Living in Cambridge and the Boston area
Local area websites
Changing an out-of-state driver's license
Massachusetts law requires residents to obtain a MA state license to drive in the state. You can find out the details on coverting an out-of-state license at the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
On-campus graduate student housing
Limited housing for single graduate students and graduate students with families is available. You can learn about on-campus housing options from the Housing & Student Life Programs.
A number of neighborhoods in Cambridge and Boston are only a short bicycle ride away or have access to public transportation as a means to get to the campus. The Off-Campus Housing Office can be a valuable resource for finding an apartment that meets your requirements in terms of cost, location, and amenities. The office keeps listings of available apartments sorted by location and cost, and has maps and telephones available for free local calling to check on listings. In addition, MIT owns several buildings off-campus rented to MIT students only; you can inquire at Off-Campus Housing about these availabilities.
In addition to the housing office and directly searching listings in the local newspapers, many local realty offices provide rental services as a possible resource. For a fee (typically 1 months rent), a realtor will find apartments that match your price range/location/other needs and show them to you. If you can afford the fee, it can be a good way to explore the possibilities when you first arrive and are not yet familiar with the neighborhoods surrounding MIT.
Parking in Boston and Cambridge
Finding a parking place in Boston (and Cambridge) can be an ordeal. Most neighborhoods in Cambridge are served by street parking only. Residential areas have street parking marked "by permit only," meaning that only residents of the area have a legal parking sticker (in Cambridge this is obtained from the local Parking Office, for a small fee with proof of residence). However, even with this limitation, some neighborhoods are easier to find a parking spot in than others. If you have a car, it is reasonable to inquire how parking is in the area when visiting an apartment. Off-street parking (e.g. a garage connected to an apartment or condominium) is somewhat rare, and thus quite expensive.
Getting Ready for Your First Semester
Courseware and textbooks are available at the MIT Coop located next to the Kendall Square T stop a few weeks prior to the beginning of the term.