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Find Books, Vintage, and Limited Edition Collabs in Harvard Sq.

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New to Boston or simply looking for new stomping grounds? Summer is the perfect time to explore our dozens of neighborhoods, so for your shopping ease, we'll be mapping the top shops in each area over the coming weeks.


Image via Wikicommons

Harvard Square is a major year-round attraction for tourists in part because of its boutiques, though people head there mostly for guess what—Harvard University. Whether an international student or a Back Bay resident trying to dodge Newbury Street crowds, many shoppers find solace in these ten top stores. Each one has something unique about it that stands out from the other necessary chains in the square. For example, you can't miss the unusual Urban Outfitters bargain basement or J. Press, the tailor that used to outfit JFK, while The Tannery, Free People, City Sports and LUSH offer similar experiences to their locations elsewhere in town. Next time you transport yourself to the pretty brick buildings of Harvard Yard, stop into one of these spots as well.


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1. Mint Julep

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6 Church Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 576-6468
Visit Website
Mint Julep has built a reputation for the perfect casual-meets-party assortment of premium denim, Tracy Reese and Tibi dresses, Ella Moss separates, and local baubles. The Harvard Square setup speaks to students and twenty-somethings alike, bringing plenty of feminine flair to the Cambridge side of the Charles.
26 Church Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 492-7700
Visit Website
Naturally, this collegiate district is home to an LF with hoards of trend-driven ladies perusing its racks. Fans of boho-grunge flock to the boutique for Jeffrey Campbell, shredded denim, printed shorts, and flouncy dresses, as well as its large seasonal sales.

3. Concepts

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37 Brattle Street, The Atrium Shopping Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 868-2001
Visit Website
Opened in 1996 as part of the Harvard Square Tannery, Concepts is a Cambridge institution specializing in high-demand collabs and all the hype that surrounds a major release from Clarks, Nike, Stussy, and other iconic brands in skate and street culture. It also offers pieces from fashion legends like Margiela and Comme Des Garcons. A sleek design characterizes Concepts as a curated lifestyle brand synonymous with quality and a point of view.

4. Black Ink

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5 Brattle Street, The Atrium Shopping Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 497-1221
The hodgepodge of trinkets at Black Ink is kind of like an in-person Fab.com. It's pegged as a "one stop design shop," and it certainly has found a home in Harvard Square. Clever goods are appreciated in this intellectual crowd.

5. Urban Outfitters

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11 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 864-0070
Visit Website
Here's why you should hit up this Urban Outfitters instead of the other five thousand in the area: it has a bargain basement. As in, a basement full of crazy deep discounts for a thrifty experience without the secondhand clothes.

6. J. Press

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82 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 547-9886
Visit Website
J. Press knows how to do suits, with a New England heritage that is intimately connected to old school "Ivy League style." JFK frequented the spot while studying in Cambridge, and the wears you can buy today are barely different from the silhouettes worn by our 35th president. Many items are also made in the USA.

7. Berk's

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50 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 492-9511
Visit Website
This Harvard Square landmark sells shoes for every occasion from a big brand roster including Birkenstock, Rainbows, Minnetonka, and Keds. They usually have a sale bin out front, and in summer months, it's typically stocked with inexpensive sandals.

8. Forty Winks

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56 JF Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 492-9100
Visit Website
On the outer edge of Harvard Square sits the loveliest little intimates boutique, run by lingerie aficionados Rachel Wentworth and Meredith Donaldson. The duo convinces ladies on both sides of the Charles to start caring about what to wear under the rest of their wardrobe. They also stock little extras from The Laundress, Spanx, and legwear.

9. Harvard Book Store

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1256 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 661-1515
Visit Website
Block out a chunk of time when you visit this landmark indie bookseller, founded in 1932, which contrary to its name has no affiliation with Harvard University. Readers can pore over the latest bestselling titles or poke around an extensive selection of used books—and then maybe stay for one of the many author lectures in a packed event series schedule. A history of innovation includes eco-friendly bike delivery in the area and a book-making robot to aid in self publishing.

10. Oona's Experienced Clothing

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1210 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 491-2654
Visit Website
Harvard Square institution Oona's Experienced Clothing has been dressing Greater Boston in the funkiest vintage gear from the 1930s through the 1980s since 1972. Make sure to check out the top notch apothecary collection of fragrances and candles for an extra bit of panache.

1. Mint Julep

6 Church Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Mint Julep has built a reputation for the perfect casual-meets-party assortment of premium denim, Tracy Reese and Tibi dresses, Ella Moss separates, and local baubles. The Harvard Square setup speaks to students and twenty-somethings alike, bringing plenty of feminine flair to the Cambridge side of the Charles.
6 Church Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

2. LF

26 Church Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Naturally, this collegiate district is home to an LF with hoards of trend-driven ladies perusing its racks. Fans of boho-grunge flock to the boutique for Jeffrey Campbell, shredded denim, printed shorts, and flouncy dresses, as well as its large seasonal sales.
26 Church Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

3. Concepts

37 Brattle Street, The Atrium Shopping Center, Cambridge, MA 02138
Opened in 1996 as part of the Harvard Square Tannery, Concepts is a Cambridge institution specializing in high-demand collabs and all the hype that surrounds a major release from Clarks, Nike, Stussy, and other iconic brands in skate and street culture. It also offers pieces from fashion legends like Margiela and Comme Des Garcons. A sleek design characterizes Concepts as a curated lifestyle brand synonymous with quality and a point of view.
37 Brattle Street, The Atrium Shopping Center
Cambridge, MA 02138

4. Black Ink

5 Brattle Street, The Atrium Shopping Center, Cambridge, MA 02138
The hodgepodge of trinkets at Black Ink is kind of like an in-person Fab.com. It's pegged as a "one stop design shop," and it certainly has found a home in Harvard Square. Clever goods are appreciated in this intellectual crowd.
5 Brattle Street, The Atrium Shopping Center
Cambridge, MA 02138

5. Urban Outfitters

11 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Here's why you should hit up this Urban Outfitters instead of the other five thousand in the area: it has a bargain basement. As in, a basement full of crazy deep discounts for a thrifty experience without the secondhand clothes.
11 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

6. J. Press

82 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
J. Press knows how to do suits, with a New England heritage that is intimately connected to old school "Ivy League style." JFK frequented the spot while studying in Cambridge, and the wears you can buy today are barely different from the silhouettes worn by our 35th president. Many items are also made in the USA.
82 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

7. Berk's

50 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
This Harvard Square landmark sells shoes for every occasion from a big brand roster including Birkenstock, Rainbows, Minnetonka, and Keds. They usually have a sale bin out front, and in summer months, it's typically stocked with inexpensive sandals.
50 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

8. Forty Winks

56 JF Kennedy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
On the outer edge of Harvard Square sits the loveliest little intimates boutique, run by lingerie aficionados Rachel Wentworth and Meredith Donaldson. The duo convinces ladies on both sides of the Charles to start caring about what to wear under the rest of their wardrobe. They also stock little extras from The Laundress, Spanx, and legwear.
56 JF Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

9. Harvard Book Store

1256 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138
Block out a chunk of time when you visit this landmark indie bookseller, founded in 1932, which contrary to its name has no affiliation with Harvard University. Readers can pore over the latest bestselling titles or poke around an extensive selection of used books—and then maybe stay for one of the many author lectures in a packed event series schedule. A history of innovation includes eco-friendly bike delivery in the area and a book-making robot to aid in self publishing.
1256 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138

10. Oona's Experienced Clothing

1210 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138
Harvard Square institution Oona's Experienced Clothing has been dressing Greater Boston in the funkiest vintage gear from the 1930s through the 1980s since 1972. Make sure to check out the top notch apothecary collection of fragrances and candles for an extra bit of panache.
1210 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138