Five Outdoor Markets to Shop Food and Gifts This Summer

The area’s buzziest al fresco markets impress with new vendors, live music, cooking demonstrations, and more.

Scenes from SoWa Open Market. / Photo by Chris Anderson/SoWa Boston

For Home Goods
SoWa Open Market

If you’re anything like us, you’ll be spending at least a few upcoming Sunday afternoons strolling around this city favorite—and likely redecorating your living room in the process. With 60 core vendors and another 150 on rotation during this year’s May-through-October run, SoWa Open Market makes easy work of dressing up your humble abode with handblown glass planters from Charged Glassworks, dough-bowl candles from Oak Rich Candle Co., and block-printed textiles from Amisha Design. Quench your thirst after browsing with Dorchester Brewing Company’s new SoWa-inspired beer, available at the market’s shipping-container bar.

Scenes from SoWa Open Market. / Photo by Chris Anderson/SoWa Boston

For Specialty Foods
Boston Public Market

Offering an outdoor farmers’ market in Dewey Square each Thursday from June through November, this downtown staple regularly garners attention for its freshly plucked produce. But if you ask us, its selection of specialty goods (think: dried rice and bean mixes from Samosa-Man and crisp apple cider from Kimball Fruit Farm) is just as enticing. New this year is Uncle Joey’s Cannoli, which serves up delicious pastries in creative flavors like raspberry chip and tiramisu.

Scenes from SoWa Open Market. / Photo by Chris Anderson/SoWa Boston

Scenes from SoWa Open Market. / Photo by Chris Anderson/SoWa Boston

For Art
The Salem Flea

Scarier than the many ghosts that allegedly haunt the streets of Salem? Missing out on your chance to score seriously cool artwork at the city’s annual summer market. Welcoming visitors on the third Saturday of the month from May through September, the Salem Flea plays host to scores of local creatives hawking everything from drawings to paintings. This month, head to Derby Square to peep sweet but spooky character illustrations from Melanie Christopher and eye-catching watercolors from Salter’s Point Provisions.

For Vintage
The Somerville Flea

Whether you crave the look and feel of treasures from another time or you’re simply after a more sustainable way to shop, the Somerville Flea is for you. The Davis Square market, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, caters heavily to the vintage enthusiast with a wide range of perfectly aged furniture, clothing, vinyl, and more from 70-plus vendors. Swing by Sundays from August through October to browse handpainted teacups from La Roux Vintage, seersucker bikinis from RI Reclaimed, and other standouts while you take in a live show. With upgraded audio equipment, this year’s Somerville Flea will feature local musicians at every market.

A candle from Oak Rich Candle Co. / Photo by Eva Richardson/Oak Rich Candle Co.

Vendors at Copley Square Farmers Market. / Photo via Aimintang/Getty Images

For Fresh Produce
Copley Square Farmers Market

Sorry, Whole Foods. This summer, we’ll once again be snagging fresh fruit and veggies from this beloved Back Bay institution, which sets up shop in front of Trinity Church each Tuesday and Friday from May through November. New sellers run the gamut from the micro-green-focused Griffin Hall Farms to Cloutman Farms, which specializes in gourmet mushrooms. Bonus: This month, the market will host the first of its so-called Chef Challenges, where local pros whip up tasty meals using ingredients from the vendors.