Even within a neighborhood as small as East Cambridge, the atmosphere varies a lot from north to south. In the north, East Cambridge is fairly underdeveloped and is largely a residential and transit area. However, the south is a different story.
With the south neighborhood being only minutes away from the main campus of MIT, it is full of laboratories and mainly consists of office buildings and luxury apartments.
However, there is more than just the south and the north to choose from. The central neighborhood is one of the oldest in all of Cambridge, for those who prefer a more traditional look to where they live. There is also a Charles River waterfront that boasts some outstanding hotels, businesses, and apartments for the person with more expensive taste.
While you can’t ever fully escape the “hustle and bustle” that comes with being right beside MIT, it is possible to quietly raise a family here if you live in the north, away from the tech mecca that is Kendall Square. The neighborhood has a bit of everything for everyone, even if it is quite small. Whether you are a young family with children looking to live in peace or are a young and hungry tech entrepreneur looking to create the next big business, there are tons of opportunities for all in East Cambridge.
While the neighborhood is largely office buildings and residential areas now, it wasn’t always this way. It actually began as an island surrounded by marshes, but landfill was eventually used to turn it into its modern configuration. Early on, the neighborhood was home to soap factories, glass factories, furniture factories, etc. In addition to its large industrial area, there were also some residential areas, used mainly to house those that worked in the factories.
However, in the late 90s, the gentrification process began to occur in East Cambridge. As a result, most of the old factories have been transformed into office buildings or condos/apartments. The neighborhood is also undergoing even more development as the largely undeveloped north end will be getting residential towers in the near future.
As is the norm with gentrification, the cost of living in this area has risen quite a bit in the last few decades. With its proximity to Kendall Square (one of the most important technology districts on the planet,) rent has skyrocketed. However, you get what you pay for in this neighborhood. It is full of modern amenities and you get the added bonus of living in a family friendly place, that is also very close to MIT and the variety of tech companies that surround it.
When it comes to traveling in East Cambridge, bicycling, or taking the subway is definitely the way to go. If the weather is decent, Cambridge can be one of the best places to bike in all of Greater Boston. Most of the streets have a bike lane and drivers are respectful of bikers.
If you can’t bike, the subway is a great option here. Both the Red Line and the Green Line have stops within East Cambridge or just minutes away. A taxi could also be viable, but if you are making consistent trips, the subway is a much cheaper option in the long run.
While driving in East Cambridge is viable if you live and drive in the more underdeveloped north end, you will run into problems when you head south. There are a ton of one-way streets and one wrong turn can leave you completely lost in the neighborhood. If you are a new resident to the neighborhood or just passing through, a GPS device is definitely recommended.
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Harvard University
- Northeastern University
- The North Point Park is a relatively new park that opened in East Cambridge. It first opened to the public in 2007 and is a great place to take a walk, see nature or have a picnic. The park is also located on the Charles River, so the views are great.
- While it is not technically in this neighborhood, there is no doubting the impact that MIT has on it. The main campus resides just a few minutes west of this neighborhood. If you live here, it should almost be a requirement to check out the campus of one of the most prestigious learning institutions in the world.
- The Museum of Science is one of the best museums in all of Boston. It is home to over 700 exhibits and features presentations or shows each and every day.
- If you want a great place to eat and see the best karaoke in Boston, head to the Courtside Restaurant. This places combines great food and drink with karaoke, and has a great atmosphere to boot.
- If shopping is your thing, you’ll want to stop in at the Twin City Plaza. It is a large outdoor shopping center with shops and restaurants of all kinds.