Boston Pop-Ups: Our Pick of Fleeting Retail Favorites

Boston is home to a plethora of pop-ups—here are some of the most unique.

It seems that Snapchat and Instagram are bleeding into Boston’s retail world. It’s not through banners, ads and QR codes however, it’s more of an attitude thing. Just as an image on Snapchat or an Instagram story arrives, tells its story for moment or a minute, and then disappears, so too does the city’s latest trend in retail marketing: pop-ups. Often there one day and gone the next, these revolving storefronts offer food and drink, clothing, fitness, and everything in between. Catch 'em quick before they go: Here are some of the best pop-ups in Boston.

Newbury Street Pop-Ups

The lifeblood of Boston’s shopping scene pumps through the Back Bay artery of Newbury Street. With the American classic Brooke’s Brothers at one end and the Japanese superstore Muji at the other, Newbury Street encompasses all that modern shopping has to offer, including a section of pop-up specific space. Over four rotating storefronts, Newbury Street Pop-Ups hosts everything from fashion and food to sports and lifestyle stores. Less fleeting than the traditional pop-up, stores that move into Newbury Street Pop-Ups become a part of the Newbury community over a period of months.

Cisco pop-up
Cisco pop-up beer garden (Courtesy Cisco)

Pop Up Beer Gardens

From spring to fall, some of the Boston area's best craft breweries set up shop on the city’s open spaces—especially The Greenway—with pop-up beer gardens. This summer, Everett’s Night Shift Brewing set up “The Owl’s Nest” on the Esplanade, Trillium Brewing Company opened a beer garden on The Greenway, and Nantucket’s Cisco Brewery staged a beer garden in an unused lot off Seaport Boulevard. Complete with picnic tables, food and lawn games, these venues give the city an open invitation to join in an outdoor drink-up and cookout as long as weather permits. Though Cisco’s garden has closed for the season, Trillium and Night Shift expect to remain open through the end of October.

The Current
The Current (©Alex Oliveira)

The Current, Seaport

While glass and steel high-rises sprout up from the Seaport’s blacktop, down Seaport Boulevard a humbler collection of one room wood and glass stores huddle proudly together. Called The Current, this row of pop-ups brings thematically linked businesses to Seaport Boulevard for six-month stints. The current collection of stores is called She Village, a series focused on women-owned, fashion-based stores that are reshaping the landscape of fashion retail.

District Hall
District Hall (©Alex Oliveira)

District Hall

Located in the heart of The Seaport, District Hall strives to foster innovation and collaboration through its public, state-of-the-art workspace. Alongside the existing facilities, District Hall hosts a row of entrepreneurial pop-ups intended to promote the work of local startups, innovators and artists. Rather than promoting a retail presence, District Hall strives to exhibit the work of the people and businesses that are pushing Boston’s innovation boundaries.   

Rabottini’s Pizza

If you’ve just finished running the Harvard Stadium and would like to undo all your hard work, take a quick walk down the road to Rabottini’s Pizza, a pop-up that’s moved into Allston for an extended stay. The joint’s head chef is Dan Roberts, who has been crafting his pizza for 20 years between a life of cooking and farming. The result is a menu of pies made with local organic ingredients and dough that is handmade daily by Dan himself.