So Wa Open MarketBoston’s South End has a growing attraction for anyone who appreciates community-centered commerce and fun. The SoWa (South of Washington Street) Arts District specializes in attracting the über-cool, offering a vast selection of handcrafted accessories, indie designer clothing, and vintage wares at its SoWa Sundays (sowasundays.com). The weekly event includes an open-air bazaar, with an Open Market (www.sowaopenmarket.com) for arts and handmade crafts, a Vintage Market (www.sowavintagemarket.com) with clothing, antiques, and collectibles, and a Farmer’s Market for fresh local produce, flowers, and baked goods. This all-in-one package runs through October 30 this year, from 10am to 4pm As an added bonus, the market hosts food trucks along its Harrison Street location with menus that run the gamut from barbecue and coffee to gourmet grilled cheese and Elvis Presley’s favorite fried peanut butter and banana sandwich (served here without the bacon).

Many local artists of the SoWa Artists Guild (www.sowaartistsguild.com) open their galleries to the public for SoWa Sundays, and the district hosts an annual Art Walk in late May of each year. The Art Walk (sowaartwalk.com) is a prime opportunity to view the work of local artists inside area businesses, and to take advantage of special event prices.


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New this year, district showcases artists of the musical variety during its free Outdoor Concert Series on Thayer Street, presented in partnership with nonprofit organization JazzBoston. Concerts are the first Saturday of each month through October 2011 and are great attractions for the whole family – especially if the kids have budding musical interests. The widely acclaimed improvising jazz ensemble Your Neighborhood Saxophone Quartet headlined this year’s first concert in May, and other member groups from JazzBoston (www.jazzboston.com) will perform on a rotating basis for the remainder of this year’s shows.

As impressive as their warm weather events are, SoWa also has something cooked up for the time of year when the tents just can’t cut it against Boston’s coastal wind chill. After the open market season ends, SoWa also hosts a Holiday Market (www.sowaholidaymarket.com) in the Cathedral High School Gym for shoppers looking for just the right handmade-in-New-England gift. This year’s holiday market takes place on December 10.

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