Renting an Apartment in Boston
It can be difficult to find a quality, affordable apartment in Boston. Apartments are frequently leased by property owners and the approval process is notoriously slow. Thus, it is important to do your homework prior to launching your apartment search.
Boston is a college town, and as a result, most leases coincide with the standard school year and run from September 1 to the end of May. If you want to see an example of this structure, take a drive around Allston on June 1. You will see sidewalks littered with used furniture such as desks, couches, and TV stands.
Most apartments in Boston are in small buildings housing only a handful of tenants. High rise apartment buildings are available, but can be pricey. Before you begin to look for an apartment, decide how much you are willing to spend. If you are planning to rent with roommates, be sure that you agree on a budget before seeing apartments. Determine amenities are important to you, and create a list in order of importance. It can be hard to find an affordable apartment that includes a dishwasher, laundry, and parking. If you need a large apartment, rank size high among your priorities, as those unfamiliar with Boston apartments are sometimes surprised at the small size of rental units. If you don’t have a car, research the area’s available public transportation. Not all public transportation is equal, and as any Boston native will tell you, close proximity to the T doesn’t ensure an easy commute. The Green Line is considered by many to be the slowest line of the T, while the Red Line is considered to be the quickest.
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Boston is the largest city in New England and the capitol of Massachusetts. It is one of the oldest, most culturally significant, and wealthiest cities in the United States. The economy is based on health care, education, technology, and finance.
Boston has many nicknames. The City on a Hill refers to the original three hills of Boston. Beantown refers to early Bostonians making baked beans with imported molasses. The Hub is a shortened form of The Hub of the Universe. William Tudor, co-founder of the North American Review, christened the city The Athens of America for its cultural and intellectual influence. Boston is also called the Puritan City because its founders were Puritans from England who settled in the 1600’s. Citizens of the greater Boston area are called Bostonians.
The city lies at the center of the Boston Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is the seventh largest in the United States. The area encompasses parts of the states of Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. The Greater Boston area contains the cities of Cambridge, Brookline, Quincy, Newton, as well as other nearby suburban communities.
Most of the city has been built on landfill, including most of Back Bay and the South End. Two and a half of Boston’s three original hills were used as a source of material for landfill. Only Beacon Hill, the smallest of the three original hills, remains partially intact and has now become one of the oldest and most desirable neighborhoods in town. The downtown area is mainly made up of stone and low-rise brick buildings, most of the older buildings were built in the Federal style. In the Financial District, Government Center, Back Bay, and the South Boston waterfront many of these buildings mix in with modern high-rises. The South End Historic District is the nation’s largest surviving Victorian-era neighborhood.
The Charles River separates Boston from Cambridge, Watertown, and Charlestown. To the east is Boston Harbor and the Harbor Islands, which are part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. The Neponset River forms the boundary between Boston’s southern neighborhoods and the cities of Quincy and Milton. The Mystic River separates the neighborhoods of East Boston and Charlestown from Chelsea and Everett.
Boston experiences a continental climate that is very common in New England. The weather in Boston, like much of New England, changes rapidly. It is not uncommon for the city to experience temperature swings of 54 Fahrenheit degrees (30 Celsius degrees) or more over the course of a couple of days. Summers are typically warm and humid, while winters are cold, windy and snowy. It has been known to snow in October and get quite warm with highs well into the 80s in February.
Boston’s reputation as the Athens of America derives in large part from the teaching and research activities of more than 100 colleges and universities located in its metropolitan area. Boston College was the first institution of higher education established in the city. It was originally located in the South End before moving to Chestnut Hill, on the city’s western edge. Its campus gradually expanded and it is now within the outer edges of the city’s political boundaries. Boston University, now the city’s second largest employer and one of the largest private universities in the country, was originally established in Vermont before moving to Brookline and later to its present campus in the Back Bay in the 1950s. Harvard University, the nation’s oldest institution of higher learning, is based across the Charles River in Cambridge; however, most of its current land holdings lie in Boston. These holdings include the Arnold Arboretum, and its business and medical schools. Harvard recently announced plans to expand its main campus across the Charles River into Boston’s Allston neighborhood, which already hosts some of the university’s dormitories and sports facilities. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) operates several major laboratories within the city. Emerson College, a highly regarded arts & communications school, maintains a campus near the Theatre District at the southeast corner of Boston Common. Northeastern University, a large private university with a distinctive co-op (cooperative education) program, maintains a campus in the Fenway district. Suffolk University, a small private university known for its law school, maintains a campus on Beacon Hill. The city is also home to a number of conservatories and art schools, including the Massachusetts College of Art, New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, and Berklee College of Music. The University of Massachusetts Boston, Roxbury Community College, and Bunker Hill Community College are the city’s three state-run colleges.