Cambridge Things to Do

  • Massachusetts Hall, Harvard's oldest building
    Massachusetts Hall, Harvard's oldest...
    by Jefie
  • The boat at dock
    The boat at dock
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  • Enclosed interior to keep you toasty
    Enclosed interior to keep you toasty
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Best Rated Things to Do in Cambridge

  • shohman's Profile Photo

    grab a cup of coffee

    by shohman Written Jan 2, 2006

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    Peets coffee is a great meeting place. The roast and sell their own beans and also have an assotment of teas from around the globe. If you can find a space, it's a great place to relax and watch the square outside the window.

    Peet's coffee and tea

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  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Harvard University

    by mikey_e Written Jul 14, 2009

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    Harvard University is the oldest university in North America, and is reputed to have the best university library on the continent. The institution is world famous for its various programs, as well as the incredible network of alumni and alumnae who are the cream of the global élite. The school is also famous for its inclusion in the Ivy League, which, despite popular belief, is not an academic club but a varsity sports one. The Harvard campus and surrounding area is a rather interesting microcosm of American academic life, not least because of the incredibly high percentage of foreign students. You are guaranteed to hear every major European and Asian language spoken on campus, and there are occasional protests in support of or in oppositon to various régimes around the world. Despite the global nature of the student pool, the campus grounds (and, yes, even the students) still have the look of a typical American college. Varsity sweatshirts, flipflops, shorts in 10 degree weather and baseball caps are all very much favoured by both men and women, and half the people you see are likely to be wearing something with the Harvard emblem emblazened on it. It's fun for a half-day or day, but after a while it can get a bit much; you'd be well advised to duck into one of the many museums for an hour or two.

    Grecian columns on campus The campus clock tower One of the residences The library A newer addition to the campus architecture
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture
    • Historical Travel

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    the Old Burying Ground

    by rwlittle Written Feb 27, 2005

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    Adjacent to Harvard and Harvard Square is the Old Burying Ground. It's behind a metal gate and fence, but is quite visible to all passers-by. I certainly don't think anyone's been buried here in quite some time...it's field with old town residents and early college presidents, from the days of yore.

    Old Burying Ground, Cambridge
    Related to:
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Study Abroad
    • Historical Travel

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    Walk the Charles River!

    by rwlittle Written Feb 27, 2005

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    The Charles River has been cleaned up and restored to its former glory. People boat on it...not just power boats, but rowers. Ducks and other fowl swim in it. Green things grow in its banks. It's a pleasant place to walk, or sunbathe, and in the warmer months of the year the city of Cambridge shuts down huge portions of Memorial Drive, along the riverfront, to pedestrians and cyclists and rollerbladers, who all seem to co-exist without incident. With the great views of Boston and the greenery, this is a great place to picnic.

    The Charles River, and Cambridge
    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
    • Study Abroad

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    MIT!

    by rwlittle Written Feb 27, 2005

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    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is one of the world's premiere science and engineering educational institutions. Campus is nestled against the Charles River, where Massachusetts Avenue crossed the Charles from Cambridge into Boston.

    Tours of the campus are offered...click here for more information.

    Related to:
    • Study Abroad

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  • sarahandgareth's Profile Photo

    Harvard Square

    by sarahandgareth Updated Aug 12, 2005

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    As squares go north of the Charles, Harvard is the daddy of them all. This is where the tourists come in their droves, and where parking your car is a long-ago dream. We tend to come down here more when the students are away: sometimes you can barely walk into the restaurants when school’s in session. There are plenty of choices here, although many of the better-priced restaurants are large and sometimes a little unadventurous (we’re still fans of John Harvard’s, though). Nose around, though, and you’ll find great places like Cambridge, One, for some of the best pizza you’ll taste anywhere. There are some great shops, too: as you might expect, books are everywhere, and the Harvard Coop, the Harvard Bookstore and the Globe Corner travel book store are all places to linger for hours. Oh, and did we mention ice cream? No summertime visit would be complete without dropping in to either Herrell’s or Toscanini’s, both local ice cream legends. Lest we forget, there’s a big university on one side of the square: you can take a tour for free, led by an undergrad, usually entertaining, and there are some great museums, all of which have various times when admission is free. We assume that all those high fees subsidize the free visiting times!

    Harvard Square

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    The Peabody Museum of Archeology

    by mikey_e Written Jul 3, 2009

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    The Peabody Museum is one of the many museums on the Harvard University campus. It is technically an ethnographic museum - I know I've railed against them in the past - but one that balances the presentation of various everyday artefacts from civilizations around the world with the more interesting task of educating visitors on the cultures and histories of these people. Of particular value is a visit the the Indian exhibit on the first floor, which highlights the aboriginal cultures of North America. There's a lot of material to explain the differences between the dozens of nations that are often lumped together under the term "Indian", as well as a narrative of the history of the Natives, the Native movement and the preservation of modern aboriginal culture. The top floor has exhibits on indigenous cultures of the Pacific region, while the second floor is devoted to the peoples of Meso- and South America, with particular attention to the Kuna people of Panama and the Maya. All of it is really well displayed and explained, which is a bonus for those with less of a less-than-expert background in these areas. Plus, admission to the Peabody also gets you admission to the Natural History Museum.

    The Peabody Museum Entrance to the museum An explanation of stereotypes
    Related to:
    • Archeology
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture

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    Harvard Museum of Natural History

    by KarenandCory Updated Jan 21, 2006

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    The Harvard Museum of Natural History includes 3 different museums; the Museum of Comparative Zoology, the Mineralogical and Geological Museum, and the Botanical Museum. The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is here too, so you have a 4 in 1 delightful museum day ahead of you!
    The Botanical Museum features the Ware Collection of Blaschka Glass Models of Plants, known as The Glass Flowers.
    The Zoological section includes examples of animals dating back to prehistoric times- including a Kronosaurus.
    The Mineralogical and Geological Museum has collections of minerals, gems, rocks, ores, and meteorites.

    The Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology is an anthropology museum devoted to human history.

    Harvard Museum of Natural History Harvard Museum of Natural History The Glass Flowers Gems Kronosaurus
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Archeology
    • Historical Travel

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  • Restaurants in Harvard Square

    by squarelunchguy Written Dec 21, 2006

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    There are over 80 restaurants in Harvard Square, and I've eaten at all of them! You can see my website for the ful list and reviews of each.

    That said, here are some restaurant suggestions:

    If you're looking for the best food, prices be damned:
    Om Restaurant and Upstairs on the Square on Winthrop Street - high end.
    Bartley's Burgers - best burgers in the world - on Mass Ave toward Central five blocks.
    Veggie Planet - creative vegetarian - corner of Church St. and Palmer Street

    Best Restaurants to meet others:
    Bartley's, sit in the middle area
    Grafton Street, large lounge
    Fire and Ice, Church Street, around the grill

    Best Value (cheapest)
    Fellipe's on Mt. Auburn - $3 burrito!
    All four Indian restaurants - all you can eat buffet

    Most unusual restaurants
    Grendel's (Supreme Court history)
    Upstairs at the Square (former Harvard theatrical club)
    Coop Cafe - in the middle of the bookstore
    Bartley's - nothing like it
    Cafe Pamplona (when it's nice) - takes you to Spain
    Veggie Planet - only in Harvard Square
    Plough and Stars - 15 minute walk for an authentic irish pub
    Om - sylistized Tibetan(!)

    Check out my blog for more info on each of these!

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining

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    Stata Center

    by acemj Updated Sep 25, 2005

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    World-renowned American architect Frank Gehry is the man responsible for this new building on the campus of MIT. Gehry is probably most well-known for the stunning Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, although he has many other famous projects around the world. Personally, I'm getting a little bored with the Gehry look. Bilbao is beautiful and I've seen the Weisman Museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota and a couple other buildings of his, but they are all starting to look too similar.

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  • sarahandgareth's Profile Photo

    Central Square

    by sarahandgareth Updated Aug 12, 2005

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    Between Harvard and Kendell Squares, Central is an entirely different world. Without its own university, this area can seem like only a poor cousin of the ritzier squares. However, Central has plenty to offer from great nightspots to popular restaurants. We especially enjoy the Middle East and the Field. Man Ray, once a highlight, has closed and may not reopen in this part of town.

    Plus, don't forget the people watching opportunities.

    Central Square at night

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  • sarahandgareth's Profile Photo

    Kendall Square

    by sarahandgareth Updated Aug 12, 2005

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    Between MIT and all the businesses in the area, you will find that Kendall Square is significantly more lively during the day than it is at night. That isn't to say that Kendall isn't worth a visit, day or night. Our favorite stops include the Cambridge Brewing Company and the Kendall Square Theatre. The MIT Coop is also worth a visit. If you feel like venturing out a little, the Garment District, selling new and used clothes individually or by the pound is always interesting.

    Small open area in Kendall Square

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  • mikey_e's Profile Photo

    Harvard Museum of Natural History

    by mikey_e Written Jul 3, 2009

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    The Harvard Museum of Natural History is a delight for anyone who might be interested in museums of this type. I was never really big into biology or geology, so there wasn't much specially interest for me, but it was nevertheless impressive for its huge collection of minerals, stuffed animals and plant specimens. The hall with various mammals and fish that have been stuffed and preserved are sure to impress any child - especially the larger mammals like the lions and tigers. There is also a small but interesting exhibit on climate change and global warming, as well as a section that is devoted to insects and also to bacteria. Sometimes natural history museums don't like to concentrate on the species that are less photogenic, but that's certainly not the case when it comes to the museum at Harvard. The crown jewel of the institution, however, is its collection of glass plants. That may seem odd, and indeed it really does require seeing the exhibit to believe it. The Museum has row after row of cases filled with various species of plant crafted entirely from glass. They are so life-like that you will really wonder whether they are real or not. A father and son pain-stakingly created this entire collection, which features some of the most beautiful tropical flowers and ferns ever. Definitely worth the trip - and the rather boring walk through the mineral section!

    The Harvard Museum of Natural History A glass frond Glass palm Glass cocoa The entrance to the Museum
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits

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    The Museum of Useful Things (MUT)

    by frankcanfly Updated Sep 24, 2006

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    I read about this place before my last visit to Cambridge, and thought I'd check it out. The website made me more excited to see it; I like simple and obscure history.

    Then I found it. It's a store. Granted, some of the things for sale are interesting, and highly overpriced.

    When I asked someone where the museum is, he pointed to a shelf behind the cashier and said 'There's some vintage stuff there." OK, got it.

    Summary: If you're walking by and you just step in, you'll think it's an interesting store. If you're looking for an interesting museum, you'll have to settle for an expensive, over-hyped store.

    The Museum The Store

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    Museum Update Must See!!

    by garridogal Written Dec 22, 2014

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    A few years ago The Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Sackler museums were closed for renovation. They've been combined and re-opened and you should go check it out. The focal point of the museum, the cloister has had a new glass roof installed and you can now go from museum to museum without going out of doors.

    Look him in the eye View to a cloister Beautiful Suffering saint Outings make us smile
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture
    • Museum Visits

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Cambridge Things to Do

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