So, You Want to Live in Dorchester?

With culture, diversity, and some of the most affordable real estate in the city, this six-square-mile neighborhood just might be one of the last great deals in Boston.

Photo by Luxe Life Productions

1. Pick Your Price Point

Boston’s largest community, Dorchester encompasses several villages, including Ashmont, Four Corners, and Savin Hill. The area’s expansiveness accounts in part for its affordability: You’ll consistently find a wide range of homes on the market, from three-bedroom single-families for less than $700,000 (though they’ll need a few updates) to condominiums priced between $800,000 and $1 million. It’s also a smart spot to invest in real estate: There are usually multifamily homes priced under $2 million for sale.

Photo via Getty Images

2. Plot Your Commute

Roughly 4 miles from Downtown Crossing, Dorchester is bordered by Mattapan and Roxbury to the west and South Boston to the north. A variety of transportation options ensure a relatively easy commute. The Fairmount Line commuter rail runs through Dorchester, and there are multiple Red Line stops in the neighborhood. You can also take a bus into the city from Nubian Station in nearby Roxbury.

Photo via Getty Images

3. Take in the Vibe

With a population that hovers around 120,000, Dorchester is the most diverse area in the city and boasts an authentic melting-pot vibe. More than half of the neighborhood’s residents are under 35, and a large portion of the population are families.

Photo via Getty Images

4. Check out the Culture

History abounds here: Incorporated in 1630, the first town meeting in the United States was held in Dorchester, and Lower Mills was once home to the nation’s first chocolate factory. Franklin Park, which has a world-class zoo, is considered the crown jewel of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace. Both the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum and the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate are on Columbia Point.

Photo via Getty Images

5. Scope out the Schools

Dorchester is home to the nation’s first free public elementary school, which opened in 1639. Today, the area has the most public schools of any neighborhood in Boston, which includes two high schools, two middle schools, and nine elementary schools, to name a few. The top-ranked private Boston College High School is also located in Dorchester, as is Saint John Paul II Catholic Academy, and the UMass Boston campus is on Morrissey Boulevard.

First published in the print edition of the May 2024 issue with the headline, “So You Want to Live in…Dorchester.”

So, You Want to Live In…