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Old 11-21-2010, 12:41 AM
1 posts, read 1,587 times
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I guess I am a "young professional", and I am moving to Boston in about 2 months for a job. I'll be working in Waltham (near I-95 and Winter st.), and I'm wondering what the surrounding areas and apartments are like.

I have set myself a ceiling of $1400 for a 1br apartment. I've been looking mostly in the Waltham area, though I'll have a car so as long as the commute isn't too long (30 minutes?) it is okay.

I've looked some into Belmont/Newton, but it seems more boring and expensive. I'm somewhat hesitant to look in Cambridge because it had been my experience that areas near colleges tend have higher rent but poor upkeep due to the rate of turnover.

Any other towns I should consider?

Also, I've heard the areas in south Waltham are less nice. Anybody know how the area around South St. and Charles River Rd (sandwiched between Brandeis and water) is?

My main problem is I only have a couple of days to visit apartments in the area, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 11-21-2010, 10:11 PM
5,763 posts, read 13,336,578 times
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It's difficult to say whether Newton and Belmont would be "boring." It depends on what you're looking for. Correct me if I'm wrong with this assumption, but since you describe yourself as a young professional I'm going to guess that you're looking for the kinds of areas that attract a lot of young professionals. Newton and Belmont have local shopping areas you can walk to from many neighborhoods, but they do tend to be family-oriented towns.

In Waltham, the area where you're working is on the north side of town, which has a suburban character. The area you're asking about, between Brandeis and the edge of downtwon, varies. Farther west, toward Brandeis, the areas is rather suburban. As you move east toward the western edge of downtown there's an immigrant neighborhood, Hispanic if I've got the right picture. Some might consider this area ghetto, but it's far from ghetto. A bit faded, though, and not really a place where you'd be surrounded by other young pros. The older areas off of Moody St., south and southeast of Moody, and along the side streets off Main St. have more of a young professionals crowd. The scene in Waltham is oriented heavily toward restaurants, nothing really in the way of clubs.

I'd suggest that you not be so quick to dismiss Cambridge. Check around Porter Square and you'll find some young professionals, and not so much of a student area. Also check just over the line in Davis Sq. in Somerville, which is a big young pro area.

Two areas that might be kind of borderline if you're looking for a young pro area are Brookline Village and the west side of Brighton, especially around Brighton Center or Oak Square (but avoid Brighton neighborhoods east of Market St.--student ghetto central over there). Those areas tend to have more small local businesses than trendy young professionals kinds of venues, but they do have some young pros in the population mix, and are pretty close to the kinds of nightspots you might find interesting in and near downtown Boston. These areas are borderline as young pro kinds of areas because you'd have to travel to the kinds of nightspots you'd likely find appealing, rather than having them around the corner. It's just that the trip would be shorter than it would be from much of Newton for example.

Another area that's borderline for a different reason is Jamaica Plain. In that case you're talking about some neighborhoods with plenty of young professionals, but the borderline status has to do with commuting range. Also, I'm not familiar with that area enough to give you the lowdown on all the neighborhoods, but I do know that by reputation the quality and safety of not only specific neighborhoods but even individual streets can vary a lot in J.P., so if you look there you want to do some serious research into the character of the immediate area surrounding any place you might consider. Find the right neighborhood, though, and J.P. is a draw for young professionals.
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Old 11-22-2010, 04:13 AM
Location: Quincy, Mass. (near Boston)
2,051 posts, read 3,466,983 times
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Consider Arlington, next to Cambridge and Belmont, but reasonable distance to Waltham.

Great restaurant town with a couple movie theaters and the Minuteman Bike Trail at the edge/center of town. Couple of libraries. Bus service to Harvard Sq. connects to the red line T.

Some working class sections along with nicer pockets. Pretty safe overall. Spot Pond is in back of the historic district on Rt. 60; Rt. 60 goes into Belmont, then Waltham near Main St.

Plus, it's next to desirable Lexington.

Craigslist has some decent studios for under $1.000.
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