SOWA Saturdays in Boston’s South End

To me, the South End is classic Boston. Gorgeous brick homes with elaborate bannisters and tree and streetlamp lined streets. Forget the fact that finding a non-resident parking spot is nearly impossible – once you overlook that small fact, the South End is perfection.

The South End in Boston

I was meeting a friend to explore the famous SoWA (South of Washington) Open Market. On my long, long walk from my parking spot to SoWA, I couldn’t help but snap some photos along the way there, only to find they do have some limited parking on-site. Oh well.

The South End in Boston

The South End in Boston
The South End in Boston
The South End in Boston
The South End in Boston

The South End community garden:
The South End in Boston

So what exactly is SoWA?

Well, according to their website,” SoWa today is known for its dozens of galleries, destination-worthy restaurants, marketing agencies, graphic- and interior-design studios, modern residential lofts, and unique shops selling everything from vintage clothing to exotic imports. Unlike many neighborhoods in Boston, the artists have been encouraged to stay in SoWa, and give back to the neighborhood in countless ways.”

SoWA breaks down into a few areas of fun:

1. The Open Food/Drink Market and Food Trucks

The food market is your basic farmers market, with a few extras. You’ll find fantastic fresh produce straight from the farm, in addition to other locally made food items. I brought home a bar of raspberry chocolate (made in Somerville), a bottle of mango hot sauce (made in New Hampshire), and split one of the tempting maple-bacon donuts from Union Square Donuts.

SOWA Market in Boston
SOWA Market in Boston
SOWA Market in Boston
SOWA Market in Boston

2. The Artisan and Sellers Tents

The second area of SoWA is an open craft market of goods – ranging from local artists, to vintage clothes, to handmade signs and jewelry, to used books, and the list goes on and on.

SOWA Market in Boston
SOWA Market in Boston

3. The Vintage Market and other shops

The third area of the market is all indoors. In addition to the numerous shops nearby is the indoor vintage market. The vintage market was pretty amazing – purses and furs, pyrex dishes, bar sets – they had more than I could imagine possible! It’s the type of place you really need to hunt through, and it was super crowded. I could have easily spent a few hours hunting through the vintage market alone.

SoWA is an impressive gathering of local artisans and curators all within a small area. For all lovers of art and vintage goods, as well as those who love a good hunt, it’s a must-see.

The only downside of SoWA is its own popularity. We were there on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and the place was packed to the brim with people. I also felt, particularly on the vintage items, that prices were on the higher side. Perhaps that comes from being in the city, and I would imagine sellers have to pay a higher price to be a participant in SoWA due to the large draw it has. Other places, such as Oddee’s in Newburyport, the Crompton Collective in Worcester, or other places I love to hunt through in Essex and Gloucester seemed to have better deals and equally alluring items (although not as expansive). That being said, I’ll definitely be returning! (Although, maybe on a day when the weather is a bit more gloomy to avoid the crowds. I like to take my time!)

PLEASE NOTE! As I mentioned in my “I’m Back” post, I am finally publishing some older posts. This is one of them! Since I wrote this post, SOWA has moved locations beginning in the 2016 season. You can find more information here on the SOWA website. Enjoy! I can’t wait to check out their new space!

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