The 8 best neighborhoods in Boston for families (2024)

Discover the 7 best neighborhoods in Boston for families based on their affordability, schools, family-friendly amenities, safety and quality of life.


6 minute read
Updated on 18 Jun 2024

Moving with your family is an exciting time in your life. But it can also be a stressful experience, especially when it comes to choosing the best location to settle down. To help you with your choice, we’ve listed the best neighborhoods and suburbs in Boston for families. We based our choice on the 3 most important factors:

  • Environment: based on family-orientated community, parks and playgrounds, access to essential services, and quietness.
  • Quality of life: based on schools and pre-schools, availability of after-school activities, family-friendly dining, and entertainment options.
  • Livability: based on rental price, safety, public transportation, proximity to main roads, and walkability.

Best neighborhoods in Boston for families

If you want tranquillity and calmness but still want to feel the pulse of the city, choosing a family-friendly neighborhood is essential. We’ve found the 4 best neighborhoods in Boston for families which will allow you to build a foundation for your family in the heart of the city.

1. Charlestown

  • Neighborhood vibe: Feels like a small town tucked in the big city
  • Average rent: $3,871
  • Highest-ranked schools: Warren-Prescott (2nd Boston elementary public school by USnews) and Charlestown High School (14th Boston public schools by USnews)

Charlestown, or “The Town,” stands out as an ideal Boston neighborhood for young families seeking a serene atmosphere close to the city center. The neighborhood is located on a small peninsula offering beautiful waterfront views and with plenty of family-friendly dining and entertainment. Renowned for its safety, the neighborhood has a tight-knit community spirit, seen in the local annual events like pumpkin-carving competitions.

Charlestown's charm extends to its parks like Paul Revere Park, Edwards Playground, and City Square Park, perfect for walking with a stroller or letting children play. Charlestown has excellent schools, including Warren-Prescott School, Harvard-Kent Elementary School, Charlestown High School.

Currently undergoing rejuvenation projects, the neighborhood welcomes newcomers with newly-built apartments, supermarkets like Whole Foods, and yoga studios. Rentals range from new apartments to traditional townhouses, with an average rent of $3,074 for 1-bedroom, $4,147 for 2-bedrooms, and $4,393 for 3-bedrooms.

2. Roslindale

  • Neighborhood vibe: Stunning greenery, tranquil vibe and lively atmosphere
  • Average rent: $2,465
  • Highest-ranked schools: Mozart Elementary School (15th US news’ Boston public schools) and Philbrick Elementary School (18th US news’ Boston public schools)

Just a few stops away from Downtown Boston, Roslindale is one of the most family-friendly neighborhoods in the city. Dotted with local restaurants, cafes, and shops, living in Roslindale feels like living in a movie.

Roslindale has beautiful parks for leisure, sports, and playground spaces. You’ll be within an easy distance from Harvard’s botanical collection, Arnold Arboretum, which is open to the public.

Ideal for families with young children, the neighborhood offers top-ranked public schools like Mozart Elementary and Philbrick Elementary, along with the highest-ranked charter school in Boston, Brooke Charter School.

Nestled between Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Hyde Park, and West Roxbury, Roslindale provides an affordable alternative to neighboring areas, with average rents around $1,775 for a 1-bedroom, $2,692 for a 2-bedroom, and $2,929 for 3-bedroom apartments.

3. East Boston

  • Neighborhood vibe: Well-connected and diverse
  • Average rent: $3,196
  • Highest-ranked schools: Manassah E Bradley (4th US News’ Boston elementary public schools) and East Boston High School (9th US news’ Boston public schools)

Nestled on the Charles River's eastern bay, East Boston stands out as an excellent family-friendly neighborhood with a rich history. East Boston offers stunning waterfront views of the Boston skyline. Benefit from top-notch elementary schools such as Manassah E Bradley and James Otis, as well as East Boston High School.

When searching for homes in this neighborhood, consider options in the northern part of East Boston which is quieter and has more family-friendly amenities.

Rental prices are similar to other inner-city suburbs, with 1-bedroom apartments averaging $2,691 monthly. Opting for a 3-bedroom apartment at $3,564 provides more space at a reasonable cost, just around $200 more than a 2-bedroom at $3,334 per month. This way, you can enjoy ample living space for just a bit more.

4. West Roxbury

  • Neighborhood vibe: Residential with tree-lined streets and plenty of parks; the safest neighborhood in Boston
  • Average rent: $3,125
  • Highest-ranked schools: Lyndon (10th US news’ Boston public schools) and William H. Ohrenberger (12th US news’ Boston public schools)

West Roxbury is one of the most affordable and safest neighborhoods in Boston. This neighborhood has it all: diverse grocery stores, family-friendly restaurants that double as great date night spots, top-notch schools, and abundant green spaces. Enjoy hikes in Allandale Woods or leisurely strolls in Millennium Park and the West Roxbury Parkway.

Perfect for young families, West Roxbury excels in providing excellent education, from preschools to highly ranked schools like the Patrick Lyndon School, William H. Ohrenberger Elementary School, and Joyce Kilmer K-8 School.

You can find comfortable 1-bedroom apartments for $2,664 or 2-bedroom apartments for $2,900 monthly. Alternatively, for larger families consider the 3-bedroom apartments with an average rent priced at $3,810 per month.

Best Boston suburbs for families

If you truly want to skip the hustle and bustle of the city, consider suburban living. With numerous suburbs to choose from, we've identified the 4 best Boston suburbs for families.

Settling in these suburbs is ideal for families with a car, providing the perfect blend of peace and proximity to the city.

1. Brookline

  • Neighborhood vibe: Leafy and charming with a high quality of life
  • Average rent: $3,553
  • Highest ranking schools: John D Runkle (2nd US News’ Brookline elementary public schools) and Pierce (3rd US News’ Brookline elementary public schools)
  • Commute to Boston: 16 minutes by car via Beacon Street

With its leafy streets, excellent schools and strong community, Brookline is one of the best suburbs for families. Living in Brookline is popular amongst those working in Boston or Cambridge, as the quick commute allows you to substitute the urban city for a quiet, affordable town.

Brookline is known for its beautiful parks, like the Lost Pons Sanctuary or the Linden Park, where you can play catch with your dog. There is also a weekly farmer’s market where you can buy your vegetables straight from your neighbours’ backyard.

High-ranking schools like John D Runkle, Pierce, and Brookline High School enhance the appeal of the town. After school, your children can learn robotics at the Brookline Teen Centre or do arts and crafts at the Arts Centre. For date nights, consider films at Coolidge Corner Theatre or a candlelit dinner at La Morra.

Monthly rents are approximately $2,887 for a 1-bedroom, $3,574 for a 2-bedroom, and $4,199 for a 3-bedroom apartment.

2. Lexington

  • Neighborhood vibe: Upscale suburbia with some of the highest-ranked public schools in Massachusetts
  • Average rent: $3,310
  • Highest ranking schools: Maria Hastings (1st US News’ Lexington elementary public schools) and Lexington High School (3rd US News’ Boston metropolitan area public schools)
  • Commute to Boston: 30 minutes with a car via Mystic Valley Pkwy

Lexington, an ideal Boston suburb for families, stands out with its stunning nature and top-ranked schools. Although farther from Boston, Lexington is an upscale, safe, and sought-after town with a close-knit community, parks, and diverse after-school activities.

The area boasts beautiful parks, playgrounds, and ample bike lanes. The suburb offers an outstanding education, making it perfect for families with high school students.

Rental prices align with other Boston suburbs, with a 1-bedroom apartment costing $2,792 monthly. If you need more space for your family, a 2-bedroom apartment is $3,198, while a 3-bedroom is $3,939 per month.

3. Arlington

  • Neighborhood vibe: Strong community atmosphere, quality education, safety, recreational opportunities
  • Average rent: $3,315
  • Highest ranking schools: Brackett (1st in Arlington elementary public schools ranking by US News) and Arlington High School (36th Massachusetts public schools ranking by US News)
  • Commute to Boston: 21 minutes by car via I-93 N

Adjacent to Lexington, Arlington emerges as its more affordable counterpart, featuring a friendly community known for organizing events, festivals, and activities. Families value the quality education offered by well-regarded schools, contributing to the town's family-friendly atmosphere.

Arlington provides various parks, playgrounds, and recreational areas, enhancing residents' quality of life with opportunities for outdoor activities and family outings. Recognized for its safety, Arlington prioritizes public safety and well-maintained neighborhoods, fostering a secure environment for families with children.

The town excels in education, particularly at the high school level, with top schools like Brackett, Peirce, and Arlington High School. Rental prices in Arlington align with other Boston suburbs, with a 1-bedroom apartment at $2,419 monthly, while larger spaces range from $3,200 (2-bedroom) to $4,326 (3-bedroom) per month.

4. Newton

  • Neighborhood vibe: Suburban character, diverse neighborhoods, and historic charm
  • Average rent: $3,440
  • Highest ranking schools: Mason-Rice (4th Massachusetts elementary public schools ranking by US News) and Newton North High School (34th Massachusetts public schools ranking by US News)
  • Commute to Boston: 28 minutes by car via I-90 W

Located just 7 miles west of Downtown Boston, Newton is a suburb comprised of charming villages such as Newton Centre, Newton Upper Falls, and Newton Highlands. Known for its mix of residential areas, parks, and cultural attractions, Newton is a desirable suburb for Boston commuters, offering proximity and accessibility to the city. The suburb provides recreational opportunities, including parks, hiking trails, and facilities.

Regardless of which part of the town you live in, Newton's educational system excels, particularly at the elementary and middle school levels, with top schools like Mason-Rice, John Ward, Newton North, and Newton South High Schools.

Rental prices in Newton are comparable to other Boston suburbs, with a 1-bedroom apartment at $2,705 monthly, while larger spaces range from $3,260 (2-bedroom) to $4,353 (3-bedroom) per month.

So there you have them, the best neighborhoods and suburbs in Boston for you and your family. Now that you know the perfect location to plant your roots, it’s time to start exploring homes for rent in Boston and starting the next chapter of your life. Be sure to check out our guide to renting an apartment to learn more about the process and get some helpful tips.

This article is for informational purposes only.

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