Harvard Square Holiday Shopping

Does even the thought of having to deal with holiday shopping make you pull one of these?


We got you, and we’re about to throw some holiday cheer your way. First, we’re lucky enough to have some of the best shopping in the state, right here in Watertown. And if that’s not enough, we’re only a quick T or Uber ride away from over 350 businesses packed into ¼ square mile, with just about every kind of retail store you could ever need, plus cafes and restaurants on every corner to keep you fueled up. If you haven’t spent much time in Harvard Square, we’re about to map out what could be the easiest holiday shopping trip you may take this season! Here are just a few of the great destinations, separated by category: 

Clothing and Accessories: Harvard Square’s retail mix features some upscale boutiques mixed in with some of the more well known clothing shops. Mint Julep at 6 Church Street is great for funky accessories and clothing, as is longtime favorite The Tannery at 39 Brattle Street. And don’t forget the tried and true Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and American Apparel, all of whom have great spaces in the Square.

Gifts: We’ve said it before, but Black Ink remains our favorite stop to find for that random thing you didn’t even know existed but now must have. They’re proud of their curated collection of cool gadgets, watches, glassware, novelty books, and games – plus an amazing array of cards and wrapping paper.

Other places worth stopping at include Anime Zakka for their huge selection of anime and Japanese kitch (perfect for the Pokemon fanatic) and Hidden Sweets for candy and joke gifts. 

Books: Harvard Square has always been a bookstore mecca, at one time packed with over 50 of them. Many have shuttered in recent years – but you still can’t beat this neighborhood for its excellent and eclectic selection. The Harvard Book Store is the granddaddy of them all, open and independent since 1932. They offer a huge selection of used and bargain books as well as new titles.

For something different, check out the Grolier Poetry Book Shop, the oldest continuous poetry bookshop in the US! Schoenhof’s offers the largest selection of foreign titles anywhere in America – very cool. And of course, to make yourself feel wicked smaht, you have to at least pretend to be interested in the textbook selection at the Harvard COOP (they sell books with pictures too).

Food and Booze: The absolute must-stop in this category is Cardullo’s, a Harvard Square fixture since 1950. Not only do they sell a ridiculous array of gourmet foods, craft beer and imported wines, but they’ll put together amazing gift baskets, trays and boxes you can order in store or online. They also deliver locally, and ship anywhere in the US!

And if your gift list includes the chocolate obsessed, head over to LA Burdick’s Handmade Chocolates on Brattle Street. They’ll custom design a gorgeous box or basket full of their decadent handmade chocolates, bonbons, and drinking chocolate. Special holiday selections include their signature mice, penguins, and snow people, as well as Hanukkah boxes decorated with a Menorah silver wax seal and blue ribbon. Oh, and if your knees haven’t buckled already, don’t leave without ordering their hot chocolate.