Let's face it, Boston's a walking town; buy into a pricey gimmick tour, and you'll spend half the time stuck in traffic. At Boston By Foot, though, the guides are volunteers; you pick your thematic pleasure (seven tours cover everything from the Freedom Trail to Victorian Back Bay, Beacon Hill, or the popular "Boston Underground," about the engineering of the subway and the Big Dig); and of all you avoid congestion, get exercise, and learn about Boston all at once. 77 N. Washington St., Boston, MA .
Forty-four lanes. Metal bumpers. Affordable prices. A kingpin's dream—and now a bowling reality. The pro shop (yes, this bowling alley has a pro shop) stocks enough balls, bags, and shoes to satisfy amateurs and experts alike. The sprawling entertainment complex also has 12 pool tables, a video-game arcade, and a full service bar, and is open 24/7 (save for Christmas Eve). 820 Morrissey Blvd., Dorchester, MA bostonbowl.com/.
Even if you don't have a cold, a bowl of this stuff will make you feel better. Only the Boylston Street location is tops. The rest don't measure up. 745 Boylston St., Boston, MA .
The sushi-bar revolution on the West Coast hasn't struck here yet, but when it does we suspect that Tatsukichi will handle the competition. 189 State St., Boston, MA .
In summer, it carries beautiful pastel twinsets; in winter, it's rich, thick four-ply turtlenecks. Whatever the season, this is the place to stock up on all your cashmere items. In addition to the requisite sweaters by all the top designers, you'll also find scarves, gloves, and other supersoft accessories. 114 Newbury St., Boston, MA .
Greg Mencoff custom mills every frame in his South End studio. The low rent keeps prices down, much to the happiness of local artists, sculptors (who love Mencoff's expertise in Plexiglas and wood construction), interior designers, and the Museum of Fine Arts. 450 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA .
It's open only on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. You have to shop for winter in August and summer in February, But there's no better source for well-cut suits and pants in top-shelf wools, cottons, and linens. 112 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, MA .
Boston Shawarma's storefront may be nondescript and its interior dated, but the Lebanese brand of Middle Eastern fare served at this spot near Northeastern University is as good as it gets. The restaurant's specialty, as the sign would indicate, is shawarma—zesty, slow-roasted meats served in a soft, warm pita sandwich. But the proof of its greatness lies in the moist and tangy grape leaves stuffed with rice and seasoned beef—an afterthought at other places—and the often-overlooked desserts like burma, a nutty shredded wheat cake. 315 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 2115, .
Those hoping to impress long-awaited houseguests with perfectly stirred martinis or mai-tai-filled ceramic tiki mugs need only visit this cozy boutique. With inventory ranging from highball glasses and stainless steel bar spoons to absinthe fountains and jugs shaped like shark heads, the shop’s whimsical wares are perfect for getting the party started — no matter your tastes or how many people you’re hosting. 69 Holland St., Somerville, MA 02144, thebostonshaker.com.
Now entering its fourth decade, this orchestra uses only period instruments, including harpsichords and a theorbo, to evoke the raw emotion intended by the likes of Mozart and Monteverdi. Its programs play host to some of the world's best instrumental and vocal soloists, from Amanda Forsythe to Susanna Phillips. bostonbaroque.org.
The Boston Shaker has everything the imbibing sophisticate needs to equip his or her bar cart, from handblown tiki mugs to specialty ingredients like lavender bitters.69 Holland St., Somerville, MA 02144, thebostonshaker.com.
Okay, so maybe this isn’t a surprising choice. But when a three-year-old music festival is already bringing the likes of Sia and Janelle Monáe to our fair town, we must tip our hats. The band choices are solid, and there’s actually enough space for food, fans, and giant Jenga. With a big move to Allston planned for next year, we can’t wait to see what Boston Calling will bring to the city next. bostoncalling.com.
This Davis Square establishment holds all the accoutrements you need to make one killer cocktail (or six). Swizzle sticks? More than you could swizzle in a lifetime. Recipe books? Your options rival Barnes & Noble. Shark-shaped tiki mugs? Also available in whale variety. And don’t forget about the lauded bitters tasting bar, from which staffers are more than happy to provide samples. Happy drinking, indeed. 69 Holland St., Somerville, MA thebostonshaker.com.
The problem with mega-furniture stores is that everything tends to look the same. Boston Interiors, however, offers such a wide variety that you actually can create that it-came-together-over-the-decades look in one shopping trip. Bonus: Most of the stock can be procured in custom fabrics and finishes. 31 Boylston St., Brookline Village, MA 2445, bostoninteriors.com.
When Debi Greenberg moved Louis from the Back Bay to Fan Pier, skeptics said her chic clientele wouldn't follow. They did. They come for blazers, sleek bags, and statement jewelry from Marni, Proenza Schouler, and Balenciaga, but also to discover rising style stars from around the world, expertly vetted by Greenberg (British wunderkind Thomas Tait is a recent addition). And for those of us who can't make daily trips to the waterfront, Louis now has a 200-square-foot accessories store inside the Mandarin Oriental. 60 Northern Ave., Boston, MA 2110, louisboston.com.