I moved to Boston many moons ago straight out of college. I had a job and a boyfriend and that’s about it. Moving is one thing and settling in is another. Once you arrive and have unpacked most of your boxes, here are a few useful tips and tools that every new Bostonian can use.
No, I’m not talking about “Watch it!” the exclamations you will make with all the cars, bikes and pedestrians that make up the chaos that is Boston. Moving is exhausting and at the end of the day when you put your feet up on the cardboard box makeshift coffee table, put on Chronicle.
Chronicle is a show that covers all of New England, but if you are a new resident of the Greater Boston Area, I’d watch an episode that stays close to the city. Set your DVR to record Chronicle and watch an episode every now and again. You will find hidden gems from restaurants and museums to oddities and the arts. If you want to delve deeper into the arts add Jared Bowen’s Open Studio to your recordings as well.
As for which service to use for your tv that’s a personal choice we are happy with XFinity Comcast for our Internet and TV.
Quite literally you need to go where the books are. Better yet, have the audio streamed directly to your home if you have no time to get to the library. I suggest signing up for two library cards: one for the Boston Public Library system and the other for the Minuteman Library system.
You will use this card not only for books, but also for free or inexpensive classes and activities, audio books, newspapers, museum passes, and movies just to name a few.
To get the most out of the library you should also download these apps. Your library card gives you access to a variety of plentiful collections for free.
Overdrive — for ebooks, audio books and streaming videos
Libby— for ebooks and audiobooks
Hoopla—for digital movies, books and music
Flipster—for digital copies of magazines such as The Atlantic, The New Yorker, Time, Real Simple, Scientific American, and Yoga Journal
Kanopy—a video streaming service full of great movies and weekly suggestions of what to watch if you want
Naxos—for the world’s largest online classical music library
PressReader— for digital copies of newspapers and magazines from all over the world
Moving is the perfect excuse to order in or eat out. As a newcomer (but also in general) ditch your favourite delivery app and dine out! You need a break from the boxes and dust anyway so go explore food in your new neighbourhood. Even better, go explore some other neighbourhood and get a little lost in the city. You can’t really get lost these days with gps, maps etc.
To find out where to eat Yelp is a good starting point, but don’t use it exclusively because it has its flaws. Get on Instagram and click on the search 🔍. Then 🔝 click on places and select “near current location”. See what is around you and browse the pictures. You will find food, parks, and all kinds of spots to explore. You will also want to follow Hidden Boston, Nail the Cocktail, The Food Lens, BaddieDae, Princess Gloria Feasts, Spoons and Stilettos. Rachel Leah Blumenthal, Life as a Maven, Oysters4Dessert, Nartsyness, Boston Foodies, Forking with Armani, and Jacqueline Church.
Apps not Apps
These apps are useful for making reservations, however note that for many restaurants you will more easily score a reservation by calling the restaurant directly.
I use the apps for when I need to make a reservation outside of the restaurant’s operating hours or if I’m somewhere that I cannot easily make a call. I also like a little perk with my reservation. It’s easier to go out for lunch on a random Tuesday when you get a little financial reward. Here are a few of the apps I use for reservations. Seated is the most rewarding.
OpenTable – collect points and redeem them for money towarsa meals at the end of the year.
Seated – get a % of your bill back in rewards from Amazon and Target to Starbucks and special events.
Driving in Boston takes a little getting used to, but it is the parking that really gets you.
Read parking signs carefully. Some towns have no overnight street parking. Watch for street cleaning days and times as well as snow emergency signs. If you are unsure of the rules. Google it!
Here are some apps you will want to use to help you park efficiently and for the best rate as well. When I am going out to an event or show, I always use my apps to find the cheapest parking.
There are several different apps worth having because different towns have different systems. Please note that most meter parking apps do charge a small fee each time.
ParkBoston is the first app you need. It can be used in Boston proper and Cambridge. There is a small fee to use the app, but you can add time within the allowed limit remotely. You do not need coins or a card to park since your credit card is attached to the app.
Passport Parking is used in Cambridge, Newton and Salem among others. Similarly, there is a small fee to use the app, but you can add time within the allowed limit remotely. You do not need coins or a card to park since your credit card is attached to the app.
Garage and Lot Parking
These apps are the true heroes of parking because you can see how much parking will cost you and find nearby spots at a variety of prices. I also like the convenience of just scanning the app at arrival and departure so there is no need to keep track of paper tickets and stop in and pay at the desk.
ParkWhiz also lets you keep track of which parking was for personal use or business meetings and events.
Best Parking offers Siri shortcuts for directions and to pull up parking passes.
All of the apps also let you rebook parking easily at places you have parked before.
Moving seems like a workout in itself, but you can only really clear your head and get a good workout if you leave the house and focus on yourself.
Leaving a favourite class and teacher behind can be kind of traumatic. Your workout crew becomes like family and changing teachers requires some adjustments. These apps help you not only see what classes are available but let you drop in without any huge commitments. The apps also help you stay on top of your schedule by synchronizing easily with your calendar so you don’t miss your workout.
MindBody is the app I use for my drop in classes. I can buy 10 class cards pilates mat classes, for example, or individual reformer classes. It is how I reserve my classes as well. You can also just use the MindBody online platform if you prefer.
Whether you do yoga, pilates, dance, or HIIT you can schedule classes with MindBody. In addition to workouts, you can find and schedule massage, and beauty treatments. Lastly, MindBody even includes wellness appointments for chiropractic, acupuncture and massage.
ClassPass is a very useful tool especially in a city like Boston that has so many fitness options. You can use it for all your classes or just to get to know the fitness landscape better. ClassPass also offers a free trial month to get you started.
In addition to classes, with ClassPass you can book gym time without the commitment of membership. If you find a gym you love, then you can join the gym and cancel ClassPass or if you find you like taking classes at many different gyms and studios then maybe you stick with ClassPass. The app uses a point system and a monthly fee. Each month you get a set amount of credits to use for activities which cost a varying amount of credits. You can also add credits as needed.