Living in Union Square

by Sarah Olliges

Rental market

Because it is not directly on the Red line, apartments in this area seem to be slightly cheaper than Porter or Davis.  Many people find apartments or roommates via Craigslist.  It does take some time to cull though all of the listings there, and you might end up with some crazy roommates.  Ideally, you will want to visit the city to see a place before you rent it- it is hard to tell from photos and emails.  Another option is to go through a broker- this is a service you will likely pay for though, and you will want to use a reputable broker such as Red Line Real Estate.

Transportation

There is not a T stop in Union Square.  Because of this, there is not a large student population there, which may be a pro or a con, depending on what you are looking for.  Union Square is approximately 1 mile from Central Square and just over a mile to Porter Square and Harvard Square.  It is about 2.5 miles from the Tufts Medford Campus.  If you are willing to trade some convenience to the T for cheaper rents, its a great place to live.  If you are willing to bike around the city, Unions Square is easily assessable to the Red or Orange line, to get downtown.   There are of course also bus lines that go through Union.

Attractions

The lack of a T stop makes Union Square a little more “authentic” feeling.  There are plenty of young professionals but are also families and an ethnic diversity you won’t find in Porter or Davis Square.  There are two great coffee shops in Union: Bloc 11 and the Sherman Cafe.  Bloc 11 have a relaxed atmosphere, great coffee and yummy sandwiches.  They also have a rarity for the Boston area- a courtyard and outdoor seating.  The Sherman Cafe also has good coffee and food, as well as an adjacent market that supplies many delicious locally produced foods.  You might not be able to afford many items in the Sherman Market on your student budget, but luckily you will have access to both Reliance Market, a Korean grocery and the to Market Basket, the cheapest grocery store in the city that also happens to have the freshest produce and worst parking.  In the warmer months you will also find the Union Square Farmer’s Market chock full of local veggies.

There are many bars in the Square, from the hole in the wall to the hip, including the Precinct, housed in the former police station, and the Independent, next door.  There are also many ethnic restaurants and on any night you could choose from Peruvian, Indian, Thai, Mexican, or Chinese.  The next morning you can role out of bed and beat the crowd to a Somerville classic- breakfast at the Neighborhood, where, for $5 you will get coffee, OJ, fruit, home fries, and a huge omelet.  Just get there early: on the weekends the line is out the door.

Cons

No T stop:  You will have to be willing to bus, walk, or bike to get to classes

No Tufts Contingent:  This is not a hot spot for Tufts students, so if you want to live around the corner from your school buddies, you may want to go for Davis or Porter Square

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