September 1st Survival Guide

Boston September 1st

If you’ve never been in Boston on September 1st, congratulations on avoiding what I’d call a circus except that would be a disservice to circuses! To say that the city is a chaotic mess is an understatement of epic (fail) proportions and if you can avoid it you should do so at all costs. This year the first is a Friday, which means the craziness may be less intense on THE day because some of the folks leaving the city started moving out as early as last Saturday and those coming from out of town with all their stuff will likely be spread out across the long weekend. What follows are some tips to make life easier for those of you who AREN’T moving…

  • If you live in a part of Greater Boston with on-street parking and you have a parking space on Thursday night, DON’T MOVE YOUR CAR UNTIL TUESDAY! There will be many, many moving vans and extra cars on the streets through the 5th of September, and if you give up an on-street spot, the odds of getting it (or any space near it) back are minimal. Also, when you park your car, think about doing so on a side street if possible. Yes, it may be a little further from your front door but all those extra cars on the main streets are likely to lead to a lot more dings and dents than usual.
  • Regardless of where you park, avoid driving in the city if you can. It’s the perfect storm of bad driving – people behind the wheel of vehicles (U-Haul’s, moving vans, trucks) they don’t usually drive navigating tricky neighborhoods  they aren’t familiar with – and you don’t want to be stuck behind them. Maybe take public transportation to work for a couple of days and think of it as an adventure!
  • Do your shopping now. While you may just need a few items, all these new people have entire kitchens, pantries, and dorm rooms to stock with food, drinks, and various household items, so supermarkets, Targets, CVS, and Walmart are likely to be overflowing with customers and light on inventory. Stock up now so you don’t have to do battle with someone who’s got two full carts.
  • If you are going out to eat over the long weekend you should stick to locally owned establishments. Again, there will be 10’s of thousands of new-to-the-city folks plus the friends and family that have come to town to help with the move, and those people are much more likely to go with national chain restaurants they are familiar with than the neighborhood places you already know are much better.

Busiest Zip Codes for September 1st Move-In — Courtesy of

  • Remember, it’s only this bad for the first weekend, and hopefully enough current Bostonian’s will leave town for Labor Day so as to at least somewhat offset the influx of newbies. Sure, traffic is going to be much worse with school back in session (and if you think driving is bad then, wait until the first snow of the season, which for some new Bostonian’s will be the first snow they’ve EVER driven in) but overall things settle down and people start to learn the ins and outs of the city and wrap their heads around the concept that cars in the rotary have the right of way.

This post was written by Al Norton, Rental Manager

Al NortonAl Norton is in his 14th year as the Rental Manager at Unlimited Sotheby’s International Realty and his 23rd year working in the Greater Boston housing market.
You can speak to Al at 617.699.3811 or