Moving to Boston: East Boston vs. South Boston - The Title Town Duel
Title Town Duel: East Boston vs. South Boston
Today we are going to witness an anticipated match against East vs. South. In the Red corner we have South Boston who is officially weighing in as the home to 32,000 residents. And in the Blue Corner, we have East Boston who is officially weighing in as the home to 40,000 residents. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls… LETS GET READY TO RUMBLE!
To choose the victor of the battle between East and South Boston, we will be looking at and comparing 7 different categories. These categories include Commuting Access, Affordability, Education, Culture & Environment, Green Space, Amenities and Crime Rates. Now, by law because I am a licensed professional... I am not allowed to say which neighborhood is better or which neighborhood is the winner… SO, that means it is up to YOU. You get to decide who the winner is… Put your vote for which neighborhood is the winner in the comment section below. The winning neighborhood will move on to the next round.
Now I am assuming that you know all about East Boston and South Boston. But if you are looking to learn more about these exceptional towns then at the end of this blog be sure to check out our in-depth analysis of each of these amazing Boston neighborhoods.
So... Let's get this competition going!
This one should be an easy comparison. As facts don’t lie… But again, because I am licensed… I am not allowed to spout out any crime stats. It’s absurd. This I know. But what I can do, is point to research done by someone else and talk about that… So here we go!
I utilized the website Areavibes.com. This website has a lot of information about different areas around the country and includes grades on things like Cost of Living or Amenities… Or Crime!
If you go to Areavibes.com and type in either South Boston or East Boston, then you will find a breakdown of the amount of crime in each neighborhood. Keep in mind the stats that you see there are per 100,000.
So a grade of D for South Boston for crime and a grade of C for East Boston for crime. Which neighborhood won this category? Be sure to keep your tally going!
Both South Boston and East Boston are convenient. Both have a T line that runs through them and both have easy highway access. Let’s dive a little deeper on these to find the winner.
A negative to both the T lines for South Boston and East Boston is that they don’t really run through the middle of the neighborhood. They more run along the sides. From an accessibility to the T, East Boston does have four stops along the Blue line vs. the 2 stops on the Red Line for South Boston. Which actual line is better depends on where you are going. Both lines have transfer points at the orange and green line. But the red line may make more sense for someone who is working in the Financial District vs. the Blue line making more sense for other parts of downtown around MGH.
I believe the bus line access is the same for both East Boston and South Boston which leaves us to highway access. South Boston has easy access to the Mass Pike and 93 while East Boston has easy access to the Mass Pike route 1a which dumps you onto 93 pretty quickly and relatively easily.
There really isn’t any competition between East Boston vs. South Boston with access to the airport. The airport is in East Boston.... East Boston has ferry access, but South Boston doesn’t need a ferry as they are connected to the mainland of Boston…
So what about walking accessibility? Residents of South Boston can easily walk throughout the entire city without much issue. Whether you are walking to work to the Financial District, Downtown or even to the Seaport District which is actually part of Southie, walking Boston is relatively easy when you live in Southie. In order to walk the rest of Boston from East Boston… You need to first figure out how to walk on water which I only know of one guy that has managed that feat!
So what neighborhood wins the accessibility part of the challenge? Maybe driving is more important to you. Or maybe you just love walking… Keep that tally going as we have 5 categories to go!
Education is a tough one in Boston as all neighborhoods are part of the Boston Public School system. What that means is if you live in South Boston then you could easily go to school in the South End. It all depends upon the school that you are assigned to. Then to complicate things a little more, there are schools like Boston Latin School which is part of BPS and is the #36 high school in the country according to USNews. It doesn’t matter where you live in Boston your eligibility is based off of a combination of a students score on the Independent School Entrance Exam and their recent grades.
So every neighborhood in Boston should be a draw… Except for one thing. Due to East Boston’s geography, BPS guarantees every East Boston student a seat at an East Boston school. You do not have this guarantee if you live in South Boston.
So, who wins this one? Does being guaranteed a slot in your neighborhood matter?
Both South Boston and East Boston have been going through a development boom. For affordability we will look at all three housing segments, condos as well as both single family and multi-family homes.
In 2021, the average sales price in South Boston for a condo was $825k, a Single Family was $1.1m and a multi-family property was a little under $1.7m.
In East Boston the average sales price in South Boston for a condo was about $701k, a Single Family was a hair under $711k and a multi-family property was $1.06m.
Yes, we get laughed at by other parts of the country for what we consider affordable… But keep that at home tally going as we have 3 more categories left…
The next category up is a competition between Green Spaces between the two neighborhoods. Both have beaches. Both have parks on the harbor. This is going to be a fun round...
East Boston has the largest park in all of Boston with its Belle Isle Marsh. This is a 360 acre park which is Boston’s last remaining salt marsh. It offers landscaped hiking paths, benches and an observation tower. If it was a matter of size alone then East Boston would probably be a clear winner. But let’s talk about what else they have to offer.
Both neighborhoods have a beach. Now if you are not from these parts… Then you are probably scratching your head right now, but yes… We have beaches in Boston. East Boston has Constitution Beach or otherwise known as Shays Beach. South Boston has a couple beaches. They have Castle Island, Pleasure Bay which overlooks Castle Island, M Street Beach and Carson Beach. Put together those last two beaches are really just one long continuous beach. They form a 3 mile stretch along Dorchester Bay.
There is a reason why Carson beach has been given the crown jewel of the “Best Boston Beach”. It offers everything that Constitution Beach does, but is bigger and doesn’t have the occasional air traffic noise. Don’t get me wrong… We know we won’t win in a beach comparison with Aruba… But we have beaches! And New York… They have the Hudson…
Both neighborhoods even have a park on the waterfront. East Boston has Piers Park which is a beautifully landscaped park that provides direct access to the waterfront and some of the most spectacular views of Downtown Boston and its inner harbor. Piers Park sports a promenade, two pavilions that provide a view of the city, an amphitheater, an outdoor fitness center and a large playground with a spray feature. There is even a Sailing Center at Piers Park that offers membership to a variety of sailboats.
South Boston has Castle Island. It’s not really an island anymore, but is now a 22 acre recreation site located at Fort Independence. It’s a beautiful park that overlooks the Boston Harbor Islands. Things to do at the park are to walk the grounds, swim and relax at Castle Island Beach which overlooks the calm waters of Pleasure Bay and a large playground for kids. Castle Island also offers Sullivans where if you are in the area then you need to grab some Fried Clams and Ice Cream.
When it comes to Harbor parks… Even with me being a history buff… I personally would find myself at Piers Park in East Boston if I was looking for a little R&R and some picturesque views.
This brings us to “other parks” that adorn these two neighborhoods. South Boston has the Joe Moakley Park which is a 60 acre park along Carson beach. It has soccer fields, tennis courts, three baseball fields as well as a track and field stadium. There are additional playfields and playgrounds in this park as well.
East Boston has East Boston Memorial Park which is an 18 acre park with walking paths, a baseball field, batting cages, a football field, a soccer field, 2 tennis courts and one playground. But next to the Memorial Park is Bremen Street Park which is another 18 acre park with a fenced in dog area, 1 playground, a splash pad, a Bike Path, an amphitheater, a food truck site and a community garden.
Southie has Medal of Honor Park and East Boston has Noyes Playground. South Boston has Dorchester Heights and East Boston has American Legion Playground. We can go tit for tat on these other smaller parks for a while… But I am going to stop here.
I have to say that having lived in both Neighborhoods… I personally went into this one thinking there was going to be an easy winner. I also know there is plans for continued development in both areas with parks planned at the Edison Power Plant and Washington Village Developments in Southie and the Suffolk Downs Development in East Boston…
So who wins green spaces? Both neighborhoods have a lot to offer their residents.
Culture & Environment
Culture and environment is a tough one. How do you really rate culture and environment? I feel like you need to start with museums for culture.
East Boston doesn’t have much when it comes to cultural additions to the city. The Institute of Contemporary Art or ICA Watershed would be East Boston’s only arts center. It is a seasonal space that opens with a new presentation every summer. It’s a 15,000 square foot formally condemned copper pipe facility that has found new life.
South Boston has 3 cultural gems, the Boston Children’s Museum, Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum and Institute of Contemporary Art. The Boston Children’s Museum is a children’s museum that is dedicated to the education of children. This museum is the second oldest children’s museum in the country and contains activities that are meant to both amuse and educate young children.
The Boston Tea Party Museum is located on the Congress Street Bridge and features reenactments, a documentary as well as a number of interactive exhibits. The museum also features two replica ships of the period, Eleanor and Beaver.
The Institute of Contemporary Art was founded in 1936. It strives to share the pleasures of reflection, inspiration, provocation, and imagination that contemporary art offers through public access to art, artists and the creative process.
So who do you think wins the Culture & Environment category? Keep your tally going as we go into the last category… Amenities.
This is almost like an extra credit category made to break up a tie… Much of what we talked about is an amenity. So, when we talk about amenities here, we are talking about the additional things that make a resident’s life more enjoyable like restaurants or shopping. This is also a category that is fluid as restaurants and shopping are constantly changing. That is the beauty of city living… Change is a constant!
Both towns have a Library so that is a draw. Neither has a hospital, but are very readily accessible to some of the best hospitals in the world.
That leads us to Restaurants. It wasn’t until recently when South Boston really stepped up its restaurant game. Some of these restaurants include Capo, Lincoln Tavern, The Broadway, Local 149 and that doesn’t even include us going into the Seaport District!
East Boston is starting to get some new restaurants that have made a little wave as well. Cunard Tavern, Pazza on Porter and the Reel House are to name a few.
When it comes to restaurants, in my opinion it’s really not a fair competition. This is like a Patriots/Jets matchup… But curious to know your thoughts… If you have some restaurants that deserve a shout out... Then be sure to leave the restaurant in the comments below as well!
When it comes to shopping, East Boston doesn’t have a whole lot to offer. When Suffolk Downs is built out, I think they will be able to start putting up a decent fight, but Southie has East & West Broadway and now the Seaport District which has seen a lot of big retailers come in the area with the new development.
South Boston has the Convention Center so they can take that victory home as well.
Fitness wise East Boston can put up a good fight here. They have the YMCA. The Y offers affordable fitness options with a lot of amenities… Which includes a pool! Then there are a bunch of other smaller fitness businesses that people can utilize.
South Boston has a Movie Theatre. East Boston doesn’t.
So who wins this one? I personally feel like one neighborhood showed up to a gun fight with a knife… But in the end… This one is all about you!
Well, there you have it. The South Boston vs. East Boston duel. In the comment section below, put who you thought was the winner. The winner will move on to the next Title Town Duel…
Both East and South Boston are great places to call home. I can say this as I have literally called both of them home in my lifetime. They both offer a person value in their special way. If you are looking to learn more about East or South Boston then click the video on the screen now. We do a deeper dive into these two awesome neighborhoods. And if you want to talk in person about your Real Estate Goals then find my information in the description.