Brookline has plenty to offer millennials: It offers Boston city living without the hassles of actually living in the city--including a lower crime rate. Plus, its schools are well-regarded and public transport is made easy by strong MBTA coverage, giving strong access to Boston’s wealth of jobs. But it also has fun parts, too, like plenty of nightlife (and world class sports teams)--so it’s no wonder that it’s one of the most coveted suburbs of the area.
With just under 60,000 residents, Brookline is the smallest city on the list—but if that’s a problem, it actually borders six of Boston’s neighborhoods; so a bigger city lifestyle is easily within grasp. And despite its size, Brookline has a lot to boast about—like making Livability’s top 100 best places to live, or like being the oldest city on this list. (It was settled in 1638.)
Relative to the other cities on the list, Brookline has a lot going for it. It has the lowest crime rates of all 10 cities—for example, in terms of violent crime, the rate is 2.83 crimes per 1,000 residents, while the national average is 3.8 crimes (and Massachusetts’ is 3.91).
Brookline is also second on this list in terms of sociability and walkability, and has some of the best public transit to boot. Poverty rates are also lowest here relative to the other cities as well, and its education levels are practically off the charts—97.6 percent of residents graduated high school, and a whopping 81 percent have a bachelor’s degree. Almost half hold a master’s degree, too.
Probably contributing to the educated population are the multiple colleges in the area, including Newbury College, Hellenic College, and parts of Boston University and Boston College. And even primary and secondary schools in the area are superb, coming in at a 9 out of 10 on GreatSchools--meaning it has the highest-rated school district on this list. Meanwhile, this small town has four libraries, with an astonishing 402,000 children’s books in circulation between them.
Brookline is also a great area for jobs, mainly thanks to its proximity to Boston; nearly 1 in 5 residents make a long commute on a daily basis, thanks to several MTBA stations in the town. Similarly, those looking for fun things to do need only look to Boston; Fenway Park, for instance, is 10 or so minutes by car and 20 by public transport, and the Museum of Fine arts is 10 minutes by car and 30 by public transport.
In terms of diversity, Brookline is also a hub for both Jewish and Greek Orthodox communities; in fact, the headquarters of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Metropolis of Boston is in Brookline.
And like most of New England, Brookline is a great place for history buffs. Two places—9 Toxteth Street and 182 Walnut Street—served as stops on the Underground Railroad, and you can visit the birthplace of John F. Kennedy at 83 Beals Street.
Not quite what you want? Take a look at #3 on our list then, especially if you love college towns bursting with culture and good food.