Cities always have that one place that everyone raves about and in Boston, it's Faneuil Hall. For those who aren't familiar with this marketplace, it's easy to mistake it for some kind of museum or historical building based on its exterior. However, inside, the marketplace gives way to a slew of culture and entertainment, from diverse dining options to boutique and big-brand stores. There's nothing that can't be found within its walls, and no Boston trip is complete without paying it a visit.
It's also easy to confuse this and Quincy Market, which isn't necessarily as separate as it is part of Faneuil Hall. It's far bigger than many people realize and once the shopping and dining have started, it'll soon become a regular destination. With a rich history that dates all the way back to 1742 and the title of being one of the earliest hubs for Boston's first merchants, this guide will become everything you need to navigate the best shopping in the city.
What To Shop
When it comes to shopping at Faneuil Hall Marketplace, there's no wrong way to go about it. In fact, the only 'wrong' thing a person can do is not explore the marketplace in its entirety! While the creation of Faneuil Hall began in the 1700s, it didn't become the full-fledged market that it is today until much, much later in 1976. After a severe decrease in business during the 1900s, the hall was saved by Bostonians that cared deeply for its rich history and committed to restoring it. Now, it's one of the most bustling and lively places in the city with shops reflecting such an atmosphere. Visitors will find well-known stores such as Gap, Ambercrombie, and Urban Outfitters, along with more than 40 local vendors who gather to sell their own handcrafted wares.
If you're wondering why shopping at Faneuil Hall is so unique compared to any other indoor market, it's due to its history. Along the way, visitors will be treated to various artifacts and historical plaques that detail the two-century life of the land they're currently standing on. This is exactly why shopping around Faneuil Hall Marketplace isn't referred to as retail therapy - it's referred to as a truly authentic Boston experience. This, in conjunction with the fact that each storefront and vendor cart is so unique, stands to be one of the most unique shopping districts in the country.
What To See
Not a fan of shopping? Don't worry, there's plenty more to see around and in Faneuil Hall. Not only is it a hub for all things retail, but it's also a haven for entertainment. The best part is that live entertainment is almost always free and Faneuil Hall attracts world-class performers from all over the world. If you're wondering where and how to see these incredible acts, simply follow the crowds and enjoy the show. Anything from acrobatics to juggling is fair game, and you're sure to be treated to something you've never quite seen before.
Many of the carts throughout Quincy Hall are also shops that have long histories, and their owners and creators are part of why the experience is so memorable. With their smiling faces welcoming visitors into the market, you're sure to feel like you belong there. It only takes a quick "Hello!" to start up a conversation that could lead to a new connection, and many shop owners are happy to share their inspirations and creative histories with you.
Where To Eat
It's almost guaranteed that the hardest part of the day will be figuring out where to sit down for a bite to eat. Boston, in general, has some of the greatest restaurants in the country, which makes it challenging to pick only a few. Around Faneuil Hall, especially, there are plenty to choose from depending on what you're craving. For starters, you can see the bar that inspired the hit sitcom Cheers on Beacon Street. What was once the Bull & Finch Pub is now Cheers Beacon Hill and it's worth the trip to see where all the inside jokes began.
Other restaurants with a reputation include Ned Devine's Irish Pub, which is local-approved and serves up traditional fare that couldn't be more fitting for Boston. The pub's Guinness soup or Fish and Chips are sure to put a smile on your face and warm you up after a chilly walk around the city. McCormick & Schmick's Seafood is another great option, and visitors are likely to catch the locals heading in during Happy Hour. The seafood selections change daily and, as the name implies, the steak entrees are divine. If you're feeling more traditional, there's nothing like Boston Chowda Co. - especially if you want an authentic taste of the dish that got its start in this city.