Where to Live in Boston

Like any great American city, Boston is a large city that is made up of smaller communities.  There are sections of Boston in which you will find apartments at a more reasonable rate than in other parts of town.  What follows is a brief description of sections of Boston in which School of Theology students typically find apartments.  You are certainly not limited to these areas, but they are listed because of their proximity to Boston University and/or the reputations these sections have as safe and clean.

Allston and Brighton are areas in municipal Boston, and border Boston University to the west.  Commonwealth Avenue runs through the middle of Allston, and the Green “B Line” T runs down the center of the street.  You will find affordable apartments on or near Commonwealth Avenue.  The 57 bus runs through the heart of Brighton, and stops across from the School of Theology.  These communities are very diverse, and you will find a mix of students and recent immigrants.  You will find many apartment buildings and three story houses (“triple deckers”) in these areas.

Brookline is the first suburb west of Boston proper, and lies to the southwest of campus.  Another branch of the Green Line T, the “C” line, runs down the middle of Beacon Street in Brookline, and several bus lines will take commuters to the trolley.  There are many apartment buildings and multi-family homes in this suburb.  The streets of Brookline are nearly all tree-lined, and the public school system is excellent.

Cambridge is the city directly across the Charles River from Boston.  MIT and Harvard make their homes in Cambridge, so you will find accommodating apartments for students.  The section of Cambridge known as Cambridgeport is linked to the Boston University campus by the BU Bridge, and the farthest reaches of Cambridgeport are at most a 30 minute walk from the School of Theology.  Some of the city’s best restaurants can be found in Cambridge’s many charming “Squares.”  The Red Line subway serves Cambridge (approximately 35-40 minutes ride from the School) and it has an extensive bus system that converges on Harvard Square.

East Boston lies across the Boston Harbor, next to Logan International Airport.  It is accessible by the Blue Line T, approximately a thirty to forty minute ride to the School of Theology.  East Boston has a small-town feel, with many neighborhood stores and restaurants, and is family-oriented, which means that it is quiet in the evenings (unlike areas with lots of students).

The Fenway is within easy walking distance of Boston University.  Bordering a city park called “The Fens,” this section of town has only apartment buildings, which can run from “reasonable” to “pricey.”  The Fenway is very close to the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.  Students from Boston University, Berklee College of Music, Northeastern University, and the New England Conservatory populate this section of Boston.

Jamaica Plain is a highly diverse part of Boston.  The 39 bus runs down Center Street in Jamaica Plain and terminates in Copley Square, and the Forest Hills stop on the subway’s Orange Line connects Jamaica Plain residents with downtown Boston and connections to other subway lines.  It is approximately a 35-45 minute ride to the School.  Jamaica Plain borders the Jamaica Pond, one of the most beautiful city parks in Boston.

Somerville is a city north of Cambridge that offers affordable housing and ethnic flavor.  The western side of Somerville is served by the subway’s Red Line, and the eastern side has several bus lines serving it.  Somerville is a mix of students, immigrants, and long-time Somerville families.  You will find many triple-deckers, and several apartment buildings in the area.  A good section of Somerville is found around Davis Square.

This is only a partial list.  Some of our students have found lovely apartments in other sections of the city.  You might also find a good apartment in Roxbury, West Roxbury, Dorchester, Watertown or Waltham.  Some of our students have found great deals in Newton Centre, or Chestnut Hill, which are upscale suburbs, but also have apartments which are reasonably priced if you have roommates.