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 is a private institution home to just over 6,700 undergraduates, founded in 1636. Harvard Yard is the heart of the enclosed campus, surrounded by beautiful Gothic architecture and ivy- covered buildings. Freshmen students live in the “Yard” for their first year, and then in 12 undergraduate houses spread across the 5,706 acres campus. 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.
Transportation: The closest airport is Boston Logan International, approximately a 25-minute drive to campus. Take a taxi, uber or public transit to your destination. Harvard Square is the closest subway station to campus, located on the Red Line of the MBTA. (Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority). Traveling by train; Amtrak arrives and departs from South Station in downtown Boston, with additional stops at Back Bay and North Station.
Stay: Just a few minutes walk from Harvard Yard and overlooking the scenic Charles River, check into the Charles Hotel, our top choice when visiting Harvard. Right on Harvard Square, many families choose the boutique Hotel Veritas for their visit. Another option, adjacent to Harvard Yard, is the Sheraton Commander Hotel. Less than two miles away on Memorial Drive overlooking downtown Boston the Hyatt Regency is a popular choice. We hear good things about the Hotel Marlowe, a Kimpton Hotel, just a short 15-minute drive away 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.
Coffee: There’s a Starbucks Reserve Bar and a Dunkins in Harvard Square but we prefer California’s Blue Bottle Coffee, their first Boston-area location, just off Harvard Square on Bow Street.California’s Blue Bottle Coffee just opened its first Boston-area location, just off Harvard Square on Bow Street last year. Try one of their handcrafted espresso’s or a New Orleans Iced Coffee with chicory and see why Blue Bottle has a cult following.
Breakfast: Harvard students, and parents were thrilled when Tatte’s Bakery and Cafe opened on Harvard Square. This popular bakery and cafe, with seven 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. Another Boston favorite, Flour Bakery and Cafe, is a favorite for their baked goodies, but the breakfast sandwich of eggs with bacon, cheddar, arugula, and dijonaise made us fans! (Tatte and Flour Bakery are also good choices at lunchtime for excellent soups, sandwiches, and salads.) Staying at The Charles? Roll out of bed and have breakfast at Henrietta’s Table featuring a seasonal locally sourced menu.
Lunch: Pinocchio's has been feeding Harvard students for over 50 years! Try their award winning Sicilian pizza - we guarentee you will want to go back for more. 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, an MIT grad with a Harvard MBA, the focus is on speed, flavor, and consistency in a continually changing menu. The decor is playful and humorous, the friendly staff guides you in your selection, and we loved the whole concept! 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 for Tuscan Italian fare. Weather permitting; enjoy the outdoor seating in the lovely garden at Harvest.
Casual: You don’t need to cross the river; some of the area’s hottest tables are in Cambridge and nearby Somerville. A Harvard institution, Mr. Bartleys has been serving locals since 1960. Crowds line up for their hand-cut fries, burgers, and frappes. Be sure to reserve ahead for a seat at Giulia, a top-tier Italian where chef Michael Pagliarini makes homemade pasta during the day on what later becomes a communal dining table at night. Little Donkey, a quick uber down Mass Ave, is from the team behind Toro, come here for shared global small plates not lacking in originality or flavor. Every Bostonian we spoke to mentioned Sarma, in Summerville as their favorite night out for delicious, modern Mediterranean small plates from chef Ana Sortun and Cassie Piuma.
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. Younger sibling Waypoint’s vibe matches the cooking, serving creative seafood dishes plus pizzas and pasta. We loved our meal at Oleana, chef Ana Sortun’s Middle Eastern restaurant still going strong after 16 years, specializing in inventive Mediterranean cuisine sourced from her husband, Chris Kurth’s, Siena Farm. Order the fatteh and the spinach falafel, two standout mezes before moving on to the lemon chicken. 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. With a diverse wine list and a relaxed urban vibe, Puritan & Company features a modern farm to table American menu, just a few minutes drive from Harvard in Inman Square.
Foodie Nirvana: We left with our bag filled with spices, jams and teas from Sofra Bakery and Cafe, the casual Middle Eastern inspired café and specialty shop, and sibling of above mentioned Oleana and Sarma. Located about ten minutes from Harvard Square by car, Sofra entices not just as pantry filler but also 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 are 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 draws at Otto Pizzeria, located directly across from Harvard Yard and catering to hungry students till 12 pm weekdays and 2 pm on the weekends.
FYI: Did you know that Harvard offers free-guided historical tours to the general public? The tours are student-led and depart from the Smith Campus Center. See the tour calendar and schedule here. Harvard attracts visitors at all times of the year, but especially in the summer when droves of tourists arrive to see the famous university. Click here for an amusing read of tour guides favorite campus facts and questions asked on these tours.
Local Attractions: Students rub the toe of the John Harvard Statue in Harvard Yard to bring them luck, and we caught many visitors doing the same. (Ok, we did it too!) Allow a few hours to explore 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. If you have more time for exploring, Boston is just minutes away by car or T. Depending on your interests walk the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail from Boston Commons to Bunker Hill, visit Quincy Market, Top of the Hub, Boston Commons, or the New England Aquarium. Baseball fans will want to tour one of America’s most famous stadiums, Fenway Park, home to the Green Monster. Wander the shops on Newbury Street before heading to view the extensive collection at the Museum of Fine Arts or the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. A short drive from downtown, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library is a must for history buffs.
Welcome to Harvard
— Quotes From Campus —
DONT MISS THE BEST RESTAURANTS
HARVARD FAST FACTS
John Harvard the Pilgrim
Undergraduate - 6,700 (Harvard College)
86 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
(p) (617) 495-1551
(f) (617) 495-8821
NCAA Division I
John F. Kennedy
Just to name a few
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