Boston vs New York: Is One Better Than the Other?

Boston vs New York

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Both Boston and New York have a lot to offer in terms of opportunity and culture. They are the two largest cities in the northeast, which explains why there is a lot of comparison between these two cities.

At a first glance, one might be quick to conclude that New York is better than Boston because it is larger and offers more opportunities. While some might agree with this, it doesn't sit well for some people. Though New York might be better than Boston in a number of categories, Boston still stands out in some essential categories.

So, before you arrive at a conclusion, let's explore some of the essential categories and see how Boston compares to New York in each category.

New York vs Boston: Essential Differences

Boston and New York are large cities in the United States and are both located in the northeastern region. They are similar cities and are usually compared to know which is better for specific categories of people. New York has an area of 300.46 square miles, while Boston has 48.34 square miles. The two cities are similar yet diverse at the same time.

Generally, New York offers more opportunities than Boston, better transport systems, cuisine and lifestyle, as well as the city culture. These are just some of the reasons why tourists love taking a New York holiday. On the other hand, Boston has a lower cost of living, commute time, and quality of life index.

In the real sense, New York and Boston meet the needs of different sets of people. New York, for example, has a better cuisine and leisure atmosphere than Boston, while Boston has a lower commute time, making it ideal for people who want to commute the least.

Housing Prices and Rental Costs

New York rental cost is about 30% more expensive than Boston. The average rent in New York is $3,515, while it is $2,716 in Boston and $1,681 is the US average. A studio apartment in New York generally costs $2,402, $1,652 in Boston, and $949 in the US. Housing prices also follow the same trend, with New York being more expensive than Boston, which is more expensive than the US average.

The average cost of a home in the US is $291,700; in Boston, it is $667,000, and $1,144,100 in New York. On average, homes in New York are about 13% younger than homes in Boston. It could be a possible explanation for the higher average cost of housing in New York, among other reasons.

Boston vs New York: The Cost of Living Comparison

The cost of utilities, health, housing, transportation, food, groceries, and transportation are all contributors to the cost of living in an area. Boston takes the medal for the lower cost of living, as it is about 37.1% cheaper to live in than New York. The living cost in New York is about 129% higher than the national average in the US, while Boston is only about 48%.

The most significant difference between the cost of living in New York and Boston is the cost of housing. Boston is the US's fourth most expensive city. New York is the first, San Francisco is the second, and Honolulu is the third. The remaining utilities and running costs are not much different.

4. Walk Through New York's Glass Waterfall Tunnel

New York is full of surprises. One of them is a glass waterfall tunnel right in the middle of Manhattan. The glass waterfall lies against the western side of the McGraw building and is a 4-minutes walk from the hustle and bustle of Times Square. The serene waterfall attracts lots of tourists.

Public Transportation

Public transportation in New York City is one of the best in the United States. It is one of the only cities worldwide that can boast a 24/7 transport system. Commuters can move across the city anytime they want at a flat rate. Boston has a functional transport system that starts at 5 am and stops at 1 am. Both Boston and New York City have subways, ferries, commuter rails, ferries, buses, and taxis for tourists to get around the city.

Boston takes the medal for public transportation as they have cheaper fares and lower commute time. Boston has a lower commute time than New York City, possibly due to the lower population in NYC. NYC makes up for it with its 24/7 service time.

Crime Rates: Is Boston Safer Than New York?

The two cities are safe to live in for large cities. New York is safer than Boston by a small margin. It could be attributed to the New York Police Department (NYPD) being one of the most funded police departments in the country.

On a scale of 1 to 100, with the former being the lowest and the latter being the highest, NYC lies at 37.7 for violent crime crimes and 37.3 for Boston, compared to the national average of 22.7. For property crime, New York has a rating of 31, while Boston has 35.8, compared to the 35.4 national average according to Best Places. On average, the two cities are safe, and your security is guaranteed with basic safety and preventive measures.

Boston vs New York Size and Population

New York City is the most populous city in the United States, with a population of over 8.6 million, while Boston has a population of 687,257. NYC has a land area of 300.46 square miles, with a population density of 29,729 individuals per square mile. Boston has a land area of 48.34 square miles and a population density of 14,217 individuals per square mile.

New York is the most densely populated city, followed closely by San Francisco and Boston. Boston is the third-most populous, despite its population being only about 687,257.

Boston and NYC have a similar composition of races, including whites, Black, Asians, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics. By its density, NYC is more densely populated and crowded when compared to any other city in the United States.

Museums and Historical Sites: Which One Is Better?

Both New York City and Boston have very memorable and historical sites, but NYC takes the call for this category. New York has the Museum Mile and is home to one of the world's most concentrated art displays showcasing rich history.

New York City's historic sites include the Grand Central Station, Empire State Building, Greenwich Village, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Rockefeller Christmas tree, Central park, Times Square, and the Statue of Liberty. There are many more museums of fine arts and fun places to visit in NYC. It is also home to many tall buildings in the United States.

Boston also has its share of museums and historical sites to show the world. It may not be as elaborate as New York City, but it holds history in its way. Some areas include the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum & Library, Harvard University, USS Constitution Museum, the Old State House, Commonwealth Museum, and the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation area.

Cuisine Landscape: Restaurants and Street Food Options

Both Boston and New York City have interesting cuisine options; however, New York has a larger cuisine culture, giving them the medal for this category. New York is referred to as a melting pot because many ethnicities are coming together to form a homogenous mix. With every culture in the combination comes special food peculiar to them.

One of the most famous street food options in New York is Pizza. The NYC pizza is hand-tossed into a thin crust, thick around the edges, soft and thin along the middle, making it easily folded in half. The New York-style pizza has gained recognition and is sold worldwide.

Boston offers a wide range of food options that are laidback and family oriented. Some of the most common foods include baked beans, Lobster rolls, Fish and chips, Boston cream pie, and Fenway Frank.

Entertainment & Nightlife

Boston and New York City are very different cities where entertainment and nightlife are concerned. New York City never sleeps; it has a well-lightened city center and a transport system that works round the clock. There are vibrant clubs, music, and comedy, along with pubs, making New York City the winner for nightlife and entertainment.

The entertainment scene in New York costs more but is a price to pay for the bliss the city offers.

Boston also has nightlife and entertainment activities that help the inhabitants and tourists to relax. The locations for entertainment and nightlife are somewhat smaller in size compared to New York City and are more family oriented. The less hustle and bustle of Boston makes for a more relaxed lifestyle..

Fashion & Shopping

It is hard to crown any city the winner of this category, as what is lacking in one city is present in the other one. New York has some of the best designer fashion shops on the east coast, including Nordstrom, Canada Goose, Nanamica New York, Calvin Klein, Hermes, and BODE New York.

New York is one of the most convenient places for a shopping spree, as there are neighborhoods and markets for fashion and shopping. Some areas include Madison Ave, Union Square, Chinatown, and Fifth Avenue.

Boston is also a place for fashion and shopping; however, the average pricing of the Boston fashion industry is cheaper than in New York. The more affordable pricing can be attributed to Boston's lower sales tax than New York. The sales tax in Boston starts after $180, while New York starts at around $110.

People who visit Boston for a shopping spree need to know that some stores may not be available there and should not pass on the option in New York.

The Climate: Which City Has a More Enjoyable Weather?

Both Boston and New York City are located on the east coast, meaning they have similar climate conditions. New York City's weather is a little warmer than Boston's because it is located further south. New York City has a higher coefficient of sunshine and average temperature. NYC and Boston have the same level of rainfall and UV index, while Boston has cold winters, a higher snowfall, and precipitation index.

And not only that, winters in New York can be magical, so this city has been voted as one of the top US destinations for a Christmas vacation.

New York City or The Big Apple has more enjoyable weather than Boston by a small margin. On the index of comfortability, a higher number implies more comfortable weather. NYC has a rating of 7.2, Boston has 6.9, and the national average is 7. Boston has weather that is about 4% less comfortable than New York.

Is Boston Cleaner Than New York?

Studies suggest that New York is cleaner than Boston. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the dirtiest and 10 being the cleanest, New York has a 5.86 score, and Boston has a 5.53 score. The cleanest city in the US is California, with a 7.36 rating; the dirtiest is Kentucky, with a 2.12 cleanliness score.

Boston is applauded for how much it has been transformed over the past decades, making it one of the cleanest cities in the United States. The Boston Harbor was very polluted in the 1960s; however, with active steps, the harbor has transformed into a clean and healthy water body. Air pollution in the two cities is also minimal, making the city clean and safe for habitation.

Boston and New York Pros & Cons

Boston and New York have different pros and cons. Boston has a lower cost of living, lower commute times, and a better quality of life index. Boston is best for a more relaxed lifestyle while spending less money than New York.

Whichever city you like more, keep in mind that you may need either a visa for New York, or you’ll need to check the travel requirements for Boston. However, if you come from one of the 40 countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program, you can apply for an ESTA, which is a quick and easy way to gain access to the US. In addition, it can entirely be completed online.

To be eligible for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, your visit to the US has to be less than 90 days in total.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that New York City takes the lead in most categories. New York and Boston are great cities to live in, with world-famous sites. The property crime rate in New York is higher than in Boston. Boston has a higher education coefficient because it has more colleges and educational activities. By population density, New York is one of the largest cities in the US, meaning the average New Yorker is always in a crowded place.

Written by Abisola Fikayomi

Abisola is an accomplished writer interested in US Travel, immigration, passports and visas. She’s passionate about exploring new places and cultures and willing to share her experiences, expertize and findings with others. That is her primary drive for specialising in this industry.


New York City is a more expensive city to live in than Boston. New York City is the most expensive city in the US, while Boston is the fourth most expensive.
NYC is about 2.2 times bigger than Boston in area, while it is about 16 times more populated than Boston. NYC is a large city, while Boston is a better city for a relaxed lifestyle.
NYC was established in 1634, and Boston was established in 1630, putting New York as the older city. However, Boston has older buildings than New York City. It has about 35.7% of its residential buildings were built before 1940.
Boston and New York are similar on the surface, but they become increasingly different when we pay a closer look. Boston has a lower cost of living, which means paying less for utilities and rent. Boston and New York have similar population densities but differ in land area.

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