The River Bar patio at Assembly Row, which looks out onto Mystic River.
Why Now: Once called “Slumerville”—always the poor cousin to neighboring Cambridge; eclipsed by Bostonians who preferred city limits or dared not venture beyond Harvard’s gates—developers are now pumping billions into this city wedged two miles northwest of the state capital. Somerville is a diamond in the rough, with techies, award-winning chefs and cutting-edge entrepreneurs revolutionizing a once passed-over landscape.
Where to Go: At Assembly Row—an enormous $1.5 billion investment and former home of a Ford plant—get your shopping fix with outlets galore, enjoy riverfront dining or work up a sweat with boot camp and yoga classes. Across town, taste local craft beers—with names such as A Session with Dr. Nandu—at Aeronaut Brewing Co., which doubles as a start-up incubator. You can work off the brews—and catch up on emails—next door at Brooklyn Boulders, an indoor rock climbing gym with a collaborative workspace. Outdoorsy types will want to rent two wheels through Boston’s bike share program, Hubway, to cruise the Somerville Community Path or the historic 10.4-mile Minuteman Bikeway, which stretches all the way to Bedford. Recharge and relax with tea and French-pressed coffee at Morrison House, a clean and cozy B & B. Be one of the first to stay at its renovated sister property, Davis Square Inn, expected to open next month.