Downtown New Bedford is a destination for artists’ offerings and fashionable finds

Journal Staff Writer
Squint your eyes and you might think you’re in Newport.
With its working waterfront, cobblestone streets and historic whaling industry buildings, New Bedford is a scrappier city by the sea. And well worth a visit.
Steady revitalization in recent years has brought new life to the city, making it a great place to while away an afternoon. About a half-hour’s drive from Providence, downtown New Bedford has become an artsy haven of indie shops and restaurants. It’s an especially good spot to hunt for locally made art (the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s College of Visual and Performing Arts is located here), thrift store finds and all things maritime related.
Here are our picks of places to check out.
From velvet reptile leggings to fringe-covered blouses to neon knot necklaces, Elissa Paquette stocks her boutique, Calico (173 Union St., 508-999-4147,, with bold, of-the-moment pieces. Chatty clerks are quick to offer styling tips, and even pour complimentary bubbly on Champagne Tuesdays.
Be Jeweled (26 Centre St., New Bedford, 508-990-1300, offers a well edited mix of fine and fashion jewelry from mostly independent designers. Standouts include Alexis Bittar’s hand-carved Lucite pieces and Melissa Joy Manning’s Herkimer diamond and druzy stone designs.
More than a dozen galleries pepper downtown, and there’s a place for every price point. On the more accessible end of the spectrum, TL6 the Gallery (100 William St., 508-992-8100) has a fun mix of offerings — jewelry made from industrial parts, mini paintings, fingerless knitted gloves, “linguica and coffee milk T-shirts” mostly from Massachusetts artists. Also be sure to check out Gallery 65 on William (65 William St., 508-994-1595, for fine art and UGLY Gallery (246 Union St., for T-shirts with urban edge.
With its maritime history, one of the city’s biggest attractions is the New Bedford Whaling Museum (18 Johnny Cake Hill, 508-997-0046, After you’ve nerded out on scrimshaw and ship models, be sure to swing by the Museum Store, where you’ll find preppy-cute whale belts, bracelets and ties.
Mexican or pizza? When it’s time to break for lunch, No Problemo Taqueria (813 Purchase St., 508-984-1081, and Brick Pizzeria Napoletana (163 Union St., 508-999-4943, are two stellar options.
No Problemo satisfies with Mexican favorites such as burritos and tacos, but if you want something a little different, try the chicken torta. It’s a delicious mess of chicken, cheese, refried beans and guacamole served on a grilled Portuguese roll. And Brick Pizzeria’s chewy-charred wood-fired pies alone are worth a trip into the city.
New Bedford is also a bit of a thrifter’s paradise. Head to the Artificial Marketplace(104 William St., 508-730-7661, for “Mad Men”-era furniture and housewares, vinyl and comics; Laney Baby & Co. (185 Union St., 508-993-1111,, for baby and children’s clothes sold on consignment; and 767 Exchange (767 Purchase St., 508-404-5527) for a mix of vintage, new and used clothing for men and women.
Wrap up your afternoon with a beverage. Travessia Urban Winery (760 Purchase St., 774-929-6534, offers tastings of current releases, including Chardonnay and Riesling, made with Massachusetts-grown grapes and fermented on site. If a latte is more your speed, Green Bean ( 740 Purchase St., 508-984-3300) is a great place to grab one and relax for a while before the ride home.

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