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Brookline Area Living Guide

Living in Brookline, MA

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As close as Brookline is to Boston, it has managed to maintain its own identity. Brookline features a mixture of urban and suburban living, upscale shops and recreational parks, apartment buildings and large estates. Along with offering both a city atmosphere and a feeling of being in the country, there is a wide mix of people in Brookline. It is the home of many academic and scientific professionals who work at the nearby medical centers in Boston. Brookline has an overnight on-street parking ban which is unusual for such a dense area. Among its many unusual resources, Brookline has its own working farm (with farm stand), the oldest country club in the nation, a town golf course, a park on a hillside overlooking Boston with an open-air skating rink and transportation museum, as well as numerous neighborhood parks and playgrounds scattered throughout the town. Its major retail centers, including Coolidge Corner, Brookline Village, Washington Square, Cleveland Circle and the Chestnut Hill Shopping Center, are pedestrian-oriented shopping areas with a variety of stores, restaurants and malls.

Neighborhoods In Brookline

Brookline Village

The town of Brookline boasts Brookline Village as its primary commercial hub. It is also the location of the Brookline Village Commercial District, which holds a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. This neighborhood is home to numerous town civic buildings, including the highly acclaimed public library. Brookline Village enjoys a favorable location north of Route 9, ensuring hassle-free accessibility to the city and its neighboring regions. The Muddy River also meanders through the borders of Brookline Village, which was formerly known by this name.

Coolidge Corner

At the intersection of Beacon and Harvard Street stands Coolidge Corner, originally named after the Coolidge & Brother General Store that once occupied the space. This charming neighborhood, bordering Brookline Village, is renowned for its assorted collection of eateries and retail shops. Of note is the Coolidge Corner Theatre, an indie cinema showcasing foreign and independent films. A former streetcar suburb, this neighborhood has retained its pedestrian-friendly allure, with an array of amenities reachable on foot. Coffee shops, apothecaries, independent boutiques, top-rated restaurants, Trader Joe's grocery store, and the popular Brookline Booksmith independent bookstore are among the neighborhood's treasures.

Washington Square

Positioned on Beacon Street, between Coolidge Corner and Cleveland Circle and Chestnut Hill Reservoir, lies the petite, yet striking Washington Square neighborhood. Within its borders are multiple cafes, stores, and restaurants, many of which are conveniently a short stroll away along Beacon Street. Washington Square Park boasts several stunning brownstone edifices and a colossal 18-foot Victorian clock at its center. Not too distant from the neighborhood, locals can find one of Brookline's eight public elementary schools, the Michael Driscoll School.


Located in the southwest area of Brookline, this neighborhood is well-known for the public Robert T. Lynch Municipal Golf Course, Baker School, and various parks and natural spaces. Mostly characterized by single-family homes, it offers a serene residential retreat. At the center of the quiet residential streets lies The Shops at Putterham, home to popular eateries like Mandarin Gourmet and Putterham Grille, making it a convenient spot for residents to enjoy its amenities.

Cottage Farm

Encompassing the junction of Essex and Ivy Street, lies the scenic Cottage Farm Historic District, celebrated for its charming residences, some of which featuring expansive lots. The neighborhood has earned the distinction of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, one of only seven such areas in Brookline. English Cottage-style homes abound in this area, and the hushed streets lend it a pastoral ambiance, while still maintaining the convenience of being in proximity to a bustling metropolis. Cottage Farm includes two sanctuaries, Amory Woods and Hall's Pond, enhancing the countryside feel of this neighborhood.

Chestnut Hill

This upscale neighborhood, stretching across Brookline, Newton, and Boston's western parts, is distinguished by its magnificent residences, top-tier schools, and fabulous shopping options. A notable feature is Boston College's presence within the vicinity. Chestnut Hill derives its nomenclature from several diminutive hills that surveil the Chestnut Reservoir. With The Street, The Shops at Chestnut Hill, and Chestnut Hill Square shopping centers, this neighborhood has earned an established status as an elitist shopping destination. It gets even grander - the neighborhood is included in the Boston Marathon route.

Pill Hill

Commonly referred to as "High Street Hill", Pill Hill is situated south of Central Village and along Boylston Street. The dense presence of medical practitioners in the area gave it its widely recognized nickname, Pill Hill. This neighborhood has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, making it one of seven nationally-recognized areas in Brookline. Touring this stylish district will let you explore the winding tree-lined roads and a plethora of architectural styles, including Victorian, Colonial and English Cottage.

Fisher Hill

Brookline's Fisher Hill, located southwest of Boston, is a historic neighborhood renowned for its grand architecture and mesmerizing views of the city skyline. This neighborhood dates back to the late 1800s when it was constructed exclusively for Boston's wealthy elites. Many prominent architects such as Peabody and Stearns left their mark on Fisher Hill's spectacular homes, including the iconic Fisher Hill Reservoir. As time passed, Fisher Hill grew in popularity and modernized to accommodate the latest styles of design and architecture. Today, Fisher Hill remains a desirable and prestigious neighborhood in the Boston area, and its exclusivity is further emphasized by the ongoing construction of the luxury Balfour Senior Living facility on the former grounds of Newbury College(closed in 2019), crowning the heights of Fisher Hill.