Submitted by Physicccc t3_10mc884 in boston

Hi everyone!

I just got into Boston College for grad school and am looking for some advice about where to live. I'm from Southern California and have only been to the East Coast one time (NYC) like 5 years ago so I have a few questions about what's feasible for the area.
I was considering looking for places a bit further from campus (15-20minute drive) to find a cheaper place, but I was recently told that it doesn't make sense to bring a car with me because of the amount of snow in the winter. Should I live somewhere closer, like within a 20-minute walk, and if so are there any areas I should avoid for safety reasons? Or any neighborhoods that people recommend? I'm super excited to move to the Boston area! Any advice is appreciated, even suggestions of things to checkout once I get there.




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Pinwurm t1_j62ef6m wrote

There's a few places I'd recommend.

Anywhere in Chestnut Hill is fine. Beautiful area, fairly peaceful, safe, walkable - and has a some greenspace. It's an unofficial neighborhood that's made up of parts of Brighton, Newton and Brookline.

If you want something a little more 'fun', I would recommend Cleveland Circle in Brighton. It's about a 20-25 minute walk to BC campus, there's a lot of students in your age bracket - and you'll have access to the Green C Trolley to get you in and out of downtown in a reliable amount of time. The C goes through Brookline which is an beautiful affluent area, plenty of mom & pop businesses & good eats. Super convenient if you're ever going to a game at Fenway Park, a concert at House of Blues, a date at the Common, or anything like that.

Brighton Center works as well. There's more grad students and young working professionals than Cleveland Circle. Great bang for your buck. It's about the same distance to walk to BC. Unfortunately, the closest trolley is the B line which is the slowest of all greens. It's usually faster to take buses.

Newton Centre is great, but it's more.. families and stuff than 20-somethings. It's also more expensive.


blue_orchard t1_j62fkax wrote

I second Cleveland Circle. Easy to walk to the college, and the B line is an option when weather is bad. In addition to the Green line to Boston, the 86 bus stops there and gives a more direct route to Cambridge.


Physicccc OP t1_j62fr76 wrote

Ok rad, I'll check out Cleveland Circle then


ArsenalBOS t1_j641hz0 wrote

I lived in Cleveland Circle for about 5 years. It’s a perfect option for your situation IMO. Easy to get to campus, plenty of food and a bar or two. Direct access to Back Bay and downtown via the C line (and B or D depending on where you live precisely).

I wouldn’t bring a car unless you’ll need it for off campus work or something. The snow isn’t that big of a deal but parking is a nightmare. I had a car the whole time I lived in the neighborhood and it was hit while parked 5 different times. Just a total pain in the ass.

Some other options for you would make more sense with a car (Newton, Chestnut Hill, etc).


Physicccc OP t1_j62fhus wrote

Thank you so much for all the information! This is very helpful


ZipBlu t1_j63803e wrote

Overall Pinwurm has given you great, accurate advice about neighborhoods in the area. I’d just add a few things related to car ownership, since you mentioned it in your original post. Snow isn’t that much of a problem. There will only be like 5 days a year on average when you can’t drive because of snow. A car is a pain in the ass, because most places won’t have a driveway, but I wouldn’t want to live near the end of the B or C line without one.

BC has huge parking garages in the middle of campus and prices are fairly reasonable for grad students, (prices are tiered—they are crazy expensive for undergrads, but like 1/5 the cost for grad students) so I don’t think it’s crazy to have a car. BC is at the end of the B and C branches, and these lines are slow anyway. It can be a long wait for trains, and there’s also frequently maintenance on the weekends. It’s really hard to do things like grocery shop without a car, and the T will only bring you into and out of the city, so if you want to do something in the suburbs it’s practically impossible. (There is the commuter rail, but you would spend nearly an hour just getting to it before you even start towards your destination. The trains are infrequent and only serve a few communities and in most cases you’d need a car to get to your final destination once you leave the station.)


cetaceanrainbow t1_j63ou4q wrote

I agree the snow isn't a reason to not bring a car, but I do live near the end of the B line without a car, have for almost 9 years, and it's fine. The trains go to the grocery store, and I use Zipcar to get out of the city. Some neighborhoods it's a nightmare to have a car so it has to really be worth it, this is not one of them, so it does come down to personal preference more, but I wouldn't say it's "really hard to grocery shop".


TwoforFlinching613 t1_j63uizh wrote

2nd that grocery shopping is easy in that area. Buy reusable bags, only one person, one bag should be fine. At least it is for me when I go to the grocery store. Also, there are multiple grocery delivery services Instacart, Amazon, Imperfect Foods, etc.

Have lived in Boston for 20 years without a car without issue.


wallet535 t1_j65hy39 wrote

Agree. You can rent a LOT of cars and take a TON of Ubers for the price of car ownership.


lukibunny t1_j629ksq wrote

Why not live on campus? BC's campus is lovely.


Physicccc OP t1_j62bdc2 wrote

I checked their website and couldn't find anything about graduate student housing being available. I think only undergrads can live on campus directly


lukibunny t1_j62bm8o wrote

oh, sorry i didn't know that. =< Newton is the closest


Physicccc OP t1_j62bsha wrote

No problem!! Would you say the area around Boston College/Newton is safe for a single young woman to walk around? My current university is in a sketchy sketch place that I wouldn't want to walk to and from campus to, but I'm not sure if it makes sense to bring a car to Boston


lukibunny t1_j62ca4d wrote

BC/Chestnut hill is the safest town in MA, Newton is 3rd.

I would not get a car, BC shuttle, uber, and the T is more than enough. parking is hard. And unless BC has changed it since i graduated, parking space is not guaranteed even if you paid for the parking permit.


Physicccc OP t1_j62cg8n wrote

Oh rad, thanks for all the information. Okay, I'll try and find a place in that area then, and I'll most likely scrap bringing my car


GratefulMasterpiece t1_j634wgm wrote

I’m a current grad student at BC, feel free to DM me and we can chat! We have a car and live in Brighton right next to campus.


Physicccc OP t1_j64wkxw wrote

Thank you so much for the offer! I'll DM you :)


Pinwurm t1_j62ey6w wrote

It's extremely safe - I lived in that area for a while. The only thing you ever need to worry about is wild turkeys. You'll see them from time to time. I'm not kidding.


sailorman420jbm t1_j653f3o wrote

I graduated from BC in 2017 and lived in Coolidge Corner, Brookline my first 2yrs out and loved it! Relatively close to campus and easy access on the T Green Line (street level trolley) but it feels more like an adult neighborhood. If you also want to do more stuff in Boston proper, Brookline is a nice in-between spot. Lots of fun restaurants, shops, and parks in Brookline too, definitely give it a consideration


Senseiscape t1_j62kv6z wrote

Sutherland road in Brighton, or colborne road in Brighton.


VicVinegar88 t1_j63m4h7 wrote

We don't really get that much snow that it would factor into my decision whether or not to bring my car here.


ZetaInk t1_j65gl3s wrote

I'd say Chestnut Hill/Brighton. Brookline if you don't bring your car or can afford to park privately (no overnight street parking). It's a versatile location--you can be bougie in Brookline, party in Allston, or be whatever I am in Brighton. Green line will take you downtown (maybe even this century) and you can catch a bus to Cambridge.

You could go further out and get a bit more house. But it's still expensive and then you have to drive around a lot more. Not worth it. But maybe I'm biased. Just remember that driving and parking here really blows, and I learned to drive around LA and spent time in DC.

In terms of stuff to do, it depends what you enjoy! I recommend doing the touristy stuff across the city (Fenway, Boston Common, the library, freedom trail, museums, acquarium, zoo, all the stuff you see online). Take your time with it. Go out for drinks and food.

More locally, tons of good food of all kinds. Publick House in Brookline, Tasca, Cafè Landwer, Moogy's. Many local bars, like Harry's or the Ave. Maybe pass on the Silhouette, but hey you do you. Again, just take your time.

Go walk around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and visit the Waterworks Museum. Coolidge Corner Theater does these awesome "After Midnight" showings. For the silent films, they often get live accompanyment, which cna be awesome.


LadyGreyIcedTea t1_j6gd3xm wrote

I lived in Cleveland Circle when I was your age. BC runs shuttle buses that will take you to campus from there. You can have your car there and park on the street but I would recommend taking the BC shuttle or walking to campus because student parking passes are astronomical.