Out on the Town: Union Square/Bow Market

Over the past couple weeks, my eternal search for a way to kill time has led me to Union Square in Somerville. I have fallen in love with the area, and I’m eager to share it with all of you. There are all sorts of attractions there, which warrant repeat visits to the square to have some varied afternoons. Bow Market is right next to the square, and only adds to the fun.

Union Square is truly under-serviced by public transport. Google Maps recommends taking the 88 bus from Teele Square to Washington Street under McGrath Highway. If you’re willing and able, however, you can actually walk from Davis Square to Union Square in under an hour. I prefer this method, as Somerville is teeming with interesting shops and restaurants between the two squares.

The square itself contains a wide variety of restaurants. There is also an ice cream store and a really fancy donut shop if you’re looking for dessert after dinner. I would recommend taking your ice cream one block up Stone Avenue to Prospect Hill Park, where you can sit next to an old stone tower and enjoy your treat along with a killer view of Greater Boston’s skyline. Everything from the smokestacks of Chelsea to Copley’s signature skyscrapers is in full view. The square is home to more than just eateries, too. It also boasts a small museum showcasing local art, as well as a comic book store.

All of this excludes Bow Market, which in my opinion takes the area from good to great. The small, two-story market is a half-block from the square and contains its own smattering of stores and restaurants. I’ve made the market my personal leisure spot over the past couple of weeks, and I’ve had a great time browsing the businesses there. There is a store with the bold business model of selling mostly cacti on the second floor, as well as a rugged outdoors-type store complete with scout memorabilia, outdoor cooking wares and so much flannel!

While all of the market’s stores are worthy of visiting, the crown jewel of the plaza has to be The Comedy Studio. Since the ’90s, The Studio has been a cornerstone of the Boston stand-up comedy scene. They put on shows every night of the week, and have had drop-in sets from many high-level comics, including Gary Gulman, my personal comedy messiah. While tickets can be a bit pricey on weekends, the studio puts on great shows. The ambience of the club is nice; it is obviously well-maintained but not as stuffy as a comedy show at a theater. They also allow food from outside restaurants, so if you’re looking for dinner and a show, this gets a strong thumbs up from me.

Union Square and Bow Market are wonderful. There’s so much to do in such a small area, and it is much closer to campus than many other popular leisure destinations. Once the Green Line Extension is completed, you will certainly be able to find me faffing around in this heater of a square. Go check this one out — seriously!