You know you want to do it. Just admit it.
You walk around the Boston Common, the Financial District, or anywhere in Boston on a nice warm day and you notice that virtually everyone has a tattoo.
From that Japanese symbol on the left thigh of the college student jogging past you to the “Mom” on the right shoulder of the construction worker walking to lunch, everyone has one!
The designs you see cover a wide range–from a simple cartoon character on someone’s upper back to an ornate design with dragons, swords, and flames taking up some guy’s entire chest.
Tattoos are an opportunity to allow the flesh on our bodies to tell a story, not necessarily for someone else, but for ourselves.
Getting one is kind of like a rite of passage and you owe it to yourself to do some research to make sure you find an artist whose style vibes with your own.
We’ve got you covered because we took the leap and did a bit of research on the best tattoo shops in Boston. Read on to learn about the best tattoo parlors that Boston has to offer.
Located in Boston’s largest neighborhood, Dorchester, Holistic Ink boasts three ink artists who serve clients around the entire city and the suburbs.
Perusing their website, you can see that Holistic Ink specializes in very intricate designs and top-notch needlework. Their website even features a nifty FAQ section to answer basic questions about the tattoo process. And if you’re interested in more than just a tattoo, the business also provides microblading, permanent makeup, and body piercing as well!
Address: 1261 Dorchester Ave, Dorchester, MA 02122
Website: Holistic Ink Boston Tattoo Shop
Stingray Body Art & More
It’s totally appropriate for a shop like Stingray Body Art and More to be located in Allston, Boston’s most hipster neighborhood.
If you can tolerate the throngs of college students and twenty-something young professionals, cruise into Stingray.
Open seven days a week—by appointment only—it’d be an understatement to say that the work of the three resident artists is beautiful.
From Devin Coley’s vivid pieces featuring animals to Aaron Girard’s skillful conversion of an infinity circle (before) into two flowers (after), you’re in the right hands in this shop.
Address: 386 Cambridge St, Allston, MA 02134
Website: Stingray Body Art & More
Boston Barber & Tattoo Co.
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Hey, I really need a haircut and then I wanna get a tattoo?”
If so, why not save yourself some time and just zip on over to Boston’s North End and visit Boston Barber & Tattoo Co.?
The North End is known for more than just Mike’s Pastry and a great area to chow on some Italian food. The shop was named the Best Tattoo Shop in Boston in 2016 by expertise.com and now has two locations, the second one popping up in Boston’s posh Beacon Hill neighborhood.
Address: 113 Salem St, Boston, MA 02113
Website: Boston Barber & Tattoo Co.
Lucky’s Tattoo and Piercing
Hey, ladies. It’s a bit unfair that the fellas get their own barber and tattoo shop in one location. Where’s the love for the women?
Enter Lucky’s Tattoo & Piercing, which also provides a nifty jewelry collection for those of you who want to splurge on a new necklace or ring to complement that awesome tattoo you’re getting.
There are three locations in Massachusetts, two in Northampton and one in Cambridge. The Cambridge location is right on Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square.
The Cambridge shop has five super-talented artists who collectively have a jaw-dropping portfolio of quality ink projects!
Address: 694 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139
Website: Lucky’s Tattoo and Piercing
Chameleon Tattoo & Body Piercing
Shops like Chameleon Tattoo & Body Piercing are what keep Cambridge’s Harvard Square from sinking into pomp and pretentiousness.
The tattoo shop is a much-needed hip store that undoubtedly draws youth and the occasional professor. With three talented artists on staff, the shop offers a range of impressive styles.
Opened in 1995, the shop has a loyal fanbase—and if you don’t believe us, just check out the testimonials section!
It’s clear why those customers are so loyal: the designs and needlework are breathtaking, nuanced, and make you want to run to the store today to get your own design done.
Address: 36 John F. Kennedy St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Website: Chameleon Tattoo & Body Piercing
The Boston Tattoo Company
Boston suburbs Somerville and Medford are both home to Boston Tattoo Company shops.
Founded in 2004, the company offers more than a dozen artists, each with his or her own distinct style.
Irina Shapiro does tattoos with incredible attention to detail and color while Josh Hagan’s work is haunting and eerie—just check out the tattoo of Walter White from Breaking Bad!.
If you’re in the mood for a tattoo, visit this store’s website, research their uber-talented artists, and try not to make your head explode trying to figure out which artist to work with.
Address: 260 Elm St #102, Somerville, MA 02144
Website: The Boston Tattoo Company
Seaport Tattoo Company
Seaport Tattoo Company is open daily—except for Tuesdays—and offers complimentary tattoo consultations at its store in South Boston.
From cute kittens to a portrait of JFK to a beautiful but questionably placed tattoo of “Onward” inked above a man’s eyebrow, Seaport’s three artists have an impressive portfolio of artwork.
Portraits, lettering, black and gray, fine line, and even occult images are just a smattering of the work that this trio produces for its customers.
Address: 380 Dorchester Ave, Boston, MA 02127
Website: Seaport Tattoo Company
Fat Ram’s Pumpkin Tattoo
Come on, admit it: The name Fat Ram’s Pumpkin Tattoo just screams to be explored.
Before deciding on where to get your next tattoo, you’ll want to make sure you consider this Jamaica Plain shop owned by Ram Hannan, also known as Fat Ram.
A simple, no-frills shop, the artwork provided by the collective of artists is exquisite and veers heavily into the abstract.
The four artists have a shared portfolio of work that shows just how intricate they can make any tattoo. Try not to go down a rabbit hole while perusing their portfolios!
Address: 374 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
Website: Fat Ram’s Pumpkin Tattoo
Empire Tattoo Boston
With featured styles like Portrait, Black and Gray, New School, Cover-Up, and Color, Empire Tattoo Boston offers an immense portfolio of professionally inked tattoos.
A fun note about this shop: In addition to shops in the suburbs of Somerville and Quincy, this store has outlets in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. They have a combined staff of 40 people!
Wanna get rid of that ugly Mickey Mouse tattoo you got on your shoulder senior year in college? Check out Empire. They’ve got a wicked talented staff who’ve done some amazing work.
Address: 151 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143
Website: Empire Tattoo Boston
Pino Bros Ink
This upscale shop calls Cambridge home and has 10 busy ink artists all ready to make your tattoo dreams come true.
With such a large staff of artists, Pinos Bros Ink offers a range of different styles and the artwork is skilled and considerately created.
Ever heard of pointillism? No? Well, check out Ian Adams’ portfolio to learn about this super interesting form of tattoo needlework.
Address: 1132 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139
Website: Pino Bros Ink
Are you just itching to get a tattoo of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson from The X Files tattooed on your thighs? How about some fun Japanese artwork on your back?
Well, Redemption Tattoo has you covered. Seven tattooists at this shop in Cambridge’s Porter Square have a pretty badass collective portfolio of artwork.
From crisp black and white portraits to colorful back pieces that are so realistic they’re creepy, this shop’s inkwork is legendary!
Address: 2090 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140
Website: Redemption Tattoo
Odyssey Wellness Tattoo
If the background behind the opening of this tattoo shop doesn’t make you shed a tear, you’re just not human.
Owner Darlene DiBona opened Odyssey Wellness Tattoo specifically to tattoo women who are recovering from breast cancer and needing an areola reconstruction tattoo as part of their healing process.
This service goes a long way in helping breast cancer survivors reclaim their health and build their self-esteem. Of course, DiBona offers traditional tattoos as well, but the service-oriented mission of this Brookline shop will make you want DiBona to ink your new design just to support her cause.
Address: 68 Harvard St Suite 4, Brookline, MA 02445
Website: Odyssey Wellness Tattoo
Kaleidoscope Tattoo & Art Gallery
Based in Cambridge, Kaleidoscope Tattoo & Art Gallery offers a laid-back back atmosphere that will help you feel at home while you’re under the needle.
The interior of this shop epitomizes what you think every tattoo shop would look like and the talent of these six artists is clear in every item in their portfolio.
Come for the tattoo, stay for the down-to-earth attitude.
Address: 2374 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02140
Website: Kaleidoscope Tattoo & Art Gallery
Visible Ink Tattoo Studio
Cambridge can’t have all of the great tattoo studios. We’ve got to spread the love around, right? Visible Ink Tattoo Studio calls Malden home and seven artists make up the shop’s staff.
Focusing strictly on tattoos—sorry folks, piercings are not an option at this store—Visible Ink maintains an impressive portfolio of work.
Just remember, friends, Visible Ink is cash only, so be prepared to hit up the ATM at the store if you don’t plan ahead.
Address: 689 Broadway, Malden, MA 02148
Website: Visible Ink Tattoo Studio
Ghost in the Machine Tattoo
Ghost in the Machine is more than just a philosophical theory about the mind and body. And no, it’s not that terrible 1993 horror movie.
Ghost in the Machine Tattoo bills itself as a premier “international destination shop” with a staff that collectively holds more than a century of tattooing experience. Located in Boston’s Brighton neighborhood, Ghost features seven tattoo artists and periodically features a cadre of nifty guest artists.
Address: 571A Washington St, Brighton, MA 02135
Website: Ghost in the Machine Tattoo
Ink Jam Tattoo Studio
Jim Quinn, owner and operator of Ink Jam Tattoo Studio, has been practicing his craft for 20 years and manages his shop with two other artists.
Located in Arlington, a stone’s throw away from Boston, Ink Jam definitely has a mom-and-pop store feel to it. And guess what: They regularly raise funds for veterans.
How could you not patronize a store that inks awesome tattoos and supports the men and women who’ve bravely served our country?
Address: 12 Park Ave, Arlington, MA 02474
Website: Ink Jam Tattoo Studio