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Renter’s Guide to West Roxbury Apartments
There really is no substitute for living in Boston. Conversely, life in the big city cannot hope to compare to the relaxed atmosphere of a good suburb. You might find yourself torn between these two extremes, uncertain whether living in Boston or a suburb better suits your needs.
Well, why not both?
Boston’s West Roxbury neighborhood is still part of the city, but its cozy suburban styling offers residents the best of both worlds.
An Overview of West Roxbury
Tucked away in the southwest corner of Boston, West Roxbury shares borders with the town of Brookline in the north, fellow Boston neighborhoods Roslindale to the northeast and Hyde Park in the southeast, and the town of Dedham in the southwest. Spanning 4.61 square miles and home to roughly 30,000 people, West Roxbury is a little slice of small-town suburbia within Boston city limits. With the commuter rail providing swift access to downtown, West Roxbury apartments grant residents the perks of Downtown Boston, and the open space and tranquility of a suburb – the best of both worlds.
Points of Interest in West Roxbury
La Roche Bros. Grocery
Nothing against Whole Foods per se, but in Massachusetts, Roche Bros. has been Greater Boston’s upscale grocer of choice since 1952. Fresh local produce, a cut to order meat market, and a fantastic in-house bakery make La Roche Bros. a favorite among residents. As one of the first American markets to adopt a gluten-free selection of foods, La Roche has plenty on offer for those with dietary restrictions or allergies.
One soul’s trash is another soul’s treasure, and the hundred-acre park is proof incarnate. Built on a reclaimed landfill site, this gorgeous natural park boasts open spaces, playgrounds, trails, and a canoe launch. Open from dawn until 8:00 p.m., it offers free parking in three public lots and taps into a network of trails leading all the way to Nahanton Park in Newton.
The terraced park overlooks the Massachusetts hillside, as well as the Downtown Boston skyline in the distance. Woodsy and winding, one could forgive you for forgetting that that you were inside Boston city limits while exploring the spacious, scenic environment.
West Roxbury Public Library
This cozy branch of the Boston Public Library has everything you might expect: thousands of books, desktops and laptops for public use, and frequent community events. Perhaps its most unique offering is the tranquil reading garden on the premises. Whether you need a quiet place to study, or simply enjoy the idea of curling up with a good book inside a secret garden, this spot has it all.
Restaurants and Cafes near West Roxbury Apartments
While a discussion of the best places to eat in West Roxbury could easily take all day, we have gathered a small sampling of the best that the neighborhood has to offer. Think of it like a sampler platter, or an appetizer – something to whet your appetite for discovering your new favorite spots.
Anna’s Hand Cut Donuts
A true hidden gem, Anna’s serves up hot fresh donuts in the old-fashioned style daily. They have great coffee and handmade donuts ranging from old-fashioned favorites to imaginative twists like honey dipped, cinnamon, and fresh blackberry jam donuts. A word of advice: if you want to get your hands on their most popular items, be sure to arrive early. While their posted hours are 5:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., they are often sold out of local favorites by nine in the morning. And when the donuts are gone, they’re gone. That means Anna’s occasionally closes around noon or so. Nevertheless, if you have a taste for hot, fresh donuts, this place is hard to beat.
Banh Mi Ngon Vietnamese Gourmet Sandwiches
This small takeout spot not only has fantastic sandwiches, but also serves up smoothies, and some of the best Pho in Boston. Space for dining in is limited, but they do a brisk takeout business for a reason. Parking options are usually limited, but that does little to deter Banh Mi Ngon’s patrons who routinely come back for more.
This local, family-owned chain is beloved for a number of reasons: six-dollar large cheese pizzas, authentic Italian family recipes, and fast service and delivery. But what makes them unique in a sea of Italian Cuisine and pizza places is inarguably the messes they make.
You read that correctly. A Comella family specialty, the “mess” is a style of pasta dish with its roots in the early days of the restaurant, when they added leftover ingredients together in a glorious, sloppy, mess of a pasta dish. It was such a hit with patrons that they dropped the leftover concept entirely and moved the dish to the main menu. Today, each mess is is made fresh that day, which is almost as much fun to say as it is fulfilling to eat.
A favorite for breakfast and lunch in West Roxbury, this gem of an American diner, tucked away at the corner of Centre and Hastings, is right next to the also-excellent Squealing Pig – a fantastic pub with great microbrews. Rox is a stellar example of well-executed, affordable diner fare.
Massive cupcakes, fantastic tarts, and made-to-order cakes are the order of the day at Sugar, though their cookies just might be the star of the show. Specifically, their take on the West Roxbury classic Brambles – a European-style raspberry filled tea cookie – are a local tradition worth experiencing.
West on Centre
Winner of the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for three years running, West on Centre serves up hearty American cuisine sprinkled with creative twists. This is a bar and grill where bacon confit chicken lollipops and 13 hour hickory-smoked BBQ pulled pork share the menu with fish and chips and apple crisp a la mode, all to satisfying effect. West on Centre is also a favorite brunch spot, with its brioche French toast and monster egg sandwich always hitting the spot.
West Roxbury Apartments by Location
While the neighborhood is less than five square miles in total, the three most important factors — that would be location, location, and location for the record – still apply when looking at West Roxbury apartments. As when moving to any neighborhood, it pays to think about what factors are most important to you.
If public transportation is a priority, the West Roxbury, Highland, and Bellevue stations each provide access to the Needham Line commuter rail. This gives you options if you want to live within a block or two of a rail station.
If the outdoors is important to you, consider the West Roxbury apartments farther to the west, near Millennium Park and Brook Farm. If elevation is appealing, or you want close access to the Roxbury Latin School, consider renting in Bellevue Hill. There is no one “right area” in West Roxbury. Finding the one that is right for you all comes down to your individual needs.
With a population of30,446 as of the 2010 census – and estimated to be closer to 32,000 as of this writing – West Roxbury is certainly large enough to be a small suburb rather than a neighborhood. About five percent of Boston residents make their home in West Roxbury, and with just under 6,000 people per square mile – less than half that of Boston as a whole – the added space lends West Roxbury apartments, condominiums, and houses a suburban-style charm.
Like much of Boston, West Roxbury has gone through multiple iterations since its founding, before eventually becoming part of the city. Founded alongside Boston in 1630, West Roxbury was, as one might infer, originally part of Roxbury. From its inception up until the mid-1800s, West Roxbury was primarily farmland. However, the introduction of a railroad line in 1848 brought changes to the pastoral countryside. In 1851, West Roxbury – along with Roslindale Village and Jamaica Plain – broke off from Roxbury, becoming the town of West Roxbury.
This existence would prove to be short-lived, as Boston annexed the town of West Roxbury in 1874, a mere 23 years after its incorporation as a town. Today, West Roxbury is a distinct neighborhood from Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, and of course, Roxbury.
Ellery Harding Clark
Ellery Harding Clark is both the first and, as of this writing, the only athlete to win Olympic gold in both the high jump and long jump. Clark also holds the distinction of being the first champion in both, as he achieved this feat at the first modern installment of the Olympic Games in 1896.
His feat was not without struggle. He was in the habit of using his hat to mark the long jump runway, but the judge – King Constantine of Greece – was having none of that. Twice, King Constantine removed the hat. Therefore, for his third jump, Clark abandoned his long-standing routine, and just went for it. That third jump was the only one that qualified, but it was still enough to bring home the gold.
Clark was a once-in-a-generation athlete. His performance in the 1897 American All-Around championship would have been good enough to take home the gold in the long jump, high jump – and in all likelihood, the 110-meter hurdles and 100-meter sprint as well – so dominant was his performance.
Michael Anthony Hall
Better known professionally as Anthony Michael Hall, he starred in multiple John Hughes films including National Lampoon’s Vacation, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Weird Science. From playing Bill Gates in 1999’s Pirates of Silicon Valley to the lead role in USA Network’s The Dead Zone, Hall’s career has spanned decades, and continues strong.
Born on Easter Sunday in West Roxbury in 1968, the actor’s recent portfolio includes voice-over work for American Dad! , and roles in Riverdale and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Robert Gould Shaw
An officer in the Union Army during the Civil War, Shaw was born into a prominent abolitionist family. He would carry that torch proudly right up to the moment of his death. Commander of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry – the first entirely African-American regiment in the northeast, counting two of Fredrick Douglass’ sons among its ranks – Shaw famously supported the promise of equal treatment for the troops under his command. He and the 54th are immortalized in the Robert Gould Shaw memorial across from 24 Beacon Street at the edge of Boston Common.
West Roxbury Real Estate Data
The overall picture of West Roxbury is one of a rising seller’s market, experiencing spectacular growth over the past 20 years, though values began stabilizing over the past year. The average price of houses has steadily climbed to $408 per square foot from $329 per square foot in 2016. Condominiums and townhomes have seen a similar climb, increasing from $298 to $459 per square foot over the same stretch of time. Both compare favorably with the Boston average cost of $528 per square foot.
Despite a few notable peaks and valleys, the median list price of homes for sale in West Roxbury has seen a steady increase from $606,000 in 2016 to $692,000 in 2019. However, seeing a swing above or below those figures is hardly uncommon. The change in condos and townhomes over the same period is more dramatic, from $351,000 in 2016 up to $503,000 in 2019, with the January 2018 spike to $512,000 establishing the new baseline trend. Despite the climbing property values, West Roxbury remains a significantly more affordable option for living within the city limits. As of this writing, the median list price for houses in Boston is $1,020,000, and often hits double the West Roxbury figure.
Rental Market Information for West Roxbury Apartments
For the most part, West Roxbury apartments follow the same trends as the West Roxbury housing market, steadily climbing upward. With the notable exception of studio apartments – which hit a low median rent of $1,630 per month in late 2016, climbed to $2,403 by mid 2017, before stabilizing around $2,100 over the past year – the median rent value has continued its slow and steady increase.
At the beginning of autumn 2016, 1-bedroom apartments had a median rent of $2,080 per month. Though there were some peaks and valleys along the way, by mid-2018 it had stabilized at $2,110. It has steadfastly remained there for more than a year and counting. Over this same time period, 2-bedroom apartments started a touch lower at $2,030, and have climbed to $2,265 per month. 2-bedroom West Roxbury apartments are historically more volatile than 1-bedroom units, so keep these peaks and valleys in mind when apartment hunting.
New and Notable West Roxbury Apartments, Buildings & Complexes
A luxury apartment complex near Millennium Park, the newly opened Oak Row boasts a number of amenities for residents. With a full-service work lounge – with WiFi, private work pods, and a conference room – as well as complimentary transportation to the West Roxbury MBTA Commuter Rail station, an in-house fitness and wellness center, and even a grooming station, pet wash, and dog run for your pets, Oak Row aims to set itself apart with its amenities. By offering a luxury experience for around the average cost of a Boston apartment, residents feel that they do just that.
With a combination of new construction and renovated townhomes, these West Roxbury apartments include free heat and hot water, as well as professional snow removal. Located near the Dedham Commuter Rail line and situated on some truly beautiful landscaping, Ridgecrest brings the full West Roxbury experience to renters, lawns and all.
Transportation to and from West Roxbury Apartments
With quick access to I-95/route 128, routes 1, 1A, I-93, and 3 Commuter Rail stations, West Roxbury has a multitude of transportation options.
Public Transportation near West Roxbury Apartments
With three stops along the Needham line, the West Roxbury, Highland, and Bellevue Commuter Rail stations provide access to Downtown Boston. MBTA busing provides transportation both across the neighborhood, and into neighboring districts.
Driving and Parking near West Roxbury Apartments
According to the 2017 American Community survey, residents of West Roxbury are four times more likely to drive to work than all other modes of transport combined. West Roxbury is a driving neighborhood, especially compared with the rest of Boston. Yet part of Boston it remains. That means that many of its historic roads hearken back to an era when the city was less populated, and it shows.
Many of Boston’s primary thoroughfares were never intended to handle the amount of traffic that comes with a modern metropolis, and West Roxbury is no exception. Centre Street and the VFW parkway face serious congestion, especially at rush hour. Drivers should expect plenty of stop-and-go during their commute. To be sure, conditions are significantly better outside of rush hour.
For all of its suburban charm, West Roxbury rush hours are a reminder that it remains part of Boston. However, when it comes to available parking, West Roxbury could hardly be more different from the rest of the city. Parking spots abound, with no need to aggressively maneuver or fight over spots. Parking is easy, accessible, and widely considered a major advantage to living in the neighborhood.
Street Traffic Around West Roxbury, MA Apartments
While not as tightly packed as downtown, you can get around much of West Roxbury without relying on a vehicle. While cyclists will appreciate the Stony Brook Reservation trail, the neighborhood is not as bike-friendly as other parts of Boston.
Education near West Roxbury Apartments
Just like every other Boston neighborhood, West Roxbury students can attend any Boston Public High Schools. They are available for all students, regardless of the neighborhood in which they reside. Pre-K through 8th grade is still handled locally.
Public and Private Schools near West Roxbury Apartments
Beethoven and Ohrenberger SchoolsTwo Boston Public Schools that work together, Beethoven enrolls roughly 300 students from K to 2th grade, while Ohrenberger approximately doubles that number, serving students from the 3rd through 8th grades. With students making steady progress from year to year, these twin schools provide a supportive community for West Roxbury students, helping them grow into critical thinkers.
Roxbury Latin SchoolFounded in 1645 under a charter from King Charles I of England, the Roxbury Latin School is the oldest school still in continuous existence not just in Boston, or even the United States, but all of North America. Located at 101 St. Theresa Avenue since 1927, the all-boys day school has consistently ranked as one of the top college preparatory institutions in Massachusetts.
With a 7:1 student-teacher ratio and an average class size of just 13 students, the Roxbury Latin School is one of the state’s best high schools for STEM and general college prep. With an average SAT score of roughly 1470, this proud member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE), is inarguably one of the most prestigious 7-12 academies in the greater Boston metropolitan area.
Landmarks and Historic Places
Boston’s roots go deep, and West Roxbury is no exception. Unique to the neighborhood, however, are its wide-open spaces, and downright pastoral landmarks. If you want to see a lesser-known side of Boston’s history, West Roxbury is host to some hidden treasures for the curious explorer.
A neighborhood within the West Roxbury neighborhood, Bellevue Hill is the highest point in Boston, reaching 330 feet above sea level. Home to the historic West Roxbury Parkway and Bellevue Standpipe – both entries in the National Register of Historic Places – the lush, arborous neighborhood provides a spectacular view of Boston from its lofty heights.
The Brook Farm Historic Site
WIth nearly 180 acres of fields, wetlands, and woods, this National Historic landmark has seen its share of interesting history. Most notably, the farm housed perhaps the most famous attempt at creating a utopian commune in the United States, the Brook Farm Institute of Agriculture and Education.
In 1841, the Transcendental movement was at its height. Riding this philosophical wave, George and Sophia Ripley founded the commune as a joint stock company, intending to create a pocket utopia of sorts, with leisure and labor in equal measure. Residents could tend to whatever work they preferred. All members, regardless of gender or ethnicity, would receive equal pay.
Author Nathaniel Hawthorne was a founding member, though he never fully ascribed to its ideals. Hawthorne would eventually write his novel The Blithedale Romance based largely on his experiences at Brook Farm. The experiment was always on shaky ground financially. It never recovered from a large-scale construction project burning to the ground, which signaled the end of the experimental community. In the years that followed, it would become an orphanage, school, and Civil War training camp.
Today, trails crisscross this historic mix of wetlands, meadows, fields, and forest, with the occasional tour that takes visitors through the site’s history.
Westerly Burial Ground
Established in 1683, the Westerly Burial Ground is the seventh-oldest cemetery in Boston and the final resting place of West Roxbury’s first settlers. For a peaceful tour through three centuries of funerary art and Boston history, a visit to Westerly makes for a serene afternoon trip.
Things to do near West Roxbury Apartments
Launching Canoes From Millennium Park
When the weather permits, Millennium Park makes an excellent point to explore the Charles River by canoe. Sailing downstream, Sawmill Brook joins the river on the right side along with Millennium Park and the Brook Farm historic site, and Cutler Park is to your left. The 2.1 mile downstream trip to Nahanton Park is well worth making. For those less nautically inclined, Millennium Park just might be the best place to fly kites – or if your interests are more technological, pilot drones – in Boston.
The Corrib Classic 5K Road Race
The annual race, held on the first Sunday of June at Billings Field on LaGrange Street, has blossomed into West Roxbury’s largest community event. With approximately 2,000 runners, multiple volunteers, as well as family, friends, and other attendants, the race briefly shuts down Centre and LaGrange streets while it takes place. Operated by the Bligh family – from the Corrib Pub and Restaurant near the race’s start – the Corrib Classic has raised more than half a million dollars for various local causes over the years.
The Shamrock Shootout
Held on Temple Street, the Shamrock Shootout has grown from humble beginnings to Boston’s premier street hockey tournament. Starting in 2008 as an event for 100 neighborhood kids off from school for Evacuation day, the tournament now hosts more than 650 entrants every year. Spanning a third of a mile’s worth of Temple Street, the Shamrock Shootout has become something of a festival, with music, food, and more. Open to kindergarteners through 8th graders, the tournament is free with registration, and all players get their own stick, a t-shirt, and lunch provided.
Life in West Roxbury, MA
Daily life in West Roxbury has much in common with the rest of Boston, crossed with its suburbs. With a strong sense of community, West Roxbury incorporates much of what people love about suburbs, while remaining uniquely Bostonian. So if you want to live in the city but enjoy the tree-lined streets, lawns, and comparatively affordable rent of a Boston suburb, West Roxbury just might be the perfect fit for you.