Shopping in Boston in many ways mirrors the city itself: a mix of classic and cutting-edge, the high-end and the handmade, and international and local sensibilities. There is a strong network of idiosyncratic gift stores, handicrafts shops, galleries, and a growing number of savvy, independent fashion boutiques. Boston’s shops and department stores lie concentrated in the area bounded by Quincy Market, the Back Bay, and Downtown, with plenty of bargains in the Downtown Crossing area. The South End’s gentrification creates its own kind of consumerist milieus, from housewares shops to avant-garde art galleries. In Cambridge you can find many shops around Harvard and Central squares, with independent boutiques migrating west along Massachusetts Avenue (“Mass Ave.”) toward Porter Square and beyond. There’s no state sales tax on clothing. However, there’s a 6.25% sales tax on clothes priced higher than $175 per item; the tax is levied on the amount in excess of $175.

Most major shopping neighborhoods are easily accessible on the T: Boston’s Charles Street and Downtown Crossing and Cambridge’s Harvard, Central, and Porter squares are on the Red Line; Copley Place, Faneuil Hall, and Newbury Street are on the Green Line; the South End is an easy trip on the Orange Line.

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