JP Center

659 Centre St Boston

City of Boston Arts
Written By City of Boston Arts

The Mayor's Office of Arts + Culture for Boston. We foster the growth of the cultural community in Boston and promote participation in the arts.

The part of Center Street near where it meets South Street has been JP’s commercial center since the 18th century. Known for unique places to eat and shop, it’s an excellent place for people-watching that is never as crowded as Boston’s more famous shopping areas. 

JP Licks, recognizable by its huge cow head, is the neighborhood’s favorite ice cream shop and one of its claims to fame. The popular regional chain was born in Jamaica Plain. An ice cream cone here is the perfect ending (or beginning or middle for that matter) to a day spent exploring the neighborhood. The outdoor patio is great for summer evenings, with two engaging murals nearby.

One staple of urban shopping districts you’re not likely to see here is Starbucks. That’s because Jamaica Plain is home to several of Boston’s best independent cafes and bakeries, offering artisanal treats and the kind of serious dark roast coffee that will get you thinking revolutionary thoughts. These are often served by young hip individuals whose uniquely JP brand of detached surliness will help you appreciate what a privilege it is to drink coffee in such a cool neighborhood. City Feed and Supply at 672 Centre, JP Licks at 659 Centre, and Fiore's at 55 South St. all have coffee and baked goods worth trying. If this is your thing you may also want to try Sugar Bakery (Washington Square) and Ula (Brewery complex). 

If you're on the hunt for healthy, environmentally conscious, trendy food, then City Feed and Supply will likely be your favorite JP institution. It offers a small but highly curated selection of local organic produce, groceries, and health and beauty products, as well as a gourmet sandwich and coffee bar, which is a favorite local meeting place. You may also want to try their original location near Stony Brook station.

The Purple Cactus at 674 Centre is another local favorite, offering high-end burritos and wraps. Meat lovers will appreciate the grilled steak burrito, made with beef that deserves to be called steak, and vegetarians will love the garden wraps. Be sure to check out the recent mural by the Mayor’s Mural Crew on the exterior of the Purple Cactus along Seaverns Avenue.

Cover photo credit: Josh Kastorf

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