Boston is a charming city with something for everyone, whether you’re a history buff or are firmly grounded in the modern world. If you’ve decided to move to this awesome city, though, you need to move past the romanticism of it all and take a more practical approach. After all, preparation is the key to a hassle-free move, and one vital step is learning what the cost of living in Boston is. Match this with info on average salaries in Boston to be sure you have enough pocket cash to enjoy all that this New England city has to offer.


The cost of rent and housing in Boston

Finding a place to live should be the first thing on your list of priorities. So, should you buy or rent in Boston? Well, buying a property in Boston isn’t cheap, but it does vary based on where you decide to settle down. The closer you get to the suburbs, the less expensive the property will be.

According to, the median sales price for a home in Boston is $615,000, with an average price of $642 per square foot. By comparison, the median sales price for a property in New York is $1,300,000 with an average price per square foot of $1,442, whereas Chicago’s median sales price was $242,750 at an average of $204 per square foot.

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Clearly, Boston is nowhere near as expensive as New York, but it does beat Chicago quite handily, which is something to consider in terms of the cost of living in Boston.

Renting in Boston isn’t cheap either. According to the Annual Rent Report for 2018, the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment was $2,353 in Boston, compared to Los Angeles, where it was $2,369, and San Francisco, where it was $3,535. The only place that was slightly cheaper was Washington DC, where the average was $2,348.  

In other words, though the cost of living in Boston is still high, it is one of the more reasonable of the major metropolises in the United States in terms of renting.

It also has some lovely apartments available. However, if you really want to move with absolutely no hassle or aggravation, then your best solution is to work with a company like Blueground. They offer great apartments in some of the best locations in Boston, but the best part is that they are all furnished, fully equipped, and serviced. And you can sort everything out online, before you even get to Boston, making for a truly hassle-free move.  


The cost of utilities in Boston

Utilities are definitely an essential part of working out the cost of living in Boston. Thus, according to, you can expect to pay $150.54 in Boston for garbage, electricity, cooling, heating, and water for an apartment of 915 square feet. In this sense, Boston is a fair bit more expensive than even other very expensive cities in the U.S., since the same utilities in New York will cost you $143.70 and $108.71 in San Francisco.

This carries over to internet as well, with Boston topping the bar graph. A connection will cost you $64.66 in Boston, compared to $61.79 in New York and $64.25 in San Francisco.


The cost of food in Boston

Boston has lots to offer in terms of food and you can find pretty much everything you want, whether your tastes lean towards yummy Italian pastries, or you’re more of a clam-chowder fan. According to, you can get away with spending as little as $365 per month on food if you avoid eating out and stick to simple groceries. For example, a gallon of milk will set you back $3.24, 12 eggs will cost you $2.83, and a pound of chicken breasts will set you back $5.36.

If you do prefer eating out, you can expect to pay around $15 for a meal at a cheaper restaurant, while a meal for two people at a mid-range restaurant that includes three courses will set you back about $70.

So, while eating out in Boston isn’t exactly cheap, it’s still a better deal than say, New York, where the same three-course meal would set you back $82, or San Francisco, where you’d pay $80. It’s pretty close to Chicago, though, where you’d pay $65, and on par with Los Angeles at $70, in comparison.


The cost of transportation in Boston

Like in any other city, you can either get around by car or rely on the public transport system. Owning a car in Boston is an interesting exercise. For one, parking is extremely difficult to find. Secondly, drivers in this city are known to be quite aggressive.

In terms of cost, though, owning a car is definitely not as expensive as other places. A gallon of gas is $2.24, which is 2% cheaper than the national average, whereas parking will set you back about $1.25 per hour in metered parking areas. On Sundays, parking is free. So, if you’re willing to brave the aggressive traffic and put up with searching for a parking space, then owning a car might just be for you in Boston.

metro train in Boston

If you’d rather not enter the battle of traffic, though, you can always rely on the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s system, which will cost you $75 per month for a pass that gives you unlimited access to the subway and local buses. It’s 25% cheaper than Los Angeles, and 36% cheaper than New York.

In other words, transportation is one of those areas that will slightly lower the cost of living in Boston, especially when compared to places like New York and San Francisco.


The cost of entertainment in Boston

There are plenty of options in Boston for entertainment, including the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Major League Baseball, or even walking the Freedom Trail. The first will set you back around $25 on average, which is about the same as the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

In terms of baseball, though, you’re going to be paying through the nose seeing as Boston Red Sox tickets are an average of $52.34, making them the most expensive in the league. Luckily, walking the Freedom Trail is completely free, so there’s that at least.

Boston is a charming city and the good news is that the cost of living in Boston isn’t as high as many other major metropolitan areas in the United States. It’s by no means cheap, but it’s still a little more reasonable than places like New York or San Francisco. And on top of that, there are so many fun free things to do if you’re looking to save some money here and there. 

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