It all started with a deflated basketball. Though longtime friends Mike Kennedy and Eric Martin scoured downtown Boston for an inflating needle to fill it, no shops in the area carried one. They were frustrated—and they realized that other Bostonians looking for athletic gear were likely frustrated too. So in 1983, they opened City Sports, a shop stocked with all the footwear, athletic apparel, and sports equipment that the metropolis had been missing.
Nearly three decades later, Mike and Eric's neighborhood business has expanded to 20 shops across the East Coast. In addition to stocking popular brands such as Vibram, The North Face, and Patagonia, the store engineers its own CS by City Sports line. Shoppers include yogis, cyclists, and tennis players—anyone seeking to outfit active lifestyles, whether they're playing a team sport or braving the hike up the world's largest gumdrop. In addition to footwear and apparel, the staff stocks fitness equipment such as kettlebells, lifting gloves, and dumbbells.
From the hallowed field at Fenway Park to the educational havens of Harvard and M.I.T, Boston's history is written across its skyline. The area's nearby waterways allow for mostly unencumbered views of these sights, and guided boat tours let sightseers experience the city in a relaxing way. To this end, Charles Riverboat Company's vessels embark on journeys across the Charles River and Boston Harbor. Architecture tours guided by an expert from Boston by Foot and run together with BSA Space, Boston?s premier cultural institution on architecture and design, and home to the Boston Society of Architects, the tour's captains and crews point out historic sights such as famous buildings or the 100-story kettle used during the Boston Tea Party. Sunset tours offered under the warm glow of the setting sun wind through the river as music plays. Charles Riverboat Company also charters their boats for groups of up to 150.
Flipping through the racks at Deja Vu is a bit like flipping through a fashion magazine—both come stuffed with high-end apparel from designers such as Chanel, Gucci, and Vera Wang. But the difference lies in the price tag, with Deja Vu pricing their designer duds at half the cost. Their secret? All of their clothes are consigned, most with little wear and some still bearing their original price tags and snoozing owners. Shelves also teem with a few chosen store brands—such as Free People—as well as designer handbags, shoes, and accessories.
Discerning shoppers head to Copley Place when they’re looking for upscale goods, like jewelry from Tiffany & Co. and clothing from Barneys. But for shoe lovers, there’s only one place to go: Jimmy Choo. The small boutique outpost of this internationally renowned retailer is a gleaming beacon of success and fashion in the Copley Place luxury shopping area, complete with gleaming chandeliers, discreet seating areas and perfectly lit display cases. Inside are the expensive accoutrements of any truly wealthy woman, from signature shoes to high-end sunglasses and designer handbags. Celebrities may have made the brand a household name, but the attentive staff makes sure every shopper feels as if they’re red-carpet worthy. With the name recognition, the design aesthetic and the upscale Copley Place location, it’s no wonder Jimmy Choo retails their shoes at $500 or more.
Located at the Massachusetts Avenue end of Newbury Street, the street-level Patagonia shop is the place to go for outdoorsy fanatics looking to score a mix of daily wear and hyper-specific utility clothing. The high-ceilinged shop, which sells men’s, women’s and children’s gear, is housed in an old Boston brownstone, complete with cobblestone flooring, exposed brick and lots of duct work. On the first floor, the kid’s section includes sweaters, gloves and jackets for youngsters, while the upstairs adult section has fleece shirts, sweaters, jackets, GORE-TEX pants and even some backpacks to gear up for the next adventure. And with Boston’s often unpredictable weather, there’s always an opportunity to prepare yourself for the next rainstorm or blizzard.
Boston’s Newbury Street is packed with trendy restaurants, expensive shops and high-end beauty salons, but when you descend a few steps below street level into the storefront of international lingerie brand Agent Provocateur, the scenery becomes more akin to someone’s sexy boudoir. The shop, a pink and black affair, is small, but artful displays of slinky lingerie and other intimate accoutrements of the bedroom offer quite an eyeful. Anyone who is a fan of the Fifty Shades books would certainly be at home here. Drawers along the walls promise more intriguing items like masks and whips, and the helpful staff is at hand to offer their expertise with sizes and discreet explanations, if needed.