101 GuidescityTravel

boston city guide {UPDATE}

by Grace Bonney

Our Boston City Guide update comes from original guide writer, Jennifer Hill, owner of the design studio JHill Design in the Fort Point area of Boston. Jennifer has updated her already incredible guide to include some of the newest and hottest additions to the Boston area.  Thanks Jennifer for this wonderful update!--Stephanie

CLICK HERE for the full guide after the jump!

I moved to Jamaica Plain 13 years ago while in art school and haven’t left. I love it here and thought revising the Boston City Guide would be a breeze, but so many wonderful shops and eateries have closed over the last year—it was actually quite a sobering process. So let’s support our neighborhood shops as much as we can!

Driving and parking can get a wee bit crazy, so it is best to avoid the stress. Boston is great for walking and has decent public transportation – the MBTA trains and buses will help you get to where you want to go. It’s a city of many neighborhoods (especially when you throw in Cambridge and Somerville), and I’ve listed those that I am most familiar with. Each section has stores, restaurants (including favorite dishes), and tourist attractions that may be a-typical, but still really fun to experience.

One more thing – if you get lost just look for the tallest building – The Prudential. It’s like a beacon to those off course and will help you get your bearings.



Barneys A beautiful store to shop (or browse). Designer pieces by Marc Jacobs, Manolo Blahnik, Prada and Barney’s Co-Op. 100 Huntington Avenue, Boston
Bodega The outside masquerades as a dusty bodega, but cool, colorful sneakers are found within. Hint: find the Snapple machine. 6 Clearway Street, Boston, MA 02115 Essence A custom fragrance bar. Sit at the counter and choose from an extensive collection of essential oils, blend what you will and create a one-of-a-kind perfume.  251 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116
Gretta Luxe High-end women’s boutique featuring edited collections by Zac Posen, Chloe, Stella McCartney and Balenciaga. 10 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02116
Jonathan Adler The shop is filled with Adler’s “happy chic” ceramics, furniture, and home accessories. 129 Newbury St., Boston, 617-437-0018
Matsu A little oasis from the bustle of Newbury Street. Shawls by Chan Luu, mouth blown vases, incense and clothing by Comme des Garçons. 259 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116
Mitchell Gold Modern (and eco-friendly) furniture, rugs and accessories. 142 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02116
Simon Pearce Hand-blown glass, fine handmade pottery, alpaca throws and serving ware. Gift registry available. 115 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02116
Stel’s Clothing for men and women by designers like United Bamboo, APC and Wings and Horns. 334 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02115

Also in the area: Anthropologie, Apple, Agent Provocateur, Camper, Crate and Barrel, Fresh, Forever 21, Frette, Jack Spade, Johnny Cupcakes, Madura Company, Marc Jacobs, Sephora, Williams Sonoma


Cafe Jaffa Inexpensive Middle Eastern dishes, gigantic salads and yummy falafel wraps. 48 Gloucester St, Boston, MA 02115
Eastern Standard A lovely atmosphere, great food, burgers on brioche, a large raw bar and killer cocktails. If the Red Sox are playing, go here after the first couple innings – but it will be jammed. 528 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02115


Get tickets to see The Sox play after a batting practice tour at Fenway Park, visit the scene of the infamous 1990 art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, walk the new wing at the Museum of Fine Arts, catch a Berklee jam session on Newbury Street.



Black Ink This tiny store is packed floor to ceiling with fun gifts such as cafeteria trays, imported Japanese toys, and Tin-Tin memorabilia. 101 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114
ER Butler Fine architectural and period hardware for doors, windows and furniture. Also features work by designers such as Hella Jongerius and Ted Muehling. 38 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114
Good A lovely mix of vintage and modern home and personal accessories featuring exclusive collections by John Derian, Patch NYC and Melissa Joy Manning. 88 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114
Koo de kir Clean, but never cold, modern home furnishings and home accessories. Work by Eva Ziesel, Klein Reid, and Beth Weintraub. Also offers Interior design services. 65 Chestnut Street, Boston, MA 02108
Moxie Cute shoes and accessories by Delman, Tory Burch, Rafe and Hayden-Harnet. 51 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114
Rugg Road Paper Company Hand-made papers from around the world as well as bookbinding supplies, cards and stationary. 105 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114-3260
Uncle Pete’s It’s like shopping for unique garments and accessories by YMC, Comme des Garcons, Rag+Bone… but in a very chill apartment. 125 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114

Also in the area: Cibeline, French Dressing, Flat of the Hill, Linens on the Hill, Tibet Emporium


Beacon Hill Bistro Modern French bistro that uses local and organic ingredients. If you can’t swing dinner – take a seat next to the cozy fireplace and order up a cocktail. 25 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114
Upper Crust Delicious gourmet pizza! Eat in or have it delivered via bicycle. Best bet: slice of the day. 20 Charles St, Boston
Liberty Hotel Formerly the Charles Street Jail, grab a drink at Clink or a bite at Alibi, then stroll down various hallways to see jailhouse relics. 215 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114


Lace up for a skate on Frog Pond, take a Swan Boat ride in America’s oldest park, join the weekly art and architecture tour at the Boston Athenaeum, in May see what is in bloom on the Beacon Hill Hidden Garden Tour.



Pod This neighborhood lifestyle boutique is always a delight! See goods from Henry Road and Fog Linen, plus lovely unique and affordable glass pieces. 313 Washington Street, Brookline MA 02445
Brookline Booksmith Descend into the “Used Book Cellar” to find pre-read new releases and vintage classics. Upstairs, dig through the remainder tables piled with discounted design and cooking books. 279 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA 02446
Paper Source One of 5 in the Boston area, the Paper Source specializes in wedding invitations (both for hire and diy). They also carry an array of stationary and stamping supplies. 1361 Beacon Street, Brookline MA 02446
Framers Workshop The city’s only do-it-yourself frame shop. All your questions will be answered and soon you’ll be a pro (or just leave it with the experts and pick up later!). 64 Harvard Street, Brookline MA 02445
Mint Julep Women’s clothing and accessories by Orla Kiely, Nanette Lepore, and Ben Sherman. 1302 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA 02446

Also in the area: Gateway Arts, Velvet Ribbon, Magic Beans


Michael’s Deli This deli serves THE biggest sandwiches. Best bet: the award-winning corned beef sandwich and don’t forget the pickle. 256 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA 02446 Paris Creperie Not just dessert, this quaint bistro has delicious crepes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Great smoothies on a hot summer day too – try the Citrus Burst! 278 Harvard Street
Coolidge Corner, Brookline, MA 0244
Publick House 150 different types of artisanal beer in appropriate (and beautiful) glassware — plus delicious bar food. Best bet: trivia night, but get there early for a table! 1648 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA 02445


Check out a new indie flick, participate in a “quote-along” of your favorite film or go to “Box Office Babies” (new parents and their little ones can watch without quiet time) at the Coolidge Corner Theater.



Xinh Xinh Lunchtime tables are packed with patrons hunched over bowls of hot pho. They do take-out as well. 7 Beach Street Boston, MA 02111-1609
Gourmet Dumpling House The name says it, the dumplings here are delicious, especially thier soup dumplings. 52 Beach Street Boston, MA 02111
Hei La Moon Delicious dim sum, complete with cart service. 88 Beach Street Boston, MA 02111


See a movie at AMC Lowe’s Cinema, catch the Chinese New Year parade, pop into the small Asian import stores, see a play at the restored Boston Opera House (South Pacific starting in the Fall!).



12 Chairs This chic home-décor store has a charming atmosphere and unique collection of items that “surpass standards of sustainability, good stewardship and just plain good looks.” 319 A Street Boston MA 02210 Front Unique yoga mats by Plank Design, home accents, and gifts brought to you by the duo behind the paper goods line, Bob’s Your Uncle. 25 Channel Center street Boston, MA 0221
Machine Age This 9,000 sq ft warehouse is chock full of modern and contemporary furniture by Knoll, Miller, Eames, Nelson and Wormley. 645 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02210
Louis Boston A Boston fashion institution now on the waterfront with designs by Jason Wu, Marni, The Row and Proenza Schouler. Hit their winter sale for half off designer goods.
Boston Design Center This 8-story building on the water houses 87 to-the-trade interior design showrooms. Consumers are granted access through their “Plush” program. 1 Design Center Place, Boston, MA 02210
Birch and Willow Beautiful handmade light fixtures created from twigs and branches. 319 Rear A Street, third floor


Flour Homemade soups, quiches, sandwiches and baked goods – perfect for lunch. Don’t miss the sour cream coffee cake and raspberry seltzer. 12 Farnsworth St., Boston MA 02210
Drink Barbra Lynch’s talented bartenders will whip up any libation you can dream of and pour it over hand-chopped ice for $10 a cocktail. 348 Congress Street, Boston, MA 02210
Yankee Lobster This fish market has a small seating area to serve up their delicious fried seafood, lobster rolls and chowders. 300 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA 02210-2066


Experience the new stunning Institute of Contemporary Art and work within, play with your kids at the Boston Children’s Museum, or spend a Fall day perusing art and meeting artists at Fort Point Open Studios.



(Porter Square)

Abodeon New, contemporary house wares balance vintage modern treasures from the likes of Knoll and Dansk. 1731 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138
Greenward Eco-friendly gifts. Think Po Campo bike bags, LunchBots bento lunch boxes, and stationery by Two Trick Pony and Nikki McClure. 1764 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140
Nomad A world travelers dream – Day of the Dead paraphernalia, Bolivian blankets, antique Indian gold jewelry, and hand blown Mexican glassware. 1741 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140

(Harvard Square)

Passport Boutique Clothing + accessories that complete a traveling woman’s wardrobe. White + Warren, Marrimeko, and Mandarina Duck. 43 Brattle Street Cambridge MA 02138
Globe Corner Bookstore This shop specializes in travel guides and travel lit. Perfect place to find inspiration for your next voyage. 90 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 The Tannery Huge footwear selection and great high-end attire, but the floor to ceiling denim wall is my favorite attraction. They also have beautiful store displays. 39 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138

(Huron Village)

Formaggio Kitchen A foodie (and a packaging lover’s) paradise. The cheese, the flowers, the imported goods… oh my! 244 Huron Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138
Marimekko Get to see the Finnish patterns and colors up close and personal. 350 Huron Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138

Also in the area: Artist Craftsman Supply, American Apparel, Urban Outfitters, Newbury Comics, Buckaroo’s Mercantile, BoConcept


Mary Chungs A hidden gem that’s popular with the MIT set. Don’t miss the Suan La Chow Show dumplings. 460 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02139
LA Burdick Chocolate This chocolatier has cozy seating available, where you can sip your thick, hot chocolate and eat your pastries. 52-D Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Craigie on Main Their menu depends on what is fresh, so it changes daily. The dining room is a treat, but the bar food is great too. 853 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139-3512

Also in the area: Hi-Rise Bread Company, Olecito, East Coast Grill, All Star-Sandwich Bar, Christina’s, Central Kitchen, Emma’s Pizza, Koreana, Hungry Mother


Taxidermy animals, giant whale fossils and a life-like collection of Glass Flowers at the Harvard Museum of Natural History, take a sailing lesson on the Charles River, catch a live show at the Middle East, and of course “Pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd!”



Fire Opal Filled with contemporary, handmade goods, unique jewelry and clothing by artists Alexis Bittar, Rina Young and Laura Zindel. 683 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Salmagundi If you think you aren’t a hat person, you will be when you leave this store. Hip accessories, lots of hats and men’s and women’s clothing. Join the mailing list and get invited to password-entry only DJ sale nights. 765 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
On Centre Affordable design-centric gifts, jewelry by local designers and handmade, home and body accessories. 636 Centre St, Boston, MA 02130
Polka Dog Bakery Home baked goods (for dogs), a gigantic bone selection, as well as puppy gear and apparel. Dogs welcome in the store, so your pup can pick out his or her own treat and meet and greet new friends. 42 South Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130


City Feed Small specialty grocery with delicious sandwiches made with local ingredients. Lunch-time seating can be hard to find, grab it to go and walk down to Jamaica Pond. 672 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain – (617) 524-1700
JP Licks The flagship location for Boston’s homemade ice cream shops. The long lines can be intimidating, but worth the wait. Best Bet: one word. Milkshakes. 659 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130-2556
Ten Tables A cozy and intimate place, perfect for a romantic dinner. Best Bet: “Tasting Menu Nights,” can’t get a better deal. 597 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130


Stroll through a “living Impressionist painting” at the Arnold Arboretum, (the oldest public arboretum in North America), and participate in the popular Lantern Festival or the traditional Mexican Day of the Dead celebration at Forest Hills Cemetery.



Bobby’s From Boston Awesome selection of vintage clothing, (think rat pack), for the boys, small women’s section as well. 19 Thayer St, Boston, MA 02118
D Scale Furniture that is sleek, modern and glamorous. Also, pristine vintage pieces. 520 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02118
Diseño Filled with beautifully designed home-furnishings from South American travels. 35 Fay Street, Boston, MA 02118
DWR See all their design classics in person. 519 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116
Hudson Comfy-cozy meets designer chic at this handsome home boutique. Think chandeliers and Swan’s Island Blankets. 312 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, MA 02118
J.E.M.  Featuring the repurposed wood / metal furniture of proprietor Jane Miller as well as home accessories from around the globe. 470 Shawmut Avenue, South End
Lekker Original, well-designed furniture and home accessories from Ethnicraft, DwellStudio, and Royal Copenhagen. Gift registry available. 1317 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118
Looc Step into this serene shop to feel transported to somewhere French and nautical. Women’s clothing and accessories. 12 Union Park, Boston, MA 02118
Michelle Willey A well-chosen collection of home goods. Tibetan pillows, graphic porcelain, and triple milled French soaps. 8 Union Park Street, Boston, MA 02118
Mohr McPhearson Importer of furniture, carpets and accessories from around the globe. Their showroom is a must-see. 460 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02118
Patch NYC Check out the designers appointment-only showroom to see a treasure trove of original artwork, jewelry, scarves and pillows. 46 Waltham St, ste 202, Boston, MA 02118
Turtle Emerging clothing designers such as Iceland’s Elm and Argentina’s Cecilia Gadea.619 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118
Uniform Contemporary men’s clothing as well as accessories from Freitag and hats from Brixton. 511 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02118


BG Oyster Local oyster bar with great wine and a killer lobster roll. If you can, grab a seat under the stars on the patio. 550 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116
The Buttery Grab baked goods to go or sit near the fireplace for a full dinner – their Sunday brunch is always a great bet too. 314 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, MA 02118
Franklin Café The type of neighborhood restaurant everyone wishes was just down the street from them. Serves full menu ‘til 1:30am. 278 Shawmut Avenue, Boston
Toro Innovative and delicious tapas. You MUST have the Maz Asado con Alioli y Queso Cotija. 1704 Washington Street, Boston, MA 02118

Also nearby: The south end is a Mecca for good eating, here are a few more: Flour Bakery, Gaslight, Hamersley’s, Beehive, Stella, The Butcher Shop, Formaggio, Oishii, Coppa, Delux Café, Myers + Chang


Walk the SOWA Open Market for awesome artist booths, antiques and farm stands, take a cooking class at Barbara Lynch’s Stir, check out the architecture of this picturesque neighborhood, and catch a dance performance at the Cyclorama.



Acquire A currated selection of antiques, curiosities and modern home goods. Think antique French wine racks, ecospheres and hand-blown glasses. 61 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113
The Velvet Fly A collection of vintage and modern jewelry and women’s clothing. 424 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02113
Salumeria Italiana Imported grocery goods from Italy, cured meats and aged cheeses. Great place for food packaging lovers to go for inspiration. 151 Richmond Street Boston, MA 02109
Shake the Tree A modern gift boutique with handbags by Orla Kiely, Satya jewelry, Voluspa Candles, and other home accents by Roost. 67 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113


Volle Nolle Farm fresh sandwiches, soups and salads. Get it to go and take a seat out on the greenway. 351 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02113
Neptune Oyster Parisian feeling seafood joint serving delicio. 63 Salem Street, Boston, MA 02113
Marco 2nd floor trattoria serving zucchini blossoms, house wine, foccacia and pasta, pasta, pasta! 253 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02113

Also in the area: Too many great restaurants in the North End, but here are a few more: Giacomo’s, Taranta Cucina Meridionale, Pizzeria Regina, Mike’s Pastry.


See Paul Revere’s house, walk the freedom trail to the Old North Church, catch one of the many processions and feasts, and discover tastiness on a North End Market Tour.



Artifaktori Art, fun antiques, and a really lovely selection of real-deal vintage clothing. 22A College Avenue Somerville, MA 02144
The Boston Shaker A neighborhood cocktail supply shop offering “Craft Cocktail Techniques Workshops.” 69 Holland Street, Somerville, MA 02144
Davis Squared Quirky, modern gifts for home and for baby, a great selection of cards, and personal accessories for him and her.  409 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144
Grand Modern gift shop featuring housewares by Thomas Paul and Working Class Studio, posters by Ork, and painted clocks by Chroma Lab.  374 Somerville Avenue, Somerville, MA 02143
Kickass Cupcakes Artisanal bakers using the best all natural ingredients. Try “The Mojito” or “The Red Velvet”.  378 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144
Magpie Gift shop carrying hip handmade crafts and goods by indie designers and artists.  416 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144


Dali Restaurant & Tapas Bar Delicious tapas and sangria. Try the garlic soup, chicken croquettes and the paella.  415 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143
Highland Kitchen Comfort food and served with fantastic drinks. Check out Spelling Bee Tuesdays.  150 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA 02143
Red Bones Authentic Southern barbecue.  55 Chester St, Somerville, MA 02144


• Ames Hotel: Historic Boston meets sleek design. 1 Court Street Boston, MA 02108

• Liberty Hotel: The old Charles Street Jail turned into a chic hotel. Check out the inmate relics framed in the hallways. 215 Charles Street, Boston MA, 02114

And some Notable Locals:
• restaurateur / chef: Barbara Lynch
• actors: Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Mark Wahlberg, John Krasinski (the office), Amy Poehler, Steve Carell
• musicians: Evan Dando, Juliana Hatfield, Joey McIntyre (um…New Kids on the Block), Esperanza Spalding, Passion Pit, The Breeders
• ceramist Jill Rosenwald, Daneila Corte fashion designer, architect David Hacin, owners of the beauty company “Fresh” Alina Roytberg and Lev Glazman, blogger Erin Gates, Don Carney and John Ross of Patch NYC,

    Suggested For You


    • Hurrah! Thank you so very much for this! I would like to suggest one addition, as a recommendation for people visiting Boston – Honeyspot in Jamaica Plain is full of handmade cards, vintage housewares and clothing, great baby gifts, and little curiosities. It’s my favorite place to look for gifts for just about anyone.

    • Another Extra: This displaced Bostonian misses Mint Julep in Coolidge Corner, Brookline. They’ve got the most lady-like dresses from Milly, Tibi, and the like.

    • Yay!! Thanks for the Boston guide!! I agree about Mint Julep… it’s one of my favorites! Also, if anyone is interested in photography of Boston, please check out my photoblog where I post a picture a day I take in the city: http://boston-uncommon.blogspot.com

      Take care d*sponge!!


    • This is awesome. Also in Jamaica Plain is a relatively new store called On Centre, which has a really small but fantastic selection of housewares and gifts.

    • Don’t miss Boutique Fabulous in Inman Square, Cambridge! Owner Mara Kustra carries an amazing and eclectic but oh-so-stylish collection of gifts, cards, antique furniture (including chandeliers), clothes, home goods – basically anything “fabulous”.

    • I’m a total foodie! So I have to add the following restaurants:
      La Morra in Brookline Village
      Flour Bakery is in the South End too
      Oleana in Cambridge

    • good lord! i was combing the net for something like this before i visited boston from minneapolis at the beginning of august…some of these places i happened upon after they had closed for the day – so sad! hopefully there’s a next time in boston for me soon. i would have loved to put this list to use.

    • Great list! Let me add:

      Simplemente Blanco at 46 Waltham Street in the South End. http://www.simplementeblanco.com

      Paper Source, 1810 Mass Ave, Cambridge – paper-source.com

      Spark Crafts Studio – 1963 Mass Ave, Cambridge sparkcrafts.com

      Didricks – 190 Concord Ave, Cambridge – didriks.com

    • More food related recommendations:
      Formmagio Kitchen in Cambridge (a small store front is in the South End) and Hi-Rise Bread in Cambridge (Harvard Sq. & on Concord Ave.)

    • One of the former owners of Pluto recently opened a new shop in Davis Square called (ahem) Davis Squared. Haven’t been in yet, but it looks promising.

      Oh, and don’t forget Motley Home in the South End!

    • See, there’s plenty I missed, in Cambridge especially!

      One quick note to Linda: Fernanda has opened a retail shop to showcase her Simplemente Blanco line alongside the work from the guys at Boxx Furniture. They’re at 40 Waltham, just up from Washington Street (and both in my studio building). Her showroom upstairs is still open but I think you’ll find her at the shop most days.

    • Hi Grace,
      Yay for the Boston design guide! Next time you visit us we’ll definitely have to go shopping. Just wanted to add that there are many great places to eat in Jamaica Plain if you are headed that way to visit those shops (and I second how great On Centre is!). Here a few of my favorite:
      Bella Luna/Milky Way (restaurant upstairs, bar/bowling/pool/live music downstairs)
      Wonder Spice Cafe (Cambodian/Thai)
      JP Seafood (Japanese/Korean)

    • thanks les! i was going to call you to consult on JP yesterday but i got totally bogged down with the website redesign. thanks!


    • Wooo, so glad you covered some of my favorite stores! Of course, they sell my jewelry…but I picked them bc they are some of the most beautiful stores around :)
      -Keyse, Flauxy jewelry

    • displaced bostonian remembers gadgets in JP as well, and for food don’t leave out sorella’s!!! also appleton bakery cafe in the south end. and don’t forget to hit up the art schools any time there is a show or sale, which is pretty much always. smfa especially has a fantastic sidewalk sale at the end of every year (may/june ish) for a weekend–the students set up tables and most of the work is awesome and affordable.

    • also in Cambridge:

      Boutique Fabulous
      “Where fabulous people get their style”
      1309 Cambridge Street
      Cambridge, MA 02139

      LOVE this place — it’s one fabulous shop! :)

    • This is fantastic! I love Motley Home in the South End too – just the other day I found the funniest woodland animal-print apron there (you can see a picture of it here).

      Two suggestions:
      1154 Lill Studio, on Newbury Street – you can design a custom bag here. You choose one of 30 or so bag styles and select from hundreds of beautiful fabrics. They’ll make the bag with the patterns you chose, and send you your custom order in 3 weeks. Really fun place to go with a girlfriend.

      Orinoco Kitchen, on Shawmut Ave. in the South End – a tiny and delicious little South American restaurant with a menu and decor inspired by Venezuelan roadside eateries.

    • The owners of Pluto have recently opened up a new shop called Davis Squared on Highland in Somerville.

      Check it out. The old sign from Pluto is even in the back.

    • you missed vessel which is one of the best modern design stores in boston. owned by two industrial designers, its on kingston street near chinatown. see vessel.com for directions. its my favorite store in boston!

    • This is fantastic! I have to agree – if in JP Sorella’s is a must as well as milky way – and if your looking for a good pint in the nabe brendan behans is good. or for a groovy tattoo…don’t miss pumpkin’s!

    • Ooh, I have to give a 3rd vote for Motley Home in the SE — we live right around the corner, and not only are their windows a delight every month, but their stock is always changing and they always have something perfect for a gift.

    • it would be fun if you could get the shops & restaurants listed in each city’s guide page to advertise on the right hand side, too.

    • It would be great to include some of the hidden gems that are found throughout the Boston suburbs. Thanks for a great guide that includes many of my favorite places!

    • I love the new store in Chestnut Hill called Portobello Road! Gorgeous clothes, chic housewares and tons of unexpected surprises.
      Thanks for all the great finds!

    • I just stopped into Grand, a brand new gift store in Union Square, Somerville. It’s stunning, and filled with interesting things. I’m also a big fan of the giant Avant Garde logo in their front windows…that alone is worth a visit.

    • I have to disagree. ..I did not like Portobello Road in Chestnut Hill – it just seemed…well, pretentious and with this economy, most of the things are honestly found elsewhere without the huge price tags. Very ehh.

    • I agree I love Antico Forno, one of my favorite places in New England! There are also some really great little shops in Allston/ Brighton along Harvard Ave and in Coolige Corner. Two large suburbs that are quite hip and should get a nod here.

    • A new member to the retail scene is MARMALADE in Belmont (0utside of Cushing Square). A great gift store that has a neighborhood feel. So colorful and fun..I could be in there for hours!
      I don’t know if their website is up yet: http://www.shopmarmalade.com

    • Sadly, Voila in the South End is no longer. They went out of business a few months ago. I registered there last year as a bride, and Heidi Thiede, the owner, was spectacular. Friendly, knowledgeable, well-versed in all things Fronch. I hope that Heidi comes back with a new store someday. I know I’ll be keeping my eye out for her!!

    • Just returned today from a visit to Boston and would add the Artist’s Cooperative on Church Street in Cambridge. Beautiful, beautiful jewelry, pottery, art…..

    • hey! some great stuff you’ve got here…i just wanted to make a few suggestions for the Jamaica Plain section…honeyspot (sadly) is no longer in existance! however, in it’s place is a cute little neighborhood flower shop called Petal & Leaf, found at 68 south street – they sell fresh cut flowers, as well as gifts and cards…plus, they exhibit the work of local artists! across from there is a vegan pastry shop, called Fiore’s Bakery – they make both regular and vegan cakes and pastries, and they sell fair trade coffee! for some homemade ice cream, one must visit JP Licks… also, Salmagundi is a fabulous stop for unique and handmade clothes and accessories – their specialty, though, is hat-making. very chic. also, Yesteryear and Cobwebs are two small but cute antique shops in the area, Ten Tables, Zon’s, Wonderspice (thai) and Bukhara (indian) are great for dining! lastly, I cannot forget to mention Boomerangs, which is the neighborhood thrift shop, filled with all sorts of treasures! Just some thoughts, feel free to take them or leave them as you please! Thank you for all that you do!

    • There’s also a Black Ink outpost in Beacon Hill, a smaller and cozier version. For all knitters wandering off the beaten path, there’s Stitch House a little past South Boston (stitchhousedorchester.com).

    • Just ran across this list, it’s excellent and reminds me that I need to get into the city before long. On a sad note, Comptoir de Famille is no longer open on Newbury Street. They closed last winter. What a pretty place it was, but Pierre Deux is still just up/down the street.

    • These stores have closed in Boston:
      Comptoir de Famille
      Lavender Home
      Pottery Barn on Newbury
      Restoration Hardware on Boylston
      Urban Living Studio:
      Vellum Fine Paper and Gifts:
      Museum of Useful Things:

    • A friend of mine residing in Boston urges me to go visit him. I have been collecting information on touring in Boston. Thank you for your post.

    • Yeah, so glad to see ACQUIRE mentioned here. It’s in the North End,61 Salem St. right next to Neptune Oyster(also fab). Acquire is full of vintage and modern furniture,household items and decor and simply wonderful one of a kind gifts. Please visit and add it to your main list! Not to be missed.

    • In Cambridge we went to the Border Cafe. It’s tex mex/ cajun with lot’s of vegetarian dishes. Great food and close to Black Ink and Harvard.

    • There is a new shop for custom scents at 251 Newbury Street called Essence that does fabulous misters and diffusers with essential oils.

    • Such a nice guide. All my favs and some places I’ve never been–it will be a treat to visit. And I’m a local.
      It’s a little outside of town, but I’ve got to mention my all time favorite–Nesting On Main in Concord, MA. An ecletic and wonderful hodgepodge of antiques and new design that includes fantastic dried mushrooms, vintage glass jars full of old typewriter keys, stacked stone lamp bases, birds nests with paper eggs, antique embroidered dish towels and postcards–most bird themed. Demands time to wander and browse.

    • If you love fine fabrics — silk, linen, cotton, and wool, and gorgeous trimmings — take a trip to Silk Road in Auburndale, one of the Newtons. (It’s just off Comm Ave and near Route 95.) The owner, Gay Appleby, who spent 25 years living in London, brings a European sense of sophistication to pretty much everything she touches. Her two-level, brick-walled shop is charming and comfortable. Gay stocks Vogue patterns and an irresistable collections of fashion-focused books and magazines. I left with 13 small pieces of Dupioni silk, yards of ribbon, and a head full of inspiration.

    • Hi Grace, I think this list may be due for a refresh… so many great places in a vibrant city! and some i would argue could be dropped from the short list. let me know if you need a south-ender to scout & scavenge for you ;-)

      • Hi Shelley!

        We have an update in the works- things change so quickly we’re doing our best to update the guides once a year :)


    • great update! for Central Square Cambridge i’d recommend Thursday wine nights at Central Bottle {always get a wine flight} and Thelonius Monkfish for some really yummy and creative sushi. I agree with Kriss about Boomerangs there is one on Mass Ave in Central Sq as well.

    • For great wines I recommend the Wine Bottega at the North End, on Hanover Street. Very good selection of mainly European wines and free tastings every Friday!

    • Arrived in Boston this morning. This is the only guide I’m using! Went to dinner at Cafe Jaffa in Back Bay tonight – delicious (and busy with happy customers). Thanks for the recommendation!

    • There are some stellar recommendations here! I am sad to say, however, that Globe Corner closed last summer. Such a bummer!

    • Globe Corner Bookstore, however, has mashed its way into a corner of Brookline Booksmith. Also… When did Fenway become part of Back Bay? That was so confusing.

    • Hello,

      I am visiting New England in September and plan to stay in Boston for 3 nights. Does anybody have a specific recommendation for a hotel? The most we can afford is 220 Dollars/night, so the luxury hotels are not for us, unfortunately.

      Or maybe someone can tell me which area is the best to stay in? We obviously want to be central and have cafés and restaurants in walking distance, and some sights and good shopping. Should we try to stay in South End? Back Bay?

      Kind regards from Germany!

    • Sadly Koo de Kir has been closed for a couple years now.

      I’d like to add La Voile on Newbury st. and Casa Romero at 30 Gloucester st as places to eat in Back Bay. And Brian Poe’s new restaurants Tip Tap Room near Government Center & Estelle’s in the South End are both fabulous.

      For those looking for more places to stay check out The Charlesmark Hotel. Rooms average at around 200 dollars depending on the season and its right in Back Bay (actual Back Bay, not Fenway). http://charlesmarkhotel.com/

      The Omni Parker Hotel is another good option if you like historic preservation.

      And for those with the money Fifteen Beacon is amazing. It’s worth stalking Groupon as they sometimes have discounted stays.

    • Thanks for the post– a friend and I will be spending a day here this weekend and I knew D*S would have the best recommendations! However, I was surprised that this post didn’t come up when I typed “boston city guide” into the search bar. (of course it’s easy enough to find by going to city guides and clicking Massachusetts, but what else is a search bar for?) I think it’s happened before that I searched for a diy post I knew I’d seen, and couldn’t find it at all using the search, and later found it and saw that the title was the exact words I’d searched… maybe something to be fixed? Sorry to be critical!

    • You have to try the city of Salem! We are becoming known for our dining and have some cute little out of the way shops! Some of the restaurants don’t look very fancy but the food is amazing and you have to visit Pickering Wharf!

      Grab a Salem guide and check it out – we even have two restaurant weeks :).

    • Boston is an ice cream loving town, but one of the best (if not THE best) has to be Toscanini’s in Central Square – You can get a micro sundae with any of their delicious flavors! Or if you have a special occasion, get a cake! I once had a green tea/chocolate Toscanini’s cake for my birthday, and it was the most delectable ice cream cake I have ever had in my life.

    • I’m not seeing any suggestions for Lynn, MA, so want to throw in a few suggestions for anyone headed to the North Shore: for food, the Blue Ox (amazing burgers!) or Tacos Lupita (yummy and cheap); for vintage furniture, housewares and art, Pick Up Modern & More (owner Laurence has an amazing eye and really good prices); for Scandinavian modern funiture, R&B Imports (a little hard to find, but tons of pieces straight from Denmark); and for fabrics, Zimman’s (enormous range, a textile-lover’s dream!). Happy exploring!

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