Updated: Apr 15, 2020
We love living in the city this time of year. Cambridge is sparkling with lights, there are holiday-themed events like Yule Fest in Harvard Square this weekend, and we can finally indulge in shopping for friends and family.
Lots of people do their shopping online these days—who doesn’t want to hang out in their PJ’s with a warm beverage while buying stuff? However, we at Liz & Ellie Real Estate would like to put in a word for good old-fashioned local shopping this season.
Shopping at local stores supports your neighborhood entrepreneurs, eliminates tons of cardboard boxes and fuel fumes from delivery trucks (we’re looking at you, Amazon), and, to be honest, is a lot of fun! Cambridge and Somerville have great neighborhoods with unique stores just waiting for you to walk in. Lots of these stores specialize in vintage, second-hand, and upcycled gifts that don’t put strain on resources; and they’ll guarantee that you get a one-of-a-kind gift that your loved one will think is fabulous.
Cambridge Recycling put together a spreadsheet with a few dozen shops in Cambridge. Click here to see the full sheet, or read on for a curated list of our personal favorites.
Planet Records - We love this cozy store, and not just because it’s next to one of our favorite sandwich places, Darwin’s Ltd. on Mount Auburn Street. Planet Records has bins of LPs that are sure to contain that perfect record your old-school friend has been yearning for. They also have CDs and DVDs for your browsing pleasure. And seriously, go to Darwin’s before or after and have a sandwich and a cup of soup.
Raspberry Beret - Team member Rebecca recommends Raspberry Beret (near Porter Square), a quirky consignment shop for women’s clothes and accessories. The shopkeepers are knowledgeable and friendly, and the store carries both vintage and contemporary items. If you need a little cash for stocking stuffers, clean out your closet and make an appointment to consign your own clothes. And the store’s name is just perfect, though it does make us miss Prince.
Boomerangs - Want to shop for gifts locally and support the fight against AIDS? Head to Central Square and spend some time looking through the clothes, holiday decor, and music at Boomerangs. Shopping here means that when you buy your uncle that cool fedora, you’re also helping to improve the life of a person living with AIDS.
Cambridge Used Bicycles - If you’re shopping for the cyclist in your life, this bike shop specializes in refurbished bikes—though they do sell a curated collection of new ones, as well. Their shop is in the Antique Market Building near Lechmere—that’s the building with the beautiful animal mural. Check them out and choose a gift that’ll make your loved one excited to get out and bike.
Raven Used Books - Bookstores like this one are few and far between, so take the T to Harvard Square and spend some time perusing their huge selection of “like new” books. The booksellers are super helpful and can guide you to the perfect book for the people on your list. And if you’re looking to get rid of some of your own books, make an appointment and they’ll take them off your hands.
RESIDE - Liz and Ellie love this beautiful collection of Mid-Century Modern furniture, located in the Observatory Hill neighborhood of Cambridge. Read our blog about RESIDE and other favorite furniture showrooms, or pop in and buy your sweetie a stunning iron bench for the holidays.
Have a favorite second-hand shop we didn’t mention here, or that’s not in the Google Sheet? Let us know and we’ll add it to our list.
Houses are the ultimate recycled (almost always, around here) gift! If you have questions about buying or selling during the holidays and beyond, contact us. We’re here to help.