17 Pros and Cons of Living in Boston, MA

Updated On October 9, 2023
Boston, MA

Boston, Massachusetts, is one of the oldest and most fascinating cities in the country.

Established in 1630, it has literal centuries of history in its streets and buildings and was the site of some of the most important events in American history.

Today, Boston is beloved for its historical architecture, rich culture, and many universities.

But like any city, there are also challenges to living there.

Read on to learn our top pros and cons of living in Boston!

Boston, MA
Boston, MA

Pros of Living in Boston 

1. The Seasons are Varied and Gorgeous. 

Though winter is a famously difficult and gloomy part of the year in Boston, the other seasons are a sight to behold.

In the spring, you will get plenty of sun and mild temperatures as the snow melts and flowers bloom.

The summer generally does not get hotter than the mid-80s.

The autumn, meanwhile, is famous for its breathtaking colors, which are some of the best in New England.

2. You’re Close to the Beach. 

Boston is a coastal city, which means you have easy access to several excellent beaches.

These are popular in the summer when the weather is warm and mild.

On top of the access to swimming, sailing, and other water sports, you also get to experience the excellent coastal cuisine of New England (can anyone say lobster rolls?). 

3. There is a lot to do. 

There is always something interesting going on in Boston.

The city is home to 58 museums, as well as a nationally-recognized aquarium, music venues, bars, parks, and much more.

Foodies will love visiting Boston and exploring the Time Out Market Boston and food tours.

Of course, one of the most famous attractions is Boston Common and Public Park, the oldest in the United States.

4. There is a Ton of Culture. 

It should come as no surprise that one of the oldest European-settled cities in the country is full of culture and history.

We mentioned the 58 museums, which range from the Museum of Fine Arts to the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

There are also art galleries of all kinds and tons of places to enjoy music, including the Boston Symphony and the Boston Philharmonic.

5. Sports Lovers are Right at Home. 

New England loves its sports, and Boston is no exception.

The city is home to a dedicated sports culture.

Fenway Park stands in the center of the city, where you will find the Boston Red Sox playing throughout the year.

Bostonian sports enthusiasts also follow the Celtics, Bruins, and the New England Patriots.

If you want to cheer along with a crowd, you can find countless sports bars throughout the city.

6. The Architecture is Beautiful. 

Boston is home to four hundred years of European culture, and the architecture is some of the most famous in the country.

Some of the city buildings and spaces still used today have been in use for hundreds of years, including Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Trinity Church, and the Massachusetts State House.

Many of these buildings played roles in important events in American history! 

7. There is Excellent Public Transportation. 

Boston might be a major city, but it is smaller than many comparable metropolitan areas.

This is to its advantage since it means there is excellent public transportation!

The city has a subway system as well as trolleys and buses.

But more often than not, you will find people walking around the city. 

8. The Education System is Unparalleled. 

Boston has been a university city for hundreds of years.

It is home to some of the oldest and most famous universities in the world, including Boston College and Boston University.

Nearby Cambridge is home to Harvard and MIT. But even the primary schools in the city are excellently rated.

It should come as no surprise that Boston is one of the most educated cities in the United States. 

9. Crime is Low.

Boston is not only beautiful but also an incredibly safe place.

It ranked as the 13th safest city in the United States, with a violent crime rate that is lower than the national average.

This is particularly impressive when you consider that this major metropolitan area is safer than many rural areas around the country!

If you are planning on raising children in Boston, you can rest assured that they will grow up in a safe neighborhood. 

Cons of Living in Boston 

1. Winters are Extremely Cold. 

Winters in Boston are bitter, and you can expect temperatures to drop down below freezing consistently from December to March.

The city also experiences heavy snow and ice, with an average annual snowfall of 49 inches.

In addition to all of this, Boston also experiences regular winter storms and freezing winds that can make it particularly unpleasant to go outside throughout the winter.

2. Cost of Living is High.

Boston has a reputation as being an expensive city, and it lives up to its reputation.

The cost of living in Boston is significantly higher than most other places in the United States, especially when it comes to housing.

Official estimates put the cost of living at 48 percent higher than the national average, with housing at 107 percent more expensive.

This means that most people live with roommates — and they still find themselves forking most of their paycheck over for rent.

3. The Traffic is Infamous.

Boston traffic is famously bad, in part because of the dense population and in part because of the city’s design.

Unlike cities like New York and Phoenix which were built on a grid, Boston is more like a maze.

That means that the city has some of the most congested streets in the country.

The average Boston resident spends 150 hours a year sitting in traffic.

4. The Housing Market can be a Pain.

The housing market in Boston is extraordinarily expensive, and you can expect to pay $3,400 on average in monthly rent.

Most people live with roommates to make ends meet.

But just as tricky as the high rent costs in the competitive rental market, can mean it can be difficult to even find a place to live.

This competitive market means that not every landlord is trustworthy or experienced, so read any contracts carefully before you sign. 

5. Flights are Pricey.

Boston is home to Logan Airport, making it quick and easy to get in and out of the city.

But flights here, like most other things in Boston, are extremely expensive.

Logan is a smaller airport serving a dense city, which means you will probably need to connect to LaGuardia or another airport.

All this means that flights can get much pricier, especially if you’re traveling to or from Logan on the regular.

6. Living Quarters are Tight.

By that, we mean both that your home is likely to be fairly small AND that you are going to be getting up close and personal with your neighbors.

Boston is the third most densely populated city in the United States, and that means that you can expect to be living close to other people.

Crowds are a part of life no matter where you go in the city, which can take some getting used to.

7. Lack of Sunlight

Boston’s freezing temperatures are not the only rough thing about living there in the winter.

During the colder time of year, you are not likely to see much of the sun.

Winter days are often overcast, and the sun goes down before 5 p.m., which means that many people are likely to be going home for the day in the dark.

Unsurprisingly, Boston has a high rate of reported seasonal depression.

8. Nightlife isn’t Great

You would think that a city with such a dense population also had a fairly active nightlife, but surprisingly, Boston is not known for that.

Most bars and restaurants close before 2 a.m., and public transport stops running even earlier, which means that you will need to order a taxi or Uber if you are planning on being out late (which can quickly get expensive!).

Boston, MA
Boston, MA

Pros and Cons of Living in Boston, MA – Summary Table

Pros of Living in Boston Cons of Living in Boston 
1. The Seasons are Varied and Gorgeous. 1. Winters are Extremely Cold. 
2. You’re Close to the Beach. 2. Cost of Living is High.
3. There is a lot to do. 3. The Traffic is Infamous.
4. There is a Ton of Culture. 4. The Housing Market can be a Pain.
5. Sports Lovers are Right at Home. 5. Flights are Pricey.
6. The Architecture is Beautiful. 6. Living Quarters are Tight.
7. There is Excellent Public Transportation. 7. Lack of Sunlight
8. The Education System is Unparalleled. 8. Nightlife isn’t Great
9. Crime is Low.

Boston Safety Overview

READ THE FULL REPORT: Boston Safety Review

Safety Index:

Frequently Asked Questions

Are People in Boston Unfriendly? 

Bostonians have a reputation for being unfriendly, but like most stereotypes, this has both true and untrue aspects.

Some Bostonians may not be overly talkative, but in a city of 689,326 residents, you will find all kinds of people.

Like anywhere else, you will find that some people are unfriendly and some are warm and welcoming.

What is the Average Rent in Boston?

Rent in Boston varies significantly between neighborhoods.

The cheapest you are likely to find is about $1,500 monthly, though some neighborhoods can go up to $5,000.

The average rent throughout the whole city is between $3,400 and $3,600, which explains why most people share homes with roommates.

Is it Hard to Get a Job in Boston? 

The Boston job market is flooded and highly competitive, which means that finding a job can be a challenge.

Depending on the industry in which you work, you might find yourself competing against many other applicants, especially with the higher-than-average student population in the city.

That being said, Boston has a fairly healthy job market for a metropolitan area.

What Salary do you Need to Make to Live in Boston? 

The average salary in Boston is roughly $80,891.

Because of Boston’s extremely high cost of living, wages are generally higher than in most other cities in the United States.

Some estimates say that a family with two children will need to earn an annual income of $120,900 to feel comfortable.

What is Boston Best Known For? 

Boston is known for its history, being one of the oldest European settlements in North America.

The city played an important role in many historical events, most particularly the Boston Massacre, which is widely considered to be the start of the American Revolution.

These 400 years of history are still reflected in Boston’s architecture.

2 Comments on 17 Pros and Cons of Living in Boston, MA

  1. I believe the pros outweigh the cons and I would highly recommend experiencing life in Boston.

  2. E
    Ezekiel says:

    As a lifelong Bostonian, I can say that living in this city is both a privilege and a challenge. I believe the pros outweigh the cons.

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