The best Boston-area shops to find unique gifts for your mom, dad or new grad

Must Read

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from WBUR’s Saturday morning newsletter, The Weekender. If you like what you read and want it in your inbox, sign up here


We’ve reached a sort of “second season” of gifting. Next weekend is Mother’s Day, and a month later is Father’s Day, with summer weddings, birthdays and graduations sandwiched in between and after.

To me, the best gifts are usually serendipitous finds — like that funny knickknack you find in a New Hampshire gift shop that you know your friend will love. But those can be rare, and whenever I’ve got a special date facing me down, I’m often left stumped over what to give.

That’s why I’ve compiled a list of several tucked-away gift shops in Greater Boston that offer wonderful, off-the-beaten-path presents. Whether you’re looking for vintage tech, maps, a spicy cookbook or a small trinket for someone close, these shops will made your search easier — and maybe more enjoyable, too.

For something small:

Zinnia (1300 Mass. Ave., Cambridge)

Let me begin with a personal testament: I once spent upwards of an hour in this store with my 15-year-old sister, who kept finding something cute around every corner. Zinnia is a jewelry and accessory shop in Harvard Square, with a few other locations around New England, too. Alongside necklaces, earrings and rings, you’ll find cashmere scarves, pouches and purses, novelty socks and small ceramics. This is a great spot to snag a gift under $30 for a graduate, mom or any ladies in your life.

For the lifelong local…

WardMaps (1731 Mass. Ave., Cambridge)

If you’re looking for gift that’ll add visual interest to an office wall — for someone who can tell you where Storrow Drive turns into Soldiers Field Road — then you’ll want to peruse the selection at WardMaps in Cambridge. The shop’s offering includes a wide range of local and international vintage mapsofficially licensed MBTA collectibles and rare Boston subway and train artifacts. Cartography enthusiasts and Massachusetts natives should carve out at least 30 minutes to explore this treasure-filled store.

For tech lovers — and loathers…

The Byte Shop (48 South St., Jamaica Plain)

Do you know someone who could use a little tech help? Maybe they’ve got a laptop in need of repair or a VHS wedding video they’ve been trying to “get onto the computer.” Take a trip to The Byte Shop in Jamaica Plain.

The Byte Shop digitizes all types of VHS tapes, cassette tapes and Hi8, 8mm and Super8 film. They also offer modern and retro computer repair and electronics recycling (so you can finally declutter that old TV console). The store is also home to a techie gift selection, with everything from simple accessories (chargers and essential cords) to vintage items like 1970s issues of BYTE Magazine, old iPods and a refurbished Macintosh computer.

For the person who could use some self-care…

Bos. Shop (623 Tremont St., South End)

Black Owned Bos. has held a series of pop-up markets across Boston in the last two years. But now, you can browse their curated selection of local products from Black-owned businesses in person anytime when you visit their store in Boston’s South End. You’ll find aromatic body care products, candles, soaps and even snack boxes — all excellent picks for someone who could use a little TLC.

For the old souls…

Buzzy’s Bazaar (25B Mass. Ave., Arlington)

Don’t we all know someone who’s practically curating their own museum at home? You can easily find something they’ll treasure at Buzzy’s Bazaar, a consignment store located just past the Arlington-Cambridge line. Stepping inside this shop feels like visiting a wealthy heiress’ estate sale. They sell vintage jewels, hats, furs, clothing, funky home furnishings and all kinds of antiques.

For the eclectic plant parent…

Seed to Stem (138 Green St., Worcester)

Plants, botanicals, crystals and incense — if you’re looking for a gift for someone who’s into all of the above, you’ll want to stop by Seed to Stem in Worcester. This store describes itself as “a botanic garden combined with a natural history museum.” Not only do they have a massive amount of plants, they also sell fascinating fossils, geodes, skulls, ornaments and carved crystals. It’s worth the drive, but don’t worry, Bostonians: You also can shop their selection online if you can’t make the trek out west.

For the chef or host…

Wild Child (Suite 32, Bow Market, Somerville)

Know someone who’s serious about their food and wine pairing? You’ll want to visit Wild Child — currently located on the second level of Somerville’s Bow Market — to find a gift they’ll love. You can buy wine, cookbooks, coffee table books and other culinary literature here. Plus, they host one-hour wine classes, which you can gift to anyone who’s eager to expand their palette.

One heads up: Wild Child is moving to new, nearby space and will likely close its Bow Market location in June, so keep an eye on their Instagram for updates on the shop’s new home.

P.S. — Did we forget any shops you think should have made this list? Let us know your favorite places to pick up presents for friends and family. We may update this piece in the future with your suggestions!

Sign up for the WBUR Weekender

Latest News

Career Horoscope Today for May 28, 2024: Astro tips for financial improvement

Aries: It is crucial to keep your feet on the ground and not be deceived...

More Articles Like This