Boston Uncommon: Visit Like a Local

Add some local flair to your Boston trip by exploring top spots off the tourist track.

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Add some local flair to your Boston trip by exploring top spots off the tourist track. After all, when it comes to finding off-the-radar favorites like galleries, markets, and book stores, no one knows this city better than the locals.

Boston Public Market

Fuel up at Boston Public Market, the year-round indoor marketplace that locals adore. Options include fresh foods from area farms and producers along with ready-to-eat doughnuts, pastrami, seafood, and much more. Pick up locally spun yarns or dishware crafted out of natural field stone tilled from area farms. Boston Public Market is conveniently located on Hanover Street in downtown Boston.

SoWa Power Station

On the South End, SoWa Power Station inhabits a refurbished 1896 power plant that was once the world’s largest. It now anchors Boston’s art and design district and is home to cutting-edge galleries, artist studios, design showrooms, boutiques, and award-winning restaurants like The Elephant Walk, with Cambodian-French fusion fare, and Italian trattoria 500 Cinquecento.

On Sundays, the area is also home to the SoWa Vintage Market and numerous food trucks. Various events take place throughout the year, including the annual SoWa Art Walk and SoWa Fashion Show. During SoWa First Friday events, you can meet local artists, tour their studios, and shop in galleries.


Harvard Bridge connects Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood to Cambridge, home of both Harvard and MIT, just across the Charles River. Cambridge is a charming town made up of six neighborhoods filled with historic, wood-frame houses and stately red brick buildings. It’s also packed with plenty of appealing low-key options, including excellent independent bookstores and fine wine and cheese shops.
Harvard Book Store

Since 1932, Cambridge’s Harvard Book Store has delighted book lovers with shelves of volumes covering everything from fiction to physics and has provided readings and discussions by bestselling authors like Salman Rushdie and singer/songwriter Patti Smith. Porter Square Books Cambridge, a more recent arrival, also houses Cafe Zing with its fresh-baked goods and fair trade coffee. The store often schedules events for young children and teens. If you can’t make it to an event with your favorite author, the staff will put aside a signed copy of the book for you.

Formaggio Kitchen

Formaggio Kitchen, a local hotspot for gourmet foods, coffees, and teas, is not only home to New England’s oldest cheese cave. It’s also staffed by expert foodies. Rely on them to know their way around the best Gouda or Gruyere to help you satisfy your cheese craving.

Cardullo’s Gourmet Shoppe

Cardullo’s Gourmet Shoppe in Harvard Square has been a local fav since 1950. The deli serves hearty Italian sandwiches made fresh to order, including gallina rustica, a ciabatta roll piled high with chicken breast, speck, artichoke hearts, black olives, and olive oil.

Do you have tips on under-the-radar Boston favorites that locals love? Share them with us on Facebook.

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