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Moving to Boston

Expats moving to Boston – the capital and largest city of Massachusetts – will find that the city has an American appeal with distinctly European undertones. This duality is perfect for expats who, in moving to Boston, get to enjoy vibrant American culture with a European quality of life.

Boston is one of America's oldest cities and has retained the colonial roots of its British founders. Cafés, museums, bookstores and pubs line the walkable and quaint city neighbourhoods, meaning that there's a lot to see and do in Boston

Great education and public schools, attractive districts and high-paying jobs are factors that attract expats to Boston. Yet the city’s charms come with one of the highest costs of living in the USA.

While Los Angeles has the fun, New York the money and Washington DC the power, Boston has the brains. This incredibly academically driven city is home to some of the country's best hospitals, research centres and universities, including Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As Boston's population is highly educated, technology and research industries seek to take advantage of its workforce.

While accommodation in Boston is difficult to find and on the expensive side, expats will find a range of different options to choose from. However, it is recommended that new arrivals find a place to live with good access to public transport as most Bostonians opt to utilise public transport rather than brave the congested roads each day. 

The lifestyle in Boston is varied, and expats will find there is plenty to keep them busy in their free time. In Boston, one can sample food from across the world or indulge in traditional Bostonian cuisine which centres on seafood. Those looking for a night out on the town will find that nightlife in Boston is made up of cozy bars and exciting live music venues. Active expats will appreciate the many running, hiking or biking trails around the city, while sports enthusiasts can join in and support local teams such as the Celtics, Patriots and the famous Boston Red Sox. 

Ultimately, moving to Boston is ideal for expats looking to engage with the forefront of science, technology and industry. Yet, for all of its innovation, Boston is rooted in well-established institutions coupled with an old-world ambience.

Weather in Boston

Boston has a continental climate and expats relocating here can expect extremes on both ends of the scale, with hot summers and very cold winters. Temperature variations can occur and even unseasonal snowfalls have been known to happen.

Boston is known for the vividness of its seasons, with spring ranging from late March to May; summer from June to August; fall/autumn from September to November and winter from December to early March.

In general, summers are humid and sunny with average daytime highs in July reaching 82°F (28°C). Winter months are very cold, wet and windy, with snowfall being common. The level of snowfall in Boston varies yearly and it can snow at any time during the winter.

 

Working in Boston

Boston has a diverse economy, accompanied by a highly educated population, which has attracted many top companies to the city. Despite the increasingly competitive job market in US cities, the demand for highly educated workers in Boston has seen a resurgence. 


Job market in Boston

Boston is a centre of education in the USA and its universities and colleges are large contributors to Boston's economy. For expats qualified in education, Boston offers an attractive job market. These educational facilities have also put the city at the forefront of technology development, attracting major players in the technology industry to the city. 

Top employers in Boston include the biotechnology industry, higher education, healthcare (including research), and the finance and technology industries. Tourism and hospitality are significant sectors, while law enforcement and federal agencies are also large employers in the city. 

Expats with relevant experience and qualifications in these fields will likely find opportunities, although they should expect competition to be fierce.


Finding a job in Boston

Boston is focused on highly skilled knowledge-based jobs. Salaries are generally higher than the national average, although Boston also has a high cost of living. For expats looking to work in Boston, there are numerous online job portal sites, and recruitment agencies to help with the process. 

Expats wanting to work in Boston should ensure that they have a relevant work permit for the USA.

Cost of Living in Boston

The cost of living in Boston is high. In Mercer's Cost of Living Survey for 2020, Boston was listed as the 41st most expensive expat destination out of 209 cities, ranked above other prominent American metors such as Houston, Atlanta and Seattle.

Employment packages may include some contribution toward accommodation (usually an expat's biggest expense) and health insurance. However, in some cases, wages are not increased in proportion to the cost of living in Boston. It is important that new arrivals are aware of the expenses that they are likely to incur before negotiating their salary.


Cost of accommodation in Boston

Accommodation is likely to be the largest expense for those moving to Boston. As there is a high demand for accommodation in Boston, rental costs are expensive. Expats will often need to pay their first month's rent as well as a security deposit to secure their lease. This, combined with rental agency fees, means that new arrivals will likely need to pay high initial costs for accommodation.


Cost of eating out and entertainment in Boston

There is much to see and do in Boston, but recreational pursuits aren't cheap. Since Boston is considerably smaller than many other cities in the US, there is less competition between businesses so eating out and entertainment costs remain high. However, expats on a budget who spend smartly can live comfortably while still enjoying the city.


Cost of transport in Boston

Thankfully, those moving to Boston will not need to invest in their own car as the city has a reasonably priced, comprehensive and efficient public transport network. Boston is also fairly bicycle-friendly for those wanting to commute by bike.


Cost of education in Boston

Education in Boston is of a high calibre. Boston is home to some of the country's top public schools, and expat children are eligible to attend free of charge. On the other hand, fees for private and international schools can be exceptionally steep, and therefore expats planning on taking this route should try to negotiate the inclusion of fees into their relocation contract.


Cost of living in Boston chart 

Prices may vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Boston in February 2021.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 2,700

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 2,000

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

USD 4,300

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

USD 3,000

Shopping

Eggs (dozen)

USD 2.60

Milk (1 litre)

USD 0.90

Rice (1kg)

USD 5.30

Loaf of bread

USD 3.20

Chicken breasts (1kg)

USD 12

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

USD 12

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

USD 9

Coca-Cola (330ml)

USD 2.30

Cappuccino

USD 4.30

Bottle of local beer

USD 7

Three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant

USD 80

Utilities

Mobile-to-mobile call rate (per minute)

USD 0.10

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

USD 65

Basic utilities (per month for small apartment)

USD 170

Transportation

Taxi rate (per kilometre)

USD 1.80

Bus/train fare in the city centre

USD 2.75

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

USD 0.65

Accommodation in Boston

Finding accommodation in Boston can be a difficult task. The compact city centre receives an annual influx of university students, increasing housing competition, while the high property prices continue to make Boston one of the most expensive places to buy or rent a home in the country. Nevertheless, with a bit of patience and determination, expats are likely to find their ideal accommodation in Boston.

When searching for a property in Boston, expats should consider the proximity of their home to their place of work and their children’s school. Access to public transport is also important, if not owning a car. 


Types of accommodation in Boston

There is a diversity of housing options in Boston and expats can typically choose between large family homes, apartments and the brownstone rowhouses.

Brownstones/rowhouses

Brownstones are mostly historical homes built in the late 1800s. They are usually three or four stories high and are typically built in a row with street-facing fronts.

These are found in more affluent areas such as Back Bay, North End and Beacon Hill, and are some of the most highly sought-after types of properties in the city. This means they tend to be on the more expensive side. Although spacious and well built, car owners should note that these homes usually don't have off-street parking.

Apartments

There are a variety of apartment types in Boston, from high-rise residential blocks to the more exclusive condo or loft options. These buildings usually include amenities such as air conditioning, central heating and laundry facilities. Apartments are a popular form of accommodation in Boston and are highly sought-after. It's worth noting that while apartments near downtown are steadily snatched up by university students, the turnover rate is high. 

Detached houses

Detached or stand-alone houses in Boston are mostly found in residential areas in the outer suburbs of the city. There are many options, from large family homes to smaller units. Houses can be expensive in Boston, but they are popular with students who are looking for a house-share to bring down rent costs. Demand is therefore high for houses, so it can take some time to find the right home, particularly before the start of the academic year.


Finding accommodation in Boston

Expats will have a number of resources at their disposal. Online property portals are a valuable source of information when it comes to getting an idea of typical prices. Another option is to utilise the services of a reputable real estate agent. However, expats should note that agencies typically charge upwards of a month's rent as their commission. 


Renting accommodation in Boston

Once expats have found their ideal home, they will need to make an application to rent. If approved, they must then sign the lease and pay the deposit.

Making an application

With the high demand for accommodation in Boston, landlords can afford to be picky about who they rent to. When making an application to rent, expats should be prepared to provide proof of their financial ability to pay the rent. They may also have to go through a credit check.

Leases

In Boston, the standard rental contract is 12 months. At the end of the rental term, leases can either be renewed or ended by either party.

Utilities

When signing a lease in Boston, it’s important to read the contract carefully and to establish exactly what is included in the rental agreement. Tenants will typically be responsible for paying their own utility bills. 

Deposit

A month’s rent is usually required as a deposit. In addition, the first and the last month’s rent is often required to be paid upfront to secure the property.

Areas and suburbs in Boston

The best places to live in Boston

Boston is a small and compact city, and most suburbs are well served by the city’s comprehensive public transport system.

There are several attractive areas and suburbs where expats choose to live, both within the city itself and in the surrounding towns of Boston. 

The majority of expats choose to rent rather than buy property in Boston. Unfortunately, the city is one of the most expensive cities in the USA and rental costs are high.


Family-friendly suburbs of Boston

Boston

For expats moving with children, it will be a priority to find a home close to a good school. Many of Boston’s family-friendly neighbourhoods – and some of the city's best schools – are located outside the city limits.

Westborough

Westborough is a family-friendly town located west of Boston. There is a strong community spirit in this area with lots of local events taking place on weekends that the whole family can enjoy. Westborough is home to some good schools, which is why a lot of local as well as expat families choose to live here. The town is about 45 minutes by car from Boston’s city centre and well served by MBTA commuter rail services. It is also well located in relation to major highways such as the Interstate 90, Route 30 and Route 9.

Newton

Newton is a safe and vibrant town located just outside Boston that is popular with families due to its excellent public schools. The town has easy access to downtown Boston, so Newton is convenient for those working in the city but who want to live in a quieter area. Newton is one of the wealthiest urban areas in Boston so property prices are steep, but for those with the right budget, it’s a wonderful place to raise a family.

Brookline

Brookline is a town located close to Boston and bordered by suburbs such as Jamaica Plain, Allston and West Roxbury. The area has historically been home to some of the best schools in Massachusetts and there are also excellent medical facilities, parks, shops and entertainment, making it a popular residential neighbourhood for families. Brookline is also well serviced by the MBTA train and bus routes.


Young and hip areas of Boston

Boston

As home to several universities, many of Boston's suburbs are filled with students. Rental costs in these areas tend to be a little lower and they have a lively feel to them.

Wellesley

Wellesley is a town outside of Boston that is popular with young professionals and students because of its proximity to a number of colleges and universities, including Wellesley College, Babson College and Olin College of Engineering. Wellesley also attracts many families due to its excellent public schooling system.

The area is well covered by Boston’s public transport network and is linked to Boston city centre by the commuter rail and some commuter express bus services.

Allston-Brighton

Allston-Brighton is popular with both students and young professionals due to their proximity to Harvard and Boston universities. 

The area is home to some of Boston’s best nightlife and the area is full of upscale eateries, bars and pool halls. In addition, Allston-Brighton is well placed on public transport routes allowing easy access to buses and trains.


City living in Boston

Boston

For those who want to live in the city centre, there are plenty of housing options in Boston. However, rentals in the heart of the city tend to be steep.

Charlestown

Charlestown is centrally located on the banks of Boston Harbour in the downtown area of Boston and is populated by young professionals who choose to live within walking distance of their offices. The area is well served by public transport links and expats living in Charlestown will be able to get around easily on foot, by subway or bus. There is a lively atmosphere in Charlestown and the area’s streets are lined with bars, cafés and bakeries. Charlestown is the oldest suburb of Boston and, due to its central location, rents are high.

Hyde Park and Jamaica Plain

The suburbs of Hyde Park and Jamaica Plain (or JP as it's often referred to by residents) are located to the south of Boston and are known for their open green spaces. These neighbourhoods are home to ethnically diverse populations and are known for their community spirit. Both areas are served well by commuter rail, the subway and local bus services.

South End and Back Bay

South End and Back Bay are cosmopolitan areas of Boston popular with young professionals and families. Lined with brownstones, they have some of the most desirable real estate in the city, so rental prices tend to be high. The area has a lively atmosphere, especially in the evening when residents congregate around Tremont Street, which is also known as ‘Restaurant Row’, as it is lined with eateries serving delicacies from many countries.

Healthcare in Boston

Thanks to Boston’s many prestigious universities, the city is a centre of medical research and is home to some of the best hospitals in the country. These mostly huddle together in the Longwood Medical Area, adjacent to the Fenway district. Some hospitals in Boston are excellent teaching hospitals affiliated directly with specific academic institutions.

Healthcare in Boston is overseen by the Boston Public Health Commission, the oldest health department in the US. The organisation is an independent public agency that provides a wide range of healthcare programmes and services.

Pharmacies are widely available in Boston, from large chain stores to smaller local outlets; some of these are open 24/7. 

Expats moving to Boston should ensure that they have a comprehensive healthcare plan to have access to the top medical facilities in the city.

Below is a list of some of Boston's most respected hospitals.


Hospitals in Boston

Boston Children's Hospital

Website: www.childrenshospital.org
Address: 300 Longwood Ave, Boston

Brigham and Women's Hospital

Website: www.brighamandwomens.org
Address: 75 Francis Street, Boston

Massachusetts General Hospital

Websitewww.massgeneral.org
Address: 55 Fruit Street, Boston

New England Boston Hospital

Websitewww.nebh.org
Address: 125 Parker Hill Avenue, Boston

Tufts Medical Center

Website: www.tuftsmedicalcenter.org
Address: 800 Washington Street, Boston

Education and Schools in Boston

Boston is arguably the heart of America’s education system. Home to many prestigious academic institutions, including Harvard and MIT, as well as the oldest public education system in the US. It goes without saying that education and schools in Boston are top-quality and expats won't struggle to find a suitable school for their child.

There are a variety of schools in Boston to choose from, including public, charter, pilot, private and international schools.


Public schools in Boston

Boston takes pride in its public education and it follows that the local school system is well regarded and well funded. Boston is home to the first American public school and regularly places in the top five city school systems in the US.

Children in Kindergarten to Grade 8 are subject to a home-based school assignment plan, whereby parents identify a list of their chosen schools within their geographic area and register accordingly. Placement at a school is then determined according to an algorithm, similar to a lottery, so parents are not guaranteed their child will be placed in their first choice of school. It’s best to apply as early as possible to ensure the widest choice of schools. Children with siblings in a particular school are given priority at that school.

The home-based school assignment plan doesn’t apply to high schools and children in high school in Boston can attend any school.

There are also publicly funded charter and pilot schools in Boston that have greater control of their curriculum and teaching method; however, space in these schools is limited and competition over placements is fierce. 


Private and international schools in Boston 

There are many private schools in Boston. These range from the most prestigious prep and religious schools to schools offering more flexible teaching styles.

International schools offer foreign curricula, including French, German and British. Tuition fees are high at private and international schools and vary considerably between schools.

International Schools in Boston

International schools in Boston are ideal for expat families as they offer curricula of foreign countries such as France, Germany and the UK. The language of instruction at these schools typically corresponds with its curriculum. In some cases, teaching is bilingual.

Expat children generally feel more at home in international schools among peers who can identify with relocating to a new country. Attending a school with the same curriculum as the family's country of origin can ease the transition and also make for a smooth transition back should the family return.

While Boston has just a few international schools, expat parents will find that the high quality makes up for the relatively small selection.


International schools in Boston

British International School of Boston

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: English National Curriculum, International Primary Curriculum, Cambridge IGCSE and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 1.5 to 18
Website: www.nordangliaeducation.com/our-schools/boston

Ecole Française Greater Boston

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: French
Ages: 21 months to 18 years
Website: www.efgboston.org

German International School of Boston

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: German
Ages: 3 to 18
Website: www.gisbos.org

International Schoool of Boston

Gender: Co-educational
Curriculum: French and International Baccalaureate
Ages: 3 to 18
Website: www.isbos.org

Lifestyle in Boston

Boston’s warm and friendly atmosphere will make new arrivals feel right at home. People of all persuasions will find that Boston houses attractions to suit their tastes. From shopping, exciting nightlife and world-class sporting facilities to a fabulous variety of restaurants, expats in Boston won't be at a loss for things to do.


Shopping in Boston

Expats will enjoy perusing Boston’s shopping districts and many boutiques, department stores, malls and outlets. While many local goods can be found at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, other well-known shopping areas include the affluent Newbury Street and Beacon Hill, which is known for its antiques. 


Eating out in Boston

Expats in Boston can savour a diversity of flavours from a range of restaurants. With a large Irish community, it’s not difficult to find good Irish fare in the city’s many Irish pubs. There are also many Italian restaurants to explore, along with numerous Asian and other ethnic restaurants. Local cuisine consists of seafood from the New England coast such as clam chowder and lobster. Burger and take-away joints are common and the city has a thriving food truck scene.


Entertainment and nightlife in Boston

While most Bostonians prefer more relaxed evenings, the city's large population of students enjoy nights out on the town and bar hopping is popular. Lansdowne Street has traditionally been a well-loved nightlife spot, with many bars and clubs to enjoy. 

Boston’s arts scene is well worth exploring. The Theatre District is home to a range of theatres with regular performances to rival New York’s Broadway. As there are many restaurants in the area, expats can enjoy a full night out of theatre and dining. Cambridge and Watertown, just outside of Boston, also boast many theatrical productions, while the Boston Common hosts open-air productions in the summer months.


Outdoor and sporting activities in Boston

Home to several major league sporting teams including the Boston Red Sox baseball team and the New England Patriots football team, Boston is a sports-mad city. Bostonians are passionate about supporting their teams and during major games. 

Expats can also enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle in the summer months thanks to Boston’s many public parks. Boston Common is the oldest city park in the US and is adjacent to the equally famous Public Garden. Other green spaces which are ideal for exploration with the whole family include the Charles River Esplanade, Jamaica Pond and the Arnold Arboretum.

Kids and Family in Boston

Expats who relocate to Boston will be pleased to know that there are a plethora of attractions and activities geared toward kids. The many activities and good hospitals and schools make Boston an excellent city to raise a family.

Parents should consider living in one of Boston's family-friendly suburbs. Students up to high school are placed by the Boston public school system in schools near to their homes. Parents thinking of enrolling their children in Boston public schools may want to consider moving to areas that allow access to specific schools. 


Educational activities in Boston

Boston features several educational and child-friendly activities which are perfect for any weather.

The Children's Museum provides an interactive indoor playground in which children learn through play. The Franklin Park Zoo allows children to connect with wildlife, while the New England Aquarium lets children meet the marine life that lives off of Boston's shores.


Outdoor activities in Boston

Watching baseball at Fenway Park is a quintessential Boston activity. The Observatory presents breathtaking top-down views of Boston, while the Boston high-speed harbour cruises are a fun summer activity. Expats can also take their family to one of the many connecting parks that make up Boston's Emerald Necklace.


Indoor activities in Boston

Boston has all of the amenities of a modern city, including malls with cinema houses. Otherwise, there is an active children's theatre scene in Boston, which can be enjoyed at venues such as the Puppet Showplace Theater.

See and Do in Boston

With one of the country's highest concentrations of national historic landmarks, Boston has played a key part in America's history. This underlies Boston's reputation as a 'city of American firsts', with the city having established the first American subway system and public health department, first public school, first public park and first free municipal library.

Boston's vital and continuing place in American history alongside its breathtaking parks and museums have made it one of the most visited cities in America. 


Attractions in Boston

Black Heritage Trail

As Massachusetts was the first state to abolish slavery in 1783, Boston developed a strong abolitionist black community largely made up of freed and escaped slaves. The Black Heritage Trail meanders past more than 15 sites illustrating local black history, including museums, meeting places and the homes of important figures in the emancipation struggle. 

Boston Public Garden

The Boston Public Garden is a tranquil park famed as the country's first public heart. Situated in the heart of Boston, it forms part of the city's famed 'Emerald Necklace' of parks. The garden offers scenic walking routes and boat rides on the lagoon. 

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

This interactive family-friendly attraction allows visitors to learn about and re-enact the Boston Tea Party, a 1773 demonstration by a group of American revolutionaries. These revolutionaries stormed British ships carrying tea and threw their cargo overboard as a protest against unfair taxation. This event was key to the start of the War of Independence.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

The Faneuil Hall Marketplace has been in operation since the 18th century and features designer stores, restaurants, cafés, stalls and even performing entertainers like jugglers, mimes and musicians. 

Museum of Fine Arts

A beautiful building in its own right, the Museum of Fine Arts houses nearly 450,000 artworks by some of the world’s most renowned artists in history, including Manet, Degas and Van Gogh.

What's On in Boston

Boston has a lively calendar that celebrates its many cultures and which should keep both locals and expats entertained. With such a wide range of events, there's sure to be plenty to interest all kinds of expats.

Here's a selection of popular yearly festivals and celebrations taking place in Boston.


Annual events in Boston

St. Patrick's Day (March)

Ostensibly to commemorate the arrival of both Christianity and St. Patrick in Ireland, 'St. Paddy's Day' is also a means for Boston to celebrate its Irish heritage. This celebration is characterised by the jovial spirit of its annual parade in South Boston, and local restaurants also join in on the festivities by offering traditional Irish dishes.

Dragon Boat Festival (June)

The annual Dragon Boat Festival is a traditional Chinese festival which takes place each year along the banks of the Charles River. It sees thousands of visitors flocking to sample Asian fare, watch martial arts demonstrations, buy traditional Chinese arts and crafts and, of course, watch the dragon boat races.

Boston Pride Week (June)

Boston Pride Week is a period of awareness and events held in honour of Boston’s LGBT community, culminating in the Pride Parade. Diversity is embraced, and people from all walks of life are welcome to attend the parade.

Boston Harborfest (July)

With dozens of events such as concerts, re-enactments, walking tours and parties, the Boston Harborfest is a week-long event celebrating the United States’ independence and heritage. The festival concludes on the 4th of July with a breathtaking fireworks display. 

Arlington International Film Festival (October)

The Arlington International Film Festival attracts movie buffs from all over and showcases both local and international independent films. Attendees are spoilt for choice, with around 50 films being screened at the event each year.

Frequently Asked Questions about Boston

Moving to a new city is a daunting task and expats are sure to have many questions about what to expect. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about living in Boston.

What is public transportation like in Boston?

Boston likes to call itself 'the walking city' as it's well situated for walking. A large portion of the residents use public transport for their commutes to work, which is rare for an American city.

One of the most famous aspects of the city is the subway, commonly referred to as 'the T'. It has four easily navigable lines that provide access to most sections of the city. A bus service and commuter train are also widely used, and a ferry connects city districts across the bay.

What is the weather like in Boston?

The weather in Boston varies dramatically in changing seasons. Winters are cold with frequent snowfall. About 42 inches (107cm) of snow falls annually. Summers are hot, reaching 82°F (28°C) in July. Many homes have both air conditioning and heaters.

What's the cost of living in Boston like?

The cost of living in Boston is one of the highest in the US. Although Boston's public transport is affordable, accommodation is a huge expense. Thankfully salaries in Boston are generally high, but expats should ensure that their employers offer packages that meet the cost of living in Boston.

Is Boston safe?

Overall Boston is safe, but, like any large city, there are places to avoid. Public transportation is well policed, as is the city centre. A few upper-end neighbourhoods hire their own security companies, but in general, this is not needed.

Will I need a car when I move to Boston?

This depends where one lives. Many expats choose to live in a suburb, where a car is a necessity – particularly for those with children. Downtown Boston is compact, bike-friendly (flat), easily walkable and residents can manage without having a car, particularly since the advent of Uber and Lyft. Parking in the city centre is difficult, and many residents choose to get around Boston by foot or public transport. It's also nice to have a car when it's cold and snowing hard, but you'll need a snow shovel in the winter if you park on the street. 

Getting Around in Boston

As a relatively compact city, getting around Boston is fairly easy by foot or using public transport. Although driving is often the most convenient option for travel outside of Boston proper, most residents choose not to drive around the downtown area due to the traffic congestion, high parking fees and the city's confusing street design. 

Expats will find that there are a wealth of public transport options available in Boston, which will make getting to grips with the city much easier.


Public transport in Boston

Boston has an integrated public transport system run by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). Expats will find that public transport makes getting around Boston convenient and relatively inexpensive. The MBTA is made up of the subway, buses, water shuttles and commuter rail.

The CharlieCard is a contactless smartcard that forms the basis of the MBTA payment system. There are a variety of options which allow commuters to choose the package that best suits their needs.

Subway

Boston’s subway, or ‘the T’, is composed of four colour-coded rail lines. This comprehensive network covers all the main areas of the city. If using a CharlieCard for one-way rides, commuters get free transfers on most subway and local bus routes. 

Bus

Expats will find that while bus travel in Boston may be slower than using the subway, a bus ride will often be cheaper and take them closer to their final destination. 

There are also express buses in Boston which travel over longer distances. These are more expensive than regular buses.

Water shuttles

The MBTA runs a number of water shuttles. There are also non-MBTA ferries and water taxis available at several ports.

Commuter rail

The commuter rail system in Boston is primarily used for travelling to towns outside the city. Since these trains are infrequent, it's much faster to use the subway when travelling within Boston. 


Taxis in Boston

Boston taxi fares are some of the most expensive in the US. Unless planning on sharing a taxi with a group of friends, it makes more sense to use the city's extensive public transport system.

Rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft operate in Boston and, like regular taxis, they allow for more specific routes, but at a generally cheaper price. As Uber and Lyft services are charged directly to a user's bank account, they allow for travel without needing to carry cash. 


Walking in Boston

Boston is a relatively small and safe city and many locals walk around the city centre. Walking will allow visitors to see more of the Boston than they would on the subway, although walking is not always easy in the winter months when the snow and wind can pose a major obstacle to pedestrians.


Cycling in Boston

Bostonians love to cycle and, thanks to the city's small size and flat terrain, cycling is relatively easy (except in winter). Boston is a relatively cyclist-friendly city, though existing cycling infrastructure isn't completely comprehensive and needs to be expanded.


Driving in Boston

Navigating the streets of Boston is difficult for newcomers. Unlike other US cities, Boston’s streets do not follow a grid system or centre on a geographical feature like a river or lake. Many locals choose to use public transport or taxis rather than driving, due to the traffic congestion in the city centre and the parking, which is both difficult to find and expensive.