The 6 best places to live in Boston for young adults

Discover the best places to live in Boston in your 20s! From the city to the suburbs, we have found the 6 best places to live in Boston as a young adult.


5 minute read
Updated on 17 May 2024

Finding the right place to live in your 20s can be overwhelming. You’ll probably be living by yourself for the first time and may not be sure what you should be looking for in a neighborhood. Well, we’re here to help you make that choice. We’ve curated a list of the 6 best places to live in Boston for young adults based on their environment, quality of life, safety, livability, and rental prices.

By the end of the article, you’ll find the perfect place to live in and can immediately start exploring homes for rent in Boston!

Beacon Hill

  • Neighborhood vibe: Cosmopolitan neighborhood with a small-town charm
  • Average rent: $2,311
  • Transportation: 15 minutes to Downtown by foot

Beacon Hill, the heart of Boston, is a sought-after neighborhood by people in their 20s known for its iconic landmarks like the State House and the Boston Common, the oldest public park in the US. The neighborhood has an activity for every season: ice skating in the Frog Pond in winter and a boat ride in the Public Garden in the summer!

Beacon Hill has the typical for Boston calmer nightlife, with bars and pubs closing at 2 AM. You still have plenty of time to have dinner at Kured or Beacon Hill Bistro and grab a drink at the 21st Amendment or Cheers, the bar that inspired the 80s sitcom.

Rental prices in Beacon Hill vary a lot depending on what you’re looking for. Renting a private room in shared housing can be as low as $1,200_ to as high as $1,600. With an average rent of $2,348 monthly, studios are more expensive than rooms but give you privacy. But if you want more space, you should look into renting a 1-bedroom apartment, averaging $3,186 monthly.

Back Bay

  • Neighborhood vibe: Residential charm in the heart of Boston
  • Average rent: $2,545
  • Transportation: 20 mins to Downtown via Orange line and Commuter Rail (the Framingham/Worcester line)

Offering gorgeous riverfront views, Back Bay is Boston’s little Paris. This can be seen in the picturesque scenery, and the neighborhood’s own Champs-Élysées, Newbury Street is lined with unique stores.

The Charles River Esplanade on the western side of Back Bay is the perfect place to take your dog for a walk or watch the sunset over the river. You can see the city's skyline at the View Boston Observatory or read at Boston Public Library.

Back Bay has a more dynamic nightlife than the other neighborhoods with hotspots like HUE, The Street Bar, and Lolita Back Bay. The neighborhood is safe and walkable, so you won’t even have to grab a taxi after happy hours on Friday.

As a central neighborhood, Back Bay has higher accommodation prices. We suggest exploring private room rentals in Boston’s riverfront neighborhood if you're living on a budget, as their monthly rent averages between $1,200 and $1,300. If you’re looking for more privacy, you could rent a studio for an average of $2,882 per month or a 1-bedroom apartment for $3,502 per month.

West End

  • Neighborhood vibe: Dynamic, with perfect location, sports fans’ dream location
  • Average rent: $2,704
  • Transportation: 15–20 mins to Downtown via Orange or Blue line

West End, home of the Boston Celtics and the Boston Bruins at the TD Arena, offers a vibrant lifestyle for sports enthusiasts. Even if you aren’t a fan, you can enjoy plenty of other events at the arena all year round.

Other perks making it one of the best places to live in Boston for young adults are the proximity to the Massachusetts Central Hospital, the variety of recreational activities, and excellent public transport connections with access to 3 metro lines. After a long week, you can grab a drink at some of the highlights of Boston’s nightlife, like The Greatest Bar, Scampo, or Big Night Live.

With an average monthly cost between $1,325 and $2,120, renting a private room in the West End is more expensive than in the surrounding neighborhoods. Meanwhile, studios, with an average of $2,975 per month, and 1-bedroom apartments, for $3,417 monthly, are around the same price as neighboring areas.

Jamaica Plain

  • Neighborhood vibe: Young, vibrant, and eclectic with a gorgeous scenery
  • Average rent: $2,270
  • Transportation: 35–40 minutes to Downtown via Orange line

Jamaica Plain’s (or JP) proximity to Downtown Boston and some of the best universities in Boston make the area popular for people in their 20s. The relatively affordable accommodation, gorgeous scenery, and culinary culture don’t hurt either.

Home to the Arnold Arboretum and the Emerald Necklace Conservatory, JP offers spaces to escape from the bustle of the city. You can try bouldering at the Mira Rock Urban Wild or walk along the Jamaica Pond on warm days.

Whenever you’re in the mood for food, you can just take a stroll along JP’s piece of Centre Street to dine at Chilacates or the Noodle Bar. Jamaica Plain’s nightlife is dominated by bars and pubs, with places like Brendan Behan Pub and Ten Tables.

Students at the nearby universities can find cheap student rooms ranging between $1,100 and $1,420 monthly. If you’re looking for more space, we suggest renting a 1-bedroom apartment for $2,859 monthly over a studio, which is $2,691 per month on average.


  • Neighborhood vibe: University-centered with emerging commercial centers
  • Average rent: $2,435
  • Transportation: 32 minutes to Downtown via Red line

Technically a town in Greater Boston, Cambridge is one of the best suburbs for young adults. As the home of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge attracts students and academics.

Built from the likeliness of European capitals, the city is one of the most walkable in the area. There are upscale restaurants like Craigie on Main and more affordable ones like The Smoke Shop. After dinner, you can hit the town at Plough & Stars or at Brick & Mortar.

Cambridge has plenty of upscale accommodation options. If you’re moving to the city for university or you’re on a tighter budget, look into private rooms, as they cost between $1,325 and $1,566 monthly. But if you’re in Cambridge to work, renting a studio for an average of $2,790 monthly is better than a 1-bedroom apartment for $3,068.


  • Neighborhood vibe: Boston’s Brooklyn
  • Average rent: $2,106
  • Transportation: 35 minutes to Downtown via Red line

Like Cambridge, Somerville is a town in the Greater Boston. Its tight-knit community makes it one of the best suburbs of Boston for young professionals. In the warmer months, you can join community events like concerts, outdoor movie theaters, and yoga classes.

Somerville has a new place to try whenever you’re in the mood for food like Union Square Donuts, Juliet or the Bow Market, home to over 15 restaurants. And for shopping, there isn’t a better place than Assembly Row.

The town has plenty of greenery, too! Like the social Somerville Community Path and the tranquil walk Mystic River State Reservation. Cyclists will love Somerville as it’s the most bikeable place in Greater Boston.

Somerville’s proximity to Tufts University makes it ideal for students. You can find a private room between $1,225 and $1,407 monthly. If you’re moving to work in Boston, finding a studio or an apartment in Somerville is more affordable. The average monthly rent for a studio is around $2,256 monthly. Living in a 1-bedroom apartment might be more spacious, but the average monthly rent will be around $2,745.

Is Boston a good place to live in your 20s?

Boston is a good place to live for those in their 20s, offering career opportunities with a relatively affordable cost of living. Beacon Hill is a budget-friendly option centrally located between Back Bay and West End. But if you’re looking for riverfront views and exciting nightlife, there isn’t a better choice than Back Bay.

In Greater Boston, Somerville and Cambridge offer tranquillity, small-town charm, and convenience. Somerville is budget-friendly, while Cambridge is ideal for those associated with MIT or Harvard. Within Boston's inner ring, Jamaica Plain strikes the balance between affordability and abundant activities.

This article is for informational purposes only.

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