The 7 Best Neighborhoods in Boston To Rent

Just as New York City is made up of different boroughs, Boston is a big city made up of unique neighborhoods, each with their own local flavor. If you’re new to the area, all the different names can be confusing. How do you know which location is right for you?

We’ve put together a list of seven top neighborhoods for young Bostonians (listed in alphabetical order) that are a great representation of the wide variety the city has to offer.

Photo courtesy Flickr / ShutterBC

1. Allston – Brighton

Technically, they’re two neighborhoods, but they’re so close and interwoven that many people consider them as one. The Allston-Brighton area has a largely young population (with an average median age of around 24) and a high percentage of apartments, which makes it a great place for young renters.

Many residents are students and middle-class young professionals, which means there’s a fun nightlife and bar culture but also plenty of Little League baseball games. It’s a nice mix of urban and suburban life, and average home prices aren’t as high as in other areas of the city.

Photo courtesy Flickr / David Ohmer

Related: Apartments For Rent in Allston/Brighton

2. Beacon Hill

It’s not quite as pricey as the affluent Back Bay area, but Beacon Hill is up there, so if you’re on a tight budget, it’s probably not for you. But if you’ve got a refined sense of taste—and a budget to match—you’ll love this quaint, picturesque neighborhood full of brownstone townhouses, gas-lit streetlamps and cobblestone alleyways.

You won’t get the same square footage for your buck that you can in other areas of the city, but if you value historical charm (and modern luxury) above all else, Beacon Hill could be the place for you. Once home to literary legends like Louisa May Alcott and Sylvia Plath, it’s now a place to find fantastic upscale dining and delightful cafes and boutiques. It’s also one of the safer neighborhoods in Boston.

Photo courtesy Flickr / Tjeerd

Related: Apartments For Rent in Beacon Hill Boston

3. Cambridge

A university town, Cambridge is where it’s at if you want an intellectually vibrant neighborhood that’s also quirky and fun. Laced with bookstores, coffee shops and pubs, it’s a great “walking” town, and in fact people who don’t own a car are probably best off in Cambridge as parking can be a nightmare when school is in session.

If you want a place with a great music scene, funky independent shops and lots of bustling squares, Cambridge will keep you on your toes.

Photo courtesy Flickr / Pete Beck

Related: Apartments For Rent in Cambridge MA

4. Fenway

Yep, you know the name. If you’re a sports fan, look no further than the Fenway-Kenmore Square area, home to the Red Sox’ own Fenway Park, to be at the center of the action. Full of sports bars and good food, with a surprisingly young population (median age around 22), Fenway’s game-day craziness can be too much for settled families but a great place for young renters and students who like to be where the fun is.

Affordable apartments in cul-de-sacs and on side streets off the main thoroughfares can yield some great bargains if you’re willing to put up with the extra traffic and noise when the Sox are in town.

Photo courtesy Flickr / Scott Willis

Related page: Apartments For Rent Near Fenway

5. Jamaica Plain

A diverse, hip and artsy neighborhood that also has a “homey” suburban feel, Jamaica Plain is a great place to connect with the creativity of an urban neighborhood while also escaping a bit of the hustle and bustle that come from being in too downtown of an area.

Home to a diverse population (it’s LGBT friendly and culturally varied, including a large Latino population) with activist bents, it’s also got lots of green space for jogging and biking, low crime rates and a nice small-neighborhood feel.

Photo courtesy Flickr / Bill Ilott

Related page: Jamaica Plain Apartments For Rent

6. South Boston

The waterfront neighborhood of South Boston was once the hub of the city’s Irish population, and it’s still home to the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Known as “Southie” to residents, South Boston today has been somewhat gentrified, but it still retains its working-class personality and sense of cultural heritage.

It’s a great place for the well-dressed young professional who’d like to work in the nearby financial district, then come home to have a pint at the local pub and discuss the latest game with the neighbors. It’s also had its share of fame—movies like Good Will Hunting, The Departed and Gone Baby Gone were all filmed here.

Photo courtesy Flickr / Andrew Fong

Related page: South Boston Apartments For Rent

7. South End

Not to be confused with South Boston, the South End is a great place for people who like an artistic and culturally diverse neighborhood. It’s an especially LGBT-friendly community that’s recently enjoyed a cultural renaissance as young professionals and young couples starting their families have flocked to its creative feel.

A jazz mecca in the ’50s, the South End is now home to plenty of galleries, community organizations, hot restaurants and trendy lofts and condos. Once a low-income tenement district, urban renewals efforts have resulted in an upscale area with a low crime rate. If you like feeling in the center of urban life, the South End could be for you.

Related pages: South End Apartments For Rent