There’s a reason tourists and residents alike love Boston: it combines the hustle and bustle of a big city with the intimacy of a smaller town. Even in the heart of Boston’s downtown, you’ll find quiet and tree-lined residential streets. Some of the top minds in the country and from around the world flock to Boston to study and work at the area’s unparalleled educational and research institutions
Boston is also home to globally respected hospitals and medical centers. The city’s economy is stable and robust; unemployment was at just 3.3% in 2017. Healthcare, tech, and education are some of the largest employers in Boston. Whether you’re new to Boston or have lived in Boston for a while, here are three easy tips to make living in Boston simple and fun.
1. Get a Feel for Each Neighborhood
Boston inspires a lot of hometown pride in many of its residents. That can also boil down to which area of town you’re in. One way to quickly get up to speed in Boston is to understand the cultural and social differences in each neighborhood, from Chinatown to the Financial District.
South Boston, or “Southie,” is one of Boston’s most famous neighborhoods for its colorful past. It used to be a predominantly working-class Irish Catholic neighborhood. Today, though, Southie is rapidly becoming a hip and expensive place to live, work, and play, rivaling the Meatpacking District in New York for its edgy cool factor. In Boston’s Back Bay, you’ll find beautiful brownstones and designer shops. Stylish Bostonians flock to Newbury Street to get their hair and nails done at the street’s many exclusive spas.
Chinatown is one of the oldest ethnic Chinese enclaves in the New England area. Authentic Chinese restaurants and shops abound here, and the Wang YMCA in Chinatown has been in operation since 1914. The Financial District is located near Chinatown and Government Center and is the headquarters for some of the leading financial institutions in the region. In 2016, the Government Center MBTA T stop reopened after a two-year massive renovation.
2. Walk, Ride, or Bike to Work and Beyond
Many Bostonians don’t own a car, and for good reason. The city has a walk score of 96 and a transit score of 100. Boston is also a biker’s haven: it has a bike score of 83. Many local attractions are within easy walking distance of each other, like the Mapparium, Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), and the Freedom Trail.
The Green Line is an easy target for excuses about the morning commute, but that might change once the Green Line Extension project is complete. It’s set to take the Green Line into the heart of Cambridge. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is also working on updating its bus network.
3. Enjoy the Culture and Nightlife
Boston has fantastic access to cheap entertainment opportunities, from comedy clubs to museums. The MFA is free on Wednesday evenings after 4PM. Every summer, the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company puts on Shakespeare on the Common, which is a free outdoor Shakespeare production. It’s also worth checking out the student performances at Berklee College of Music, where you can enjoy incredible talent year-round for an accessible admissions fee. For cheap deals on groceries, locals head to Haymarket, the oldest outdoor market in Boston.
Boston also has a thriving nightlife. The Irish Catholic history in the city means you’ll find plenty of pubs, but there are also cocktail bars and clubs to choose from. And, if you’re craving clam chowder or other New England staples, you won’t be at a loss, whether you’re looking for a traditional taste or a modern update of this classic bowl.