Our Somerville Digital Guide
Somerville is a popular city with many neighborhoods, including Davis Square and Union Square where we run our food tours. With close proximity to Boston and nearby Cambridge, Somerville covers 4.2 square miles and has roughly 75,000 residents. The city of Somerville is quite diverse which makes it an exciting place to live, and it is surrounded by the area’s top colleges including Tufts University and Lesley University. Founded in 1842, Somerville was once a part of Charlestown and often is referred to as the “City of Seven Hills” although there are actually 15 hills with 10 being the most prominent. Its food scene is rich and dynamic, with lots of entrepreneurs starting and testing new concepts here, and many different cuisines are represented from Nepalese to Greek to Spanish to Peruvian to Ethiopian.
There are many famous residents of Somerville including: Mary Sawyer from the poem Mary Had A Little Lamb, Barack Obama who lived here during his Harvard Law School days, H.P. Hood the dairy man, and Captain Kidd. In addition, during the American Revolution, Paul Revere ran to Somerville during his infamous Midnight Ride. A famous monument near Davis Square is Powder House, the oldest stone building in Massachusetts, and was used to store gunpowder until it was sold to the Tufts family in the 1800’s and also once housed storage for pickles! Another memorable historic landmark is Prospect Hill, where the first new flag of the United Colonies was raised by George Washington on January 1, 1776 – the reason why it’s called Union Square was because it was a recruitment and mustering site during the American Civil War for the Union armies. The country’s first millionaire lived in Somerville, Elias Hasket Derby.
One of the area’s other claims to fame is that Archibald Query invented marshmallow fluff while living in Somerville. Similarly, root beer was invented by Dr. Russell Cronwell who also founded Temple University and at one time called Somerville his home. In other firsts, the first residential telephone line was in Somerville, with phone numbers 1 and 2! On the other side of town from Davis Square, Assembly Row has become the home to some fun outlet shopping. It is called Assembly Row because Ford Motor Company once had an assembly plant at that location. Now check out our favorite spots in both Davis Square and Union Square in the tabs below!
SHIRLEY (22A College Avenue, Somerville)This place used to be Oat Shop, an oatmeal cafe in Davis Square, but in 2022 it was taken over by this cafe named after the owner’s grandmother. She makes delicious grilled cheese — with a side of sunshine!
What to order
Grilled cheese is our favorite!
Mr. Crepe (51 Davis Square, Somerville)A local hangout since 1999, Mr. Crepe is right next door to Somerville Theater in the Holmes Building and serves all kinds of yummy beverages as well as sweet and savory crepes.
What to order
We love their raspberry iced tea and coffee drinks as well as fluff crepe, which is oh-so-Somerville (and love the free wi-fi!)
Ball Square Cafe (708 Broadway, Somerville)Although they have an infamous rivalry with the place next door, for us there is no question — we love Ball Square Cafe. With lines around the block on weekends, there’s no mistaking good quality and hearty cooking.
What to order
If you are a fruit lover, try their pancake delight, which is a heaping plate of fresh fruit on top of a scrumptious pancake.
Union Square Donuts (20 Bow Street, Somerville)USD has a loyal, cult-like following, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t friendly. With their special brioche dough that’s not *too sweet*, these guys have perfected the donut — and we’re happy they’re in the neighborhood! Seasonal flavors have included everything from carrot cake to Fluffernutter to chocolate zucchini. Owner Josh founded the company in a kitchen incubator nearby, which speaks to the uplifting, entrepreneurial spirit of Union Square.
What to orderWe’ve been known to inhale a vegan cinnamon sugar or sea salted bourbon caramel donut or two or three or four…
Bloc Cafe (11 Bow Street, Somerville)Ever ate a snack inside a bank vault? On our food tour of Union Square, you can! With a nod to its past, Bloc Cafe incorporates many design elements of its origins as a bank – from 1910 when it was the Somerville National Bank to 2007. Bow Street used to called Milk Row or Somerville Ave. until the 1830’s when the “U”-shaped section was renamed.
What to orderTry their croissant which they have crafted meticulously at their sister-cafe Forge Baking company or any of their high quality coffee beverages.
Somerville: Affiliate Discounts With Food Tour Purchase
Taza Chocolate Tours (561 Windsor Street, Somerville)Invites you to their “Intro to Stone Ground Chocolate” tour with $3 off the tour ticket using the code “BEATPATH” at check-out so ticket prices will now be $5 each. Enjoy!
Gracie’s Ice Cream (22 Union Square, Somerville)Mention food tour for a free upgrade to Fluff cone with the purchase of ice cream
Q’s Nuts (349 Highland Ave., Somerville)Show food tour tickets confirmation email to receive 10% off any purchase within six months of the food tour date; valid at Somerville store only.
Opa Greek Yeeros (378 Highland Ave., Somerville)Show same-day food tour tickets confirmation email to receive 20% off any purchase that day.
Tom’s Bao Bao (84 Winthrop Street., Harvard Square, Cambridge)Show your food tour ticket confirmation email to receive 10% off any order within 7 days of the tour. Not valid on combos.
Bloc Cafe (11 Bow Street, Somerville)Mention food tour to receive a free coffee with the purchase of a bag of Intelligentsia coffee.
Red Apple Farm at the Boston Public Market (100 Hanover Street, Boston)Mention Off The Beaten Path Food Tours to receive 10% off any item including their famous apple cider donuts.