Life on Campus

Living in the Community

View of the Boston Public Garden.

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When you live off campus as a UMass Boston student, you’re actually part of two communities: UMass Boston, and the neighborhood in which you live. Being a good citizen of both is a major responsibility you undertake when you decide to live off campus.

As a UMass Boston student living in the community, you are a representative of UMass Boston, and, as such, your conduct reflects directly upon the University. Living off campus does not circumvent your responsibility as a member of the UMass Boston community to abide by the Code of Student Conduct.

Get to know your community by checking out the tips and resources on transportation, community affairs, and political involvement below.

Community Guide

Get to know your neighborhood, commute time, and rental costs by checking out the helpful resources below:

Use this community guide to help acquaint you with the diverse communities in the Boston area:

Concerned about crime around Boston? Use this crime map to see what's happening in your community:


Dorchester is Boston’s largest and oldest neighborhood, and is home to UMass Boston. Dorchester's demographic diversity has been a well-sustained tradition of the neighborhood, and long-time residents blend with more recent immigrants. A number of smaller communities compose the greater neighborhood, including Codman Square, Jones Hill, Meeting House Hill, Pope's Hill, Savin Hill, Harbor Point, Lower Mills, and Port Norfolk. Malibu and Tenean Beaches offer summertime recreation and numerous parks are scattered through the area.

Commute to campus: 5-20 minutes


Just across the bay from campus, Quincy's impressive past remains vibrant today as the city lays claim to an exciting future. Fascinating historic sites abound, while miles of coastline capture the imagination. Culture and commerce blend to create an impressive array of things to see and do year round. Stroll the boardwalk at picturesque Marina Bay, the largest marina in the Northeast, and enjoy the incredible view of the Boston skyline. Known for its spectacular sunsets, Marina Bay has several restaurants offering outdoor and indoor waterfront dining as well as a variety of retail shops.

Commute to campus: 15-20 minutes


The neighborhood of Mattapan is a southern neighborhood of Boston. Today, Mattapan is a residential area with growing commercial centers. Mattapan is home to a diverse population—primarily made up of Haitians, other Caribbean immigrants, and African Americans. The housing mix includes small apartment buildings, single-family homes, public housing, and Boston's traditional "triple-deckers". Mattapan residents enjoy a significant amount of green space, including Harambee Park, the Franklin Park Zoo, the Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary, and the historic Forest Hills Cemetery. Blue Hill Avenue and Mattapan Square are the neighborhood’s main commercial districts, home to banks, law offices, restaurants, retail shops, health centers, and places of worship.

Commute to campus: 15-20 minutes


Braintree is a suburb of Boston located just next to Quincy. With easy access to the MBTA (red line and commuter rail) and highways, Braintree is host to many students and young professionals seeking more affordable housing options. Braintree is home to a strong business base which includes one of the largest regional shopping centers in the northeast; The South Shore Plaza.

Commute to campus: 30-45 minutes

South Boston

South Boston spreads across a peninsula just south of Downtown Boston and east of the South End and Dorchester. South Boston is home to both long-time residents and a new wave of young professionals who are drawn to the area’s open space, emerging nightlife, and easy access to downtown. The neighborhood boasts miles of beaches and waterfront parks, including Carson Beach, L Street Beach, Pleasure Bay, and the Strandway. South Boston’s commercial district, including established businesses alongside new bars, restaurants, and retailers, is built around East and West Broadway.

Commute to campus: 10-20 minutes


Cambridge is a unique community with a strong mix of cultural and social diversity, intellectual vitality, and technological innovation. College students from around the world study at Harvard, Radcliffe, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Lesley University. The charming neighborhoods ("Squares") of Cambridge are rich in options for shopping, dining, and sightseeing, offering plenty of theatres, museums, and historic sites. Central Square, the seat of city government, contains a variety of international restaurants and music clubs. Kendall Square, home to MIT, is the focal point of the Massachusetts high tech and biotechnology industries. Harvard Square, surrounding the historic brick walls of the nation's oldest university, offers a plethora of cafes, bookstores, boutiques, and entertainment choices. Likewise, Porter and Inman Squares offer a diverse selection of dining options, and many artistic and cultural attractions as well.

Commute to campus: 30-45 minutes


Somerville is an eclectic mix of blue-collar families, young professionals, college students and recent immigrants from countries as diverse as El Salvador, Haiti, and Brazil. More than 50 spoken languages in Somerville schools. With a large immigrant population, Somerville celebrates its diversity through numerous ceremonies celebrating cultural traditions and holidays. Somerville is defined by its city squares, which help mark neighborhood boundaries while also featuring bustling businesses and entertainment centers. Among the most active today are Davis Square, Union Square, Ball Square, Teele Square, Magoun Square, and Assembly Square. Each offers a mix of ethnic restaurants, bars and shops and small businesses to fit every taste and occasion.

Commute to campus: 40-60 minutes

East Boston

In 1940, East Boston was the arrival point for thousands of immigrants to Boston, infusing the neighborhood with an Old World charm and diversity which still characterizes East Boston today. A number of unique restaurants and retailers reflect the diversity of the neighborhood. Maverick Square and Central Square are the main commercial areas. Though East Boston is not contiguous to Boston, it is easily accessed via the Callahan, Ted Williams, and Sumner Tunnels; the Blue Line T; MBTA ferries; and surface roads to the north. Belle Isle Marsh Reservation and Constitution Beach offer recreational opportunities to residents, and striking views of the Boston skyline can be had from Piers Park.

Commute to campus: 35-50 minutes