5 Top Boston Shopping Spots

From high-end malls to boutique shops, Boston’s shopping scene has something for everyone.

By Kim Foley MacKinnon, ContributorJune 22, 2017
By Kim Foley MacKinnon, ContributorJune 22, 2017, at 9:00 a.m.
U.S. News & World Report

5 Top Boston Shopping Spots

Couple shopping at an outdoor clothing store.

Shop till you drop at the Boston spots.(Getty Images)

Whether you're looking for a Prada suit or a handmade souvenir, Boston has you covered. While the Back Bay has the lion's share of shopping opportunities, with the Prudential Center, Copley Place and trendy Newbury Street, there are plenty of other areas to shop, including the North End and South End. For bargain shoppers, it can be worth planning a day trip to the Wrentham Village Premium Outlets. Here are what local experts recommend.

Newbury Street

Newbury Street in Boston.(Courtesy of Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau)

"Newbury Street has the best shopping in Boston, hands down," says Julianne Boyle, concierge at The Ritz-Carlton, Boston. "From the top of the street by the [Boston] Public Garden all the way down to the Prudential Center shopping arcade, you'll find a boutique, cafe or highly rated salon every step of the way."

Located in the Back Bay, Newbury Street offers a wealth of shops, restaurants, salons and cafes, and once the warm weather begins, it's a popular spot for outdoor dining.

Kim Weeks, guest ambassador at the Kimpton Marlowe Hotel, says, "For strolling, obviously Newbury Street, which is mostly just beautiful stores with a good amount of cafes and restaurants along the way so you can stop for a break. On a sunny weekend, it's beautiful to walk up and down Newbury Street. Also, sometimes in the summer, they'll close down the street to cars and put out booths, games and seating, so it's a huge pedestrian walkway, which is very nice, and very European."

Prudential Mall and Copley Place

Sara Flight, director of public relations at Mandarin Oriental, Boston, says, "For high-end shopping, definitely Newbury Street, Copley Place and the Prudential Center in the Back Bay."

The Prudential Center, located on Boylston Street, is a giant multiuse building, which houses offices, restaurants, the Skywalk Observatory and an indoor shopping complex. Dozens of stores, including big names like Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue, sit alongside shops like Papyrus and Sephora.

The "Pru," as locals call it, is connected to Copley Place, another (completely separate) upscale mall, via a glass walkway. Shoppers at Copley will find high-end stores like Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co. and Jimmy Choo.

The North End

The North End in Boston.(Courtesy of Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau)

Boston's Little Italy is widely known for its food scene, with dozens of Italian restaurants, cafes and markets, as well as for its historic sites, including the Paul Revere House and the Old North Church, but those aren't its only charms. Suzanne Wenz, director of marketing communications and PR at the Taj Boston and Boston Park Plaza, says, "For specialty gifts and boutiques, the North End has some really lovely shopping, like Shake the Tree or In-jean-ius."

Shake the Tree, which has been in the North End for more than 20 years, has a unique collection of items, including clothes, handmade jewelry, home goods, craft cocktail supplies and cookbooks. If you drive there, the Salem Street shop validates parking at a nearby garage ($3 for three hours). In-jean-ius, also a longtime fixture and located on Hanover Street, sells more than 30 brands of jeans, plus T-shirts and accessories for women. These are just two examples of what shoppers will find in this neighborhood, which is always fun to explore.

SoWa Open Market

SoWa Open Market in Boston.(Courtesy of SoWa Boston)

Christine Morris, The Boston Globe's travel editor, says, "In the spring and summer, go to the SoWa market. Small vendors are selling cool things. It's definitely a hipster market, with vintage goods and plenty of food trucks."

Now in its 14th season, the SoWa Open Market (SoWa stands for south of Washington Street), is a seasonal weekend event in the South End, featuring local artists, farmers, chefs, breweries and performers of all kinds. The South End has long been a hot spot for local artists, and the market brings many of them together in one place. There are at least 150 vendors selling everything from paintings to clothing to jewelry. Food trucks set up shop, and there's a beer garden and a farmers market, too.

The SoWa Open Market is open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the warm-weather months.

Wrentham Village Premium Outlets

Wrentham Village Premium Outlets.(Courtesy of Wrentham Village Premium Outlets)

Located about 40 miles south of Boston, Wrentham Village Premium Outlets is an enormous outdoor shopping center, with more than 170 brand-name stores in one spot. Visitors don't need a car to get there, as there are reasonably priced buses that run back and forth between Boston and the outlets.

Boyle says, "The Wrentham Village Premium Outlets are perfect for bargain hunters. While the outlets are a bit farther away, the city offers affordable transportation to and from the outlets. Shoppers enjoy 25 to 65 percent off designer and name brands, including Coach, Restoration Hardware, Nike and Polo Ralph Lauren."

Weeks agrees, saying, "If you're looking to go all out, Wrentham Village Premium Outlets are highly recommended for a day trip."

To experience more of what Boston has to offer, check out the U.S. News Travel guide.

Kim Foley MacKinnon, Contributor

Kim Foley MacKinnon is a Boston-based editor, journalist and travel writer. Her work has ...  Read more

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