1) Neighborhoods- Boston is comprised of a series of neighborhoods; each one has a little different flavor than the next. Since there is such a variety to choose from, don’t limit yourself by going with the first neighborhood you hear about. And though it may be tempting, try not to sign a lease sight unseen. To really get a flavor for the each area, you’ll need to experience them first hand. Boston offers a host of fantastic neighborhoods such as Back Bay, Beacon Hill, the South End, Jamaica Plain and Southie. Cambridge, Somerville, Brookline and Newton while technically not part of Boston proper are very accessible to the city by public transportation or car and offer unique features as well. 2) Housing- The cost of living in Boston often shocks people relocating from most parts of the country. Unless you’re moving from New York, Washington D.C., San Francisco or Los Angeles, you are most likely going to be seeing higher rents in Boston. The good news is that you’re not limited to just one neighborhood, so if apartments in the Back Bay or Beacon Hill are above your budget, you can branch out to many other less expensive neighborhoods such as Charlestown or the Fenway. You’d be amazed at the difference in rent and how much more space you can get for the price by expanding your search area. 3) Public transportation- Boston has many options to get around the city and surrounding areas, including the commuter rail, bus and the subway (also known as the “T”.) This is often the cheapest and easiest way to get around the city and accesses all of Boston’s neighborhoods. The MBTA has a feature on its website called Rider Tool where you can enter your starting and ending location and it navigates the best route for you using public transportation. Try it here http://www.mbta.com/. This will definitely give you an approximate time of your commute, however also take into consideration that some lines are slower than others. The Green B line for example takes longer because it has frequent stops. Make sure to test out your new commute as part of your decision before settling on a neighborhood. 4) Driving in the City- Driving and parking in the city can be a nightmare if you’re not prepared. Unless you have an off street parking space with your apartment or rent a garage spot, you will need to rely on street parking if you want to have a car. When choosing a neighborhood, keep in mind that some areas are more car friendly than others. Most neighborhoods offer residential parking stickers to park on the street but you are still responsible for getting your car off the street during street cleaning, snow emergencies and parking bans. Parking tickets and towing fees can add up so it’s a good idea to sign up for email alerts from the city at http://www.cityofboston.gov/alerts/. 5) Culture and Nightlife- While Boston is the largest city in New England, it also offers a quant and intimate feel making it easy to explore. The city is enriched with culture, history and an active nightlife. You could visit the Museum of Fine Arts, walk the Freedom Trail, go to a Red Sox game and then out to a bar in Fenway all in one day. Boston’s eclectic nightlife has something to offer for everyone. Whether it’s a pub in Southie or a martini bar in the Back Bay, you will be hard pressed to run out of things to do. One note to keep in mind is the T stops running at 12:45 a.m. and bars close at 2:00 a.m., so prepare to have a cab company in your phone if you plan to stay out for last call!
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