- Purchase the complete Expat Arrivals Boston Guide (PDF)
Situated in northeast of the United States, Boston is the capital and largest city of Massachusetts. It's rather compact for a major city but, small as it may be, 'Beantown' packs oodles of character and charm. The city straddles the Charles River, which spills into the famous Boston Harbour, and it boasts plenty of greenery. Newcomers to Boston will discover a city with an American appeal and distinctly European undertones.
Living in Boston as an expat
Boston is one of America's oldest cities and has retained the colonial roots of its British founders. Cafes, museums, bookstores and pubs line the walkable and quaint city neighbourhoods, and there's a lot to see and do in Boston.
While Los Angeles has the glitz, New York City the money and Washington DC the power, Boston has the brains. This academically driven city is home to some of the country's best universities, hospitals and research centres, 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, there is a range of different options to choose from. 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 relaxed but vibey, and newcomers have 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 cosy bars and exciting live music venues.
Cost of living in Boston
The city’s myriad charms come with one of the highest costs of living in the US, chiefly driven up by the exorbitant prices of accommodation. That said, with one of the most highly educated and competitive workforces in the country, salaries tend to be high enough to cover living costs and ensure a comfortable life.
Expat families and children
Great education and public schools, attractive districts and plenty of green spaces make Boston popular with families. Active families 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.
Climate in Boston
Boston's weather can be extreme. In general, summers are humid and sunny with average daytime highs in July reaching 82°F (28°C). Winter months are freezing, wet and windy, with snowfall being common.
Ultimately, moving to Boston is ideal for those looking to live in America's centre of science, technology and industry. Yet, for all of its innovation, Boston is rooted in well-established institutions coupled with an old-world ambience; the perfect city in which to raise a family.
"Exploring a new life and having the privilege of living in a different environment is something I greatly appreciate. Boston and Cambridge are very international places where many talented and bright people come together from all over the world so you’ll meet lots of awesome new friends. The quality of life is similar to the one back home I’d say."
Read more about Swiss expat Sandra's experiences in Boston.
Are you an expat living in Boston?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Boston. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
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