Beyond the lack of tax on clothes, shoes and booze, Boston is a place where anyone will enjoy shopping. Sometimes you'd rather search for something special - an item which will serve as a reminder of your time in Boston. When this need arises, make way to one of the many small businesses, specialty stores, owner-operated shops, or art markets in and around the city.
Gurgling Cod — Photo courtesy of Shreve Crump and Low
Looking for a little Boston kitsch you can take home to generate a good discussion? Nothing says Boston like a Gurgling Cod from Shreve Crump and Low. These water jugs come with a bit of history. Modeled after the traditional English "glug jugs", and designed to be anatomically correct representations of Boston's native fish, the Cod, they come in several colors and sizes. These fun centerpieces can start a conversation among the most diverse group of dinner guests. Be prepared to giggle because these jugs actually gurgle when poured.
Have a map lover in your midst? Head to WardMaps in Cambridge to find all things map related. This store specializes in creating products that feature maps (think tote bags, coasters and shower curtains). WardMaps is also the official reseller of MBTA paraphernalia.
Looking to get a taste of local creations? The SoWa Open Market has you covered. This weekly market (Sundays only) features an ever changing group of local artisans who are on hand to explain their hand crafted items, clothing, food, jewelry, handbags, housewares, art work and even florals. A combination farmer's market and artist's scene, the SoWa Open Market sells many goods that are one of a kind.
SoWa Scene at the Open Market — Photo courtesy of SoWa Open Market
Know a sports fan who needs a fix? Three stops have it all: Yawkey Way (home to Fenway), TD Garden and the Patriot Pro Shop at Patriot Place. Each stop lets the sports fiend sneak a peek, while picking up a token of his time there. No tickets needed, but be ready to be in a crowd if there on a game day. These sports stores have more of the gear that fans hold dear, and are your best bet for buying any player-specific request.
In need of new designer duds that you won't find on your best bud? Buy Just a Little Something at my favorite boutique. Owned and operated by PJ Terranova, Just a Little Something is THE place for the trendsetter to shop. Often introducing name brands to the area (one of the first places around to carry Yoga Jeans), this is a great place to buy something you won't see on everyone else. Beyond the amazing women's attire contained inside, Just a Little Something holds a little something for everyone. From kids clothes to his clothes, handbags, to home decor Just a Little Something always has just a little something more. And because PJ is the owner, buyer and even stylist (you can usually find him tending the store) you are guaranteed to walk out looking and feeling like a million bucks without having to spend it.
Display at Just a Little Something Foxboro, MA — Photo courtesy of Jessica Polizzotti
This small sampling of Boston specialities contains some of the best (somewhat hidden) Boston gems. Places filled with distinctive merchandise where you can relax and enjoy your experience, without feeling rushed, pressured or pestered by commission happy "corporate" staff. These are true Boston shopping treasures.