City Guide: Somerville, MA

by Stephanie


Today’s City Guide comes to us from Elizabeth Corkery, the artist and founder of Print Club Boston, whose work has been previously featured on Design*Sponge. Elizabeth launched Print Club in late 2013 as an online source for limited-edition, hand-pulled screenprints. A Sydney native, Elizabeth is a relatively recent Somerville transplant and has quickly involved herself with its diverse creative community, hosting screenprint workshops and collaborating with other local artists. Below are some of her favorite spots for coffee, wine, movies, fresh pasta and everything in between. Thanks for sharing your city with us today, Elizabeth! —Stephanie

Read the full guide after the jump…

Somerville. MA City Guide all photos by Elizabeth Corkery

Be sure to check out the Google Map with all of the below listings!


Union Square Farmers Market – The market operates year-round: in the warmer months from the Union Square location and during the winter at the Arts at the Armory building in Somerville. The vendors are all from Massachusetts and nearby New Hampshire and cover the wonderful cross-section of locally sourced food – fruits and vegetables, maple syrup, Asian greens, Kombucha, wood-fired breads – the works!

Artisan’s Asylum – This unique, not-for-profit organization provides equipment and classes on all manners of material production and fabrication. From a full woodshop to digital fabrication and silkscreen, they can help the multitude of creative Somervillians execute diverse projects. Workshops run for the more casual crafter /maker and they are open to the public every day.

Journeyman – Journeyman has made it onto pretty much every “Best Of” list in recent memory and for good reason. They serve a fixed menu that changes daily, has veggie options and features Massachusetts’s abundance of local producers.

Bronwyn – This relatively new addition to the Union Square foodie scene serves the hearty cuisines of Germany and Central Europe. Homemade sausages and amazingly large pretzels are highlights and the dark, rustic interior has a great “Game of Thrones” vibe.

Union Square Donuts – Somerville has its own stake in the current donut enthusiasm and these guys were just named “Best Donuts in Boston” by Boston Magazine. They usually sell out before the day is through so buy early and buy often.

Back Bar – Run by the talented folks behind Journeyman, Back Bar does not show up on Google Maps and is found down the end of an anonymous looking hallway, both lending to a bit of a speakeasy feel. They’re always changing up their cocktails with new and featured drinks of the day and the week. Oh, and they serve ramen 4 pm to 6 pm every day, weird but cool!

Somerville. MA City Guide


Morrison House B&B and Bowers House B&B – Both of these charming accommodation options are in a terrific location for exploring both Somerville and for accessing downtown Boston by train from Davis Square. Be aware that any period close to college graduations (late May) you’ll be hard pressed to find rooms in this area given its proximity to Tufts, Harvard and MIT.

The Somerville Theatre – The historic Somerville Theatre is celebrating their centennial this year with three months of special programming. They will be screening their favorite films of the past 100 years, including “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Godfather,” among dozens of others. In addition, they are the undisputed Somerville spot for catching new, independent films and have a special bar area serving local beers for enjoying during your feature.

Sacco’s Bowl Haven and Flatbread – Enjoy a game of candlepin bowling (ten-pin’s older cousin and a Massachusetts invention!) at this fun bowling alley that also has a great selection of crazy tasty flatbreads.

Somerville Flea – This market only runs in the summer months and boasts live music, fresh produce, snacks and well curated vintage and antique items.

The Boston Shaker – These fine folks have an incredible variety of bitters, syrups and all things cocktail. They’ve also boxed up some great cocktail-starter gift kits and regularly have in-store tastings.

Ace Wheelworks – Possibly the friendliest bike store I have ever visited (I lived in Brooklyn previously, so I got pretty used to bike shop attitude!). I went in for a couple of valve caps and received a mini tune-up on the house from one of their many incredibly knowledgeable shop consultants. Great gifts for the biker in your life or for any other bike accessories you might be in the market for.

Dave’s Fresh Pasta – Amazing spot for beautiful fresh pasta (as the name suggests), Italian deli items and other gourmet fare for occasions big and small. They also offer great tastings and classes through their store location.

The Painted Burro – Lively Mexican joint with great fish tacos and the always-welcome bottomless bucket of chips and spicy salsa.

Redbones Barbecue – Straight-up Southern barbecue done really well.

Diesel Café – A definite go-to for quality café eats; it’s pretty huge, too, so no judgment for parking yourself and your laptop at a table for hours on end.

Spoke Wine Bar – Spoke serves beautifully made cocktails in a lovely small space that has a real neighborhood feel. They also serve a thoughtful accompaniment of tasty nibbles to complement the drinks (of which you will no doubt want a few!).

Somerville. MA City Guide


Shiso Kitchen – As their website shares, “Shiso Kitchen is the place for people to gather and experiment with their culinary curiosities.” Sounds pretty darn fun to me, I’m itching to find an occasion that I could have Shiso host – perhaps I should just invent one!

Suzuki Bean – A lovely, well-curated selection of vintage homewares. They do have very limited business hours at their brick and mortar location, as their main focus is online sales through their webstore.

Kirkland Tap and Trotter – Opened late last year by Tony Maws (of Craigie on Main fame), this large, rustic beer hall-cum-restaurant is definitely a treat. I’m eager to return in the summer months, so far I’m only familiar with their robust and very tasty winter dishes. I’ll report back!

The Biscuit – Baked-fresh is taken very seriously at the Biscuit, they make all their bread and sweets daily, and it shows. They’re also invested in showcasing local Somerville artists in the café, which is very cool.

Dali – Repeatedly cited as a top spot for romantic date nights, the over-the-top decadent décor of this Spanish tapas spot is just playful enough to be spot-on. The food is fantastic, too.

Somerville. MA City Guide


Mudflat – Since 1971 Mudflat has played a significant role in the creative community of Somerville, particularly in that of ceramics. Their brand new, multi-million dollar studio renovation is hugely impressive and they’re able to offer a wide range of ceramics short-courses in these beautiful new spaces.

Ball Sq Fine Wines – The undisputed Somerville go-to for top-notch wines and, of course, cheeses.

Q’s Nuts – The little bags of Q’s nutty treats are available in many Boston food locations, but going to nut HQ is pretty great. It smells like being inside one of those New York hot nut carts (when those carts aren’t smelling strangely like they’re burning, that is).

Three Little Figs – Gimme Coffee is served alongside beautiful baked treats and ample spots to perch your laptop in this local coffee shop gem.

Sarma – This Middle Eastern spot moved in at the same time we did and we couldn’t have been more pleased to have such an amazing spot a mere two blocks away! In addition to their ever-changing array of small-plate options, they do a fun, dim-sum kind of offering each night where you can choose dishes prepared on the chef’s whim and passed around for diners.



Somerville isn’t necessarily awash with notable celebrities in the conventional sense, however it is home to some pretty incredible creative forces in design, food and community engagement.

Alex Whitmore – Founder of Taza Chocolates, the widely distributed and loved stone-ground dark chocolates.

Michael Dulock – Owner of boutique butchery M.F. Dulock Pasture-Raised Meats. Michael’s tiny Somerville operation means customers see the whole butchery process and animals are all sourced from within 250 miles.

Mike Dacey – Designer, printer and founder of Repeat Press, a killer custom letterpress studio. Mike also oversees operations for The Fringe Movement – a creative business incubator and co-working space that his studio is housed in.

Jessie Banhazl – Founder of Green City Growers, a hugely ambitious urban farming initiative that looks to transform unused inner-city space into places for cultivating edible harvests.

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  • Great list!

    I hate to see Highland Kitchen left off the eat list even though it doesn’t fit neatly into any of the squares you chose. I’ve lived here for a decade and it’s easily one of my all time favorites. http://www.highlandkitchen.com/

    Also, on the drink side, Saloon in Davis Square is a great cocktail bar.

  • I’m so, so happy to see this! I’ve lived in Somerville for the past four years, and have been painting here for the last three, and I just think it’s the most amazing community. On top of all the amazing restaurants, shops and venues above, the Somerville Arts Council hosts amazing events year-round, including Somerville Open Studios (http://www.somervilleopenstudios.org/) and Porchfest (http://www.somervilleartscouncil.org/porchfest), which are basically my two favorite times of year.

  • Somerville is my hometown. Its always been a diamond in the rough, always evolving. So happy to see it get the recognition it deserves!!

  • You have to include Casa B for Union Square for delicious, innovative tapas! And a trip to Somerville is NOT complete without a visit to Prospect Monument where you can see out to Boston on a clear day, and where the first American flag was raised.

  • Oh, Slummerville. You’ll always have my grad school heart! Love seeing it represented here!

  • Bloc 11 is also a great coffee shop in an old bank! Tasty stuff, I miss it. My sis lives in Somerville and I spent a lot of time there with her.

  • So excited to see this city guide today! I literally booked a flight to Boston this morning to look for an apartment in Somerville for the fall! Moving is always a little scary, but this makes it way more fun!

  • I have been living in Davis for about 3 years now and I must say you should visit boston burger! Its an amazing burger joint with a small local atmosphere right in the center of davis. Perfect for a dinner date and then movies across the street and the theatre! Go there frequently and enjoy the lovely waitstaff as well.

  • How hilarious to open my Feedly and see a picture of me having coffee with my parents at Diesel! Great list, the only thing I’d add is Yume Wo Katare in Porter Square for super delicious ramen.

  • Another fun draw to the Somerville Theater is their upstairs stage where they host awesome events like concerts and plays! My list would also include Kick*ss Cupcakes and Lois Lowry as a notable resident :)

  • I was so excited to see Somerville featured today! I have to add Petsi Pie’s ginger molasses cookies and coffee to the to-do list, as well as Boutique Fabulous- which although technically is in Cambridge is about 15 feet from the Somerville line.

  • So excited to see this city guide! I just moved to Somerville last fall and I love it! I totally agree with the author about all of her picks and Esha is totally right about PorchFest and Somerville Open Studios.

  • Love seeing Somerville!! The maple bacon donuts from Union Square are easily the most amazing thing on earth!! Plus the staff is super friendly and they’re always coming up with amazing flavors.

  • I lived in Somerville for about 8 years, and recently moved to neighboring Medfordto buy a house. I miss Somerville daily, so it’s awesome to see this here! I second the inclusion of Petsi Pies, specifically for their vanilla bean brioche and bittersweet chocolate and apricot cookies. I love seeing 3 Little Figs and Mudflat on here! I’m a long time member of Mudflat, and it deserves lots of press!

  • Great start to the list of notable locals, but you’ve missed hundreds of amazing people who live and work here. Our mayor, to start with, but I can’t even begin to name names without leaving so many incredible Somerville residents out.

  • Wonderful to see The Somerville Flea! A unique way to spend a Sunday afternoon running into friends, listening to music and grabbing a bite! Redbones is an institution! My “missing” piece is an event – Porchfest!

  • Suzuki Bean is my very good friend Joji’s shop and it is wonderful as is she. She has a great eye and is a great small business owner to get to know and to support.

  • I LOVE your City Guides! Any chance of one on Asheville, NC before mid July? I’m doing The Big Crafty at the Asheville Art Museum. One of my very favorite restaurants is there- Early Girl, but I would love to know more….you guys always find the fun stuff.

  • LOL, every time I go in the Three Little Figs I realize, conclusively, that I am the only person of color in a two-mile radius. Design*Sponge: casing the joint for affluent white hipsters, the world over.