Simple Pretty Boston: Charles Street Top 5

top 5, charles street boston | simple pretty

Boston is one of my favorite cities: it’s eminently walkable, full of interesting shops and restaurants, and even boasts a charming public garden right in the middle of town. In fact, it feels a lot like a miniature version of London.

Whenever I’m in town, Beacon Hill is one of my favorite places to wander. The neighborhood offers an abundance of interesting destinations in a relatively small area: whether you’re in search of home décor, a cozy sweater, or a good glass of wine, Charles Street has you covered.

To get you started, here are my Top 5 spots on the street:

  1. Good // no. 133 @shopatgood   good, charles street boston | simple prettyPaul Niski and Kate Brizius’s shop Good is a longtime favorite of mine — the original jewel box location, which opened in 2001, made the most of its tiny space. (I inevitably found myself drawn to the jewelry, and the display wall of John Derian decoupage.) A move down the street to a larger space in 2012 allowed Niski and Brizius to expand their offerings while maintaining their expertly-honed aesthetic. Clothing (including tees from Small Trades), and some of my favorite books and magazines have joined the assortment, nicely complementing the wider range of home wares. The displays are perfection: the space feels like a shop/gallery hybrid. Do not miss it.
  2. French + Italian // no. 119 @frenchanditalianfrench + italian, charles street boston | simple prettyI’ve long had to obsess over French + Italian owner Aimee Lombardi’s chic fashion sense from afar, as the shop was located in Marblehead, MA, and I was not. (Big assist to Instagram.) Designers carried range from A.P.C. to Acne to The Line — a minimalist’s dream lineup, all expertly mixed and matched by Lombardi. Not to mention, the store’s business cards and signage are graphic design catnip. The Boston location opened in late March, and I’m so happy there’s now a way to get my fix in person!
  3. Danish Country // no. 138 @danishcountrydanish country, charles street boston | simple prettyThe older I get, the more I appreciate unique furnishings, an antidote to a world that suffers ever more often from “sameness”. Jim Kilroy’s shop was a great spot to wander for a bit of decorating inspiration while in town. Eventually, when I have a house again, it will make a great resource for shopping!
  4. Dress // no. 70 @dressbostondress, charles street boston | simple prettyAnother long-time favorite, as I’ve been a Dress customer since the original boutique opened on Newbury Street back in 2001. (They relocated to Charles Street in 2013.) The mix hits the right side of preppy, with simple basics that are neither loud nor boring. I can never have enough jeans, tees, and sweaters, and true to form, over spring break, I walked out with a fabulous stripey tee from Current/Elliott.
  5. Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro // no. 25 @beaconhillhotel 
    beacon hill bistro, charles street boston | simple pretty

    steak frites for lunch

    So many things to like about BHB: when you walk in, on the right there’s a cozy bar which feels like the local watering hole; on the left is the excellent restaurant, serving simple, delicious bistro food from breakfast to dinner. Upstairs are 12 comfortable guest rooms: book one and you’ll feel like you’re staying at a quaint bed and breakfast in the city (the hotel’s front desk also services the bistro). Located in a perfect spot to explore Boston, it’s also a very welcome sight when you return from a long day of walking.

Bonus: Rouvalis Flowers // 40 W. Cedar Street @rouvalisflowersrouvalis flowers, beacon hill boston | simple prettyNot on Charles Street, but how could I put together a travel guide without a flower shop? Rouvalis has been around for more than 40 years, and there’s nothing better than a good old-school place to pick up a pretty bouquet.

denotes instagram user name // all photos by jane potrykus

there are plenty more amazing spots on charles street, including tatte bakery, black ink, paramount, savenor’s, e.r. butler, upper crust …. add a comment with your top 5!


  1. Su
    April 21, 2016 / Permalink

    Thank you for this (local to me) post! I love walking down Charles St and Beacon Hill in general! Many quaint shops and buildings. Paramount was nice the one time I tried it but not sure it’s worth the hecticness of trying to get in/out. Love to look at the curated stationery collection at Black Ink and many of its interesting wares. Am not sure that I’ve ever been into “Good”- will have to give it a look sometime.

  2. April 21, 2016 / Permalink

    thanks, su! my trick regarding paramount + the hectic-ness is to go for dinner — and you must go to good. :)

  3. su
    May 23, 2016 / Permalink

    Hello again! Not on Charles St. but on nearby Newbury St. there is a new Japanese travel goods/stationery store in town (as of 1 week ago) that you must check out during your next visit to Boston, called Topdrawer, a branch from the Japanese stationery giant Itoya. Many of the items would fit your utilitarian luxe aesthetic.

  4. May 23, 2016 / Permalink

    thanks, su! you’re right, it’s a must-see.