Back Bay

5 Ways to Spend a Rainy Day in Boston

What to do on rainy days in Boston, Massachusetts

Although it can be nice staying inside on a rainy New England afternoon, the wet weather hardly spoils Boston's lively activities. The city and the Greater Boston area have a variety of local treasures worth exploring for everyone!

We've made a list of rainy day activities and suggested places to visit in Boston:

Get lost in an independent bookstore. There's nothing like finding a good book to curl up with and read on a rainy afternoon. The first step? Finding a new book or two. Grab a coffee-to-go and head to the local bookstore in your neighborhood. Trident Booksellers & Café in Back Bay has become a well-known Boston institute for book lovers. If you're looking for a large selection, the Brattle Book Shop is one of the oldest used booksellers in the country. 

Find a new cozy brunch spot. Rainy days in Boston present great opportunities to check out brunch places that you haven't been able to try because of the long lines that typically appear on sunnier days. The Paris Creperie's food truck makes its rounds through Boston, but their café in Brookline is well worth visiting with friends for fresh crepes and Nutella chocolate drinks. If you're looking for a healthier brunch option, head to Za, a restaurant that makes pizza and salad using seasonal, farm-fresh ingredients from local farms. Want more suggestions for brunch in Boston? Thrillist has you covered with the best brunches to try in Boston right now.

Hit the shops. Between Copley Place and The Prudential Center, you have plenty of stores to choose from to update your wardrobe. You'll find that there's a wide selection of luxury and contemporary brands available in Boston! If you're not in the mood to shop for clothes, you can always simply window shop or make your way to Barnes & Noble at the Prudential Center. 

Treat yourself to a spa day. If you know that your weekend plans may be rained out in advance, book a facial or massage in Boston! Take the opportunity to do some self-care and escape from stress for an hour or a half-day. We recommend Balans, the only all-organic spa in Boston, and Corbu at The Charles Hotel in the heart of Harvard Square. 

Check out the latest museum exhibits and explore Boston's smaller museums. Take advantage of living in Boston by exploring the incredible museums in the city! The Museum of Fine Arts (MFA), the Museum of Science and the Harvard Museum of Natural History are some of the larger museums that are more likely to have active, rotating exhibits, but it's also worth visiting the smaller historical treasures Boston has to offer. Trinity Church, the Nichols House Museum, and the Paul Revere House are centrally located in Boston and are only a short walk away from downtown shops and restaurants.

Parks and Green Spaces in Boston

With spring coming around the corner, Bostonians are getting ready to smell blooming flowers, see green grass and take in the warmer weather!

Residents and tourists are familiar with Boston Common and Public Garden, but there are more green spaces throughout the city. Smaller neighborhoods have corners of green gardens peppered on every other street, whereas other neighborhoods are in close proximity to large parks like Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park or the Wharf District Park.  

We've put together a short of list of parks and green spaces in some of our favorite Boston neighborhoods:

Back Bay-Beacon Hill

For everyone:

  • Copley Square
  • Public Garden

For playgrounds:

  • Clarendon Street Play Lot, 260 Clarendon Street
  • Myrtle Street Playground, 50 Myrtle Street
  • Phillips Street Play Area, 21 Phillips Street

Charlestown

For everyone:

  • Thompson Square, 111 Warren Street
  • Winthrop Square, 55 Winthrop Street
  • Mayor Menino Park, 1st Avenue Street Frontage

For playgrounds:

  • Caldwell Street Play Area, 9 Caldwell Street
  • Cook Street Play Area, 15 Hill Street
  • Harvard Mall, 29 Harvard Street

Downtown

For everyone:

  • Angell Memorial Square, 152-158 Congress Street
  • Bay Village Garden, 32 Melrose Street
  • Bay Village Neighborhood Park, 113 Charles Street South
  • Boston Common, 139 Tremont Street (location of tourist office)
  • Cardinal Cushing Park, 5 New Chardon Street
  • Christopher Columbus Park, 110 Atlantic Avenue
  • Copp's Hill Terrace, 520 Commercial Street
  • Faneuil Square, 1P Faneuil Hall Square
  • Lincoln Square, 2 Columbus Street
  • North Square, 1P North Square

For playgrounds:

  • Langone Park, 529-543 Commercial Street
  • Puopolo Playground, 517 Commercial Street

Fenway-Kenmore

For everyone:

  • Back Bay Fens, 100 Park Drive
  • Commonwealth Avenue Mall, 484 Commonwealth Avenue
  • Ramler Park, 130 Peterborough Street

For playgrounds:

  • Edgerly Road Playground, 6 Edgerly Road

Jamaica Plain

For everyone:

  • Arnold Arboretum, 125 The Arborway
  • Jamaica Pond Park, 507 Jamaica Way
  • Mahoney Square, 399P Centre Street
  • Nira Rock Urban Wild, 22 Nira Avenue
  • Olmsted Park, 217 Jamaicaway 

For playgrounds:

  • Forbes Street Playground, 60 Forbes Street
  • Mission Hill Playground, 60 Smith Street
  • Mozart Street Playground, 10 Mozart Street

For the complete list of parks and green spaces, visit The City of Boston's website.

Romantic Restaurants in Boston

Have you thought about where to go for a special date night in Boston?

Whether you're looking to plan Valentine's Day dinner or surprise someone you love for no reason, these Beantown restaurants check all the boxes for a romantic evening. 

The Classics

It's no surprise that the highly-recommended romantic restaurants in Boston are French—after all, it is one of the most romantic languages and cultures in the world. 

  • L'Espalier, French, 774 Boylston Street, Back Bay
  • No. 9 Park, Italian/French, 9 Park Street, Beacon Hill
  • Bistrot du Midi, French, 272 Boylston Street, Back Bay 
  • Mistral, French, 223 Columbus Avenue, South End
  • Tasca, Spanish Tapas, 1612 Commonwealth Avenue, Brighton

The Newcomers

Spoke Wine Bar, 89 Bennet Square, Somerville

Spoke Wine Bar has been around since 2013, but has been under new management since April 2017. Late founder and original owner Felicia “Flea” Foster had stepped away from the restaurant in 2015 as she dealt with her amyotrophic laterals sclerosis (ALS) diagnosis. Spoke reopened last spring with new owner Mary Kurth and new executive chef Eric Frier who sought to combine their new ideas with well-loved Spoke's legacy. Foster, who passed away in October 2017, is remembered for her many accomplishments, fierce spirit and opening one of America's Top 20 Wine Bars and a Somerville neighborhood favorite. 

Benedetto, Italian, 1 Bennett Street, Cambridge (inside The Charles Hotel)

When The Charles Hotel made the decision to close Rialto in June 2016, shortly after the departure of chef and owner Jody Adams, the restaurant space was leased and replaced by Michael Pagliarini, chef and owner of Giulia. An Umbrian native, Pagliarini and his wife Pamela Ralston invite customers to "experience the re-imagining of rustic Italian recipes with luxe ingredients and artisan bravado." If the main plates aren't enough to entice you, perhaps Boston Magazine's review of the "enchanted sugarscapes" crafted by pastry chef Renae Connolly will hit your sweet spot. 

Café Du Pays, French-Canadian, 233 Cardinal Medeiros Avenue, Cambridge

The same restaurant group behind State Park, Mamaleh's and Hungry Mother—which closed in 2015—opened the new French-Canadian restaurant in July 2017. If the established restaurant collection doesn't indicate a positive future for Café Du Pays, the restaurant has earned 2017 Restaurant of the Year and 2017 Top Best New Restaurant. Not convinced enough to make reservations? Read this review.

Additional Recommendations

Check out the Boston Chefs website for a more comprehensive list of Valentine's Day restaurant specials.

Where to Celebrate New Year's Eve in Boston

Boston is ready to ring in the New Year for 2018

After a fireworks hiatus for last year's New Year's Eve celebrations, the Boston Globe reports that the First Night in Boston is back!

The First Night in Boston, which is now run by Conventures on a pro bono basis, will be a free event open to the public. An estimated 200,000-300,000 attendees will enjoy a variety of events to suit the entire family with a view of the Boston Harbor. 

Unlike in years past, when attendees had to purchase a button to attend some events, Conventures turned First Night into a free event featuring local artists and performers, ice sculptures, a figure skating show, a parade, and a 7 p.m. family fireworks display on Boston Common sponsored by the Mugar Foundation.

To follow the New Year's Eve festivities, the First Day in Boston will host more family friendly activities in Copley Square. 

Boston has had a long history of being one of the best cities to celebrate New Year's Eve in the United States for over forty years. 

The Boston Globe recognizes the First Night as "the oldest and largest event of its kind in the country, it inspired dozens of similar festivals across the country and pumped millions into the local economy." Although the city has struggled to gather funds for the First Night in Boston in recent years, residents and tourists are excited to see the celebration return for 2018. 

Visit the First Night in Boston's website for more information.

More on New Year's Eve Celebrations in Boston

Studio Apartments in Boston

A studio apartment is a rental unit with everything but the bathroom combined into one main room. It doesn’t contain any separate bedrooms. You may be interested in studio apartments for rent if you’re a single person who doesn’t require a lot of space; or are simply looking to save money. However, even studio rentals can provide luxurious accommodations. Longwood Residential rents and manages several luxury studio loft apartments that we encourage you to check out today.

How to Determine What You Can Afford to Spend on Rent

Food, transportation, and housing costs, make up nearly two-thirds of the budget for most people in the Boston area. However, financial experts recommend trying to cap these costs at 60%. With the high cost of living in Boston, we recommend that your annual salary be at least 40 times your monthly rent. This ensures that you can comfortably afford your monthly rent obligation. Be sure to look at all sources of income as well as all recurring and occasional expenses when creating your rental budget. Cheap apartments in Boston are hard to come by, but Longwood Residential studio rentals are your best bet in finding them.

Decorating a Small Apartment

Just because you rent a small space doesn’t mean you must give up your decorating style. Renters with limited space or funds can get quite creative in this department. Local flea markets are an excellent place to find vintage furniture, pottery, and glassware. You can even shop fabric stores to add chic style to curtains, older furniture, and other personal items in your studio apartment.

Where to Find Studio Apartments Near Me

Longwood Residential offers studio apartments in several of Boston’s finest neighborhoods. Please view our listings to learn more, or contact us directly with your questions. We will help you find the best small apartment for your price range, amenities desired, and neighborhood where you want to live.

What is the Cost of Living in Boston?

cost of living bostonAccording to a June, 2017 report released by Best Places, Boston scored a 169.90 for overall cost of living. A score of 100 is the baseline for cities across the United States (the higher the better). High housing costs seem to contribute the most to this score. Although Boston scores high in several other areas as well, it’s the housing costs that really drive it up. They are highest in Boston proper as compared to the Boston/Cambridge/Newton metro area and Massachusetts as a whole. Setting down roots in the right neighborhood can make all the difference in housing costs.

Other Cost of Living Scores for Boston

Boston also scores above 100 in several other cost of living categories. These include:

  • Utilities, 149

  • Miscellaneous, 131

  • Health, 125

  • Grocery, 122

  • Transportation, 105

Many residents consider the cost of living in Boston worth it. The city offers excellent public transportation and a rich history, among other things. You always have the option of getting in on the tiny house craze to reduce your housing costs.

Average Rental Costs in Boston

cost of living bostonThe June 2017 Best Places report indicates that the average rent for a studio apartment in Boston is $1,245 per month. This compares to $898 for the rest of Massachusetts and $712 average for the entire United States. Other rental rates by size include:

  • 1 bedroom: $1,395 in Boston, $1,067 in Massachusetts, and $825 in the United States

  • 2 bedroom: $1,716 in Boston, $1,335 in Massachusetts, and $1,027 in the United States

  • 3 bedroom: $2,130 in Boston, $1,668 in Massachusetts, and $1,379 in the United States

These high rental rates might encourage some people to become homeowners sooner than they would have in a different area. At Longwood Residential, we offer competitively priced apartments, condominiums, and private homes. We may have exactly what you’re looking for, so give us a call or click to contact us and discuss your needs today!

 

How Much is a Condo in Boston?

The condo market in Boston is growing quickly. According to an August, 2016 report released by realestate.com, both the number of available condos and their prices are on the rise. A big reason for the higher average price is the development of many new luxury condos. Longwood Towers Condominiums is one such example. These units have a lot of amenities not previously found in Boston condos. Some of these features might include an on-site fitness center, concierge service, and valet parking.

Condo Prices vs. Single-Family Home Prices

In late 2016, the average condo in Suffolk County was $520,000. This represented a 9.5% increase over the first half of the year. Suffolk County includes Boston as well as smaller, nearby cities like Chelsea and Revere. The average single-family home in the same county sold for $440,000. That was 4.4 percent higher than the first half of 2016.

Here are the average condos prices for Boston and nearby cities:

  • Downtown Boston (including South End, Midtown, and Back Bay) - $800,000

  • South Boston - $615,000

  • East Boston - $400,000

  • Cambridge - $651,000

  • Somerville - $587,000

  • Jamaica Plain - $478,000

These prices can certainly be discouraging, especially for a first-time homeowner. However, attending one of our first-time home buyer seminars can provide you with several resources. If you don’t see any upcoming, please contact us, or feel free to call us at (617) 396-3100, and we’ll be sure to arrange a seminar to help you soon!

How Are Condos Different?

Many Bostonians prefer condos because it allows them to own property with more perks and less responsibility than a homeowner. It also provides more freedom than renting an apartment. Someone else handles all outside maintenance such as mowing the lawn or shoveling snow. Since you own your unit, you’re free to decorate or remodel as you see fit. The one exception is that you won’t be able to make structural changes to common walls between your own space and a neighbor’s.

If you’re looking for luxury and convenience, speak to us today about Longwood condos for sale.

Where To Rent In Boston

Boston has several distinct neighborhoods, each with its individual benefits. So, it can be kind of challenging to choose the appropriate place for you to call home. For example, if you’re a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center employee; Brookline, Fenway, and Jamaica Plain could all make ideal places to live.

Brookline is near several reliable public transportation routes, and is home to Coolidge Corner, a premier shopping area. Fenway is closest to the hospital and offers a vibrant nightlife with bonus points if you’re a Red Sox fan. Jamaica Plain is the most affordable of the three neighborhoods, and offers numerous parks and recreational areas, if you have a dog and wish to be social.

Popular and Attractive Boston Neighborhoods

Perhaps living near a hospital in the Longwood area isn’t a concern for you. If not, you may want to consider the neighborhood of Roslindale. You can find single-family homes, condos, or luxury apartments here quite easily. You may even want to save up to purchase a multiunit property, and rent out the space you don’t need.

Brighton is another up-and-coming neighborhood for young professionals in Boston. Several two-story homes here have been turned into condos. This makes an attractive option when you want your own space without the full responsibilities of home ownership.

Enjoy the Unique Combination of Luxury and History

Do you enjoy having all of the modern amenities within a building with history and character? If that’s the case, you need to check out Garrison Square in Boston’s Back Bay. The building itself sits in one of the most historic neighborhoods in the city. You will love the surrounding brownstone homes and the historic cobblestone streets you’ll travel daily. Protip: invest in comfortable walking flats.

The 105 units of Garrison Square have all the features you would expect in a luxury apartment complex. A rooftop terrace, private balcony, and breathtaking landscape features, name a few.

Whether you’re looking for luxury or practicality, we’re here to help. Longwood Residential offers our experience dealing in all sorts of rental properties within the parameters of Boston Metro. Please contact us today for a complimentary assessment.

How Much Apartment Can I Afford?

Budgeting for apartment rent isn’t always easy, especially when it’s your first time renting. For most people, rent or mortgage, food, and transportation take up at least 60% of their budget. The goal of this article is to help give you a baseline knowledge of this topic to establish your own personalized apartment budget.

When adding up your income, be sure to include or subtract the following, if applicable:

·       Salary

·       Bonuses

·       Royalties or rental income

·       Alimony or child support

·       Interest

·       Proceeds from a recent sale of a large item

As you balance your budget, try not to spend much more than 60% percent of your total income on rent, food and transportation. You will still need money for electricity, cable/phone, insurance, medical care, debt repayments, and if you’re lucky savings. Be sure to consider the cost of living in your preferred location when choosing your apartment. In Boston, many people enjoy the conveniences of urban living, such as public transportation and riding or walking to their workplace.

Your Annual Salary Should Be At Least 40 Times Your Monthly Rent

There’s no question that the cost of living is high in Boston. This is why many landlords require tenants to earn an annual salary that is at least 40 times the monthly rental rate. Assume that you and your spouse earn a combined income of $100,000 per year. Divide this figure by 40 to get the maximum you should pay for rent each month. In this case, it’s $2,500.

Consider Your Move-In Costs

Keep in mind that you almost always need to pay a security deposit when you move into your new apartment. It’s common for landlords to require the first and last month’s rent when you sign a lease, too. To offset these costs, look for special deals being offered. For example, a rental property manager may offer a free month’s rent when you sign a lease of at least one year. You also need to account for costs such as new furniture or professional moving assistance. Rest assured, the management at Longwood Residential will assist you in locating money-saving deals whenever possible.

Where is the Best Place to Live in Boston?

According to the website Best Places, Boston is the historic and intellectual capital of the United States. Many residents choose to live in Boston for that reason alone. It’s hard to find Boston’s culture and tradition anywhere else. It can be more challenging to figure out where is the best place to live in Boston. With a cost of living 70 percent higher than the rest of the U.S. and an average home price of $499,000, renting or buying a condo is a better option for a lot of Boston residents.

Condos Available in More Than a Dozen Boston Neighborhoods

Longwood Residential offers Longwood condos for sale in 14 different neighborhoods within the Boston city limits. Our prices are in line with the average condo price in Boston. Limited real estate availability and the desire to save money on purchasing a home are the main reasons people consider condo ownership. Lifestyle is another important consideration. You don’t have to spend your valuable free time mowing and maintaining your lawn. Our staff handles these chores as part of your homeowner’s association dues.

Many of our multi-unit condo towers offer amenities such as valet parking, an exercise room, room service, package delivery, and on-site stores. You have the convenience of a hotel but you get to stay there permanently.

Apartments in Boston

For some people who choose to live in Boston, renting an apartment makes more sense. They need the flexibility to move when the lease is up and may not be able to afford a house or condo. Longwood Residential manages several luxury apartment complexes in Boston. Many have the same upscale amenities as our condos. Please contact us to learn more or arrange a tour.