Cambridge, MA, is not just a city; it’s a blend of history and modernity, home to Harvard and MIT — icons of education worldwide. With a population that embodies diversity, Cambridge offers a unique lifestyle, mixing intellectual vibrancy with a strong sense of community.

Is Cambridge a good place to live? This guide, crafted by AOA Moving Services, aims to equip you with essential insights and practical advice for moving to Cambridge, ensuring a smooth transition to this dynamic city. Whether you’re moving for school, work, or the unique Cambridge experience, we’ve got you covered.

Cambridge, MA Overview

  • Population: As of 2022, Cambridge’s population stands at approximately 118,488, reflecting a modest growth from 2020’s count of 118,403 (U.S. Census Bureau)​​.
  • Diversity: The city’s racial makeup is diverse, with 59.3% White, 19.3% Asian, 10.8% Black or African American, and 8.7% Hispanic or Latino residents​​​​ (World Population Review).
  • Educational Hub: Home to prestigious institutions like Harvard University and MIT, Cambridge is a global center for education and research. These institutions not only attract students from around the world but also significantly contribute to the city’s employment sector, with educational services being a major industry​​.
House in Cambridge, USA. Photo by Elizabeth Lizzie:
💼📈 Economy and employment in Cambridge

Economic Landscape:

  • The median household income is $121,539, above the national average, reflecting the city’s high cost of living and prosperous economic environment (U.S. Census Bureau)​​.
  • Key industries include Educational Services, Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services, and Health Care & Social Assistance, underscoring the city’s emphasis on knowledge, innovation, and well-being (​​.

For those seeking employment opportunities in Cambridge’s dynamic economy, several resources can help you connect with job openings, especially within the city’s leading sectors:

These platforms offer a range of listings, from academic and research positions to roles in tech startups, healthcare, and local government, providing a comprehensive view of the diverse employment landscape in Cambridge.

🏡💷 Housing and Living in Cambridge

Housing and Living:

  • Housing in Cambridge is premium, with the median value of owner-occupied housing units at $997,600. Renters constitute a significant portion of the population, with a median gross rent of $2,628 (U.S.A. Census Bureau)​​.
  • Despite the high living costs, Cambridge offers a rich quality of life, supported by excellent public amenities, green spaces, and a strong community network.
🚴‍♂️🌨️ Lifestyle and Climate in Cambridge

Climate and Lifestyle:

  • Residents enjoy a temperate climate with distinct seasons, providing a range of activities from summer boating on the Charles River to winter skating at local rinks.
  • The city’s compact size and efficient public transportation system make it easy to navigate, promoting a lifestyle that balances urban convenience with access to nature and outdoor recreation.
🎭📚 Culture and Society in Cambridge

Cultural and Society:

  • Cambridge is celebrated for its vibrant cultural scene, hosting numerous festivals and events that showcase its diverse community.
  • The city’s inclusivity is further highlighted by its large foreign-born population, making up 29.5% of residents, enriching the local culture with global perspectives​​.
🛡️👮 Safety in Cambridge

Safety in Cambridge

Is Cambridge, MA safe? While crime rates in Cambridge have increased in recent years, the city still reports nearly 1,000 fewer serious crimes than the average for cities of comparable size. However, specific areas like Harvard Square are characterized by a particular increase in crime. Additionally, the ongoing opioid crisis is a concern in Cambridge, as it is across Massachusetts. It’s always advisable to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions for your personal safety, even though Cambridge remains one of the safest cities in the United States (The Harvard Crimson).

Settling in Cambridge

Best Neighborhoods in Cambridge

Cambridge Neighborhoods Map. Source:

Cambridge’s neighborhoods offer a variety of lifestyles, ranging from bustling student communities to peaceful family-friendly areas. Is Cambridge, Massachusetts a good place to live? Here’s a look at some of the best neighborhoods based on our recent research:

  • MIT / Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Ideal for students and academics, this area boasts a median home listing price of $899,000 and offers proximity to one of the world’s leading institutions​​.
  • Agassiz-Harvard: Known for its historic homes and proximity to Harvard University, this neighborhood is perfect for those connected to the Ivy League, with ш​​.
  • Cambridgeport: A blend of residential and commercial spaces near the Charles River, offering parks and new developments, with a median home price of $957,000​​.
  • Riverside: Known for its affordability relative to Cambridge’s high standards, it’s great for families, offering both condos and townhomes​​.
  • Peabody: Also known as Neighborhood 9, this area is well-suited for those looking for a mix of single-family homes and apartments, with a median listing price of $942,500​​.
  • North Cambridge: Popular among young professionals and families for its diverse housing, good schools, and safety, it’s a vibrant area with easy public transport access​​.
  • East Cambridge: With a dense urban feel, it attracts young professionals due to its job opportunities and proximity to tech companies and MIT​​.
  • West Cambridge: Offers an urban-suburban mix with historic homes, high safety ratings, and proximity to Downtown Boston, appealing to professionals and families​​.

Transportation in Cambridge:

Cambridge boasts excellent public transportation options, including buses and subway lines operated by the MBTA, making it highly accessible without a car. It’s recognized for its bike-friendly streets and walkability, enhancing the city’s connectivity​​.

Local Services and Utilities:

Setting up in Cambridge means easy access to a range of local services and utilities:

  • Utilities: Contact Eversource for electricity and the City of Cambridge for water services.
  • Healthcare Providers: Cambridge Health Alliance offers comprehensive medical services, with facilities throughout the city.
  • Internet and Cable: Xfinity and Verizon are among the top providers, offering various packages for residents.

For more detailed information on each neighborhood, including specific amenities, schools, and lifestyle options, visiting local real estate websites or community forums can provide insights tailored to your preferences and needs.

Moving to Cambridge

Moving truck. Photo by Markus Winkler:

Quick Moving Checklist:

  1. Find Housing: Research neighborhoods and secure housing.
  2. Utility Setup: Contact utility companies for setup (electricity, water, internet).
  3. Change of Address: Update your address with the USPS and important services.
  4. Packing Supplies: Gather boxes, tape, and packing materials.
  5. Pack: Start packing non-essentials early.
  6. Important Documents: Keep documents (IDs, records) in a safe, accessible place.

For a comprehensive moving checklist that you can use in Google Sheets, visit AOA Moving Services Full Checklist.

Choosing a Moving Company:

When selecting a moving company, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research to ensure a safe and fast move. Here are specific steps and considerations to help you choose the right movers:

Step 1. Verify Licenses and Insurance

Verify Licenses and Insurance

  • Licenses: For interstate moves, check the company’s U.S. DOT number on the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) website. A legitimate company should have an active status showing their authority to move household goods across state lines.
  • Insurance: Moving companies offer several types of insurance coverage. Basic carrier liability, often included at no additional cost, provides minimal protection. For more comprehensive coverage, look for Full Value Protection, which may cost extra but covers the replacement value of damaged or lost items.
Step 2. Types of Insurance

Types of Insurance

  • Released Value Protection (Basic Carrier Liability): This no-cost option typically covers goods at a minimal amount per pound, significantly less than most items’ actual value.
  • Full Value Protection: Offers the most comprehensive coverage, requiring the mover to replace, repair, or compensate for the item’s current market value.
  • Third-Party Insurance: If you need more protection than the mover offers, consider purchasing additional insurance from an independent company.
Step 3. Evaluating Services Offered

Evaluating Services Offered

  • Packing and Unpacking Services: Ideal for those who prefer a hands-off approach. Evaluate the cost and decide if the convenience outweighs the expense.
  • Storage Solutions: Necessary if there’s a gap between moving out and moving in. Ask about the storage facilities’ security, climate control, and access.
  • Special Handling: For artwork, pianos, or other valuables, ensure the mover has expertise in handling such items safely.
  • Other additional services: take a closer look at the proposed services of moving companies. Perhaps there are special offers for students or the seniors, for example?
Step 4. Choosing Needed Services

Choosing Needed Services

  • Assess your inventory: Larger or more delicate items might require specialized services.
  • Consider your timeline: If you need storage or have a tight schedule, look for companies offering these specific solutions.
  • Budget: Determine what services you can afford and what you’re willing to pay extra for, such as packing assistance or expedited delivery.
Step 5. Getting Quotes and Comparing Prices

Getting Quotes and Comparing Prices

  • Request detailed quotes from multiple companies to compare services and prices.
  • Ensure quotes include the same services for an accurate comparison.
  • Be wary of significantly lower quotes which might indicate hidden fees or lower service quality.
Step 6. Reading Reviews and Checking References

Reading Reviews and Checking References

  • Look for customer feedback on trusted platforms like the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or social media.
  • A reputable company should be transparent about its past work and happy to provide references.
Step 7. Questions to Ask

Questions to Ask

  • Ask about their experience with moves similar to yours.
  • Inquire about their claims process in case of lost or damaged items.
  • Check how they handle delays or logistical issues.

By following these simple steps, you can easily find a reliable and affordable moving company that will help you move your belongings into your new home with minimal hassle. A reputable company, such as AOA Moving, will be transparent about their licensing and insurance requirements, offer a wide range of moving services to suit your needs, and provide you with clear and comprehensive insurance options.

Living in Cambridge

Eating and Shopping:

Cambridge offers a diverse range of culinary experiences, from American cuisine to authentic international flavors. Here are some of the best restaurants to try:

  • Harvest in Harvard Square offers a seasonal menu celebrating regional ingredients with an elegant touch, perfect for experiencing New England dining at its finest​​.
  • Oleana in Inman Square showcases the aromatic cuisines of Turkey, Greece, and the Middle East, with a beautiful garden patio that enhances the dining experience​​.
  • Giulia, located in Porter Square, is known for its handmade pastas and Italian dishes inspired by the chef’s travels to Italy, offering a cozy, romantic atmosphere​​.
  • For a unique blend of Japanese izakaya and New England ingredients, Puritan & Co. in Inman Square serves modern New England-style food with a local twist​​.
Restaurant on the Ground Floor of an Apartment Building in Cambridge Massachusetts. Photo by Sasha Prasastika from Pexels:

For shopping in Cambridge, The Garment District is a unique spot offering a wide range of new and used clothing, shoes, and accessories. It covers over 12,000 square feet of retail space, providing an extensive assortment of items for any style. Located near the Kendall/MIT Red Line T station, it’s an easily accessible location for a shopping adventure​​.

Also consider CambridgeSide for your shopping needs. This established urban mall boasts over 120 stores and restaurants, catering to a variety of tastes and budgets. Renowned brands like Macy’s and H&M share space with casual dining options, offering a convenient and comprehensive shopping experience. Notably recognized as one of Boston’s best malls, CambridgeSide provides a strategic location near the Charles River and popular attractions, making it a worthwhile addition to your itinerary.

Entertainment and Recreation:

James P Kelleher Rose Garden
The Esplanade in Cambridge

For entertainment and recreation in Cambridge, there are numerous options for both indoor and outdoor activities that cater to a wide range of interests. Here are some of the ones we recommend:

Outdoor Activities:

  • Parks and Playgrounds: Cambridge offers diverse parks with unique features. Cambridge Common is notable for its historical significance and Alexander W. Kemp Playground. Alewife Brook Reservation is ideal for bird watching and biking, while Danehy Park, a former landfill turned green space, offers sports fields and a dog park. Fresh Pond Reservation is perfect for walks and bird watching, and Magazine Beach provides recreational fields and swimming. Joan Lorentz Park is great for tennis and relaxation, located by the Cambridge Public Library. Lechmere Canal Park offers scenic views and boat docking near shopping areas.
  • Recreational Programs: The Department of Human Service Programs in Cambridge provides quality, affordable, and accessible recreational opportunities for residents of all ages. Facilities like the War Memorial Recreation Center and the Gold Star Mothers’ Pool offer various fitness programs and activities. Additionally, the Thomas P. O’Neill Jr./Fresh Pond Golf Course provides a challenging nine-hole course for golf enthusiasts.

Indoor Activities:

Cambridge offers a variety of indoor activities for all ages and interests. The Harvard Art Museums are perfect for art enthusiasts, while The Comedy Studio is a great place for a night of laughter. Brattle Theatre offers independent films, the MIT Museum is a fascinating place to explore, and the American Repertory Theater is a great choice for performances. For more information and to discover the wide range of indoor entertainments in Cambridge, visit TripBuzz at

Community Involvement:

For local community involvement and discussions in Cambridge, MA, here are some social platforms and groups you might find helpful:

Reddit – r/CambridgeMAA community for residents, students, and anyone interested in Cambridge.
Nextdoor – CambridgeA neighborhood hub for trusted connections and the exchange of helpful information, goods, and services.
Facebook – Cambridge Community GroupA place for Cambridge residents to connect, share news, and discuss local events.
Moving Forum – Boston, MA MovingA forum to discuss all matters related to moving to/from Boston and nearby cities (like Cambridge)

For those seeking to get involved with community groups, volunteer opportunities, or events in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Cambridge Volunteers’ website is an excellent resource. The website supports nonprofit volunteer recruitment and hosts a publicly available database of opportunities. It also organizes city-wide volunteer fairs and offers workshops for both volunteers and board members in order to promote an inclusive and equitable volunteer sector.

Challenges in Cambridge, MA

❄️☔ Dealing with Weather

Cambridge sees a variety of weather, from snowy winters to humid summers. The city prepares for winter with extra shelter space and extreme cold safety tips. Residents help keep the community safe by clearing sidewalks, fire hydrants, and using salt from city-provided barrels. For detailed snow removal guidelines and safety, visit the City of Cambridge’s Snow Center.

🛡️🚓 Safety and Security

Cambridge prioritizes safety and security. For emergencies, call 9-1-1. The city provides resources to report icy conditions and ensure clear sidewalks and streets. Residents play a key role in neighborhood safety by following snow and ice removal ordinances. Contact Cambridge Public Works, Traffic, Parking & Transportation, Water, Inspectional Services, or utility companies (Eversource, National Grid) to report issues.

Resources and Tools

Here’s a concise list of essential contacts and resources for Cambridge, MA:

City of CambridgeOfficial city website for all city-related information and
Cambridge Public WorksFor city maintenance, waste management, and snow removal.Public Works
Cambridge Police DepartmentNon-emergency contact and community policing info.Police
Cambridge Fire DepartmentNon-emergency contact for fire safety and services.Fire Department
Cambridge Public Health DepartmentHealth services and public health information.Public Health
Emergency ManagementEmergency preparedness and response resources.Emergency Management
Housing InformationResources for affordable housing and assistance.Housing
Cambridge Public LibraryAccess to library services, digital resources, and event info.Public Library

If you’re planning a move or settling into Cambridge, AOA Moving Services provides valuable resources:


Moving to or living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, requires careful planning but also opens up a vibrant community and a wide range of unique opportunities. Connecting with local resources, community organizations, and city services can make your transition smoother and enrich your life. Cambridge offers a mix of cultural, educational, and leisure activities that appeal to a diverse range of people. We encourage you to explore, engage, and fully immerse yourself in everything Cambridge has to offer, contributing to enriching your own life and the community around you!

If you’re ready to move in Cambridge, contact AOA Moving Services for one of the best moving services in Cambridge!