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10 Things to Know Before Moving to Somerville, MA

An aerial shot of Somerville, MA Written by Aislyn Hobbs

Somerville, in Middlesex County to the northwest of Boston, is a dense urban outgrowth of the metropolitan area. Known as the “cool kid” neighborhood of the Boston metro area due to its abundance of colleges and IT companies, the city has its roots in the early days of English colonization in the Americas. It was initially settled in 1629, almost 400 years ago, as a part of Charlestown, but as Boston expanded, the two became intertwined.

Once a haven for Italian, Irish, and Salvadoran immigrants, Somerville has recently become a hipster paradise thanks to the arrival of tech companies in the neighborhood and the subsequent flood of young workers.

Here are ten things to know before moving to Somerville, MA!

1. A hefty cost of living

The cost of living in Somerville is 62% higher than the national average, which is to be expected for such a trendy urban city that is well-known for its tech industry. The median price of a home in Somerville is $941,412, about three times the national average. Groceries, public transit, and utilities will all cost extra if you make Somerville your new home. Rent in Somerville is also quite high, averaging $2,775 per month.

Although the cost of living in Somerville is high, the city offers a rare and fantastic combination of opportunity and safety.

2. The schools in the city are highly rated

There are eleven schools in the Somerville School District. Although options for education are limited, there are a few excellent schools in the area. 

The Benjamin G. Brown School and the John F. Kennedy Elementary School are two of the best local schools, respectively rated 9 and 8 out of 10. You can be sure that your kid will be well cared for in Somerville.

3. Winters are quite chilly in the city

It’s hardly surprising to learn that Somerville shares the same climate as the rest of the northeastern coast. The summers are pleasant, but the winters can be extremely cold. The average annual temperature ranges from 19 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter to 82 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.

 Somerville receives 48 inches of rain annually, which is much higher than the national average of 38 inches. It also gets 51 inches of snow per year, significantly higher than the national average of 28 inches.

4. The city does not have a Downtown

Somerville is unique among major cities in that there is no central “downtown” area; instead, the city’s businesses and institutions are dispersed throughout the city. 

Take Assembly Row as an example; it was a rundown former industrial district until a recent rehabilitation brought cutting-edge businesses and conveniences to the region. Spring Hill is an older residential neighborhood with lots of historic buildings, perfect if you’re searching for something a little less trendy.

5. Healthcare, education, and tech are the major industries

Although healthcare, education, and technology are Somerville’s main sectors, the city offers enough opportunities for everybody. 

Software engineering, mechanical engineering, and project management are the top three most sought-after professions. Partners Healthcare Inc, Tufts University, and Triumvirate are the main employers in the area. Somerville has a median annual salary of $73,000, with an average hourly wage of $20.52.

6. Visit attractions like Legoland or Sylvester Baxter Riverfront Park

If there is nothing to do in the area, none of the trendiest adjectives in the world won’t be able to save it. You’re in luck since there are a ton of amazing things to do, both solo and with the family and loads of stores to explore.

Despite its appearance, this metropolitan area offers opportunities for hiking (or, more precisely, trail-walking)! Given its name, one would already guess that Sylvester Baxter Riverfront Park is located on a river and features a boardwalk with breathtaking river vistas. The park also features a number of hiking paths and a playground where younger visitors can burn off some energy.

Looking for a way to pass the time with the kids while also enjoying yourself? You should go to the Legoland Discovery Center. The Discovery Center is an amusement park and learning center for children that is located between Boston and Somerville. Your children are going to love this!

The New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, and the Faneuil Hall Marketplace are also among the must-sees.

7. Eat at Highland Kitchen or Redbones Barbecue

Somerville isn’t just packed with exciting attractions; it also has a wide variety of delicious restaurants. 

Highland Kitchen, located in Somerville, presents itself as an “upbeat” restaurant that serves Southern-inspired comfort food with a contemporary touch. It also has a great bar with original cocktails and a stage where there is frequently live music. Highland Kitchen is a great spot to hang out with a group of friends or bring the whole family.

The Five Horses Tavern is one of the best local watering holes in Somerville. This bar with a spacious patio is visited by many local Somerville residents because of the different high-quality draft beers and whiskeys available.

Sarma serves delicious Mediterranean cuisine. Redbones Barbecue is the spot to satisfy your hunger for barbecue. Need a good cup of coffee and nothing else? Visit the newly opened Glasser Coffee in addition to the tried and true 3 Little Figs and Diesel Cafe.

8. The city is close to Boston

Somerville’s closeness to Boston is very convenient. It allows for quick and simple commutes into the city via public transit options like the Green, Orange, and Red Lines. These trains will arrive every few minutes, no matter how congested the station may get during rush hour. Major thoroughfares like Massachusetts Avenue will carry you into the heart of Boston if you’d rather not take the subway.

For individuals who want the best of both urban and suburban life, Somerville is the place to be. Somerville has become one of the most desirable areas for young professionals because of its convenient proximity to both downtown Boston and Tufts University. 

9. The crime rate is lower than the national average

It is remarkable that Somerville has such a low crime rate, given its status as a hip suburb.  Somerville’s violent crime rate of 13 is much lower than the national average of 22.7. 

Somerville also has a substantially lower property crime rate than the rest of the country, at 26.4. This means that, compared to many other American cities, Somerville is a comparatively secure location to call home.

10. Assembly Row has the best nightlife

Somerville has an excellent reputation for its nightlife. Everything you might possibly need is conveniently located on Assembly Row. This is the place to go if you want to do anything: buy, eat, bowl, paint, or attend a movie. 

In the evening, Earl’s Kitchen + Bar is where the stylish and sophisticated dine. Muse Paintbar can provide additional amusement for folks visiting Assembly Row. You can have fun and express your artistic side at Muse Paintbar.

Final Thoughts

Somerville is perfect for those who want to live in a suburb without feeling like they’re actually in a suburb. The city has a thriving job market, great opportunities for dining and nightlife, well-rated schools, and a low crime rate. However, keep in mind that the exceptional quality of life in this town comes with a high cost of living.

Learn More About Living in Somerville, MA

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