If you go to the COOP, which is the sort of official Bookstore for Harvard University, you can buy tons of Harvard merchandise. However, if you don't really care about it being completely authentic, and by that I mean being endorsed by the school, you can buy shirts that say "Harvard" or "Boston", etc. for much cheaper in the subway station or even at the newspaper stand right outside of the Subway station.
HARVARD SQUARE... 'What,' you might be saying to yourself, but hear me out. Harvard Square has been overrun with national chain retailers and it's looking more and more like a suburban shopping mall that you would find in Oak Brook, Illinois! Okay, perhaps I am exaggerating a little, but the truth remains.
When I first moved to Boston, a friend of mine who grew up here and then moved to Florida was coming back to Boston for a few days. We agreed to meet in Harvard Square for drinks at a German beerhall and reataurant. Not knowing my way around yet, he basically told me to 'take the 'T' to Harvard and when you come out of the subway the German beerhall is right there in Harvard Square.' Well, guess what, it had been replaced by Abercrombie & Fitch and he had only been gone for a year or so. Now, I have nothing against corporate expansion or shopping for that matter. I just hate it when national chain retailers locate in a place like Harvard Square becuase I think it puts a blemish on the character and traditional appeal of such an area.
Despite this, Harvard Square does have redeeming qualities as will be discussed in the other sections of my Cambridge page.
I consider this a Tourist 'Trip' ... okay, it's not cheap, $25 (senior 60+ $22) but children 12 & under are free with a paying adult. It is a good way to see as much as you can in a shorter amount of time. I haven't felt like spending that kind of money for a tour yet. But you might!
Avoid the chain stores! Harvard Square was once filled with interesting little unique shops. Increasingly, chain stores have moved in and pushed out independent retailers who can't afford the high rents. This has seriously undermined the unique atmosphere of the square. There are still many interesting places to shop here and one can buy ugly, overpriced brand-name stuff in malls everywhere.