Boston - Around Town : Chinatown, the Theater District, & South End (part 2) - Shops, Nightclubs & Bars

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Exploring Chinatown & South End


Walk down Essex Street, ducking into Oxford Place to see the mural, Travelers in an Autumn Landscape, based on the famous scroll painting by the same name at the Museum of Fine Arts. Stroll along the aisles of Cheng Kwong Market if you are looking for exotic produce, Chinese teas, and imported Asian foods. The distinctive and colorful Dragon Gate to Chinatown stands at the corner of Edinboro Street and Beach Street, along with picturesque pagoda-style phone booths. Continue to Kneeland Street to peruse the contemporary couture of Kim’s Fashion Design . Then stop for a delicious lunch at Shabu-Zen.


Walk down Tremont Street to the South End, or hop on the “T” two stops to Back Bay Station. Go west on Columbus Avenue to see the elaborate bronze sculptures that tell the story of escaped slave Harriet Tubman, who led many others to freedom on the Underground Railroad, a series of hiding places in non-slave states. Back at Tremont Street, take a coffee and pastry break at Garden of Eden Cafès . Visit the Boston Center for the Arts to get a snapshot of local contemporary art at the Mills Gallery. Then, if you have extra time, take a spin around Union Park Square. Make sure you have dinner reservations to enjoy a sumptuous, romantic meal in the artfully decorated Icarus .


  1. Tadpole

    If there was ever any doubt that young families are colonizing the South End, then Tadpole’s cheery selection of clothing, toys, and accessories for children dispels it.

    • 37 Clarendon St

  2. J. M. W. Gallery

    People come from miles around to this antiques dealer specializing in furniture in the Arts & Crafts and Mission styles as well as exquisite New England art pottery from the early decades of the 20th century.

    • 144 Lincoln St

    • Closed Sun & Mon

  3. Lekker Home

    Contemporary Italian, Scandinavian and German home design are the highlights of this emporium for accessorizing the sleek townhouse in the latest style.

    • 1317 Washington St

  4. Kim’s Fashion Design

    Designer Kim Pham has been creating timeless ready-to-wear and custom-tailored Asian fashion for more than two decades. Embroidered silks are a specialty. Also the place to get scarves and bags.

    • 12 Kneeland St

  5. Silky Way

    This all-purpose martial arts store carries robes, belts, books, magazines, videos, plus a few swords and other weapons.

    • 38 Kneeland St

  6. Aunt Sadie’s

    Whimsical housewares fill this shop known for its hand-dipped and scented candles. Aromas include root beer, popcorn, and “home” (which smells like apple pie).

    • 18 Union Park St

  7. Motley

    A constantly changing assortment of goods reflects the tastes of the moment in this trend-setting South End store. Browse for a personal indulgence or a gift.

    • 623 Tremont St

  8. Cheng Kwong Market

    This compact market offers vegetables, tropical fruits, and packaged foods essential for cuisines from Singapore to Seoul.

    • 73–79 Essex St

  9. Vessel

    Innovative and stylish contemporary design products for the office and home shine in this Chinatown boutique, owned by designers Stephane Barbeau and Duane Smith

    • 125 Kingston St

  10. Syrian Grocery Importing Company

    Harking back to the South End’s days as a Middle Eastern immigrant neighborhood, this grocery sells southern and eastern Mediterranean essentials, from preserved lemons to rare Moroccan argan oil.

    • 270 Shawmut Ave

    • Closed Mon

Unless otherwise specified shops are open daily

Nightclubs & Bars

  1. Gypsy Bar

    The colorful and sophisticated bar up front becomes a glamorous dance scene in the back.

    • 116 Boylston St

    • 617 482 7799

    • Closed Sun–Tue

    • Adm

  2. Roxy

    This massive two-story dance hall occasionally morphs into a live-performance concert venue for touring acts.

    • 279 Tremont St

    • 617 338 7699

    • Closed Sun–Thu

    • Adm

  3. Wally’s Café

    Exhale before you squeeze in the door at Wally’s. This thin, chock-full sliver of a room is one of the best jazz bars in Boston, and has been since 1944.

    • 427 Massachusetts Ave

    Wally’s Café
  4. The Estate

    Theater District alley’s largest dance space throbs with the beats of house DJs and twice-weekly girl-band performances. Sunday night is a raucous gay scene.

    • 1 Boylston Place

  5. Delux Café

    Cheap drinks and an Elvis shrine lend an edge to the trendy scene here. It’s good clean fun for hipster grandchildren of the beatniks .

    • 100 Chandler St

    • Closed Sun

    Delux Café
  6. Aria

    The lush life: sugar daddies and their stunning trophies get on down amid red velvet and goth art. Admission on a busy night may depend on just how hot you look.

    • 246 Tremont St

    • Closed Sun & Mon

  7. Venu

    Music varies each night of the week, but it’s always the same Prada-Armani-Versace clad crowd. The Art Deco bar makes for a beautiful look.

    • 100 Warrenton St

    • Closed Mon & Wed

  8. Jacque’s

    This two-level pioneer drag queen bar features female impersonators on weekdays and edgy rock bands on weekends.

    • 79 Broadway

    • Adm

  9. 28 Degrees

    Small plates and big martinis fuel this stylish South End spot where the electronica never stops.

    • 1 Appleton St

  10. Caprice

    Weekend Latin nights are the signature sets at this South Beach-style bar-restaurant-club with its extensive cocktail menu. For a calmer scene, escape the crowds at the downstairs Underbar.

    • 275 Tremont St

Most bars stop serving at around 1am from Sun–Thu, around 2am on weekends

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