Jamaica Plain isn’t everyone’s first thought when they think of Boston neighborhoods for newcomers. No, this neighborhood is one you have to seek out and explore, as it’s a bit off the beaten path. Once you do, though, you’ll wonder how you ever lived anywhere else. Living in Jamaica Plain is a perfect alternative to
The post Boston Neighborhood Guide: Living in Jamaica Plain appeared first on The Zumper Blog.
Apartment Living, City Guides, Neighborhoods
Jamaica Plain isn’t everyone’s first thought when they think of Boston neighborhoods for newcomers. No, this neighborhood is one you have to seek out and explore, as it’s a bit off the beaten path. Once you do, though, you’ll wonder how you ever lived anywhere else. Living in Jamaica Plain is a perfect alternative to the busy city life found in nearby Boston. Let’s take a dive into this historically diverse neighborhood filled with local gems.
Public transportation in Jamaica Plain
There are a lot of easy transportation options in Jamaica Plain. Bus, train, and subway routes go through the neighborhood. If you’re commuting toward downtown, you can hop on the T, Boston’s train system. Take the Orange Line at either Stony Brook or Forest Hills Station. Commuting to Boston College? Catch the Green Line from Brookline Village.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) is a popular mode of public transportation. It offers plenty of bus routes (which are sometimes even more reliable than the T) that will take you to many places, like Packard’s Corner, Chestnut Hill, and the South End. The Orange Line goes through Jamaica Plain, with stops in Stony Brook, Green Street, and Forest Hills.
Some Jamaica Plain residents choose to own their own vehicles. Although the city is within driving distance of the center of Boston, it’s still far enough away that traffic isn’t too bad. You’ll also find a lot of ride-share and taxi options in Jamaica Plain.
Things to do in Jamaica Plain
Jamaica Plain is in a great location, offering its residents access to endless entertainment. As with all neighborhoods in Boston, spring, summer, and fall are the best times to explore Jamaica Plain. Even in the winter, though, there are plenty of things to do.
Part of the Emerald Necklace, Jamaica Pond is one of the crown jewels of this neighborhood. The 68-acre pond features a boat house that offers rentals throughout the warmer months, and the paved trail encircling the pond is perfect for walking, rollerblading, or running. Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University is a 281-acre research and outdoor museum that’s free and open to the public. Even in the winter, the arboretum offers visitors a unique look at different landscapes. Scenic overlooks, natural woods, and 15,000 plants representing some 4,000 kinds of trees, shrubs, and vines beckon visitors throughout the year.
Get your groove on at Midway Cafe, a local haunt for their Thursday night “Queeraoke” event. Or, grab some local produce at the Jamaica Plain Farmers Market or the Egleston Farmers Market. It might sound strange, but Forest Hills Cemetery in the Spring is a gorgeous place for a walk. This garden cemetery is home to the gravesites of many famous figures, including William Lloyd Garrison, E.E. Cummings, and Anne Sexton. Don’t miss the annual JP Porchfest in July, where the neighborhood comes alive with live art and music on porches, patios, and stoops.
A lot of the shopping in Jamaica Plain includes small businesses. This means you can find eclectic shops with gifts and unique apparel. On Centre and 40 South Street are two popular shopping spots in the area. Living in Jamaica Plain means you’re around 20 minutes from the center of Boston. You can enjoy all the entertainment that Boston offers, including Fenway Park and the Cheers bar, and then return to a more relaxed way of life.
Where to eat in Jamaica Plain
Jamaica Plain is a great spot for delicious food and drinks. The city lies southwest of the city center and is one of Boston’s more southern neighborhoods. Jamaica Plain, or “JP” as locals call it, includes the Sam Adams Brewery, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, and the Jamaica Pond and Boathouse. South Street’s main thoroughfare is where you’ll find local shops, bars, and restaurants.
The oldest city in Massachusetts, and one of the oldest in the U.S., has figured out how to modernize its food options without leaving behind past traditions. Jamaica Plain has its fair share of institutions serving the classics, but it keeps things fresh with these joints:
Known for its tasting menus that always include fresh, local ingredients, Ten Tables is a trendy and upscale American bistro. Their cocktails alone are reason enough to go, but their food will keep you coming back for more. Try the TT Burger, made with crispy pancetta, lettuce, cheddar, red pepper remoulade, and patatas bravas. Pescatarian? Get the seafood gumbo—shrimp, clams, lobster, scallops, cod, tomato sauce, and grilled sourdough on the side. After all, this oceanside city loves its seafood.
Located right along South Street, the original JP Licks opened in 1981. Since then, it has expanded to several locations throughout Boston. Head to the flagship ice cream shop and choose from endless flavors and combinations. Whether you’re craving an ice cream sundae or frozen yogurt, an ice cream sandwich or a banana split, JP Licks will hit the spot.
When Pigs Fly
Based in York, Maine, this bakery churns out handmade bread daily. Step inside the Jamaica Plain storefront and let your nose guide you. The mango, pineapple, and raisin with toasted sesame and ginger loaf is one of their most unique breads, but don’t overlook the baby spinach, garlic, and onion ciabatta. They also make killer cookies, bread pudding cakes, and sweet and savory spreads. Best of all, they usually give out a daily sample, so you can try all their baked goods.
Fiore’s Bakery is your go-to spot for a hangover-curing bagel sandwich, a leisurely morning brunch, or a whole pie to-go. They even make vegan wedding cakes. Bottom line: This place has it all, and it’s all delicious.
Head to Boston’s first full-service book store, music shop, and restaurant. Tres Gatos is a place where everyone feels welcome. From its outdoor patio where customers can read books and sip on a cocktail, to its inventive menu filled with tapas plates, killer main dishes, charcuterie boards, Tres Gatos is a neighborhood favorite.
Where to drink in Jamaica Plain
JP has you covered if you’re looking to grab drinks with friends after work or on the weekends. Dive bars, Irish pubs, and fancy cocktail spots are all awaiting your arrival. Here are a few can’t-miss watering holes:
Brendan Behan Pub
Ask any JP beer enthusiast where to get a drink, and they’ll send you directly to Brendan Behan Pub. Along with an incredible beer selection, this dive bar was previously awarded the title of “Best Irish Bar in Boston” by Boston Magazine. It’s cash only, but you can bring in your own food. Don’t forget the pup; it’s also dog-friendly.
Sam Adams Brewery
You’ll want to take the brewery tour at Boston’s oldest brewery. The tour itself is great, and includes three free samples and a behind-the-scenes look at the brewery. Recently, the brewery added a tap house to keep up with other local breweries offering their beers for sale on site. Now, patrons can grab a cold one regardless of whether or not they’re doing a brewery tour.
The Jeanie Johnston Pub & Grill
The Jeanie Johnston Pub & Grill is easily accessible by bus and is one of Jamaica Plain’s best spots for late-night drinks. The pub gets its name from the legendary Irish Famine Ship, which speaks to the delicious Irish cuisine. Enjoy all your favorite pub and grill foods, like pretzel sticks and toasted ravioli. They also serve over 35 bottled and 14 draft beers.
This modern restaurant always draws a crowd by specializing in Scottish eats and drinks. People here love the food, but their drinks are really the unsung heroes. Sidle up to the bar and read through their creative menu of handcrafted cocktails or order one of the 30 Scottish beers available. The Haven is also a great spot for after-work or after-class meetups with weekly comedy and trivia nights.
Costello’s Tavern is a popular spot for Red Sox or Celtics fans. You’ll often find the bar crowded on game night with sports enthusiasts looking for a place to catch the game. They often have appetizers and drink specials during games, which are popular among local students. Costello’s Tavern is also great for fueling up with its popular boozy coffee drinks.
Education in Jamaica Plain
Jamaica Plain offers its residents 10 public schools and seven private schools, making it a great place for families. There are a few great options for an advanced degree in Jamaica Plain at one of the community colleges. Northeastern University is located right outside of the Jamaica Plain neighborhood, making it a great place for students to call home. Cambridge College is only a short drive from Jamaica Plain, and Harvard University is right outside of Boston.
Renting in Jamaica Plain
Jamaica Plain is a vibrant neighborhood with plenty of rental options. You’ll find many students renting apartments near the community colleges. Some students choose to rent condos near public transportation for a quick commute into Boston. Hyde Square tends to be a busier part of the Jamaica Plain area, with easy access to restaurants and bars.
The Moss Hill area of Jamaica Plain is great for families because of its close proximity to parks. Many of the rentals in this area also have larger yards, perfect for growing families who want more space. Centre Street is popular among professionals since it’s close to public transportation and office buildings.
You’ll find a lot of great rentals in the neighborhoods surrounding Jamaica Plain. To the north of Jamaica Plain is Brookline, a residential neighborhood consisting of families and Boston College/Boston University students. Roxbury, Dudley Square, and Washington Park are on its east side. South of the neighborhood is the Roslindale and Forest Hills neighborhoods. North of JP is vast, and it includes Beacon Hill, Allston, Mission Hill, and the Italian mecca that is the North End.
Rent in Jamaica Plain tends to be slightly more affordable than in central Boston. A studio apartment in Boston costs an average of $2,550, a one-bedroom apartment costs $3,100, and a two-bedroom apartment costs $3,500. In comparison, you can find apartment rentals for as low as around $2,000 per month in the Jamaica Plain area.
Living in Jamaica Plain offers easy access to some of the best colleges in the country. The neighborhood is near a lot of great restaurants and bars. Think you’re ready to move to Boston and live in this charming neighborhood? Get your apartment search started, and you’ll be walking up South Street, stopping in at JP Licks, and drinking a cocktail at Tres Gatos in no time.
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