Median RentMedian Sqft
Studio$2,699573 sqft
1 Bed$2,715672 sqft
2 Beds$3,0001,100 sqft
3+ Beds$4,2001,498 sqft


Wedged between Cambridge and the Mystic River, Somerville is a gritty city with a diverse population and an artistic soul. It was not too long ago that this place was rough enough to earn the nickname “Slummer-ville.” But as rents around Boston skyrocketed, the working-class town became an attractive landing place for students and families, artists and immigrants – essentially anyone who was priced out of Cambridge. (Nowadays, there is so much overlap between the two neighboring cities that residents have adopted the informal moniker “Camberville.”)

Somerville has not abandoned its working-class roots, but now it also embraces artists, academics, immigrants, and millennials of all persuasions. Somehow the ‘Ville has become one of Boston’s hippest neighborhoods, with a thriving art scene, a slew of trendsetting restaurants and breweries, a lively new shopping center, and a calendar packed with unusual events. Traditionally, Somerville apartments can be found in multi-family houses – especially the ubiquitous triple-decker. There are no more bargains here, though, as rents (and restaurant prices) have shot through the roof. The good news is that the city is overhauling its oldest commercial center, Union Square, which will add hundreds of much-needed housing units – mostly in larger condominium and apartment complexes, including one incongruous 20-story high-rise. Meanwhile, the MBTA is expanding the subway lines in the area, improving transportation options, and reducing commuting times into Boston.

Locals are cautiously optimistic about the changes. Infrastructure upgrades are definitely needed; fingers crossed that they are able to preserve the cool and quirky vibe that defines the ‘Ville.

Getting Around

The city of Somerville sits on top of Cambridge, with the city line stretching for about 4 miles along its southern and western edge. Interstate 93 marks Somerville’s southeastern border with Charlestown, while Everett sits across the Mystic River to the east. Medford and Arlington are the northern neighbors.

The MBTA Red Line runs through West Somerville with a stop at Davis (although Porter and Alewife are also easily accessible, just over the city line in Cambridge). On the other side of town, the Orange Line zips through Somerville into North Station, with stops at Assembly and Sullivan Square. In 2022, the MBTA is scheduled to unveil the long-awaited Green Line extension into Somerville, with one branch terminating at Union Square and a second branch stretching all the way to College Ave in Medford, with four Somerville stops along the way (East Somerville, Gilman Square, Magoun Square, Ball Square). In addition to the T, there are a handful of bus routes that can be convenient, depending on where and when you are traveling.

The proximity of I-93 means it’s easy to get out of town or get into Boston by car. However, Somerville itself is not particularly user-friendly for drivers (especially the uninitiated) due to an excess of traffic, construction, and one-way roads. That said, permitted residents should not usually have a problem finding street parking near their homes in residential areas.

Boston’s bike-share program BlueBikes is active in Somerville. Generally, the city has made big improvements for biking infrastructure in recent years, and bikers will enjoy bike lanes on major arteries, some protected by flex posts.

Food & Drink

In the last decade, Somerville has become a hot spot for eating and drinking, and dedicated foodies come from Boston and other surrounding towns to sample the fare (and the scene). Davis Square is the biggest commercial center, with bars and restaurants lined up along Elm Street, Holland Street, and Highland Ave. It’s a popular student spot, so there is no shortage of coffee shops, Irish bars, and delicious cheap eats (including the historic Rosebud Diner); but discerning diners will also enjoy some upscale eating options, wine bars, and at least one underground cocktail bar.

Restaurants and bars in Somerville of all sorts are also clustered around Union Square, which has overtaken Davis for trendy eating and drinking. The center of the action there is Bow Market, a sort of outdoor food hall with a brewery, a wine bar, and an ever-changing collection of shops and eateries. Assembly Row is a newish development along the Mystic River — an outdoor outlet mall with plenty of options for eating and drinking. The restaurants are mostly national chains, but you will find some local favorites, including Legal Seafood, Ernesto’s Pizzeria, and JP Licks.


Somerville has become a shopping destination in the past decade, with the opening of Assembly Row. The outlet mall includes some 40 national brands and a few independent shops — all clustered in an attractive, outdoor, riverside marketplace.

The Porter Square Mall is a smaller strip mall with a smattering of useful stores, including a beloved local bookstore and a popular shop for natural body products. In Davis and Union Squares (and especially in Bow Market), look for unique local shops selling second-hand clothing, used records, artisanal foodstuffs, and specialty design and fashion wares.

Things to Do

The youthful, active population of Somerville knows how to keep busy, with entertainment options to suit every taste. Both Union and Davis offer a variety of small live music venues, such as Union Tavern, The Jungle, and the Crystal Ballroom. Davis is also home to the beloved art deco Somerville Theater, as well as the ultimate old-fashioned New England entertainment experience — candlepin bowling at Sacco’s Bowl Haven.

Meanwhile, across town at Assembly Row, the “new” Somerville is also entertaining, with a fancy new AMC theater and a shiny ten-pin bowling alley with lots of bells and whistles. For the hipsters among us (and there are hipsters among us in Somerville), there is axe-throwing at Urban Axes and rock climbing at the Bouldering Project.

Super active and highly creative, the Somerville Arts Council can take much of the credit for keeping this city entertained. All year long, the council organizes funny and funky events celebrating what makes this city special — art markets, poetry slams, dance parties, and music festivals, held in local parks and squares around town. The local favorite Fluff Festival celebrates Somerville as the place where Marshmallow Fluff was invented (for real), while the city’s biggest event is a festival of socially conscious music-making known as Honk!.

Expansive greenspace in Somerville is somewhat limited in this densely populated hood. The city’s largest parks are Foss Park and Dilboy Field, both with tennis courts, basketball courts, and an outdoor pool. Active types will appreciate the Somerville Community Path, a short (but growing!) paved trail that hooks up with the 10-mile Minute Man Bikeway in Cambridge. The Mystic River Greenway is a network of parks that run along the eponymous waterway in Somerville and beyond – ideal for walking, jogging, or kayaking.

Colleges & Universities

Tufts University sits on the edge of Somerville and Medford, with property in both cities. It is about one mile north of the Red Line Davis T station. The new extension of the Green Line (scheduled to open in 2022) will include a stop at College Ave, right at the doorstep of the Tufts campus. The highly-ranked school has about 10,000 students, with strong programs in computer science, economics, international affairs, and biology. Most of the campus is in Medford, but many students, faculty, and other affiliates live in Somerville. In fact, the university is one of the largest employers in Somerville.

Cambridge schools – including Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology – are a mile or two from the southwestern Somerville line, and easily accessible by bus or T.

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