As the first recreational pot shop in Boston proper, and the first Black-owned one in the state, Pure Oasis carries the weight of history on its shoulders. From the moment it opened in early 2020 (unluckily, mere moments before COVID lockdowns set in), the store has been embraced by its community. Stocked with an impressive array of flower, tinctures, THC-infused chocolates, and even a line of locally made cannabis seltzers, it certainly has the goods. But a year later, shopping at Pure Oasis still feels like a celebration — of a ceasefire in the war on drugs that caused immeasurable harm in its backyard, and of all that’s yet to come as the industry flourishes. 430 Blue Hill Ave., Boston, MA 02121, mypureoasis.com.
If you have kiddos under 12, chances are you still need plenty of masks. Thank goodness, then, that Schnelle Shelby’s hand-sewn face coverings come in three adult sizes and two children’s sizes. Choose from a wide variety of styles, from quirky mermaid scales and spaceships to tasteful plaids and beautiful African and batik patterns. And know that by ordering from SchnelleCares, you’re supporting a business that donates masks to food pantries and health centers in the city, as well as gives a portion of sales to the Boston Resiliency Fund for COVID relief schnellecares.com..
Trust Jenny Luu with your bridal makeup, and she’ll do so much more than expertly blend your foundation and apply false lashes. Weeks before you walk down the aisle, Luu (a self-proclaimed “skinthusiast”) will equip you with a personalized skin-care routine to ensure that your face remains blemish-free. Then, on the big day, the Boston-based artist will use products from Charlotte Tilbury and Dior, among others, to create a look that not only highlights your natural beauty, but also outlasts the after-party (seriously). 460 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02118, jcluu.com.
Sometimes it’s good to let your roots show. At Uni, Tony Messina unexpectedly draws from his Eastie-Italian heritage to bring something new to the burgeoning-in-Boston izakaya genre. That translates to dishes like his signature lubina sashimi with gremolata and chermoula, and hot plates such as spaghetti with nori. And Messina and partner chef Ken Oringer aren’t afraid to have fun within the luxe dining genre, either—as anyone who’s eaten one of Uni’s cheeseburger sushi rolls can attest. 370A Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215, uni-boston.com.
Or views, more like it: Nowhere else in Boston will you find three options for al fresco dining under one roof. All you need to do is pick your floor. Snag a coveted seat on the ground level’s harborside deck and tuck into fried clams while listening to the concert rocking at the nearby Pavilion; savor a splurge-worthy meal on the second floor’s secluded outdoor patio (complete with fireplace); or head all the way up to the third floor’s roof deck, where you can sip, snack, and savor views of the water and the city skyline rain or shine thanks to retractable glass walls. 270 Northern Ave., Boston, MA 02210, legalseafoods.com.
If a family business is expanding after 40 years, you know they’re doing something right. And Cambridge Naturals, which is opening a second location at Boston Landing this summer, does a lot of things right. In addition to its unparalleled selection of bulk dried herbs and spices, it stocks organic, non-GMO vitamins, beautifully crafted bath products, and local and fair-trade grocery items. Don’t worry if you’re a newbie to the all-natural world: Employees are deeply committed to nurturing the ever-growing wellness community and will gladly help you navigate the shelves. 23 White St., Cambridge, MA 02140, cambridgenaturals.com.
While studying abroad, Tanya Pham logged a lot of time in airports—enough time to hear plenty of fellow female travelers complain about their bland, bulky luggage. She’s used their feedback to design her Boston-based brand of sleek weekenders, duffels, and backpacks, crafted from Italian leather in Vietnam, where she lived for a year while vetting the production process. Equipped with thoughtful details (hidden compartments, magnetic closures), the bags are made in limited runs from custom materials—so your travel companion will stand out in a sea of scuffed-up carry-ons. MA latitu.com.
When Philip Saul said he intended to celebrate the New England gent's wardrobe with the opening of Sault, it seemed a somewhat lofty goal; after all, the region is known more for jerseys and button-downs than high-end men's fashion. Six years later, he has proven to naysayers that Boston boys do, in fact, appreciate good style. They appreciate the South End shop's selection of classic Grayers sweaters and Penfield outerwear. They appreciate the Jack Spade bags and the occasional vintage accessory. And the rest of us appreciate our guys' newly spiffy style. 577 Tremont St., Boston, MA 02118, saultne.com.
Patrice Vinci is the beauty fairy godmother you never knew you needed. With an old-school Boston accent and gorgeous golden tresses of her own, the colorist wields her brushes like magic wands and her dyes like potions. Case in point: a visit that turned our thick blond curls a rich, multi-toned copper that looked so incredibly natural, even our mother swore we must have entered this world a redhead. Expert or enchantress—why can't it be both?—Vinci will help your hair live happily ever after. 91 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, patricevinci.com.
Who better to capture your wedding day than a couple of lovebirds themselves? The husband-and-wife team behind Veiled in Motion, Mark and Valery DerHovanessian, incorporate candid glimpses, toast highlights, and breathtaking drone footage to create a film that transports you back to the precious sights and sounds of your big day. Whether you choose New England nuptials or, when it’s safe to travel again, a destination elopement, the Boston-based pros will have you reliving those first married moments with the press of “play.” veiledinmotion.com.
Dave Lindsey’s secret ingredient? Joy. He says he never makes ice cream unless he’s in a happy mood—and you can taste the love in his Somerville scoop shop’s luscious yet light custard-based creations, which rotate among 100-plus flavors, from honey-roasted fig to a spin on Caprese made with tomato, basil, and balsamic. The ice cream is also stocked by gourmet markets and newly served by Earl of Sandwich on Boston Common, bringing many more much-needed smiles to the Hub. 415 Medford St., Somerville, MA 02143, tippingcowicecream.com.
One of the last survivors of Kenmore Square’s sterilizing overhaul, Nuggets gets you back in touch with old weird Boston and encourages you to bring that history home. Since 1978, obsessed musicologists have explored its wide range of rock, R & B, folk, jazz, and classical box sets, then dug through shelves of books and other tuneful memorabilia. If you’re looking for an old 12-inch dance single or an LP by a long-neglected local band like Heretix or the Real Kids, check out the racks in front and keep an eye on the store’s Facebook updates. 486 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA nuggetsrecords.com.
There’s plenty of good theater in Boston, but if you want to see something really innovative, chances are you’re going to the Huntington. Its most recent season included a production of a Sherlock Holmes play melded with Fujiko Nakaya’s wildly popular outdoor fog sculptures, as well as the brilliantly staged Indecent. The company has also proven it can attract—and retain—big names: Pose star and Met gala trendsetter Billy Porter will be returning this fall to direct The Purists. We can’t wait to see what the Huntington thinks of next. 264 Huntington Ave. , Boston, MA huntingtontheatre.org.
When Lana Barakat decided to rethink her two Beacon Hill clothing-and-gift boutiques, she envisioned one store catering to home décor and another specializing in apparel and accessories. This divide-and-conquer strategy created more room for something Boston has been sorely lacking: high-end women’s footwear. Handcrafted by European and American designers, Barakat’s collection includes everything from metallic leather boots with an offset heel to cheetah-print loafers to sneakers with a velvet knot tie—perfect for navigating the cobblestones in style as you stroll up Charles to check out what other treasures await at the December Thieves home store. 51 Charles St., Boston, MA decemberthieves.com.
When the Liberty opened last winter in the old Charles Street jail, following a $150 million building renovation, it was met with the requisite jokes about white-collar inmates and doing time in the Clink (one of the hotel restaurants). Penitentiary puns aside, the 298-room hotel has raised the bar for Boston accommodations: Its 24/7 fitness center, dining, and concierge services are all first-rate, and the rooms—exposed brick walls, Molton Brown toiletries, VoIP phones—are eminently comfortable. The magnificent vaulted lobby is worth a visit in itself. 215 Charles St., Boston, MA 2114, libertyhotel.com.