Planning a move to Boston from Chicago? We will take you by hand on what to miss and gain.
While you will surely miss the great food in Chicago, unlimited entertainment and shopping options, and nice neighborhoods, you will love everything that Boston has to offer.
Moving to Boston from Chicago is a very popular thing to do for those who desire a change of scenery. It is a long-distance move that you can get done in two days. The timing of the move will possibly be a supporting factor to the cost as well as the complexity of the move.
If you are moving to Boston, then you should perform your research before you make any final decisions. Understanding what is in and around the city will help make you feel a bit more comfortable about relocating there. You also can get a clearer sense of what will be involved in the cross-country move.
Find out more about the comparison of the two cities and see how you can get help with your cross-country move from Moving APT.
Check our list of the best cross country movers
Chicago vs. Boston: 10 Key Things to Know Before Moving
Choosing which of these top cities is the best pick for you largely based on your income, needs, and what is best for your family. Boston and Chicago both have their pros and cons, which make comparing these two cities a perfect idea.
1. Find out if you can afford the cost of living here before you move
Living in Boston is unpopularly costly. The cost of living in Boston, in general, is 47% above the national average. Boston is costlier than Chicago, Phoenix, Miami, Los Angeles, and Dallas. Just a few cities are beyond Boston as regards costly places to live; two of which include New York and San Francisco. Being an older city, there is not enough space for expansion, and the public transport system is overused by a large influx of new residents. However, employment opportunities are strong and a strategic move can make living in Boston a great experience.
Cost of living factors in Boston:
- Real estate, healthcare, and utilities are the major three factors that are highly costlier than the country’s average.
- The median rent for a Boston apartment is $2,318 for a studio apartment.
- Housing options in Boston are limited for middle-class homes, which gives rise to insufficient supply and then increases housing costs.
- The average home value in Boston is $569,500 and is dominated by sellers.
Boston vs Chicago: cost of living
Numbers reported that most factors in the cost of living index of Boston vs Chicago reveal there is a huge difference between the two cities.
- Boston’s housing market is 162% higher than Chicago’s
- Rent prices are 27.47% higher in Boston than in Chicago
- Restaurant prices are 6.38% higher in Boston than in Chicago
- Groceries prices are 5.26 higher in Boston than in Chicago
- In Chicago, a gallon of milk is $0.30 less
- In Chicago, a loaf of bread is $0.07 less
- In Boston, a pound of rice is $0.12 less
- In Chicago, a dozen eggs are $0.29 less
Good news – To cushion the higher cost of living, Boston residents have a higher average household income of $71,834 unlike in Chicago which is $57,238.
2. There are great employment opportunities
Both Chicago and Boston have seen economic centers in each of their regions. The two cities depend on many industries to support their economies. For instance, in Boston, residents work in the tourism, education, manufacturing, and transportation sectors. If you used to work in the financial industry in Chicago, you will appreciate your move to Boston. The city plays a major role in the financial services industry, especially with mutual funds as well as insurance.
One of the highest advantages of moving to Boston is the great opportunity to work for leading, reliable companies. The city has many top-level employers like the Massachusetts General Hospital, Fidelity Investments, local universities, and many more. Together with these local companies, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are also big employers in Boston.
3. Some of the top-rated schools in the United States are in Boston
Whether your children are attending primary school or you are even a college student, Boston has many of the nation’s most excellent schools. Situated across the closest suburbs, such as Cambridge and Medford, most of the local Universities are among the 50 colleges in the country. This includes Boston College, Northeastern University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Tufts University, Harvard, and Boston University.
4. Great American History means that there are many things to do in Boston
One of the multiple fun things to engage within Boston is to check the local history to get engaged for several years to come. The area is where you will find local landmarks starting from the colonization to the American Revolution.
You will see landmarks like:
- Freedom Trail
- Boston Harbor (site of the Boston Tea Party)
- USS Constitution Museum
- Fenway Park
Museum of Fine Arts
- Paul Revere House
- Fort Independence
- Bunker Hill Monument
- And many more
5. You will love the great Boston weather
Although Boston gets cold, winters there are not as harsh as they are in Chicago. Winters are cold and snowy in Boston, with dripping temperatures overnight to below freezing, but temperatures on daytimes are usually more than the freezing level. There are also times of heavy snow in the winter in Boston. Summers in Boston are warm and humid, springs are temperate and rainy, and autumns in Boston are crisp and cool.
6. You will get blown off with Boston’s food
A move to Boston from Chicago probably won’t have much effect on a person that loves eating out. Food lovers will come to appreciate the multiple varieties of available food choices. Boston has been famous for its diverse food scene. When you relocate from Chicago to Boston, you will be welcomed with restaurants that will provide all that you want.
The city offers varieties of cuisine for all palates and menus for all sizes of budget. If you desire brunch, visit Tress Gatos and its Spanish & Jamaican-inspired menu. Or hit Bar Mezzana, which offers Italian delicacies and beautiful orange umbrellas on the sidewalk patio.
Vegans should head to True Bistro or the Asian-inspired cuisine at Zhu Pan-Asian Vegan Cuisine to enjoy different seasonal dishes. For diners on a budget, there are varieties of choices, but Galleria Umberto or Piperi Mediterranean is so much hard to beat. Want to have a date night? You can’t get it wrong with the French-American dishes at Deuxave or the great Italian flavors served at Grotto.
7. Find an area to live in depending on where you choose to spend most of your time
Boston is much of a commuter’s city (we’ll discuss that soon), those who enjoy using one of the oldest and best public transport systems in the United States. Due to this fact, it is so much important to plan the neighborhood to live in. If you choose to live and work in the city, get a home that is close to work, or one that is closer to an MBTA stop. Similar to any city, different districts provide different lifestyles.
Based on your comfort level, you may decide to stay away from some areas as well. We researched some top neighborhoods in Boston, both within city limits and the closest suburbs. Don’t forget that many people reside in Boston proper, but many more reside outside city limits.
Nearby cities like Chelsea, Quincy, Somerville, Milton, and Newton are great options to live in. The T stretches to these cities and areas too, which all have their housing costs and city amenities.
8. Best Neighborhoods To Live in Boston
- Beacon Hill: This part of Boson is arguably one of the highly attractive neighborhoods with historical structures and cobblestone streets that are illuminated with gas street lights. Prepare to meet residents and tourists around here. The cost of average 2-bedroom rent is $3,000 per month
- South Boston: Also referred to as Southie and is once filled with an Irish Catholic neighborhood. South Boston has become famous with young families and fresh graduates. The increase in rent prices has been attributed to the waterfront access and several developments sent in the area. The cost of average 2-bedroom rent is $2,500 per month
- Back Bay: This area of the city is known for being home to more rich families and community members, prepare to pay more hundreds of dollars per month here than some other top neighborhoods. The cost of average 2-bedroom rent is $3,500 per month
9. Best Suburbs in Boston and Neighboring Cities
- Cambridge: Located north of Boston, Cambridge is where Harvard and MIT are located. Other neighborhood amenities and scenic neighborhoods attract more residents here apart from excellent college students. Top-rated public school systems and a calm environments increase rent and home prices. Expect to pay about $750,000 on an average single-family house in Cambridge
- Quincy: Located south of Boston, Quincy is the sister (unofficial) of Chinatown, with a high Asian population. Together with the benefits of great ramen joints and tasty pho restaurants, this city can be found on Wollaston Beach and has beautiful skyline views of Boston. There are four subway stops in Quincy on the Redline and thriving opportunities if new homes. The median rent for a 2-bedroom goes for $2,250 in Quincy.
- Worcester: Many college students reside in Worcester, as well as other 150,000 residents. The city of Worcester offers a small-town vibe to residents without looking too rural; however, it is around a one-hour drive from Boston without entering traffic. Highly lower housing costs and a lot of mom-and-pop shops contribute to the total look of this city. Buying a single-family home here costs a median amount of about $225,000.
- Belmont: If your budget is large and want to leave Cambridge and Boston but reside in one of these locations, Belmont may be your next suburb. The town has many green spaces and is majorly residential. You can buy a large single-family home in Belmont, but you might find yourself paying around $800,000 and $900,000 for around 2,000 sqft.
10. Hard public transportation is a turn-off
While you will conclude that Boston is affordable to get around than Chicago after the comparison of the pros and cons. Public transportation in the city certainly has some problems. It can be difficult to access various subway lines, which are usually running late.
Tips For Traveling Around Boson
- Get a quality GPS app for your phone to get around the city. The streets are filled with one-ways, random dead ends, and rotaries that could have you get into traffic before you know it.
- The public transportation system is operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) and is called the “T”. The subway system in Boston makes use of some of the oldest tunnels in the country, and some believe the syst5em is not as efficient as it could be.
- Get used to the subway spider. There are red, blue, and orange subway lines. The green lines a trolley. Remember that the MTBA does not operate after 1 a.m. so schedule your outings accordingly and get carshare apps (Uber or Lyft) to your phone.
- A designated commuter rail operates on a schedule, which can reduce your morning transit immediately you determine the train you need to take and when.
- Traffic is affected by big sporting events such as Bruins, Red Sox, and Celtics games. If you work downtown, ensure you know when home teams are playing so you can schedule your evening commute accordingly. The sports venues are in various parts of Boston, so find out their locations and know every one of the main concerts and other events holds there as well.
- Parking in the downtown area is highly tough, and off-street parking is not offered by a lot of apartments. Make sure you apply for a resident parking permit if you are moving to Boston with your car.
- Download MBTA-endorsed apps for Android and Apple if you plan to use the bus to commute.
Ready to Move to Boston?
Moving long distances is made easy with Moving APT. Here is how to move with us if you are considering do-it-yourself: you pack your goods and load them, and our cross country movers take care of the driving.
If you are moving within Boston, our Boston moving companies will take care of the entire move for you.