Good neighborhoods in Cambridge/Boston?

<p>Hi All!</p>

<p>I was hoping that people familiar with the Cambridge/Boston area could give some advice about good and/or safe neighborhoods to look for housing. I'm perusing craigslist and not sure what area to be focusing on!</p>

<p>For Boston: Stay away from Dorcester and Roxbury (going with the "safe" part of your query). Most others are pretty acceptable - Boston doesn't have much in the way of truly nasty areas these days; even the worst neighborhoods don't compare to the bad neighborhoods in some other cities. Southie has a bad stereotype, but I've heard it's an outdated stereotype (someone more familiar with Boston proper might want to comment on this, as I have no actual experience with Southie other than having walked through it a few times in daylight). Note that Boston-area housing in general, and certainly Boston proper, is ridiculously expensive for what you are getting.</p>

<p>For Cambridge: Central Square/Area 4 has a rep of being sketchy. I believe it is the most high-crime area of Cambridge, but I (a female) have walked through it at night numerous times without any problems. Most of the crime there, according to a chart I saw, happens right by Mass Ave. I have friends who have lived in the area for years with no problems. It's still probably the sketchiest part of Cambridge, though.</p>

<p>East Cambridge is a bit seedy and looks run-down in many parts. Someone I know who lived there came home to find a mob of strange drunken teens having a party in his basement. It would not be my first choice. On the plus side, it's near the mall (and the courthouse, if you get called for jury duty). I've heard that rent is comparatively cheap.</p>

<p>Kendall Square is near MIT. There are a lot of attractions there, and a lot of tech-ish companies. Area 4, which I mentioned earlier, is kind of a combination of the Kendall Square and Central Square areas. There's a housing project there, but it doesn't seem to be much of a problem - the worst I've ever seen or heard, going by there (even at night) is a random drug deal. MIT students don't seem to get mugged in very often near campus (though not never), which I guess says something positive about its safety.</p>

<p>Harvard Square is nice, but expensive. North Cambridge (Porter Square, Alewife, Fresh Pond area) is low-crime (with the exception of car/bike-related crimes at the Alewife T stop, which is the end of the Red Line) and a lot of it is extremely pretty. Expensive.</p>

<p>West Cambridge seems nice enough. I work there. I'm not sure how much is out there, though, if you like to be near things. It feels more out-of-the-way to me than other parts of Cambridge, and is not on a subway line.</p>

<p>You might also consider West Somerville (where I live now). The Davis Square area is very nice, and on the Red Line. It's pricey, but so is everything else. </p>

<p>If you have questions about a specific area, feel free to PM me, and I'll help if I can.</p>

<p>Where do you go to school?</p>

<p>To jessiehl (or anyone else, for that matter): Do you know anything about good/bad neighborhoods in Worchester, Mass.?</p>

<p>souravrc: I know nothing about Worcester. It's not actually very near Boston. Try the WPI forum, if there is one. If not, I'm sure there are online WPI forums outside of College Confidential where you could ask.</p>

<p>My daughter recently found an apartment in Brookline, though craigslist..it was through a realtor, and he was very helpful in giving the girls tours of apartments that were suitable for their needs and concerns.</p>

<p>Luckily, one of the girl's mother went with them, and had an eye or potential problems ( i.e. dark ally to walk down to enter building, residential area compared to commercial, proximity to T stop ) </p>

<p>It also helps that one of the girl's father is a statie and knows what goes on where !</p>

<p>I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area in California and went to school at UC Davis. I'm trying to choose between the bay area and Boston for grad school, so it could be a pretty drastic change for me!</p>

<p>I think the neighborhoods to look in depend on the school you are attending and your budget. Jessiehl had some pretty good advice. Much of what I have down below assumes that you are either using the T, bus, walking or biking. </p>

<p>MIT or Harvard
Cambridge:
Harvard sq, Porter Sq,
Inman Sq, Mid Cambridge, Cambridgeport, Central Sq and Area 4 are walkable.
Parts of North cambridge are near the Davis Sq T (Which is actually in Somerville) or Alewife.</p>

<p>Somerville: Davis Sq, Teele Sq, Spring Hill, Union Sq, Prospect Hill, Winter Hill, Ball Sq, Highland Ave, Powderhouse Sq, Inman Sq (Cambridge Somerville Line). I would avoid East Somerville/Sullivan Sq</p>

<p>Boston: Beacon Hill </p>

<p>MIT (areas that are less convenient for Harvard )
Boston: Back Bay, Fenway, Kenmore Sq</p>

<p>Harvard (areas that are less convenient for MIT but are a busline to Harvard)
West Cambridge
Lower Allston (near the Harvard B-School)
Watertown
Belmont
Arlington</p>

<p>Tufts: Somerville/Medford/North Cambridge</p>

<p>BU: Back Bay, Kenmore Sq, Fenway, Allston, Brighton and Brookline</p>

<p>Northeastern: Fenway, Back Bay, South End, Jamaica Plain, Malden. </p>

<p>BC: Brighton, Chestnut Hill (neighborhood that straddles Brookline and Newton)</p>

<p>Thanks for all the detailed information!! This is all really helpful as I go on the apartment hunt from across the country :).</p>

<p>classicrockerdad's list is terrific. I don't think any neighborhood in Cambridge is really bad anymore. I used to live in between Central Square and Harvard Square but nearer Central Square) and that neighborhood, which might have seemed sketchy then seems fine now. So do the areas I know in East Cambridge. [I'm probably in Cambridge once a week.] I'd follow crd's advice and if you can, find someplace convenient. Remember that Boston/Cambridge is an urban area, so you still have to have your street smarts turned on, but you do in San Francisco/Berkeley as well. [Less so Palo Alto].</p>

<p>There are a number of nice apartment complexes further out of Boston/Cambridge, too -- my husband and I live about five miles north of the city, but still on the subway. I think we have about twice the amount of room we'd have for this price in the city, and our commute is about 30 minutes.</p>

<p>I don't have much to add except that most of the grad students I know live in Central Square, Davis Square, or Porter Square in Cambridge. I also know a few who live with several roommates in houses in Brookline.</p>

<p>Also, if possible, it would be really useful for an apartment-hunter to come out to Boston for a few days at some point in the summer to see the places firsthand.</p>

<p>The Key issue should be commuting. If you are in Cambridge, whether at Harvard, MIT or Tufts, you don't want to live south of the Charles unless you want to punish yourself with long bus rides, long train rides or nasty traffic if you drive. Ditto the opposite. </p>

<p>So your best bet is to figure out where you will be working, then use a map from there. Or post here for more suggestions. </p>

<p>FWIW, if you are on the north side of the Charles (Cambridge), you will have a hard time finding a truly sketchy neighborhood, be it Cambridge proper, Arlington, Somerville or even Medford.</p>

<p>South of the Charles, Boston and environs, is a bit trickier. But a good rule is to stay north of Melnea Cass Blvd. As you follow Melnea Cass west and north on a map, it runs into (short intro to Boston streets follows:) it runs into Tremont and Columbus, which merge as they head southwest. Stay north and west of this street. And, to make things more complicated, South of Huntington in Boston, between that and Columbus, mentioned above, is a big wedge of the western edge of Boston that is a hodgepog of good, questionable and sketchy neighborhoods, varying block by block in some cases. You would need help from a local to sort out these areas. </p>

<p>For those that don't know, there are actually a number of academic clusters in different locations in the area:</p>

<p>Harvard at Harvard Square
Harvard Medical School in Boston
MIT at Kendall Square Cambridge
Tufts Medical School, near Chinatown in Boston
BU Medical School, south of Tufts
Brandeis, Near Rt 128 in Waltham
Tufts main campus Medford near Somerville and west Cambridge
Northeastern, between HMS and Tufts Med school in Boston.</p>

<p>Each of these has its own housing pattern, with lots of overlap of course.</p>

<p>Where ever there is MBTA(the worst public transportation in the world) there is bunch of sketchy dudes hanging out.</p>

<p>overall Boston is an old city built by criminals kicked out of europe. it was meant to be a village not a big city. The city is always under construction and everything fails all the time. There are no american companies who are competent to built/fix anything that could be close to higher european standards.</p>

<p>Cambridge in general is a great place to live. it's not as nice as Brookline.
shadiest places in Cambridge(Broadway and Columbia st) near central square.
then east cambridge along Cambridge st. you want to live on the west side of prospect st. </p>

<p>area in this triangle is the best, safest and priciest: Memorial dr, Cambridge st and prospect st. </p>

<p>The best advice is to live farther away from MBTA stop. there are always thugs hanging out near MBTA stations asking for money.</p>

<p>Dorchester used to be a very very beautiful neighborhood 30 years ago. but then it got flooded by cheap labor and turned into a dump. you can still find very beautiful properties there, currently occupied by crackwhores and pimps.</p>

<p>Safetywise brookline is the best. just stay on the north side of boylston st(route 9). south of boylston is ghetto part of brookline.</p>

<p>My sister has been a grad student there for 5/6 years. She lives right on Cambridge st, about a 5 minute walk to Harvard Yard. There are a lot of cute apartments in the area, and the worst that she's heard are the typical muggings in poorly-lit streets/park late at night and a burglary of the apartment closest to the door in her building.</p>

<p>"Where ever there is MBTA(the worst public transportation in the world) there is bunch of sketchy dudes hanging out."</p>

<p>False.</p>

<p>^my reaction also. Most of realestate's post seems a little exaggerated to me.</p>

<p>I prefer living near a T stop, for convenience sake, and never had problems when I lived "south of boylston". I try not to wander into Roxbury/Dorchester/Mattapan, but otherwise Boston has always seemed reasonably safe to me, and I'm a blonde white girl.</p>

<p>A subway trip that costs $1.70 regardless of distance traveled also disqualifies it from being the world's worst public transit in my eyes...</p>