Boston's Best Neighborhoods - A Quick Guide

Boston Downtown Skyline

The same way some cities are defined by their skylines, Boston is defined by its vast and diverse neighborhoods. If you’re a history buff (particularly of the American Revolution), you’ll find plaques, memorable buildings and battlegrounds everywhere. If you’re into shopping at the best boutiques near your front step, you’ll find that, too. Each Beantown neighborhood has its own, unique feel, and proud residents will tell you why theirs is the best. On top of the parks that already exist, new projects will eventually weave 27 acres of green space in the city, reuniting surrounding neighborhoods with Boston Harbor and each other.

In the meantime, we’re here to tell you about some of the best neighborhoods Beantown has to offer:

Beacon Hill

Beacon Hill’s present-day charm has a lot to do with its colonial Boston roots. Brick row houses and cobblestone streets lined with gas lamps harken back to the city’s earliest European residents. If you don’t have a view of it, you’ll be a stone’s throw from the Massachusetts State House, which was built in 1795. Singles and families love Charles Street, Beacon Hill’s famous thoroughfare, which is lined with antique shops, restaurants and fashionable bars – making it easy to never need to leave the neighborhood. The average age here is 33, with 75% of residents being single, and the average household income is $90,409.

The neighborhood is named for a beacon that once warned residents of foreign invasion, and it’s home to America’s first African Meeting House. All that charm and surrounding history will cost you, though. Homes average more than $700,00 in Beacon Hill, and prices can soar into the millions for homes near the Charles River Esplanade. As a result, renters account for 63% of the population, even though rent averages $6,000 per month.

Back Bay

Popular with Boston residents and visitors alike for its historic homes, world-class shopping and restaurants, Back Bay is a bustling neighborhood right in the heart of the city. It’s easily one of the best places to walk, with the trendy Newbury Street, Boylston Street and Commonwealth Avenue. It’s also a great place for the young and unmarried, as 75% Back Bay residents are single. You’ll also find two of Boston’s most distinctive landmarks in Back Bay: The Prudential Center and the 60-story John Hancock Tower.

Back Bay is one of the most expensive zip codes in the Boston area and homes don’t go on the market often. Homes average $2.95 million in this neighborhood and rents average $2,850 per month. The average age of residents is 34 and homeowners make up just 33% of the population, of which 90% is college educated.

Charlestown

Located on the banks of the Mystic River and Boston Harbor, this one-square-mile neighborhood offers a great blend of old and new. Charlestown is home to such historic landmarks as the Bunker Hill Monument and the USS Constitution ship, which is commonly referred to as “Old Ironsides.” A traditionally Irish-American neighborhood, this northside hang has an average age of 35 and is now a popular destination for young professionals, families and a new generation of immigrants.

Homeowners comprise 54% of this neighborhood’s population, and 57% are single. You will need the average household income of $120,306 to afford living in Charlestown, though, where the average home value is $649,700 and rents cost an average of $2,900 per month.

Downtown Boston

Downtown Boston is as happening as you’d expect. With the centers of business and government located here, as well as the Boston Common and the tranquil Public Garden, it’s an ideal spot to settle down if you’re going to work in the area. Downtown is where you’ll also find large department stores and historic sites, such as Faneuil Hall, which has been a meeting hall and marketplace since 1743. The average age, here, is 36 and there is more of a blend of families and singles than in other neighborhoods, with 57% of downtown residents being single.

Although rents are not cheap downtown – the average is $6,987 – renters comprise about 86% of residents here. Homes average $940,900 and the average household income is $67,115.

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