It’s no secret that Allston is a popular destination for people from all across the Greater Boston area, particularly for students. Neighboring universities provide the zip code with plenty of students who’ve made the decision to live off-campus, and choose Allston for their time at school. Allston has plenty to offer to renters and homeowners of virtually any persuasion: but what special appeal does it hold for students living off-campus? We looked past the hip bubble tea shops and live music venues to find real students – both currently enrolled, and recently graduated – to share their experiences with living off-campus in Allston, Boston.
First of all, thanks for speaking with us, we really appreciate it.
Hey, it’s no problem at all. Happy to talk.
So, you lived in Allston during your time at school, correct?
Yep! Sophomore year, and then again in my senior year. I lived in Brighton Center in-between. Same roommates each time.
Nice. Let’s talk about your sophomore year. First time living off-campus?
Yeah, me and some classmates chipped in and got our own place together. The difference between picking who you live with, and being told who you live with…
It’s a big change.
A big change, for sure. We’d been looking at Allston, Brookline and Fenway, but we found a really affordable place in Allston, and that sealed the deal for us. I wanted to live in something that was more of a rent saver and fast paced, you know?
Did you grow up in a more urban environment?
Quite the opposite, actually. I came from Windsor Locks, Connecticut. Classic suburban. So when I moved to Boston for school, I wanted to move to an area where I could challenge myself, grow personally. Still close enough to go home if I needed to, but far enough away that I could disengage, be my own person.
To have your own space.
Exactly. Physically and emotionally. Get out from the dorms, have some place where I can have peace and quiet if I want it, and otherwise be on my own in this big city. And I absolutely fell in love with Boston. Allston is a big part of that.
So tell us about Allston. What’s it like, living there while going to school?
So, the area is kind of its own district, own community. You’ve got this huge strip of bars like The Draft, White Horse Tavern, Tavern in the Square, all right down the street from where you live. Also, the food. Alston is like, known for it’s food. Food prices all around Allston are great compared to when I go downtown. I call fill myself with great lunch specials at a few place at less than 10 dollars per day. I keep track of great food deals.
Any favorite spots?
Tons. Lone Star: it’s a taco bar that was featured on a couple television shows. Super good. You know Guy Fieri?
They were on his show. Corianos got voted Boston’s best Korean food. There’s just so much stuff there. My problem is that I do like to eat out too much. It makes it hard to save money, eat on a budget, you know? It’s just so good. At least my rent is way cheaper than anything that I saw in Fenway and Brookline.
So other than saving money by eating in, any challenges? How was the commute?
Not gonna lie, it was rough some days: especially in the winter, when there’s snow on the ground. Sloshing through the snow was easily one of the biggest drawbacks for me. A lot of Allston’s community is BU students, but I went to school out in Fenway, so I had a bit of a trip every morning. I wish the T was faster.
So you took the sidewalk, rather than the street or the rails?
Yeah. Keeps you in shape, you know? Took me about 45 minutes, and like I said, that was no fun in the snow. But you could take the T, you could always just hop on the T.
You said you also lived in Brighton Center, correct? How would you compare the two?
Alston is different than Brighton Center. There’s more bars, more restaurants. You don’t have the easy opportunity to head to the soccer field, hockey field when you’re that far out. Fenway Park is farther too, so it really depends on what you want to live near. My biggest thing was that commutes were longer from Brighton Center. Most of my friends lived closer to campus as well. My apartment itself was better than our Allston apartment, but location was more important to me than saving 50 bucks per month.
How was being surrounded by students from different universities?
I think it was great. Just in Fenway, you were exposed to different people because of the colleges down there. But by living in Allston, I really got to know a lot more people at BU, and that might not have happened otherwise.
So, you moved to Brighton Center for a year, and then came back. What brought that on?
Honestly? My roommates and I turned 21 (laughing).
The bars became more of a draw.
Yeah. Once you’re of age, it’s like there’s this second half of Allston that opens up for you. So we definitely wanted to experience that for ourselves.
Did you have the same roommates in all three years?
Yep. Still have ’em today.
Yeah. We found something that works. After we graduated, we just got another place together. Don’t fix it if it isn’t broken, right? All the same advantages of having roommates in college still apply. You can save a ton of money when you’re splitting rent, utilities. Boston isn’t always the cheapest place to live, but when you’ve got a great roommate situation, you can really make your money go far.
Do you all still live in Allston?
Still in the Allston area, no doubt. Absolutely fell in love, don’t really see myself ever going home. But I do see myself checking out South Boston in the next couple of years if I can score a bigger job close to it.
Sounds like Boston is home now.
There you go.
Anything you’d like to add? Final thoughts on living off-campus in Allston?
If you give Boston a chance, you’ll fall in love with it. Allston is one of the best places to do that. Doesn’t mater what school you attend, it’s got something for everyone. I guess it can be tricky to find something that works for your budget, so I’d say don’t underestimate the value of going in with roommates, and getting a place you’ll love. Awesome. Really appreciate you taking the time to talk with us. For sure.
If you give Boston a chance, you’ll fall in love with it. Allston is one of the best places to do that. Doesn’t mater what school you attend, it’s got something for everyone. I guess it can be tricky to find something that works for your budget, so I’d say don’t underestimate the value of going in with roommates, and getting a place you’ll love.
Awesome. Really appreciate you taking the time to talk with us.
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