Located just outside of Boston in Cambridge Massachusetts, Ivy League Harvard is one of the most prestigious schools in the country, garnering worldwide recognition and respect. Harvard Yard is the heart of the enclosed campus, surrounded by beautiful Gothic architecture and ivy covered buildings. Cambridge, also home to MIT, is a diverse hub of shops, restaurants and bars catering to a mix of students, locals and tons of sightseers.
Stay: Just a few minutes walk from Harvard Yard and overlooking the scenic Charles River, check into the Charles Hotel. Another option, adjacent to Harvard Yard, is the Sheraton Commander Hotel. The Hotel Marlowe, a Kimpton Hotel, is a short drive away (15-20 minutes depending on traffic) in East Cambridge, also overlooking the Charles River and downtown Boston. The Kimpton provides complimentary kayaks and bikes--an added plus for exploring Cambridge by land or sea.
Breakfast: Henrietta’s Table offers a seasonal, locally sourced menu right at the Charles Hotel. Students and locals alike head to Zoe’s, a Greek style diner, where breakfast is served all day. Harvard students, and parents, are eagerly awaiting the brand new branch of Tatte’s Bakery and Cafe, opening at the end of September on Harvard Square. This extremely popular bakery and cafe, with five other locations throughout the Boston area (three in nearby East Cambridge), is from Israeli chef Tzurit Or. If you’re in a rush grab one of Tatte's delicious croissants or muffins, or even better a chocolate hazelnut twist, but try and carve out time for shakshuka, a Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in a spiced tomato sauce. Visiting on a weekend? Its worth the drive over to East Cambridge to Flour Bakery and Cafe, where the breakfast sandwich of eggs with bacon, cheddar and arugula with dijonaise might just have you going back the next day! (Flour Bakery should also be on your list at lunchtime for excellent sandwiches, salads and stuffed breads.)
Lunch: Clover on Harvard Square is a high quality, fast food vegetarian chain that boasts an average speed time per order of 3.5 minutes. Founded by Ayr Muir, A MIT grad with a Harvard MBA, the focus is on speed, flavor and consistency in a constantly changing menu. The decor is playful and humorous, the friendly staff guides you in your selection, and we loved the whole concept down to the delicious food. (If you’re rushing to make your tour in the morning, Clover serves breakfast as well in their signature quick serve style.) Students and locals were thrilled when Shake Shack opened right on Harvard Square. Russell House Tavern is a casual spot for salads, soups and sandwiches. Looking to sit for a more proper meal head to always busy Toscano, popular for Tuscan Italian fare. Weather permitting; enjoy the outdoor seating in the lovely garden at Harvest.
Casual: A Harvard institution, Mr Bartleys has been serving dinner since 1960. Crowds line up for their hand cut fries, burgers and frappes. Be sure to reserve ahead of time for a seat at Giulia, a top tier Italian where chef Michael Pagliarini makes homemade pasta during the day on what becomes a communal dining table at night. You don’t need to cross the river; some of the area’s hottest tables are located in Cambridge and nearby Somerville. With a diverse wine list and a cool urban vibe, Puritan & Company features a new farm to table American menu, just a few minutes drive from Harvard in Inman Square. Every Bostonian we spoke to mentioned Sarma as their favorite night out for delicious, modern Mediterranean small plates from chef Ana Sortun and Cassie Piuma . Foundry on Elm is a trendy, bustling bistro in a cool industrial space. Highland Kitchen serves Southern inspired comfort fare with live music and theme evenings such as Fried Chicken and Tiki Mondays. Spoke is a neighborhood gem for small plates and excellent wine and cocktails. And there’s more— indulge in schnitzels and schnapps at Bronwyn or for wood fired dishes with an international twist head to La Brasa.
A Step Up: On every foodie’s list, Alden & Harlow is a Harvard Square hot spot for adventurous new American fare served in a rustic, chic subterranean room. The decor might read casual, but this is food for a sophisticated palette. Oleana, chef Ana Sortun’s original Middle Eastern restaurant is still going strong after 16 years, specializing in inventive Mediterranean cuisine sourced from her husband, Chris Kurth’s, Siena Farm. In warm weather the patio is a lovely place to spend an evening. Loyal Nine’s menu highlights New England’s culinary traditions sourcing ingredients from local farmers and artisans. Book a table at Craigie on Main for a memorable meal. Across the bridge in Boston, have a grand night in true supper club style at Yvonne’s, experience sushi heaven at O-Ya or indulge in upscale French fare at Mistral, Menton or No. 9 Park.
Foodie Nirvana: We left with our bag filled with spices, jams and teas from Sofra Bakery and Cafe, the casual contemporary Middle Eastern inspired café and specialty shop and sibling of above mentioned Sarma and Oleana. Located about ten minutes from Harvard Square by car, Sofra entices not just as a pantry filler but for its casual Mediterranean breakfast and lunch menu. Forget your morning bagel, at Sofra order the morning bun with orange blossom glaze, shakshuka or spiced barley or lentils with an over easy egg. At lunch there’s meze platters, stuffed flatbreads and shawarma, hummus and salads. Make sure to leave room for dessert—there’s an array of delicious sweets!
Late Night Sweets/Bites: Mini chain, J.P. Licks is always crowded with fans praising the intense flavors of their homemade ice cream and hard and soft frozen yogurts. Eclectic toppings and thin crusts are the draw at Otto Pizzeria, located directly across from Harvard Yard and catering to hungry students till 12 pm weekdays and 2 pm on the weekends.
Local Attractions: Rub the toe of John Harvard Statue in Harvard Yard, as the students do to bring them luck. Visit the Harvard University Art Museums or the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Follow Brattle Street, just off the square and walk along Tory Row, where Loyalists to the Crown had mansions during the Revolutionary War. Tour the most famous, Longfellow House, home to the poet Henry Wadsworth and former headquarters for George Washington during the siege of Boston. Boston is just minutes away by cab, uber or subway and has countless worthy attractions if you have more time. Walk the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail from Boston Commons to Bunker Hill. Visit Quincy Market, Top of the Hub, Newbury Street, Boston Commons, and the New England Aquarium. A short drive from downtown, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is a must for history buffs. Baseball fans can tour one of America’s most famous stadiums, Fenway Park, home to the Green Monster.
— QUOTES FROM CAMPUS —
HARVARD FAST FACTS
John Harvard the Pilgrim
86 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(p) (617) 495-1551
(f) (617) 495-8821
William Fitzsimmons, Dean of Admissions
NCAA Division I
John F. Kennedy
Just to name a few
+ HARVARD CHEAT SHEET +
Tatte’s Bakery and Cafe
Craigie on Main
No. 9 Park.
Russell House Tavern
Alden & Harlow
Puritan & Company
Cafe Art Science
+ LOCAL ATTRACTIONS
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