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Somerville, MA

About SomervilleRemnants of Somerville's turn-of-the-20th-century industrial heyday include revitalized commercial hubs like the Assembly Square neighborhood, named after the Ford Motor Co. assembly plant that operated there for more than 30 years. Following years of decline after World War II, Davis Square began to experience a renaissance beginning in the 1990s, thanks in part to the increase in telecommunication and biotechnology jobs that became available in neighboring communities.

Today Davis Square is again one of the city's primary business centers, as well as the heart of the city's arts and entertainment scene. Open since 1914, the Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Sq., hosts live events and screens new releases and special film series highlighting classic cinema; phone (617) 625-5700.

Another longtime commercial area, Union Square, which was used as a Union Army recruitment and mustering site during the Civil War, is now home to gourmet food producers such as Taza Chocolate. Union Square also is the location of the Fluff Festival , which celebrates the marshmallow-like confection invented by Somerville resident Archibald Query in the early 1900s. Occurring in late September, the quirky event includes a Fluff cooking contest; such games as Fluff Fear Factor and Fluff Jousting; and performances by offbeat local musicians who just so happen to be big Fluffernutter sandwich fans.

Visitor Centers Somerville Chamber of Commerce 2 Alpine St. Somerville, MA 02144. Phone:(617)776-4100

ShoppingThe retail enterprises clustered around busy Davis Square range from food vendors with names you'll not soon forget ( When Pigs Fly on Highland Avenue) to used clothing shops where the mannequins rock “nerd glasses” and flirty '50s-style dresses ( Buffalo Exchange on Elm Street).

Magpie (416 Highland Ave.) imparts a decidedly hipster vibe; the indie craft store is filled with snarky T-shirts, handmade jewelry and font-tastic stationery. Across the street, Davis Squared (409 Highland Ave.) stocks modern home decor and geeky-cool gifts like origami-inspired light fixtures and iPad kickstands, along with plenty of modish baby gear, including pastel-colored photo frames and plush toys.

June brings The Somerville Flea, which takes place Sundays from 10 to 4 through late October. Vendors at the open-air market at Holland Street and Buena Vista Road (near the Davis Square MBTA station) hawk artwork, vinyl, vintage apparel and trash-turned-treasures galore. Featuring the works of local artists and crafters, SLAM—the Saturday Local Artist Market—takes place at The Burren (247 Elm St.) on select Saturdays year-round.

New to the Somerville area is Assembly Row (340 Canal St.), a 45-acre mixed-use development featuring such retailers as Bed Bath & Beyond, Brooks Brothers and T.J.Maxx and outlet stores like Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH. The urban center also shelters restaurants, the LEGOLAND Discovery Center and a state-of-the-art AMC movie theater.

NightlifeLate-night shenanigans in Somerville center around Davis Square. Poke around Holland and Elm streets and Highland Avenue, three commercial thoroughfares radiating out from this busy intersection, and you'll come across scores of casual venues designed primarily for chilaxin' over craft brews. Food, of course, goes hand in hand with sudsy beverages, so it's no surprise the business district's many restaurants often are packed with a mix of blue-collar workers, Tufts University students and rough-edged musician types looking to unwind after a long day.

On blustery winter days, nothing beats the deeply satisfying concoction that is Guinness Beef Stew, served up daily at The Burren (247 Elm St.), a highly acclaimed Davis Square pub, eatery and concert hall; phone (617) 776-6896.

If you're a somewhat hip twenty- or thirtysomething (especially one toting kids), chances are you'll find yourself sipping a locally brewed IPA at Sacco's Bowl Haven (45 Day St.), where candlepin bowling (a Massachusetts invention) is the name of the game. With only 10 lanes available, reservations are a must; even the long, narrow bar area offering views of gutter balls and spares gets pretty cramped come 6 p.m.

Things to Do LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston

Taza Chocolate Factory Tour

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Somerville, MA

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

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The Row Hotel at Assembly Row, Autograph Collection

360 Foley St. Somerville, MA 02145

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Holiday Inn Boston-Bunker Hill

30 Washington St. Somerville, MA 02143

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La Quinta Inn & Suites Boston Somerville

23 Cummings St. Somerville, MA 02143

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