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55% of HLS students living off campus listed proximity to campus as their number one priority when looking for off campus apartments.  In fact, 80% of HLS students living off-campus live within 1/2 mile of campus.

The 2013 HLS Off Campus Housing Survey found that HLS students live in the following neighborhoods:


Percent of HLS Students Living in Area

Average Total Monthly Rent

Average Per Person Monthly Rent

Between Harvard and Porter Squares 35.9% $1,769 $1,297
Harvard Square 16.5% $2,309 $1,348
Somerville 11.5% $2,495 $1,110
Porter Square 7.6% $2,393 $1,843
Central Square 6.5% $1,925 $1,495
Inman Square 4.8% $2,326 $1,525
Allston/Brighton 3.9% $1,449 $1,299
West Cambridge 2.7% $2,184 $1,110
Davis Square 2.3% $1,964 $1,066
Downtown Boston/Chinatown/Beacon Hill 1.8% $2,151 $1,206
Watertown/Belmont 1.8% $2,506 $1,059
East Cambridge 1.6% $2,278 $1,366
Arlington 0.7% $1,488 $740
Brookline/Longwood 0.7% $1,775 $1,350
Dorchester 0.4% $2,150 $2,150
Jamaica Plain 0.4% $2,328 $1,087
Kendall Square 0.4% $2,364 $906
Medford 0.4% $2,375 $750
North Cambridge 0.4% $2,383 $1,105

For more information about locations, check out Neighborhoods around HLS.

Other Location Considerations

  • Apartments are often listed by neighborhood or squares rather than just by towns. For example, apartments might be listed as being in Inman Square, Harvard Square, or Central Square rather than in Cambridge.
  •  For those who end up living farther away from campus, apartments near public transportation are a high priority. The subway in Boston is known as the “T” and is managed by the MBTA. The MBTA website has interactive street maps, trip planning features, and transfer information such as the bus lines that stop at a particular subway station. HLS is about a 6 minute walk from the Harvard Square red line T stop. Many of our students choose to live in or near Central Square (one stop / 4 minute ride to Harvard Square), Porter Square (one stop / 3 minute ride to Harvard Square) or Davis Square (two stops / 5 minute ride to Harvard Square).
  • Parking rules and regulations are different from town to town.  Also, parking rules usually change during the winter.  If you are bringing a car, make sure you find out about the parking regulations for the entire year.
  • There is a town in central Massachusetts named Harvard. It is about 30 miles northwest of Cambridge. Double-check to ensure the apartments you are looking at are in Cambridge, not Harvard, MA.
  • There is a Harvard Street in at least a dozen Massachusetts towns and cities (i.e. Brookline, Cambridge, Quincy, Whitman, Worcester). Don’t assume that an apartment on Harvard Street is in Cambridge.
  • There are some streets such as Massachusetts Avenue that extend through multiple towns and there can, for instance, be two 1400 Massachusetts Avenue’s, one in Boston and one in Cambridge, so double-check the town or city of the apartment listing. When you are preparing directions to see the apartment, ensure you get the complete and correct location.  Make sure to write down whether the address is a street, avenue, circle, etc, AND the zip code.
  • Streets are rarely straight and there are many one-way streets so as you drive around viewing apartments, pay attention to the route you will need to take and be prepared for the roads you will encounter.