The Best Places to Shop in Boston

From the national brands at Faneuil Hall and downtown Boston to the boutiques of Newbury Street, Charles Street, and the South End, the city’s shopping areas offer a lot of something for everyone. If you’re craving the best of Boston’s small producers of good eats, head straight to Boston Public Market. In Cambridge, Harvard Square’s hidden gems lean more bookish and, at times, more counterculture.

6 Birch St, Roslindale, MA 02131, USA
The village of Roslindale is filled with unlikely gems. Joanne Rossman Design is at the top of that list. Billed as a Purveyor of the Unnecessary & the Irresistible, it’s a destination filled with treasures you never knew you couldn’t live without. Charming artwork, wonderful cookbooks, scented natural soaps, divine fragrances and a collection of vintage accents for your home, each deserving of their own special place. Make sure not to miss the designers own handmade slippers, scarves and throws. Each is one of a kind, and created from the extensive selection of antique trims, fabrics and buttons that Joanne has culled over the years from all corners of the globe. The neighborhood has a slew of good restaurants, so it’s easy to spend an afternoon perusing the area.
Charles St, Boston, MA, USA
Starting at the northeast corner of the Public Garden, and stretching to the end of Beacon Hill, Charles St. shopping offers a more boutiquey experience than its better known Newbury St. cousin. The feel is very European, with a mix of small specialty shops, unique restaurants and yummy desert cafes. Make sure to venture off the main drag, and you’ll be rewarded with one of a kind finds you won’t find elsewhere.
244 Huron Ave
For over 30 years, Formaggio Kitchen has been a Boston institution. Here you can shop for artisan products from all corners of the globe. The owners crowded travel schedule has them taste testing in unusual places and bringing their high quality finds back to a captive audience. Prepared foods are made with traditional methods, and whether you’re looking for picnic ingredients, a hostess gift or coffee and scones for breakfast, this gourmand’s paradise will no doubt take a chunk from your wallet and leave you wanting more. They have tours of their cheese cave in the Cambridge store, and you might just think you’ve stumbled into an Alpine hillside. Their South End location is a mini version of the mothership.
185 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Visiting Beyt Design in Cambridge was inspirational. Their award winning social enterprise uses architectural salvage from conflict zones in the Near East destroyed by violence and up cycles them into one of a kind home decor. Tiles from 18th century mansions, reclaimed wrought iron gates, window frames & antique textiles make their way into tables, lamps and shades in this unique shop. In addition, the labor they employ is from diverse, disadvantaged backgrounds. When I visited, I spoke with a woman working on a lampshade, clearly proud of her project and the opportunity the owners had given her. Their mission to ‘Restore the Unseen Beauty of the Broken” resonates in each and every piece.
100 Hanover Street
The recently opened Boston Public Market is the only year round indoor market in the country to feature exclusively New England vendors. The bounty of 35 businesses representing farms, makers and food producers offers a cross section of all things local to eat from around Boston. Farm fresh produce, meat, poultry, fish, dairy and flowers along with an assortment of speciality and prepared foods. There are even a few beautiful craft artisans in the mix. A great place for families and foodies alike, there is even a selection of locally produced wines, beers and alcohol. Catch the warm glow from the hive at Boston Honey. Interactive classes will take place for all ages in the Market’s demonstration Kitchen. Connect with the people who feed New England in this great community space.
4 S Market St, Boston, MA 02109, USA
Sure, Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market make up the most touristy part of Boston, complete with street performers, a light show, and the obligatory Yankee Candle store and Cheers restaurant; we nonetheless defy you to stay away. This part of the Boston waterfront has thrived on commerce since colonial times: Faneuil Hall was crowded with merchant’s shops as early as 1743, and the larger Quincy Market was added in 1824 to provide more space (it also was the site of speeches by Samuel Adams and other early patriot leaders). If you’re looking for a Red Sox hat or a “Boston Strong” T-shirt, you’ll find it here.
276 Shawmut Ave, Boston, MA 02118, USA
Jewelry designer Michele Mercado’s showroom and work space in Boston‘s historic South End is filled with metal treasures. Her award winning designs feature 100% recycled Harmony Metals and she is a big champion of up cycling clients old pieces into new designs that will fit with their lifestyle. The timeless styles are minimal, clean and modern. Also on display is a unique grouping of handcrafted pieces of fellow jewelry artists. During my visit the hammered wall compositions of clouage artist Robert Kobayashi were incredibly detailed and meticulously constructed out of old metal.
46 Waltham Street
Walking down the alley to the courtyard of Patch NYC, you’ll probably think-Where is she sending me? Trust me, there’s gold at the end of the tunnel! In the beautifully designed shop, you’ll find the the work of a highly curated group of vendors, vintage flea market finds, as well as the lifestyle collection of the owner/designers. Don Carney and John Ross have collaborated with such high profile clients as Anthropologie, Barneys and most recently Astier de Villatte. Their home decor and fashion accessories includes costume jewelry, original artwork and scarves and special occasion handbags.
Newbury Street
Mile-long Newbury Street, lined with handsome 19th-century brownstone homes, is synonymous with shopping in Boston; it’s also the place to go to get your hair done up nice. Between Arlington Street and Massachusetts Avenue you’ll find an eclectic mix of boutique and designer shops, hair salons, art galleries, and restaurants that generally skews upscale (Tiffany’s, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana) but also includes the original location of the Newbury Comics record store and a T.J. Maxx. Eminently strollable and dotted with sidewalk cafés, Newbury Street is the hip heart of the Back Bay neighborhood, perfectly distilled at eye-candy drinks-and-dining hot spots like Sonsie and Stephanie’s on Newbury.
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: United States
Journeys: Sports + Adventure
Journeys: Family
Journeys: United States