The pros and cons of living in Boston

What are the positives and negatives of calling Beantown home?

Kevin Crain

By Kevin Crain

George Washington statue in Boston

Boston isn’t just for US history buffs. If you’re an adventurer looking for your next home base, living in Boston has pros and cons. Whether it’s the coastal location, sports scene, delicious cuisine, or unique culture, there’s lots to love about Beantown. However, there are downsides, too. Like the cost of living and constant traffic. In this guide, we’ll take a look at the positives and negatives of staying in historic Boston and its suburbs

Pro: The location

boston from across the charles river

The real estate mantra holds true for Boston: location, location, location. Situated on Massachusetts Bay, Beantown’s coastal location is a major perk. Not only are there beaches to enjoy and whales to watch, but Boston is a convenient hub for the Northeast US. For instance, you can drive to Providence, Rhode Island in one hour or to Newport, Connecticut in an hour and a half. Plus, it’s only four hours from New York City, so you can easily catch a Broadway show in The Big Apple. 

Another advantage of Boston’s coastal position? Easy travel times to international business or leisure destinations. Taking a vacation to London? You can be there in less than seven hours. Working for a few months in Toronto? It’s only a two-hour flight. This proximity to big cities lets you live life to the fullest and keep your options open. Better still, the architecture and charm of Boston are reminiscent of European cities.    

Pro: The sports 

fenway park in boston, massachusetts

Boston lives and dies with its sports teams. The Celtics, Patriots, Bruins, Red Sox, and New England Revolution are all must-watch. With so many athletic competitions to attend, there are sports happening in Boston year-round. Ticket prices vary from cheap to expensive, but you can also head to any of the dozens of sports bars to catch a game in a fun atmosphere. 

The stadiums, arenas, and fields that host these teams are also iconic. Case in point Boston is home to Fenway Park, one of the oldest MLB stadiums. For baseball fans or those who want to see famous local landmarks, it’s an essential spot to have on your sports venue bucket list. Take part in a tour or go to a Red Sox game. Either way, it’s certain to be an unforgettable experience. 

Pro: The food 

Lobster roll on a plate in Boston

Even if you’re moving to a furnished apartment in Boston with a full kitchen, you’ll still need to go out to eat sometimes. Good thing you’re bringing a healthy appetite, right? It’s actually kind of surprising that this list of living in Boston pros and cons didn’t start with the food. I mean, there’s the fresh seafood, first off. I’m talking clam chowder and lobster rolls (AKA clam chowdah and lobstah rolls). Really, thanks to the city’s seaside locale, any fish served in Boston has a good chance of being freshly caught. 

However, there are plenty of other Bostonian favorites. Like the reason it’s called Beantown — the city’s famous Boston baked beans. Or sweet treats such as the traditional Boston cream pie and every local’s top coffee and pastry spot, Dunkin’ Donuts. In total, Boston’s diverse food scene boasts over 3,000 restaurants. You could live here for decades and not sample it all…but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try! 

Pro: The culture

Museum of Fine Arts in Boston

There’s no shortage of history, music, and art in Boston. From the historic Tea Party Ships & Museum and the Museum of African American History to the expansive Boston Public Library and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, there’s lots to see and do. And that’s before you even plunge into the deep well of US history along the Freedom Trail. 

What’s even better is how every museum, venue, or gallery seems to have a tale to tell. There’s the infamous Gardner Museum heist, the Paul Revere house, and so many more. The stories never get old and the mysteries only get more intriguing. 

Con: The cost of living

leather wallet with money being taken out

According to Payscale, “Boston, Massachusetts’s cost of living is 50% higher than the national average.” Digging into the specifics even more, you’ll find that “Boston’s housing expenses are 124% higher than the national average and…transportation expenses like bus fares and gas prices are 28% higher than the national average.” In short, when it comes to the pros and cons of living in Boston, money matters fall into the negative category. 

From eating at restaurants and watching movies in theaters to securing childcare and buying clothing, most expenses are on the expensive side. Basically, your dollar doesn’t go as far as it would in other cities. Wicked bad news, we know. 

Con: The traffic 

Two people in the front seats of a car

Planning to drive in Boston? Expect to be part of a crowd. This bustling New England city has one of the worst traffic problems in the country. Bumper-to-bumper traffic is a regular thing. That’s why many locals opt for public transportation. Luckily, Boston has a good transportation system. You can easily find a T station in walking distance or hop on a bus to your destination.  

Also, on the bright side, Boston made our list of the most bike-friendly cities. If you’re willing to use this form of transportation, the Massachusetts capital provides an excellent bike rental program, the Minuteman Commuter Bikeway, and loads of historic scenery to see as you pedal. 

Bonus point: The weather

A green space in Boston

When it comes to the weather, living in Boston is a blessing and a curse. The weather is enjoyable for much of the year, especially in spring, summer, and fall. Unfortunately, there’s the winter. Boston’s coldest season often sees long freezes, gray days, and heavy snowfalls. In small doses, it’s a wintry wonderland. Over the course of a few months though, it can dampen your mood. That’s the trade-off with Boston weather. 

Homes in Boston for all your needs

Yes, living in Boston has pros and cons, but the positives make it easy to see why Beantown is one of the best places to live in the US. By staying in one of Blueground’s fully furnished apartments, you gain access to all the city has to offer. Living here for a month or more lets you live like a local and explore for a month, a year, or longer.

Our apartments in the best Boston neighborhoods serve up classic Boston grub, have sports stadiums within walking distance, and make it a breeze to drive along the coast. Book your Boston home ASAP to experience New England in a stress-free way from day one. 

Kevin Crain

Kevin Crain

Kevin Crain is a writer from Dallas, Texas. He’s dedicated to helping every Blueground guest live like a local and make their apartment feel like home. His favorite topics include active experiences, bucket list essentials, and hidden gems in cities around the world.