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Where to live when going to MIT?


XYZMan
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Where do MIT grad students typically live?  Someone told me that Kendall Square has shared apartments with rooms that go for $600 to $900.  

 

Is living up on Kirkland Street too much of a hassle?

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Many undergrads live around Kendall. It's walking distance but honestly a little boring. Grad students also live further out - in Central Square, Harvard Square, Porter Square and Davis Square. Those neighborhoods are near the T and therefore accessible from/to MIT. Other neighborhoods that are cheaper include Inman Square, Union Square and Teele Square. My personal favorite is Inman. Prices vary depending on number of roommates and proximity to the T, among other things. If you bike, you might want to check out the topography of the area; some places in e.g. Union and Porter are up hills that can be unpleasant to bike up.

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It really depends what you want to spend.  You'll probably want to stay relatively close to MIT, though you can go further afield on the Red Line quite easily.  Kendall itself is pretty boring but easy to get to from a number of areas.  You can also live in East Cambridge by Lechmere, which is cheaper and not a bad walk to MIT.  You can also move up or down the red line, depending on how comfortable you are with a subway commute.  It's expensive to be close to the T anyway though, so you could be left with a 15-20 minute walk just to get to the T stop, which sounds fine before you remember what Boston's like in January.  I live in Porter right now and it's nice if a bit dull (great for living needs, not great for enjoying life) and I lived in Davis last year, which I definitely preferred, much more alive.  Really the whole area is great and interconnected no matter what, so tough to go wrong.

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Well I currently work in Boston (will be moving this summer down the Nashville, TN for my PhD), so I take the red line all the way to park st every morning, but really it's a quick commute, time from getting into the station to getting to Kendall is probably 10-15 minutes.  I live about 5 minutes from Porter and pay split $1600 rent with my girlfriend for a 1.5 bedroom apartment.  Unfortunately you'll need to have roommates with that budget, but that's definitely doable at any of the red line stops besides Harvard really.  The toughest part will be finding somewhere before 9/1.  Not sure how familiar you are with Boston, but it's the weirdest rental market setup in the country.  Something like 80% of leases end on 8/31 and start on 9/1, so basically the whole city moves that day.  It's utter hell and pandemonium, and it's almost impossible to avoid.  

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Kendall doesn't really have a nearby grocery store, if that matters to you. You'd be trundling halfway to Central Square. There is a Whole Foods right next to Central (I know, stupidly expensive), and Porter has your typical grocery store. There is something called a "Market Basket" nearish to Porter, but it is full of feral grad students and soccer moms fighting over ridiculously cheap chicken breasts. I fear it, but hear it is relatively safe around midnight,

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$700 is doable only with roommates, as others said. From Kendall and Central you could walk to campus in maybe 15-20 minutes, depending on where you are coming from. On that budget, East Cambridge near Lechmere may also be something to consider, and you'll also be near a grocery store and within a decent walking distance from campus. Further out in Somerville will also be cheaper, but the commute will be significantly longer - probably more like 30+ minutes once you get further away from the T. On the other hand, some parts of Somerville are nicer to live in than the places that are close to campus but otherwise have nothing much going on.

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Thanks for all this helpful info!

 

Yeah, I don't care about having roommates.  I assumed that would be the case.

 

I'll start poking around for stuff in East Cambridge.

 

I don't arrive in the US until July -- it's difficult to get a head start from abroad.

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Easiest squares to live in: Porter, Davis, Harvard, Central, Kendall. As long as you are near the T or near a MIT shuttle route, you will have a fast commute to campus. The longest part would be walking to the T from wherever you live. There is also the #1 bus that just runs up and down Mass Ave and stops at 77 Mass Ave, so that gives more areas to live in, including areas of Boston, as well.

 

When looking at apartments, just keep Google Maps and the MIT shuttle maps open and figure out how you would get back and forth. If you have a bike, you would probably have more cheaper options available to you. And consider what is most important- do you want to be near bars/restaurants? Do you want to be as close as possible to public transportation? Do you want to be as close as possible to grocery stores or markets?

 

I went to MIT undergrad and also lived in Central Square for a year and a half afterwards... feel free to PM me if you have any questions. :-D

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Lechmere, specifically, is on the green line and MIT is on the red line.  You could walk to MIT from there but you will not want to in the dead of winter.  If you decide to take the T, you will have to take it into the city and back into Cambridge.  That is going to take a lot of unneccesary time if you aren't walking or taking a bus (not sure what the bus situation is in East Cambridge).  You probably want to refer to the MBTA website when you find any place to see what kind of commute on public transpo you are looking at if you decided not to walk.  Anywhere on the red line will be an easier commute to MIT than other lines unless there's a good, reliable bus near where you live. When I first moved here, I was on the red line and it was a lifesaver getting to know the city and the T.

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