I decided to spend Boxing Day wandering the streets of Boston away from the hustle and bustle. Although the city isn’t known as a top shopping destination it certainly has its hidden gems. From streetwear to antiques there’s something for everyone to enjoy. If you have a few hours to kill and money to burn here are my top 5 places to shop that are off the beaten path. Feel free to check out these spots when you’re tired of the lines and tourists on Newbury Street.
1) SoWa Vintage Market (South End)
This is Boston’s largest vintage market found in the artsy district of SoWa (South of Washington St.) Although one could make countless gentrification jokes about the place and there are a lot, no one can deny the quality and variety of vintage and rare goods that find their way here every week. All vendors and merchandise are vetted before getting the go ahead to set up their stall at this vintage flea market. One can find clothes, art, furniture, home goods, costumes, and more. Once you’re done you can head outside to browse around Boston’s best art galleries next door and get some tea at the cafe at Mohr and McPherson.
450 Harrison Ave. Lower Level, Boston, MA 02118 (Website)
2) Bodega (Back Bay)
This place isn’t a secret to the locals, but for visitors it might be. As its slogan states this store is “hidden in plain sight”. On the outside it looks like your average bodega where you can pick up snacks and sodas when you enter. But you can also snag limited-edition apparel from top streetwear brands. All you have to do is approach the vending machine to the right of the register and you have access to a plethora apparel and sneakers that will make your heart sing.
6 Causeway St., Boston, MA 02115 (Website)
3) Olives and Grace (South End)
“A curtsy to the makers” is how owner and Jamaica Plain local, Sofi Madison describes her shop. The small gift shop is on the ground floor of a Tremont St. brownstone and all of its merchandise is made in the USA by artisans. Items in this store range from candles to baby onesies and food baskets. Monthly classes are also taught at Boston’s “best gift shop” by local craftsmen.
623 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02118 (Website)
4) Brattle Book Shop (Downtown Crossing)
This antique and rare bookstore was established in 1825 and is currently housed in a three-story building in Downtown Crossing. On any given day books are sold in the outside lot (pictured above) from $1-$5 dollars. And their 250,000+ book stock also holds rare leather-bound manuscripts and first print editions of classics. The bibliophile in you will thank you for taking a leisurely stroll in this store.
9 West St., Boston, MA 02111 (Website)
5) Cobwebs (Jamaica Plain)
This shop is known for its rare antiques and fairly inexpensive home goods in great condition. According to the owner, Patrick Byrnes, they “get stock from homes and estates all over New England, Ireland, and England.” The store has two levels and is filled to the brim with interesting statement pieces ranging from Asian furniture and Buddhist sculptures to post-Impressionist Israeli and American art and intricate Rococo tea sets.
703 Center St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 (Website)