Take a stroll underneath the I-93 overpass between the South End and Southie, and you’ll discover the city’s most exhilarating art exhibit. Sprawled over 8 acres, the once-desolate zone now features 18 murals, nine of which were added last summer. Highlighting local artists such as Silvia López Chavez, national ones like Def Jam’s founding creative director Cey Adams, and international ones including Spain’s Muro, the concrete, metal, and asphalt burst with color and forward-thinking vision 90 Traveler St., Boston, MA 02118, undergroundinkblock.com.
What’s worse—a dog in desperate need of a bath, or one that returns from the groomer smelling like cheap air freshener? At Laundromutt, the emphasis on all-natural products means your pooch will be shampooed with olfactory-pleasing scents like honey-almond and pomegranate. Fido, meanwhile, will be in great hands with the company’s expert groomers, who handle matted fur and overgrown coats with ease. And if a romp in the mud needs urgent attention, there’s also the DIY bath, which doesn’t require an appointment. Waterproof smocks are included—hair in the drain of your home tub, mercifully, is not. 489 Concord Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138, laundromutt.com.
Men, women, novices, and veterans all feel at home in this inconspicuous, tasteful boutique. Small signs tell timid shoppers all the details they want to know (but are too shy to ask) about the excellent selection of books, videos, sex toys, and gifts. of all, the sleaze factor is notably nonexistent at this woman-owned shop. You'll find no shifty salesman asking overly personal questions or pushing questionable products. Feeling studious? Sign up for one of the classes hosted here: The "Spring Training for Guys" course, filled with sex tips for men, should be a civic requirement. For the truly meek at heart, there's—you guessed it—a Web site: www.grandopening.com. 318 Harvard St., Suite 32, Brookline, MA .
It stands to reason that seafood is the speciality of the house at this bright little spot near the Chinatown gate. To wit: The restaurant is decorated with tanks of live fish, lobsters, eels, crabs, and shrimp. The atmosphere itself is delightful, including a huge mural of Hong Kong adorning one wall, and the constant chatter of both Chinese and English filling the air. Favorite dishes: crispy orange shrimp and calamari with mixed green vegetables; lobster sauteed with ginger and scallions; Hunan-style crispy whole fish. All meals finish with chocolate-dipped fortune cookies. Jumbo Seafood is open seven days a week until 2 am. 5-9 Hudson Street, Boston, MA newjumboseafoodrestaurant.com/.
In our search for the holy grail of garden centers, we were pleasantly tempted by the personalized attention and quaint urban setting of Ricky's Flower Market in Somerville. But Mahoney's has the edge when it comes to one-stop garden shopping. Where else near the city can you find starter grapevines, elephant-shaped watering cans, large ceramic urns, and a barn filled with landscaping tools, not to mention the obligatory greenhouses brimming with flowers and herbs? The vast and varied selection makes it worth the extra work it sometimes takes to find a salesperson to answer your questions. 889 Memorial Dr., Cambridge, MA mahoneysgarden.com/.
Never mind our underutilized brains: Experts say most of us tap only 10 percent of the capability of the whiz-bang high-def TVs, sound systems, and talking refrigerators we use to decorate our homes. Tweeter's solution is its adult-playground stores—there's just one in New England—where the latest technology is set up in replica kitchens, dens, and bedrooms. The chain's hyperinformed tech-heads walk buyers from room to pretend room, demonstrating features meant to keep them entertained in space-age style. One Wheeler Rd., Burlington, MA .
Seven miles of white sand nudge up against the salt waters of the Atlantic on this, the South Shore's most utopian spot. The chaos (near the restrooms, parking, and refreshment stand) eases out toward Powder Point Bridge, and ends with empty stretches interrupted by only a few unobtrusive patches of locals here to kayak, admire the natural beauty, and walk the clean dunes toward Gurnet Light in neighboring Plymouth. Beyond the quiet beauty of the bridge, sailboats and windsurfers ride the sterling blue bay that separates the beach from town. If you don't have to rush home, stick around for the sunset—one of the area's most magnificent. Canal St., Duxbury, MA .
Here’s one of those whip-smart, why-didn’t-someone-think-of-it-sooner concepts: a wine bar and shop that work together to help you discover your next favorite pour. From Croatian plavac mali to Monterey-grown malvasia, all of the by-the-glass selections at Jennifer Scott and Chris Hsi’s Taste Wine Bar & Kitchen are also available to tote home by the bottle at Common Vines, their vino boutique right across the street. Not enough time for a full pour? Pop into the shop for a free tasting; themes—such as "Wines with a Long Finish" on Marathon Monday—change by the day. 100 Summer St., Boston, MA 02110, commonvines.com.
We here at Boston appreciate every newsstand—especially the ones that give our issues prime real estate. But our highest esteem is reserved for the venerable Out of Town News, which makes its home in an old subway kiosk at the sk8er-boi-and-grrrl heart of Harvard Square. The newsstand carries more than 450 titles—spanning Granta to German GQ—plus at least 15 international newspapers. And even though the staff doesn't hustle browsers out, we recommend buying several extra copies of the issue you're reading right now. Go ahead. Do it. The register's right over there. Zero Harvard Sq., Cambridge, MA 2138, .
Arthur & Pat's, in the words of one sage local, "doesn't cater to the fancy-pants crowd." And indeed, the restaurant's worn exterior, wooden signs, and random rock soundtrack are unabashedly down-home. But if those details create a misperception of slapdash management, it's immediately cleared up by the glorious grub. We're talking fluffy pancakes with piles of berries; eggs Benedict with real crab; crispy, greaseless fried clams; bottomless cups of strong, hot coffee. After your meal, you may feel tempted to undo your belt—and given the easygoing air, it'd almost be acceptable to do so. 239 Ocean St., Marshfield, MA 2050, .
With heavy hitters like Lenovo, Apple, and Sony to call upon, the sole Bay State outpost of Ohio-based Micro Center stocks the best personal computers on the market, along with a bevy of cameras, scanners, monitors, and other peripherals. But what really gets local tech-heads powered up is the vast BYOPC (Build Your Own PC) section, replete with all the components needed to pimp that desktop—or build one from scratch. Free in-store clinics on such topics as VoIP and network security further cater to IT acolytes who aspire to true geekdom. 730 Memorial Dr., Cambridge, MA 2139, microcenter.com.
Fidelity's Peter Lynch, managed of the Magellan Fund, spilled his secrets in <em>One Up on Wall Street</em>.
His argument that a little guy can pick stocks successfully simply by being observant is controversial. But someone who can write that he regrets letting the crash of 1987 ruin a good vacation definitely deserves attention.
We'd love to tell you how tasty the hot house-smoked pastrami and creamy blintzes are at Mamaleh's, but oy vey, we're stuffed like a kishka and can barely finish writing this. For years the area has been short on real-deal Jewish delicatessens, and now we finally have one that satisfies all of our cravings, right down to the cherry phosphates and crisp, golden latkes just like Mom used to make. Bring the experience home with you via the takeout counter, generously stocked with all manner of smoked fish and cold cuts. One Kendall Sq., Cambridge, MA 02139, mamalehs.com.
Dainty eaters, beware. Only those with a hankering for a little grease and gobs of pork-addled flavor are able to handle the made-to-order plates at Cambridge's stick-to-your-ribs haven. Sure, the chicken's great, but there's also smoked turkey with collard greens, and bread crumb–encrusted mac and cheese, and silky sweet potatoes, and… (the only thing harder than settling on an order here, you'll find, is nabbing one of the few seats). Coast Café may not have much competition in these parts—KFC? Popeyes?—but it could surely hold its own in Dixie. 233 River Street, Cambridge, MA 2139, coastsoulcafe.com.
Touch is one of those mysterious forces science hasn't even begun to understand. But you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that Maggie Kessler has the most sensitive, soothing, and magical touch of any masseuse in town. Trust us; we put her to the test, asking her to work the kinks out of sore muscles, strained backs, stressed-out shoulders, and beat-up soles. We requested everything from delicate pressure and medium kneading to iron-tight body punches, and Kessler excelled at them all without so much as breaking a sweat. 4 Avery St., Boston, MA boston.sportsclubla.com/.