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Posh department stores and malls lie alongside thriving, one-of-a-kind independent stores in fabulous, one-of-a-kind Boston. And here’s a nice perk for your wallet: Massachusetts charges no sales tax on clothing purchases up to $175. The effects of the Tea Party continue to this day.
Boston Shopping Tips
- Head to Newbury Street – If you can handle the in
scenes in Miami, Los Angeles or NYC, you’ll find the people watching
on Newbury Street interesting but not intimidating. The brownstone- and tree-lined
main drag is home to designer names like Armani, MJ, and Betsey Johnson but
you’ll find affordable trinkets at independent stores like Tibet
Emporium, The Hempest,
and one of the city’s best beauty shops, E6 Apothecary. Don’t
pass up the chance to dine outside, or try a local tea café, Tealuxe.
When you’re ready for more, check out our favorite spot to dig for gently
used designer goods, Second Time Around.
- Hipster Yuppies Unite—Not far from Copley is the South
End. Best known for its fusion restaurants and picturesque brownstones the
‘hood makes for an interesting mix of people. Mainstay boutiques like
Aunt Sadie’s sell great gifts but the burgeoning art zone, SOWA (South
of Washington Street), offers the best bargains; open studios are great places
to start an art collection. However, keep in mind the South End is one of
those areas that changes from adorable to barren in mere blocks.
- Charming Charles Street—Beacon
Hill, arguably one of the most charming areas of Boston, is home
to a upscale restaurants and cafes and oodles of boutiques. But, it’s
main draw are many havens for aspiring sommeliers and antique collectors.
Though few clothing boutiques offer bargains, you can find fun books and accessories
at Flat of the Hill
and modern home goods at Koo de Kir.
- Fulfill Ivy League Dreams—Harvard Square isn’t quite
what it used to be but it’s still an entertaining destination with old
men playing chess at the Au Bon Pain, hopeful parents taking family portraits
on the in Harvard Yard, and street kids
camping out in ‘The Pit’. The main drag offers an array of clothing
and bookstores; forego B&N for the Harvard
Book Store, pick up fun gifts at Black Ink, and peruse the crowded
racks of the Oona’s, an old-school thrift shop. For small luxuries,
head to Brattle Street; Colonial Pharmacy is an area veteran with an extensive
selection of imported fragrances; Harnett’s has a great selection of wellness
products including natural beauty products; Burdick Chocolates offers a decadent
place to rest—gourmet sweets are always worth an extra penny. If you
have comfortable shoes, stroll Massachusetts Avenue from Harvard Square to
Porter Square. Along the way, you’ll find low-key clothing shops, great
Asian restaurants, and Barefoot Books,
a local favorite for children’s books.
- Be Adventurous—It usually takes a new friend to break
our mundane fashion routine. Every Boston-area teen frequented The
Garment District in Cambridge’s Kendall Square during their
punk stage. If bins of $1 used t-shirts don’t excite you imagine racks
of funky vintage frocks and rooms full of amazing potential Halloween costumes.
- Be a Boston University student—Head to Packard’s
Corner via the B streetcar line. Stop at the Commonwealth Avenue Jasmine
Sola warehouse store and then head to the Allston branch of Boston’s
largest Asian supermarket chain, Super 88, for a bite. Shop for exotic food
from canned lychees to fresh fish and then prepare to be overwhelmed. The
food court houses about 10 kiosks proffering nearly every type of Asian food
imaginable including Korean Indian, Thai, Chinese, and Japanese. End your
day on a sweet note with an exotic Bubble Tea.
- Something for the Fellas – Even if you’re not
a sports fan Red Sox memorabilia is a must. Head to Twins
on Yawkey Way for the goods and a peek at the park.
- Boston is Very Cold -Try to avoid going for a huge shopping
excursion in the middle of winter. It’s much more fun to meander without
the threat of frostbite. The CambridgeSide
Galleria is a huge mall that’s within walking distance
of the Museum of Science, which has a large gift shop and an Imax Theater.
- Rent a Car—Drive around everywhere when at all possible!
You can even try ZipCar for
day. Otherwise, master the “T”, Boston’s subway alternative.
Whatever you do, avoid the cabs, which are super expensive.
Stop by Boylston Street – Parallel to Newbury, Boylston
Street offers access to Prudential
Center, a shopping concourse with favorites like Saks Fifth Avenue,
Sephora, and Lord & Taylor. The Pru, as locals call it, also has a Legal
Seafood branch, a local chain known for their seafood and clam chowder. Keep
walking and eventually you’ll reach the overpass that leads to Copley
Plaza (to avoid sounding like a tourist, it’s pronounced kop-lee), a complex
that houses a movie theater, the Westin Hotel, famous names like Neiman Marcus,
and a pampering emporium, Gretta Cole.
Boston’s Top Shop
Second Time Around
Address: 76 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116
Second Time Around boasts a selection of contemporary new and resale designer
clothing. This store can be hit or miss, which explains why you’ll have
to come back “a second time around.” When this store is hot, well…it’s
really hot. Thanks to increased demand, they added locations in Beacon Hill,
Harvard Square, and the suburbs. Known to sport Jimmy Choo, Seven and Rebecca
Taylor on any given day, you must go with time on your hands to sort through
More Boston Information
· Boston Globe – The
Web site of Boston’s top daily.
· Boston Phoenix—A local
weekly newspaper with a great A & E section
· Weekly Dig—A weekly
with the scoop on the local underground music
· Harvard University—Tell everyone that you went to Harvard.
· Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts—Next
door to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, this grand institution has an impressive
permanent collection, a great gift shop, and often hosts international film festivals.
· Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary
Art—Gift shop with modern home wares
· Berklee College of Music—
A great resources for jazz and folk concerts
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