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Preplanned City Guides and Travel Itineraries

Davis Square

On this page you find practical information, photos and videos about Davis Square.

Davis Square features in these preplanned City Guides:

3-day Boston City Guide5-day Boston City Guide

Why visit / Interesting facts:

  • Great place to get a sense of local life
  • Popular neighborhood
  • Hosts many art events throughout the year

Time required: 45 minutes

Web site: http://www.yourdavissqua...

Public transport:

  • Subway Red Line: Davis

Address: Davis Square, Somerville, MA

Things you need to know:

  • Davis Square is a popular neighborhood in Somerville, Massachusetts, not far from Tufts University or from Harvard Square and Porter Square in Cambridge
  • Davis is known as a popular hangout for college students, young professionals, artists, and families alike. It hosts several coffeehouses, many restaurants and bars, a movie theater, music venues, and shops, all centered around a brick plaza, usually filled with locals and musicians when it's warm
  • Davis Square, and Somerville in general, have gentrified quite a bit over the past decade, as students, young urban professionals, and professors mix with blue-collar workers and older families who predate the neighborhood's trendy period
  • Davis is also known as an arts hangout, with a Statue Park in the heart of the square, sculptures through nearby Seven Hills Park, and many forms of public art scattered throughout the nearby streets (look for painted switchboxes, a flying cow, and tiles made by local schoolchildren, as a few examples)
  • In 1997, Utne Reader called it one of the fifteen "hippest places to live" in the U.S.
  • Though Davis Square was once considered quite affordable, it now has some of the priciest homes in Somerville and is much more expensive than most places in eastern Massachusetts
  • It's named for Person Davis (1819-1894), who owned a 10-acre (40,000 m2) estate that included present-day Davis Square

What to do there:

  • Wander the brick-paved square. Start on Elm Street, the main drag of the square, but also see what you can find up Holland Street and on nearby Highland Street. Choose from plenty of shops, bars, coffee shops, or just stop for a movie
  • Definitely stop by for lunch or dinner. For lunch, try sandwiches from Dave's Fresh Pasta, wraps at Blue Shirt Café, a burger from Boston Burger Company (you'll have to walk that one off). For dinner, you can't miss the BBQ at Redbones, or you can option for top-notch pizza at Pizzeria Posto or Flatbread Company (this one comes with bowling), vegan food at The Pulse Café, or fancier fare at Gargoyles on the Square
  • Take a break for beverages. For the non-alcoholic variety, try the local favorite Diesel Café. When you're ready for something stronger, check out the surprisingly large number of beers on draft at Redbones, get a Guinness at The Burren (an Irish bar), or fancier cocktails at Gargoyles or Foundry on Elm
  • Davis is also known for its live music and other entertainment. You can find live Irish music, and cover bands on the weekends, at The Burren, live performances every night at Johnny D's, and concerts in the main hall of the Somerville Theatre.
  • Somerville Theatre, built in 1914, is a great spot to watch movies at a reasonable price, where you can buy homemade ice cream, beer, wine, and, of course, popcorn
  • If you're here longer, take a nature break by heading out on the popular Minuteman Bikeway, which starts near the Holland Street entrance to the T station

Tips & Insights:

  • It's best to visit Davis Square on foot - with so many streets converging, it's notoriously difficult to navigate, and perhaps even harder to find parking. It remains easy to visit, though, since the subway (red line) stops right at Davis Square
  • Davis is lively most days of the year, but is at its very best at night, and definitely during the summer. The main square is lit every evening, and the center plaza is filled with locals and visitors alike when it's nice out
  • Perhaps time your visit with one of the many art events. Davis is best known for its ArtBeat festival every year on the third weekend of July, and the HONK! Festival of activist brass bands every October (on Columbus Day weekend). HONK! coincides with Harvard's Oktoberfest, so it's great to catch both
  • Though Davis is less known as a tourist spot than downtown Boston or Harvard Square, this makes it a great place to get a sense of local life, while also finding great food, drinks, and events, all usually cheaper than the more touristy sites too

Davis Square features in these preplanned City Guides: