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Assembly Row: Somerville’s Hot Spot Just Outside Boston, MA

By October 14, 2018 9 Comments

Assembly Row in Somerville is just about ten minutes north of downtown Boston. Somerville is a fun city in itself full of hipster hotspots, breweries and historic landmarks. Assembly Row is one of it’s newer developments to draw young professionals and tourists to the area with new shops, food and fun. If I wanted to flex my outlet shopping muscles I’d usually head toward Cape Cod, so having a hub of activity nearer to the city is a welcome change. Assembly Row Somerville is growing exponentially too – I visit every few months and there’s always a new store or restaurant to try.

assembly row somerville at night with lights

How are the Assembly Row, Somerville Restaurants?

The selection of places to graze at are ever expanding. We loved the outdoor patio at the American Fresh Brewhouse. We hope to go back someday in the future as the patio is dog-friendly! The River Bar is another fun option for cocktails and pints, with views of the water and dining al fresco late into the year. We didn’t have a chance to visit this time, but Southern Kin is on the list for the next visit, for its wonderful reputation for some of the best home cooking north of the Mississippi.

American-Fresh-Beer-Garden-1080x675

I also enjoy the more laid-back cafe spaces here – there fairly empty and cozy during the day. Try the new Nero’s – it’s a big chain in Europe, offering espresso drinks and hot pressed breakfast sandwich. Plus, lots of naughty pastries for a tasty afternoon.

Besides a few independent gems, there’s also plenty of local chain choices that can be just as delicious. Our favorites include Mexican fare at Papgayo and Legal Seafoods. There’s even a Mike’s Pastry off-shoot from the famous bakery in the North End. The best part of these Assembly Row Somerville restaurants is they are far less crowded then their Boston counterparts and great for groups out on the town.

Which Assembly Row Stores are Best?

Those working on their home can have a peek at the Le Creuset and Setting the Space for décor and kitchen items. Fashionistas will find respite at some of the great outlet stores, such as J Crew, Loft and Banana Republic Outlets. Besides the dozens of outlets, the ‘Marketplace’ has it’s own st of find, including TJ Maxx, Trader Joe’s and Burlington, to name a few.

At many of the Assembly Row stores and restaurants, you can grab a little gift or discount too as a bonus.

Here’s a FREE Coupon Book to download and use while hanging out at Assembly Row!

Can you Stay at an Assembly Row Hotel?

With all this shopping, dining and coffee-sipping, you’ll want to stay nearby. This last visit I had the pleasure of an overnight at the brand-new Row Hotel, part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection. Geared toward business travelers but perfect for everyone, the 150+ room hotel is steps from the main shopping street, al fresco bars and the subway stop to downtown Boston. It’s ideal for a staycation just outside the city, a romantic weekend or for visitors who want to be somewhere a bit quieter than the Financial District.

assembly row somerville hotel lobby massachusetts

The space is bright and sleek, as each room is equipped with a darker palette of décor and amenities. We enjoyed a lounge area inside the room and a plush king bed to spread out. Noise was minimal and there’s plenty of options for working at the desk right in the room too. Special modern sculptures, bookshelves filled with sundries and other touches of personality do not go unnoticed in the lobby areas, hallways and rooms themselves. The Row Hotel prides itself in being a modern design hotel with the chic ambiance to support that goal.

One of the highlights was access to a rarity in the Boston area – an indoor pool. The hotel is connected to full-time resident apartments, so the pool and gym is shared by all. But on a weekday stay, we were the only ones in the lounge area, enjoying the water and the beautiful cabanas.

pool loungers at row hotel somerville ma

You can book dinner outside the hotel, but they also offer a full menu to guests and a relaxing bar area called Reflections. There’s a lively after-work crowd with locals, business travelers and vacationers alike. Have a drink in the lofty bar, then book a table around a quiet corner. Items rotate, but the fresh fish options and juicy cheeseburger both were a win. Of course, you can indulge and order everything up to the room too.

fish dish at reflections in row hotel assembly row somervilla ma

Where is Assembly Row Outside of Boston?

It’s easy to reach the Assembly Row stores, restaurants and hotel from Boston. Uber is simple and one of the most efficient ways to get to the center of Assembly Square. It’s about a 10-minute drive from South Station downtown to Somerville’s Assembly Row.

Otherwise, the MBTA (or the ‘T’) is simple too, a they’ve added a stop right outside the Nero’s coffee place and the Smoke Shop BBQ. The Assembly stop is on the orange line, right before Sullivan Square.

There is Assembly Row parking options if you have your own car. Some spaces are free, especially over by the marketplace. This is ideal for day trips or an afternoon of shopping. There’s also parking garages for $10 per day and some metered spots on the streets. The Row Hotel has valet parking available for $35 per day.

assembly row somerville drone shot overlooking water and city by todd Van Hoosear via Flickr

With easy city access, super chic shopping and plenty of places to relax, it’s well worth spending time at Assembly Row, Somerville’s newest asset.

Have you been to Boston before? Did you know there’s neighboring cities like Somerville to check out also? Do you like to shop on your trips?

Assembly Row in Somerville is just about ten minutes north of downtown Boston. Somerville is a fun city in itself full of hipster hotspots, breweries and historic landmarks. Assembly Row is one of it’s newer developments to draw young professionals and tourists to the area with new shops, food and fun!

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Eileen Cotter Wright

Author Eileen Cotter Wright

Eileen Cotter is a freelance travel journalist and owner of Pure Wander. She's our resident expat extraordinaire and falls down a lot in yoga class. Follow her on Twitter @Crooked_Flight

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Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • Looks like I need to add an afternoon and Assembly Row to my itinerary the next time I visit family in Boston. I love the idea of being on the water and the shopping, cafes and bar scene sounds so fun.

  • Janiel Green says:

    Travelcon 2019 will be in Boston this next June, so I’m really excited to check this place out. I LOVE cabana’s and that it has a pool, its nice to be able to relax and have an ACTUAL vacation. I also like to see that it is so close to coffee, BBQ and all that shopping.

    • I had NO idea, that’s so cool! I thought about the Austin one – did you go? I live in Boston so I’ll definitely check this out. You should go to Somerville and some of the city’s surrounding places, there’s so much to see!

  • Heather says:

    Ooh good to know about Assembly Row and that it’s only 10 min north of downtown. I’ve been to Boston before, but it was a quick day trip on a cruise and you never get to see enough of a city in that situation. I’m looking to return to Boston next June for TravelCon and was looking for things to do beyond the “touristy” stuff. Happy to know there are several restaurant options with great dining al fresco options! Wow, it has a massive variety of stores too! You had me a Le Creuset. I love it! One thing I miss with traveling is cooking. I don’t get to do it nearly so much anymore. After I shop and eat myself silly, I would love to crash at the Row Hotel, it’s beautiful!!

  • I am always happy to learn about new places to explore when I visit a city like Boston. I don’t always like to stay in the main part of a city and look for suburbs surrounding there. Somerville is a place I’ll keep in mind in case I make another trek to Boston on business. I need some new sights to see. 🙂

  • We are heading to Boston next year (at least Jenn is) so it’s great to know about Assembly Road. We have been researching all of the cool places in the city deciding if I am going to join her on the trip. Right now, I am on the fence but Assembly Road makes me one step closer to pulling the trigger.

  • Ann says:

    Assembly Row looks like a great place to spend a relaxing weekend. We all need a little shopping therapy every now and then! The Row Hotel looks lovely — the interior design is appealing. I like the neutral color palette and mix of textures — AND — having an indoor pool, with cabanas, would make this particularly wonderful in the winter. Good food, good shopping, upscale hotel — sounds like a great weekend to me.

  • Julianne says:

    It’s amazing how much Somerville has changed in the last decade! I lived in Cambridge, MA in 2009-2010, and Somerville was way different then. Assembly Row looks really nice though, and you’ll likely find me at River Bar! Great tip about Row Hotel; I’ll consider it for my next visit to Boston in 2019!

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