• Every Bookstore in the Boston Area: Talk about a rising tide lifting all boats — bookworms from around the world flock to Boston and Cambridge, which boast exceptionally well-stocked chain outlets, award-winning independent shops, and special-interest businesses for every appetite.
  • Krakow Witkin Gallery (Back Bay): With a handful of notable exceptions, the refrain that haunts the Boston arts scene is "nice, but it's better in New York." Barbara Krakow runs one of the few galleries that give New Yorkers the inferiority complex.
  • Black Ink (Beacon Hill and Cambridge): A funky desktop trinket, a retro toy, a beautifully designed kitchen gadget, a gorgeous card — you may not come out of these little treasure chests with what you went in looking for, but you'll almost certainly find something you love.
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  • Converse (Back Bay): Founded in suburban Malden in 1908, the athletic-shoe manufacturer is a local brand with an international presence. If you don't see exactly the right pair of sneakers, head upstairs and create your own.
  • Galería Cubana (South End): It's not the easiest place to find, but this amazing gallery captures the experience of visiting Cuba without a single bit of red tape.
  • International Poster Gallery (SoWa): If you have any interest in graphic design or contemporary art — heck, if you've ever taped a magazine cover to the wall over your desk — you'll find something wonderful here.
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  • Joie de Vivre (Cambridge): Just stepping in here will put you at ease. Somewhere in the thoughtful selection of toys, cards, jewelry, and inspiring tchotchkes is just the right gift, and finding it is more than half the fun.
  • Upstairs Downstairs Antiques (Beacon Hill): Even when you don't wind up buying something here, you'll come away inspired by the layout of the well-edited merchandise and the knowledge of the helpful staff.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.