When choosing an apartment in Boston, it is paramount to consider how you plan on getting around. Most often, your Boston apartment won’t have an included parking spot, and off street parking can get expensive. Boston’s transportation system covers almost everywhere you could possible want to go, whether it is by trolley, bus, or commuter rail. Prices of apartments can vary based simply on their distance to public transportation. While Boston is pretty well equipped to get you where you need to go, a big plus to living in the city is its “walkability”. According to WalkScore.com (a website that ranks cities and neighborhoods based on how easy it is to forgo a car), Boston is the #3 most walk-able city in the country. It then broke down the city into individual neighborhoods and ranked them on the same scale.
Back Bay and Beacon Hill came in first. With a Walk Score of 97, the neighborhoods contain only 4% of Boston’s residential population but most of the tourism and many of the commercial landmarks. While this area can be pricey, there are plenty of college apartments filled with Suffolk University and Emerson College students.
The South End is tied for first place, also obtaining a 97 on the Walk Score Scale. The South End is much more affordable than the luxury condos of Back Bay and is filled with flourishing restaurants and workplaces. Because of the proximity, there are some Northeastern University apartments in the South End.
The Fenway-Kenmore area came in third place with a score of 96. This neighborhood is a walker’s paradise. If you have a Fenway apartment, you are in luck. With every amenity you can think of at your fingertips and rents that are much less expensive than Back Bay or South End apartments, Kenmore/Fenway is the perfect balance of affordability and “walkability.” This combination might be why this area is one of the most popular areas for student apartments in Boston. (It also probably helps that Northeastern, Boston University and all of the Fenway Coalition colleges are right around the corner!)
Central Boston (Including Chinatown, Government Center, the North End, and Faneuil Hall) ranked fourth with a Walk Score of 95. This area is a center of industry, politics, and tourism, so it’s no wonder that it ranks high on the list. It may not be a center of college apartments, but Central Boston is definitely a great walking neighborhood.
The fifth ranking walk-able neighborhood is Allston-Brighton. With a score of 86, it isn’t quite as walk-able as the first four, but it still is a very accessible area. Allston apartments and Brighton apartments are usually filled with college students and a younger crowd, so the amenities are overflowing. With restaurants, bars, and boutiques scattered around the center (Allston Village) and radiating out, the area is always bustling.
According to CityWalk.com, the following criteria make a neighborhood walk-able:
- A center: Walkable neighborhoods have a center, whether it’s a main street or a public space.
- People: Enough people for businesses to flourish and for public transit to run frequently.
- Mixed income, mixed use: Affordable housing located near businesses.
- Parks and public space: Plenty of public places to gather and play.
- Pedestrian design: Buildings are close to the street, parking lots are relegated to the back.
- Schools and workplaces: Close enough that most residents can walk from their homes.
- Complete streets: Streets designed for bicyclists, pedestrians, and transit.