A Conscious Guide to Boston, Massachusetts
Boston, home to the top universities and medical centers, aggressive sports fans, and Irish pubs, is also home to some hidden gems that make the city one of the richest in art, music, food, and culture. The abundance of vegan and eco-friendly options can seem a little off the beaten path because it’s not exactly what we’re known for. But Boston is one of the most liberal and educated cities. Our neighbors in Cambridge have even already banned plastic bags to encourage consumers to bring their own reusable ones while shopping, and Boston has added Bike Hubway stations at several convenient points in the city to encourage visitors to opt for a more environmentally friendly commute. This guide will steer you in the right direction, allowing you to enjoy all the conscious spots the city offers and eating well while you do it.
487 Cambridge St Allston, MA
Located in the heart of Allston, this hole-in-the-wall cafe has the kind of food that even your most carnivorous friend will salivate for. I’ve heard multiple friends of mine express their need for the seared avocados involvement in their last meal on earth. Whole Heart has a special menu for Sunday brunch with rotating pancake flavors and a tofu scramble. They also offer kombucha on tap and the option of a float topped with a scoop of locally made vegan ice cream — a power combo I had not experienced until my first visit here and a must-try.
There is seemingly a Clover in every neighborhood of Boston near a T stop, so we never have to go without their rosemary fries when the need strikes (and it often does). It is essentially fast food given how quickly the team will have your food ready, but there’s a twist. The menu of simple sandwiches, plates, and soups change regularly based on what’s in season and what’s available since everything is sourced as locally as possible. The Chickpea Fritter (but let’s be honest: it’s a falafel wrap) is never short of satisfying, and the BBQ Seitan is somehow even better.
128 Arlington St. Watertown, MA
When dessert is calling, FoMu answers. This vegan establishment is a city favorite for it’s range of coconut based ice cream flavors, cakes, and other treats. Where else can you get avocado or sweet lavender flavored ice cream that tastes this great? Their new location on Newbury Street is now open until 11pm for late night sweet treat needs.
With multiple locations, including one on Boston’s bustling Newbury Street, this cafe has a local following. Because why go to Starbucks when we can go here? They offer all of your favorite coffee drinks, which can be substituted with your favorite vegan milk, and a menu full of vegan-friendly options. I accidentally discovered The Californian sandwich while hangrily hoping to find something both healthy and delicious and I haven’t had anything else on the menu since — it’s that good.
271 Dartmouth St. Boston, MA
Quite possibly my favorite place for a “treat yourself” margarita. Located on the Copley stop on the Green Line, on the corner of Newbury and Dartmouth, this dark lit haunt continues to intrigue even the locals. The chips and guacamole and Diablo Margarita are consistently a winning combo in my book and can brighten even the darkest winter nights in the city.
23 White St. Cambridge, MA
So much more than just a health food store, Cambridge Naturals offers an impressive variety of non toxic and ethically sourced body and hair care products, supplements, snacks, jewelry, handmade housewares, and a selection of books and tarot. The wall of organic herbs (some are local and wild harvested) available to buy in bulk is especially convenient for all of your cooking projects, herbal medicine making, or DIY face mask needs. It adds to the calming fragrance of the store that encourages guests to linger for hours. They have kombucha on tap and wide variety of locally made vegan cheeses and chocolate you’ll want to stock up on.
318 Lincoln St. Allston, MA
Walking through Vivant’s door is like crossing state lines and somehow finding yourself in LA — there’s really nothing else like it in Boston. This charming boutique is located on the corner of Franklin and Lincoln in Lower Allston and feels like walking into a cool friends private basement hang out. It’s loaded from top to bottom with a perfectly curated selection of oddities and vintage clothing, shoes, silver jewelry, signs, typewriters, and all of the Levi’s you could dream of. The owners really know their stuff when it comes to finding and collecting old gold and are a pleasure to talk to about it.
623 Tremont St. Boston, MA
One of my favorite boutiques to run to when it’s gift-giving time, Olives + Grace describes itself as “a curtsy to the makers” and I couldn’t think of a more perfect introduction. It’s filled with local and small batch homewares for everyone — from cocktail sets to cactus print tea towels to handmade ceramic mugs to soy candles you won’t be able to stop smelling. Located on Tremont Street in Boston’s South End, there are plenty of wine bars and restaurants lining this historic street to visit after you’ve worn yourself out shopping all day.
55 Bishop Allen Dr, Cambridge, MA
Once a month, local artists and collectors get together at the Elks Lodge in Cambridge to sell handmade and vintage artwork, prints, zines, jewelry, records, clothing, and more. There are even tarot readings and live drawings! It’s one of the best places to meet and support local artists in the area and get some fantastic pieces you would never find elsewhere.
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