Living in Davis Square

by Jessica Hochstadt

Call me crazy, but I enjoy the annual check-up with my doctor. Of course, there is nothing enjoyable about being pricked with needles, lying on wax paper, and, oh yes, getting weighed. However, it just so happens that my doctor went to Tufts in the 70’s; during my visits, she never fails to regale me with stories of her life as a Jumbo (that’s the part that I enjoy).

Tufts has not changed very much since my doctor’s first biology class: students still rally for social justice, put pennies on Jumbo’s trunk for good luck, and enjoy sledding down the president’s lawn during the winter. However, there is one thing that I experienced as a Tufts student that my doctor never did: Davis Square.

The Davis Square of my doctor’s time was nothing like it is today, as only in the later 1970’s was it added along the Red Line, between Porter Square and Alewife. This addition to the Red Line brought with it a thriving urban area with restaurants, bars, local stores, and a variety of seasonal events—all within a ten minute walk of Tufts University’s main campus.

Rental Market

Housing in Davis Square is mostly in the form of cozy duplex apartments. Singles are hard to come by… but roommates are not. Expect to pay anywhere between $650-850/month each for a 2-bedroom with utilities not included.

Transportation

Many Friedman students choose to live in Davis Square because of its close proximity to Tufts’ Medford campus (only a ten minute walk from the T). This proves useful when required classes are located in Medford. However, MIT, Harvard, and Lesley University students choose to live in Davis too, not only because this T stop is minutes away from their respective academic endeavors, but also because Davis Square has everything you need from laundromats and supermarkets, to gyms, bars, and restaurants. Furthermore, it’s only a 25 minute T ride from Boston; and as it’s one of the first stops along the Red Line, you’re almost guaranteed a seat during your travels.

Pros

The people in Davis Square are as wonderful and diverse as its nightlife. Many of Boston’s best restaurants are located in this Somerville intersection. Redbones Barbeque is famous for its southern style barbeque (click here for the Sprout restaurant review), as well as being the first restaurant to offer bicycle valet. Around the corner, Diva Indian Bistro offers authentic southern Indian cuisine in a sleek, modern atmosphere. If you’re in the mood for something more regional, go across the street to the Burren—not only do they cook some of the best Irish food in town, but it’s also a good place enjoy live Irish music. And if you want to dance, every Thursday night, the Burren has a live cover band that plays strictly 80’s music! After a couple drinks, you won’t hesitate to join others in a group rendition of “Jesse’s Girl” or “Africa”!

While the food is worth the visit to any of these restaurants, they are also each a part of the trendy bar scene in Davis. If you choose to opt out of dinner and just join friends for drinks, ask them to meet you at Sagra or Orleans. Both bars, while on opposite ends of Davis Square, are a little more upscale than the aforementioned restaurants, but are nice places to meet for post-work/class cocktails.

Fear not, morning people—Davis Square also boasts some of the best brunch restaurants, like Johnny D’s or Mr. Crepe. And Davis is also home to a number of exciting seasonal events, like the “Honk! Festival”—a celebration of activist street bands. For one weekend every fall, marching bands line the streets in Davis Square in quirky costumes to play music and entertain the locale. During the summer and fall months, residents and visitors alike enjoy a beautiful farmers market, which provides fresh and local foods for low prices. If you like saving money (which you will once you’re a student), Davis also offers one of the cheapest movie theaters in town. Although the movies usually come out later than larger theaters, this theater also hosts concerts and is the only theater in town that serves beer! And for those of you marathon junkies, there is a 5k that starts in Davis Square for every holiday, which usually ends right in front of JP Licks—the best ice-cream shop in town!

Cons

I hesitate to add a “con” section here, as I can’t think of many reasons not to live in Davis Square. Quite possibly the only drawback to living in Davis Square is the distance from Friedman. Although it is only 25 minutes away, this can seem like forever when you are running late to class or discover you’ve left your USB in the computers at school, and need to return. But, at least you’ll have a seat on the T. Okay, and there is one more thing—Mike. Mike is a homeless man who walks the streets of Davis Square, shouting. He likes to hang around the Powder House Circle, which is a couple blocks from Davis. You won’t see him very often, but when you do, here’s a tip: give him the peace sign, and he leaves you alone.

Take Away Message:

Ultimately, everything you will need as a Tufts student is in Davis Square, including other Tufts students. Ready to move yet? For housing information, go to www.apartmentrentalexperts.com.

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