Pros and Cons of living in Cambridge, MA

06/30/22  |  Nouné Karapetian

From the bustling restaurant scene, to the renowned educational institutions, there are many things to love

Cambridge is a beautiful city, with lots to offer. Be it the one in the USA or the one in Britain, ‘Cambridge’ name is eternally connected to excellent higher education. Here we are talking about the Boston suburb, Cambridge, in the state of Massachusetts.
From the bustling restaurant scene, to the renowned educational institutions, there are many things to love.  If you’re considering moving to Cambridge, MA or want to learn more about life in the city, also watch my videos about Cambridge: 
Watch my video about Harvard square
Like every other city, there are pros and cons to living here. 



1. Plethora of Educational institutions

If you or a loved one is looking to be a student in the Boston area, Cambridge is the place for you. Cambridge is home to a variety of respected institutions such as Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Cambridge is also home to other respected colleges such as Lesley University,  and Longy School of Music at Bard College. The strong student population of about 42,000 full time students in the city gives it a lively, young feel, as there are always things to do and the city remains active at night. In terms of high schools, Cambridge offers great options as well. Cambridge Rindge and Latin School which is ranked #131 in MA by US News High School rankings. Cambridge Public schools get an A rating from The famous BB&N Private High School is in Cambridge as well.

2. Great restaurants

I’m a foodie myself, and I feel that Cambridge’s diverse population translates to the diverse food offerings. No matter the cuisine you’re interested in, Cambridge offers phenomenal options for eating out. Whether you’re interested in a hip Japanese-Spanish spot like Pagu, or want to try a place with unique seafood dishes and good cocktails like Waypoint, there truly is something for everyone.
3. Accessible  public transportation 
There are plenty of options for getting around town, whether you would like to take the subway, commuter rail, shuttles, bike shares, and buses! In fact, many Cambridge residents opt for public transportation as it is cheaper than getting around with a car. Living in Cambridge gives you access to many transportation options, and if you are looking to travel outside of the city to somewhere like downtown Boston, it is only a subway ride away. Fresh Pond neighborhood in Cambridge has access to Alewife Subway station, Harvard square is where the Harvard station is, there are stops in Central, Porter, and Kendall squares, all on the Red line. Harvard square is where the hub is for many buses that take you to the suburbs.
4. Diverse Neighborhoods 
According to, many of the top neighborhoods in Massachusetts are located in Cambridge.  Some notable ones include the Port, Mid-Cambridge, and Cambridgeport.  All have excellent ratings by residents and access to top public schools. 
If you are looking for a neighborhood with access to a city and activities to do, but still have that safe and homey feel, Cambridge offers many options to serve those needs. 
5. Multitude of parks and recreational activities
Cambridge values its residents’ health and wants everyone to be physically active, that’s why they close Memorial Drive from Western Avenue to Gerry's Landing on weekends. It is open to pedestrians and cyclists from mid April to mid December every Sat and Sun 11-am -7pm. This is a big improvement, since it used to be open only on Sundays and only from Memorial day to Labor day.
You will never feel bored in Cambridge, as there are always things to do. If you are an outdoorsy person, Cambridge is home to over 80 parks and open spaces.  If art and indoor activities are more your thing, check out the Harvard Arts Museum or Harvard Museum of Natural History! In general, Cambridge is very much a walking city.
Head of the Charles Regatta is another amazing event that takes place in Cambridge on the Charles River and  attracts many athletes from around the world, watch my video about the Regatta.  
6. Lots of job opportunities
If you are looking to work in biotech or technology fields, the city of Cambridge is popping new ones each year. The Greater Boston and Cambridge area is home to over 1,000 biotech and tech companies with some prominent ones being Biogen, Akamai Technologies, Cargurus, and Hubspot. Tech giants such as Microsoft and Apple are also located within or near Cambridge. Even if you are looking to work in a different sector, Cambridge’s diverse community hosts businesses of all kinds, so finding a job is more accessible than ever in this city.
7. Mix of city and suburbs
Cambridge has that  perfect mix of a quiet and cozy suburban feel and the bustling city energy, so if you want all the opportunities a big city like Boston offers, but less noise, Cambridge is a great residential option. In general, the area is cheaper than the city of Boston, which means you can have all the access to Boston (given it is only a 15 minute drive away) and none of the chaos of the city.
While Cambridge is wonderful,  living in any city has some drawbacks. The cons I have for Cambridge, can easily describe any other city in North America, really.



1. Densely populated

Cambridge is home to over 116,000 residents, according to the US Census Bureau. Essentially, there are gonna be a lot of people everywhere you go. If you like your space and prefer to live in less crowded areas, Cambridge may not be for you. While it may not be New York City, the dense population may feel suffocating for some, and it is important to consider what you prioritize most.
2. High rents and home prices
The real estate prices are high compared to most places in Massachusetts, but cheaper than Boston. Since it is still a city, the rent prices in Cambridge will be substantially higher than living outside of the city. Although it is still cheaper than downtown Boston, you may find yourself paying a hefty amount for standard homes in Cambridge. Depending on what you are able to afford and whether you feel the prices are justified, Cambridge may or not be a city you would want to live in. Housing and buildings in Cambridge tend to be older than in other areas. Average sale price for a single family home in Cambridge was $2,878,000, and the average rent was $3571 in the last 6 months.

3. Difficulty with finding parking 
Cambridge residents get a sticker that allows them to park in residential only parking spots on the street. If you are a guest here, that’s a completely different story, though, parking can be difficult to find, depending on where you are looking. 
There are parking garages but rates can vary from $15-$30/day. Like many other cities, parking is one of the things you will likely have to compromise on when choosing to live in Cambridge.     

Choosing where to live can feel intimidating, but Cambridge truly is a rich city with plentiful opportunities and things to offer. If you are looking to live near Boston with a city feel but in a slightly calmer and more suburban environment, consider buying a  Cambridge home for sale.

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