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Somerville

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Your dad might still derisively call it "Slummerville", but today that tired old moniker couldn't be further from the truth. Packed with upwardly mobile professionals and longtime residents, Somerville is often voted an "All-America City" and the best-run city in Massachusetts. It would seem civically engaged folks can achieve uncommon results; and Somerville fosters an environment of cooperation like no other. Locals here are quick to enjoy the fruits of their artistry, and you'll find top notch options for dinner, drinks, and dancing all in abundance within Somerville's borders. Lurking just to the south, big brothers Boston and Cambridge provide options and opportunities for many of Somerville's creative class residents.

Understand[edit]

Gazing downtown from Prospect Hill Tower

Originally a part of Charlestown, Somerville was used mostly as farmland and grazing pastures for hundreds of years. During the 18th century, Washington Street and Somerville Avenue came to be known as "Milk Row". These convenient roads were used by dairy farmers to transport wares into local Boston markets. The intersection of these roads created Union Square, a new and (relatively) bustling nexus for early settlers.

Prior to the Revolutionary War, Somerville was no stranger to tyranny. Vast amounts of Massachusetts gunpowder were stored at the Old Powder House, which the British successfully raided in 1774. These hostilities caused great outrage among the colonial population, and led to a popular uprising. This event is considered by many historians to be the point where public sentiment within the colonies turned in favor of war with England.

During wartime, the geography of Somerville's Prospect Hill made it a fitting place to command an army. Thanks mainly to its height and views of the area, it was fortified with Continental Army troops late in 1775 and became known as "The Citadel". To celebrate the new year, the Grand Union flag (a pre-cursor to the modern American flag) flew here for the first time January 1st, 1776. Many consider this to be the first official raising of any American flag.

After the revolution Somerville continued to grow, separating from Charlestown in 1842 before incorporating as a city in 1872. Its population exploded as its economy changed from mostly agrarian to a diverse industrial base. Bricks, railroads, and meatpacking industries were all booming, and the new Ford assembly plant built in 1926 kept businesses in the black well into the 20th century.

Just like Boston (and many other American cities), Somerville was on the downswing after WWII. Factories had closed, the trains stopped running, and anyone who could afford it fled for the suburbs. The blight continued for decades, until the first seeds of life began to return. During the mid 80s the MBTA re-opened the Davis Square train station on the Red line. By the 90s, higher paying technology and biotech jobs started to appear, and crime rates began to drop.

Now in the 21st century, Somerville's biggest challenges have become gentrification and public transit. Buildings you couldn't pay people to take off your hands in the 80s now trade for millions of dollars. In 2006 the MBTA promised to extend the Green line into Somerville, connecting several underserved areas. Once mandated for completion by December 2014, no progress has been made to date. (Mention this to any local for a surefire conversation starter!) These aren't easy problems to solve, but if any city has both the will and the aptitude—it's Somerville.

Neighborhoods[edit]

A common scene from back porches across Somerville

Davis Square: This is a great late-night summer hangout, especially given all the shopping and dining to be found here. It's right on the Red Line, and also a major bus transfer point. Tons of college folk linger in the brick plaza. Head up Holland St from Davis to find Teele Square. It's a bit less crowded here, and has a lot to offer in way of local pubs and restaurants. Walk College Ave instead to be brought to Powderhouse Square. Mostly residential, but not without its interesting sights.

Union Square: It's not on the Red Line, so it can be a little off the beaten path. From the Sullivan Square Orange Line station it's a 15 minute walk, or there are buses always arriving from Central, Harvard, Porter, Davis, and Lechmere T stations. You'll find a number of Brazilian restaurants and stores around, the community extends all the way to Inman Square in Cambridge with another pocket in Allston. Union Square is nice, featuring quaint brickwork and benches created by local artists. A major reconstruction of Somerville Avenue saw the installation of better lighting, more traffic lights, and raised pedestrian crosswalks.

Winter Hill: Located roughly north of Highland Avenue and west of the McGrath Highway, Winter Hill is home to a mix of restored homes and aluminium-sided fixer-uppers, replete with china gnomes and bathtub Virgin Marys. Once known as the home base of Irish gangsters Whitey Bulger, James "Buddy" McLean, Howie Winter and the notorious Winter Hill Gang in the 1960s and 1970s. Winter Hill is now, like much of the rest of Somerville, experiencing gentrification and a resulting rise in property values and rents. Despite these changes, the area continues to hang onto its neighborhood flavor and is home to a large community of Irish, Italians, Brazilians, Portuguese, Cape Verdeans, and other ethnic groups.

Get in[edit]

Davis Square station aglow in snow

Since Somerville is so tightly bound to Boston, please refer to the Get In and Get Around sections of that article for all the gory details. Somerville also shares several transit options with nearby Cambridge.

By public transit[edit]

For a city as densely populated as Somerville, the dearth of rapid transit is surprising. The only T stations within Somerville's borders are Davis on the Red line, and Assembly on the Orange. Around the perephery, several other stations serve Somerville, if you don't mind a little walking. Harvard and Porter, both on the Red line are often convenient. Sullivan Square on the Orange line plays host to an array of busses, and Lechmere on the Green line can sometimes be helpful.

If you really want to explore the city, you'll need to get on the bus. Sullivan Square probably has the most options; the #89 and #101 run down Broadway, the #90 runs down Highland, and the #95 runs along the Mystic to Medford. The #86 heads to Harvard and stops at Union Square on the way, while the #91 and CT2 from Sullivan are also bound for Union Square. If you're starting from Lechmere, the #87 will again stop at Union Square on its way to Davis.

On the off chance you're arriving on the Fitchburg Line of the Commuter Rail, it stops at Porter Station. It's much more convenient for you to get off here, rather than heading all the way downtown to North Station.

By car[edit]

Driving to Somerville isn't totally insane, but traffic will be intense and parking will be limited. Davis Square in particular is notorious for its congestion. When you arrive at your destination, make sure to get your buddy's visitor parking pass. Without it you'll be ticketed for parking onstreet without a permit.

You can take Interstate 93 from the north or south to any of Somerville's three exits: 29, 30, and 31. From the north west both Route 2 and Route 3 each come very close to Somerville's borders, but you'll need to use smaller city streets to get where you're going. Get ready to face some truly authentic Boston driving along the last mile or two of your journey!

Get around[edit]

Map of Somerville

See[edit]

The Old Powder House rests in Nathan Tufts Park

Somerville doesn't really have any show-stopping "must see" sights. It's all about relaxing, taking your time, and letting the quirky character of the neighborhood soak in. For example you might see a few of the 200+ backyard shrines, built to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary; often referred to as "Bathtub Marys". In Union Square, another walkable hotspot, you can find scores of whimsical benches painted by local artists.

  • 1 Brickbottom Artists Association1 Fitchburg St (T: Lechmere),  +1 617 776-3410. Gallery: Th-Sa noon-5PM.
  • 2 Museum of Modern Renaissance115 College Ave (Powderhouse Square),  +1 617 628-9303. Not really a museum, but sort of. Picture a gorgeous old building (once a Unitarian church) lived in by a Yoga-practicing artist couple, who often look inward for inspiration. Much of the work is influenced by Russian mythological and religious icons. No one's really sure exactly when it's open, so go poke your head in if you happen to be walking by. Truly one of a kind, and only in Somerville.
  • 3 The Old Powder House850 Broadway (Powerhouse Square). 24 hours daily. This is the oldest stone building in Massachusetts, dating from around 1704. Once used to store colonial powder that would propel the muskets fired during the Revolutionary War. Free. Powder House Square on Wikipedia Q7235979 on Wikidata
  • 4 Prospect Hill Monument68 Munroe St (Union Square). 24 hours daily. Climb this tower for great views of Boston. Check out the slightly unfamiliar flag flying atop the structure. This was a Betsy Ross original; and on January 1, 1776 the tower was the location of the first American flag flown.
  • 5 Somerville Museum1 Westwood Rd (T: Porter),  +1 617 666-9810. Th 2PM-7PM, F 2PM-5PM, Sa noon-5PM. Volunteer run, visits are by appointment only.

Do[edit]

Check out all the latest movies and live acts at the Somerville Theatre

Most tourists spend their time near Davis and Porter Squares, within walking distance of each other. Residents sometimes avoid those crowds by hitting their favorite spots in Union Square and the Winter Hill area. They're further from the T, but it's a great way to get out there and meet some real Somervillians.

  • 1 Arts at the Armory191 Highland Ave (T: Porter),  +1 617 718-2191. M-F 8AM-10PM, Sa Su 8AM-11PM.
  • 2 George Dilboy VFW Post 529371 Summer St (T: Davis),  +1 617 666-8794. Plays host to various dances and acts, ranging from swing to electronica to circus and vaudeville.
  • 3 Legoland Discovery Center598 Assembly Row (T: Assembly), toll-free: +1 866 228-6439. Su-Th 10AM-7PM, F 10AM-8PM, Sa 9AM-8PM.
  • 4 The Rockwell255 Elm St (T: Davis),  +1 617 684-5335. Plays, concerts, stand up, the works really.
  • 5 Sacco's Bowl Haven (Flatbread Company), 45 Day St (T: Davis),  +1 617 776-0552. M-Sa 9AM-midnight, Su 9AM-10:30PM. Once one of 18 independent candlepin bowling alleys, you can still roll the quirky little balls here today. Times have changed, and as the new century dawned the original owners sold this building (the last one standing!) to a small New England based pizza chain. They preserved most of the original features, but took out a few lanes to add a little modern equipment. Most visitors prefer bowling with a fresh pizza and microbrew in hand, instead of the luxury condos this location would have surely become. $30 one lane one hour, $3 shoe rentals.
  • 6 The Somerville Theatre55 Davis Sq (T: Davis),  +1 617 625-5700. This movie theater shows fairly cheap 2nd-run movies as well as live musical acts. Originally a vaudeville theater which had several smaller theaters added over time. When it's time to relieve yourself after the film, don't miss the Museum of Bad Art. It's advertised as the world's only museum dedicated to the collection, preservation, exhibition and celebration of bad art in all its forms. Admission to the MOBA gallery is free with your ticket. Somerville Theatre on Wikipedia Q7559987 on Wikidata
  • 7 Taza Chocolate Factory561 Windsor St (T: Central),  +1 617 284-2232. M-F 11AM-6PM, Sa Su 10AM-6PM. Tours everyday. Take a 45-minute tour of one of the few bean-to-bar chocolate factories in the USA. Get a close-up view of Taza's vintage chocolate making machines and learn how cacao is transformed into authentic stone ground organic chocolate. Visit the Factory Store to shop for limited edition chocolate treats and see the factory through special viewing windows. Lots of chocolate samples available in the store and throughout the tours. Online reservations required for tours, maximum 6 people. $8, children under 3 free. Taza Chocolate on Wikipedia Q7690387 on Wikidata

Events[edit]

Tooting his own horn at the Honk! festival in Davis Square.
  • Somerville Open Studios: 5-7 May annually . The public is welcomed into artists' home and studio space for a look at their work. Somerville has enough artists that it's basically impossible to see them all during the weekend-long event. Somerville Open Studios on Wikipedia Q7559981 on Wikidata
  • Porchfest: 13 May 2017 . Noon-6PM. Free. (date needs updating)
  • Art Beat: 14-15 July annually . A street festival in Davis Square focused on visual arts, built around a different theme each year.
  • What the Fluff?: 23 September 2017 . A tribute to Union Square's invention Marshmallow Fluff.
  • Honk! Festival: 6-8 October annually . October 2007 was the second annual Honk! festival in Davis Square. Over a dozen brass bands showed up, from as far away as New Orleans and Italy.

Buy[edit]

  • 1 Assembly Row340 Canal St (T: Assembly),  +1 617 440-5565. M-Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-6PM. Behold the mighty force of nature that is modern American capitalism. Once a Ford Motor Company "assembly" plant (get it?) during the 1950s; it was largely left abandoned and run-down until 2006. The proximity to Boston and water access made it an easy sell for real estate companies looking to invest. Today it's an enormous outdoor mall, featuring scores of well known big box retailers, and infilled with pricey luxury condos. Many of the stores here are factory outlets, and you'll also find a wide variety of restaurants, fitness, and lifestyle companies doing business here as well.
  • 2 Blue Cloud Gallery713 Broadway (Ball Square),  +1 617 776-2700. W-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 11AM-4PM. Fun and functional handcrafted gifts created by local artisans.
  • 3 Comicazi407 Highland Ave (T: Davis),  +1 617 666-2664. M Tu Th noon-9PM, W 11AM-10PM, F Sa 11AM-9PM, Su 11AM-7PM. Well- stocked comic book shop, featuring a very friendly staff.
  • 4 E. Scott Originals199 Highland Ave (T: Porter),  +1 617 776-2814. Tu-F noon-7PM, Sa 11AM-4PM. Handmade and custom fine jewelry.
  • 5 Goodwill230 Elm St (T: Davis),  +1 617 628-3618. M-Sa 10AM-8PM, Su 11AM-6PM. Two floors filled with all manner of stuff.
  • 6 Hub Comics19 Bow St (Union Square),  +1 617 718-0987. M-F noon-8PM, Sa 10AM-9PM, Su 10AM-6PM.
  • 7 Loyal Supply Co21 Union Square (Union Square),  +1 617 996-6930. Sa Su 10AM-6PM.
  • 8 Magpie416 Highland Ave (T: Davis),  +1 617 623-3330. M-F 11AM-7PM, Sa 11AM-6PM, Su 11AM-5PM. One of the nation's best stores devoted to handmade hipster crafts, unique gifts, independent designers, and local artists. A second branch of this store is closer to Porter and focuses more on children's items.

Eat[edit]

This page uses the following price ranges for a typical meal for one, including soft drink:
Budget Under $15
Mid-range $15 - $30
Splurge Over $30

Budget[edit]

  • 1 Kelly's Diner674 Broadway (Ball Square),  +1 617 623-8102. M-Sa 6AM-3PM, Su 6AM-2PM. Traditional 1950s dining car in Ball Square, usually has a line out the door on Sundays. Well known for their pancakes, portions are generous. $6-10.
  • 2 Man-O-Salwa Kabob & Grill (S&S Market), 66 Summer St (Union Square),  +1 617-764-5965, e-mail: . Su M W Th 11AM-10PM, F Sa 11AM-11PM. Incredible Pakistani food served out the back of a small grocery store. Mostly a catering place but you can eat what they're making on premises. Definitely the most authentic South Asian food in the area, and probably, in most of New England. The portions are substantial. $8-12.
  • 3 Amsterdam Falafelshop248 Elm St (T: Davis),  +1 617 764-3334. Su-Th 11AM-10:30PM, F Sa 11AM-midnight. A small shop, part of a franchise that also has a few outlets in the Washington, DC area, that sells falafel sandwiches and falafel bowls with a build-your-own bar of toppings, which range from sauces to pickles, fried eggplant, and other vegetables. Also serves frites with a range of sauces, including mayo, curry ketchup, and peanut sauce. The falafel and frites are both freshly fried to order and are deliciously crunchy and tender. A cheaply priced place to get an excellent, casual vegetarian meal. Has a few tables for eating in, or take to the nearby square or a park. $9-12.
  • 4 Neighborhood Restaurant25 Bow St (Union Square),  +1 617 628-2151. 7AM-4PM daily. It is worth visiting Union Square for, especially in the summer months. There's an overhead grape arbor with real fruit growing on it. There's a large breakfast/brunch menu, and very colorful outdoor decor. The menu also includes some Brazilian fare, as well as alcoholic drinks. $8-14.
  • 5 Fasika Ethiopian145 Broadway (T: Sullivan Station),  +1 617 628-9300. M-Th 5:30PM-10PM, F 5:30PM-11PM, Sa Su 2PM-11PM. Ethiopians looking for a new place after they lost their lease took over a local bar and put a partition down the middle, keeping the bar on one side and having seating on the other. The result? Probably the only Ethiopian restaurant in the world with video keno! Townies having a beer watch yuppies chow down on very good yemasir wat. $10-14.
  • 6 Sound Bites704 Broadway (Ball Square),  +1 617 623-8338. M-Sa 6:30AM-9:45PM, Su 6:30AM-3:45PM. Voted "Best Breakfast in Boston" many times. Lines out the door on weekends. Next door is Ball Square Cafe which is an (at least) equally highly rated restaurant started by original Sound Bites employees that is almost identical in its menu and experience. $9-16.
  • 7 R.F. O'Sullivan and Son282 Beacon St (T: Porter),  +1 617 492-7773. 11AM-11PM daily. A pub that is primarily a bar but has outstanding burgers, fries, and onion rings — and very little else on the menu. Starters $6-10, mains $10-15.
  • 8 Martsa on Elm233 Elm St (T: Davis),  +1 617 666-0600. Tu-Th 5PM-9:30PM, F Sa 11:30AM-10:30PM, Su noon-9:30PM. Tibetan specialties, including momos and a variety of vegetarian dishes as well as entrees with meat. Lunch buffet. Starters $3-6, mains $9-12.

Mid-range[edit]

The Rosebud has undergone a few changes since opening in 1941
  • 9 Mike's Food and Spirits9 Davis Square (T: Davis),  +1 617 628-2379. 11AM-midnight daily. The menu is enormous and contains just about everything including pasta, pizza, and calzones — none are fantastic but all are decent, cheap, and in large portions. There are many TVs playing Boston sports. A classic "Old Somerville" experience is sitting in Mike's in front of an open window looking out on the Square with a pitcher of beer and a pizza watching a Red Sox game. Starters $5-12, mains $9-18.
  • 10 Cantina La Mexicana247 Washington St (Union Square),  +1 617 776-5232. Su-W 10AM-10PM, Th 10AM-11PM, F Sa 11AM-11PM. Friendly neighborhood taqueria, West Coast style. Burritos, tacos, tamales, everything cheap. Expanded in 2009 to include restaurant-style seating and a full bar. $12-18.
  • 11 Redbones55 Chester St (T: Davis),  +1 617 628-2200. 11:30AM-12:30AM daily. Excellent BBQ and great selection of microbrewed beers. While certainly not what you'd find in Texas or Mississippi, they clearly know what they're doing; you don't find hush puppies and okra on too many menus in New England. The art in the basement room is great, the bar has a "wheel of beer" in case you're feeling lucky or indecisive. They serve a late night menu until midnight, another area rarity. Starters $5-10, mains $14-24.
  • 12 The Rosebud381 Summer St (T: Davis),  +1 617 629-9500. M-Th 5PM-11PM, F 11:30AM-midnight, Sa 10AM-midnight, Su 10AM-11PM. A Somerville institution, the Rosebud has expanded well beyond the footprint of the quaint original dining car. $14-24. The Rosebud (diner) on Wikipedia Q7761571 on Wikidata
  • 13 Tu Y Yo858 Broadway (Powderhouse Square),  +1 617 623-5411. M-F 11:30AM-3PM; 4PM-10PM, Sa 10AM-10PM, Su 10AM-9PM. Excellent authentic Mexican food that is a member of the Slow Food association and focuses on pre-hispanic cuisine. This is not the typical Mexican restaurant; the food is authentic and you won't find burritos here. Many dishes have nopales (cactus) and huitlacoche (a corn fungus) which are both expertly prepared. Starters $6-$12, mains $15-$20.
  • 14 Vinny's at Night76 Broadway (T: Sullivan Station),  +1 617 628-1921. M-Th 6AM-10PM, F Sa 6AM-10:30PM, Su 6AM-9PM. You get to this place by walking through Vinny's Superette, a convenience store. Honest. Fantastic family-style Italian fare. Lunch $8-16, dinner $16-24.
  • 15 Highland Kitchen150 Highland Ave (T: Porter),  +1 617 625-1131. Sa-F 5PM-1AM, Su 11AM-2:30PM; 5PM-1AM. Starters $6-11, mains $12-20.

Splurge[edit]

  • 16 La Brasa124 Broadway (T: Sullivan Station),  +1 617 764-1412. Tu-Sa 5PM-10PM, Su 10AM-3PM; 5PM-9PM. Starters $4-12, mains $10-19, dessert $10, cocktails $11-13.
  • 17 Posto187 Elm St (T: Davis),  +1 617 625-0600, e-mail: . Su-Th 5:30PM-10PM, Fr Sa 5PM-11PM, Su 4:30PM-10PM. Delicious pizza and various other Italian dishes. Their pizzas are cooked in a traditional wood-fired ovens and two of their pizzas have been officially approved by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana. Reservations are taken and may be helpful during the businessiest times of the week but are generally not necessary. Starters $12-16, mains $20-24+.
  • 18 Sarma249 Pearl St (T: Sullivan Station),  +1 617 764-4464. Su-Th 5PM-midnight, F Sa 5PM-1AM. Snacks $6-12, small plates $10-17.
  • 19 Juliet257 Washington St (Union Square),  +1 617 718-0958. W-F 7AM-10PM, Sa 8AM-10PM, Su 10AM-8PM. One of Bon Appetit's "America's Best New Restaurants 2016". Breakfast/brunch $12-20, three course dinner $60, five course $80.
  • 20 Tasting Counter14 Tyler St (T: Porter),  +1 617 299-6362. Tu-Sa 1PM-midnight, usually. Your ticket will have the specifics. Eat whatever is freshly prepared, curated by skilled and experienced chefs. Buy tickets for a specific "seating" in advance and leave your wallet at home. The Counter seats about 20, and drinks are included with your ticket. Enjoy! Lunch $60, dinner $180.

Drink[edit]

The local bowling alley turned pizza place has taps too!
  • 1 American Fresh Beer Garden301 Canal St (T: Assembly), toll-free: +1 800 428-1150. M-Th 4PM-11PM, F 4PM-midnight, Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 11AM-10PM. Hit up this spot in shiny new Assembly Row if you want to try some Slumbrew, but don't want to go all the way to the brewery.
  • 2 The Burren247 Elm St (T: Davis),  +1 617 776-6896. M-Th 11:30AM-1AM, F 11:30AM-2AM, Sa 9AM-2AM, Su 9AM-1AM. An Irish pub once said to pour more Guinness than any other in North America. Live Irish music. Music nightly in the back room, including the amazing Swinging Johnsons on Thursday nights.
  • 3 Casa B253 Washington St (Union Square),  +1 617 764-2180. M-Th 5PM-11PM, F Sa 5PM-midnight, Su 3PM-11PM. Head upstairs in this tapas restaurant to find a rum-focused cocktail bar.
  • 4 The Independent75 Union Square (Union Square),  +1 617 440-6021. M-Th 4PM-1AM, F 4PM-2AM, Sa 11AM-2AM, Su 11AM-1AM. A very cool unpretentious place for a drink.
  • 5 The Joshua Tree256 Elm St (T: Davis),  +1 617 623-9910. M-Th 4AM-1AM, F Sa 11:30AM-2AM, Su 11AM-midnight. A bar for the college or "young professional" set in the evenings, has kind of a "bro" frat house vibe. Numerous HDTVs always tuned to the game, good food, friendly staff.
  • 6 Orleans65 Holland St (T: Davis),  +1 617 591-2100. M-Th 11AM-1AM, F 11AM-2AM, Sa 10AM-2AM, Su 10AM-1AM. Davis Square. Large beer selection and huge selection of exotic mixed drinks including a variety of Sangrias and martinis.
  • 7 Rudy's Cafe248 Holland St (Teele Square),  +1 617 623-9201. M-W 5PM-11PM, Th Su 11:30AM-11PM, F Sa 11:30AM-midnight. Unparalleled selection of Tequila; however, the opinions many vary on the Tex-Mex food.
  • 8 Sligo Pub237 Elm St (T: Davis),  +1 617 625-4477. M-Th 11AM-1AM, F Sa 11:15AM-1:45AM, Su 11AM-midnight. Old school dive.

Breweries[edit]

Winter Hill Brewing also offers coffee and delicious subs to go
  • 9 Aeronaut Brewing14 Tyler St (T: Porter),  +1 617 987-4236. M 6PM-11PM, Tu-F 5PM-midnight, Sa noon-12:30AM, Su noon-8PM. Microbrewery located in a large warehouse with an expansive taproom and many flavorful beers on tap. They also have board games and a Super Nintendo with such classics as Mike Tyson's Punch Out.
  • 10 Bantam Cider Company40 Merriam St (Union Square),  +1 617 299-8600. F 5PM-8PM, Sa 1PM-8PM, Su noon-6PM.
  • 11 Somerville Brewing Company (Slumbrew), 15 Ward St (T: Lechmere), toll-free: 1 800 428-1150. M-W 4PM-11PM, Th Su 11AM-11PM, F Sa 11AM-midnight.
  • 12 Winter Hill Brewing Company (WHBC), 328 Broadway +1 617 718-2337. M 7AM-1PM, Tu-F 7AM-midnight, Sa 8AM-midnight, Su 8AM-11PM. Not only do they brew their own beer, they roast their own beans as well. Stop in early for an eye-opener or stop in late for a nightcap.

Coffee[edit]

  • 13 3 Little Figs278 Highland Ave (T: Porter),  +1 617 623-3447. M-F 7AM-4PM, Sa Su 8AM-4PM.
  • 14 Bloc Cafe11 Bow St (Union Square),  +1 617 623-0000. 7AM-7PM daily. Sister cafe to the Diesel Cafe, Bloc Cafe features a few breakfast selections, pastries, soups, and made-to-order sandwiches, along with a selection of espresso/coffee/tea/soda beverages. The cafe features artwork by local artists, and hosts open mic music nights as well. Located in a former bank branch, the cafe also features seasonally-available outdoor courtyard seating.
  • 15 Diesel Cafe257 Elm St (T: Davis),  +1 617 629-8717. M-F 6AM-10PM, Sa Su 7AM-10PM. Coffee and light dining (including breakfast, sandwiches and salads), winner of several local awards. An area favorite providing an alternative to the Starbucks across the street, locally owned with art for sale on the walls and a couple of pool tables in back.
  • 16 Fortissimo Coffeehouse365 Somerville Ave (Union Square),  +1 617 776-1880. M-F 7AM-5PM, Sa Su 8AM-5PM.
  • 17 True Grounds717 Broadway (Ball Square),  +1 617 591-9559. M-F 7AM-6PM, Sa Su 8AM-6PM. Independent cafe serving specialty coffee and espresso, breakfast and lunch fare. Rotating roster of local artists. All sandwiches named after nearby streets and squares.
  • 18 Union Square Donuts20 Bow St (Union Square),  +1 617 209-2257. M-F 7AM-1PM, Sa Su 7AM-3PM. Some of the best—if priciest—doughnuts in the city. Get here early when they're fresh (and in stock)! $2-4.

Sleep[edit]

Somerville is, as mentioned elsewhere, a heavily residential area; hence, there are few hotels. Although there are plans for a hotel in Davis, nothing exists today. Many more options are available in Cambridge, Boston, or in one of the outlying suburbs along Route 93 or Route 95. Any nearby city will be easily accessible to many parts of Somerville by mass transit.

Connect[edit]

  • 1 Central Library (Somerville Public Library), 79 Highland Ave +1 617 623-5000. M-Th 9AM-9PM, F 9AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 1PM-5PM. Free.
  • 2 East Branch (Somerville Public Library), 115 Broadway (T: Sullivan Station),  +1 617 623-5000. M Th 10AM-9PM, Tu 2PM-6PM, W F 10AM-6PM, Sa 9AM-1PM. Free.
  • 3 West Branch (Somerville Public Library), 40 College Ave (T: Davis),  +1 617 623-5000. M Th 10AM-9PM, Tu W 10AM-6PM, F 2PM-6PM, Sa 9AM-1PM. Free.

Go next[edit]

  • Push yourself over the borderline and into "The People's Republic" of Cambridge, where more offbeat shops and restaurants abound.
  • Stretch your legs at the Middlesex Fells Reservation in Stoneham, where plenty of hiking and biking opportunities can be found.
  • Already holding tickets? Catch a game at historic Fenway Park situated in the center of the Fenway neighborhood.
  • Looking for more live entertainment? Allston Rock City across the river to the south west has got you covered.
  • Yearning for the Somerville of old? Head south to Dorchester, where some areas carry a similar creative spark.
Routes through Somerville
ManchesterMedford  N I-93.svg S  BostonCanton
NewtonCambridge  W MA Route 16.svg E  MedfordRevere
LawrenceMedford  N MA Route 28.svg S  CambridgeBoston


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