: $2,530

The first thing you need to know about Dorchester is that it’s huge. At over six square miles, it’s the largest neighborhood in the city, and it’s so big, we could write a whole separate piece on which sub-neighborhood of Boston you should call home. Dorchester is the sort of place anyone can find a homey place to live: young families, older couples, college students, young professionals, and more. Everyone is at home here, and the diverse mix makes it a wonderful place to live alone, with friends, or with your family.

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Downtown Financial District

Average one-bedroom rent: $3,101

Sell your car and head to downtown Boston if you’re looking for urban living in its truest form. Downtown Boston is much like any other city’s downtown: a bit touristy, full of high-rises, and ideal for folks who don’t mind living in a small space. But it’s also a perfect jumping-off point for adventuring your way through the city, as Downtown Boston is the intersection of the T, Boston’s transit system. If you don’t mind a small space and much larger price tag, it’s a beautiful place to be in the heart of it all.

East Boston

Image Source: WBUR

Average one-bedroom rent: $2,363

Once the city’s shipyard in the days of the American Revolution, East Boston is now a diverse home to some of the city’s best views and most affordable rents. There’s a whisper that East Boston will be the next up-and-coming Boston neighborhood, but these days, it feels more like a pocket of quietude than a sprawling metropolis. Across the bay (and feeling like a hundred miles away) from Downtown, East Boston is full of shorter buildings, great cuisine, and the feeling of community that the central parts of the city just can’t beat. 

Fenway-Kenmore

Image Source: Beroomers

Average one-bedroom rent: $3,077

All of Boston is one big college town, but Fenway-Kenmore feels like a university epicenter. With nearly three quarters of the population currently enrolled in school, it’s no surprise that it’s a thriving, exciting, young people’s neighborhood. But if you fear you’ll tire from the students nearby, just take a stroll in one of the many public parks and gardens in the neighborhood. One thing worth noting: parking and driving gets a little bit crazy on game nights, so it’s best to stay away from this neighborhood if you’re committed to your car.

Jamaica Plain

Image Source: Boston Magazine

Average one-bedroom rent: $2,496

If you’ve come to Boston for the diverse people and ideas, settle down in the much-loved Jamaica Plain neighborhood. Just a short ride on the T from downtown, but feeling like miles away, the calm neighborhood known as JP is on the cheaper side, but its residences are full of surprises. You may find yourself in an old brownstone or a new, modern townhome, but no matter what, you’re going to enjoy this quiet, urban oasis.

Mission Hill

Image Source: Airbnb

Average one-bedroom rent: $2,985

On the edge of Northeastern University and a quick ride from downtown is Mission Hill, the younger sister neighborhood to Back Bay and Bay Village. Once home to Mission Church, its convents, and its schools, Mission Hill is now the home to more young professionals than pretty much anywhere else in Boston. Mix that with the Northeastern University students, and you’ll find that the city doesn’t shut off at night here, making it the perfect Boston neighborhood for a new Bostonian in their 20s to call home.

North End

Image source: Boston Magazine

Average one-bedroom rent: $3,037

Welcome to North End, Boston’s first residential neighborhood. And don’t let the fact that it’s so old fool you: North End is a tourist’s dream, meaning it might not be the perfect cup of tea for an everyday Bostonian. On the other hand, if deep historical roots is what made you choose Boston, there’s nowhere better. You’ll get to walk the Freedom Trail, visit the Paul Revere House, and see all the smaller historical monuments that make up the neighborhood, all without walking a mile. But be prepared: living in a neighborhood stepped with history comes at a hefty price, and real estate can be scarce here.

Roslindale

Image Source: Curbed

Average one-bedroom rent: $2,145

Roslindale is the most up-and-coming of all the Boston neighborhoods. Once neglected in the escape for suburbs of the 1980s, Roslindale has since been rezoned, remodeled, and rebuilt in the past decade, turning this once forgotten neighborhood into a reborn gem. But all the changes doesn’t mean it’s lost its spirit: Roslindale is still one of Boston’s most diverse, most affordable neighborhoods, and neighborhood mainstay the Roslindale Village Farmer’s Market is considered the best in town. There’s only one downside to beautiful Roslindale: the nearest T stop is a neighborhood over in Jamaica Plain, making it one of the less accessible places for commuters.

Roxbury

Image Source: Wikipedia

Average one-bedroom rent: $2,197

City dwellers who wish they didn’t have to be city dwellers will thrive in Roxbury, one of Boston’s quietest neighborhoods that’s home to small businesses and bustling brownstones. Roxbury residents are nothing if not committed to preserving their neighborhood’s diverse history, so neighborhood meetings are the common weekday night activity here. One common topic of conversation is neighborhood safety, which doesn’t have the best reputation in Roxbury. But with a dedicated community effort, Roxbury is looking to better itself – and embrace its status as an affordable, family-friendly neighborhood in the process.

South Boston

Image Source: Elevated Boston

Average one-bedroom rent: $3,201

Movies and TV shows may have you believe South Boston, better known as Southie, is a rough-around-the-edges neighborhood full of crime, but in reality, this formerly Irish Catholic area is another big up-and-coming Boston neighborhood. Condos, luxury apartments, and townhomes are rising among the streets full of brownstones, so while Southie isn’t the cheapest of the Boston neighborhoods, it’s certainly full of options. For folks who are the life of the party, it’s the best place to call home: you’ll never go without an Irish pub to drink at, and the Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Southie is the stuff of legends.

South End

Image Source: Compass

Average one-bedroom rent: $3,043

Don’t be fooled: Southie and South End may sound the same, but they’re two totally different neighborhoods. While Southie is what a newcomer might expect from a Boston neighborhood – Irish, Catholic, and full of pubs – South End slants more towards an identity as a modern, metropolitan neighborhood. Food is the name of the game here, with everything from niche restaurants to Instagram-worthy popups populating the urban streets. Just a quick ride from downtown, this Boston neighborhood is a perfect spot for urban commuters, but that also makes it a hotspot for tourists and foodies alike. If you don’t mind a bit of competition when grabbing a table for dinner, South End is the perfect place for trendy urban dwellers to call home.

West End

Image Source: Broadway Village

Average one-bedroom rent: $3,087

Sports bars. Stadiums. Industrial architecture. Welcome to West End, where the night begins when the Celtics games (or Bruins game, or any game, really) do, and never seems to end. With TD Garden calling this Boston neighborhood home, West End is party central during the cold Boston winters. While the appeal here is perfect for sports fans and party lovers alike, West End isn’t the best place to live for everyone: with so much of its space dedicated to the stadium (plus subsequent parking), housing is scarce here. What’s left available is fairly expensive, though worth it if you want to be in the center of the action.

Each Boston neighborhood is like its own city, so deciding on the right one can be a worrying choice. One thing you don’t need to worry about: moving. With Dolly, moving help is right at your fingertips. We’ll connect you with Bostonian pickup truck drivers who are ready to move your stuff from Southie to Back Bay to Roxbury and beyond. Get truck and muscle, anytime you need it in Boston, with the help of Dolly.

Miranda is the Marketing Coordinator at Dolly. She’s moved nine times in the past six years, and while she’s grateful for the moving expertise, she’s hoping she doesn’t need to move a tenth time anytime soon.

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