From Boston to Cambridge on the "T"
The easiest way to get to Cambridge from downtown Boston is to ride the "T". Harvard Station in Cambridge is located on the red line, and it is smack in the middle of Harvard Square. To get on a red line train in Boston, you can go to Park Station, the one located near the entrance of Boston Common (Direction: Alewife). This will take you across Charles River on the Longfellow Bridge - make sure to check out the view! Tickets cost $2.
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I think the T in Boston is one of the easiest public transportation systems to get around on (even if it's not the most efficient). All of the lines are known by color (red, green, orange, etc.) so you can pretty much tell where you are by the colors around you. Cambridge is right off the red line and the stops are named after the squares (Kendall Sq., Central, Sq., Harvard Sq., etc.) so there are really no tricks because most places will tell you they are located in such and such square.
The cost for a ride is $2 and transfers at main stops are free as you don't leave the station (i.e Park Street). Starting Jan. 1, 2007 they introduced the new "Charlie Card." Fares are cheaper ($1.70) if you purchase this card with a stored value of $5, $10, or $20. There is also a links pass which costs $9 for 1 day or $15 for the week. This gives you unlimited travel on the T, local bus, Inner Harbor Ferry, and small area of the commuter rail.
For purchasing info. the website is easy to navigate and should prove useful to anyone riding the T.
(The no. 1 bus also runs up and down Mass Ave. and is a good alternative when traveling from one square to the next in or beyond Cambridge. Bus fare is $1.50 or $1.25 with the Charlie Card ).
ATTENTION: it is rumored that fares will be increasing.
take the "T"!
The "T" is Boston-speak for the local subway network. Here in Cambridge, there are two subway lines of note: the Green Line, touching down in east Cambridge at the Lechmere station, and the Red Line, touching down in Cambridge at the Kendall/MIT, Central Square, Harvard Square, Porter Square, and Alewife stations. At each stop, a little community of restaurants and things-to-see has sprung up over the years.
Each of these lines will move you from Cambridge to Somerville, Boston, Brookline, and points beyond, as the map shows.
For pricing and route info, check out the MBTA website.
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Take the "T"
Jump on the subway if you're looking to get around Cambridge or if you're heading into Boston. Most rides are just $1.25. Last time I was there, I took the subway from Kendall Square to the airport only making one change and the whole thing was . . . yep, just $1.25. Wow. Can't beat that.
Just like in Boston, the T is a great way to get around Cambridge. With stops at all the major squares (Porter, Harvard, Central, and Kendall), the Red Line will quickly get you from Somerville or Boston to the most popular Cambridge destinations. The Green Line is a good alternative for getting to the Cambridgeside Galleria, a popular mall.
And, for $2 a ride, the T is still cheaper than most parking options.
The bus, also run by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), is even cheaper than the subway, with crosstown routes starting at just 90 cents! You pay when you board the bus with cash or tokens. Check out the website for details.
Driving - and lack of parking - in Cambridge
Driving, and more specifically parking, can be hellish in Cambridge - especially around Harvard Square. Parking is at a premium here: sometimes the pay lots are full (especially the small one on Church St), and outside of the immediate Harvard Square vicinity, much of the parking is by permit only.
We live not far away, and it always seems a shame to spend money on the T when we have a car, but it often takes 15-20 minutes of driving in circles to find a spot. It's easier to park well up Mass Ave and then walk down.
Take public transportation!!!...
Take public transportation!!! There is very little parking in this city, and one must drive around in circles for quite a long time to find parking even in residential neighborhoods. In Harvard Square, it is almost impossible to find a parking space. Also, people drive like maniacs here. Even members of my own family are afflicted by a tendency to make illegal u-turns, to speed and to miss stop signs. Pedestrians constantly jaywalk here, and bicycle riders often don't obey any rules at all.
There is a very good public transportation system (called the 'T')which connects Boston with nearby towns including Cambridge. There are trains, buses and a subway system. The subway connects to the airport and to the trains.
To get to Harvard Square in Cambridge, take the Red Line to the Harvard stop. (The trains stopping at Harvard usually say 'Alewife' on them). This will bring you right to the heart of Harvard Square. Here is the address for the subway (metro) map: http://www.mbta.com/Schedmaps/subway/index.cfm
Take public transportation or walk. There are a few bike lanes in the city, but you have to be careful of the cars.
If you're already in Boston...
If you're already in Boston and you have a car, you can take Storrow Drive and get off at Massachusetts Ave. After you cross Harvard Bridge, you'll be in Cambridge and at MIT.
Driving in Boston is insane, especially with the big dig and all kinds of nonsense constructions projects going on. Don't bother with a rental car, you can take the T (subway) from Logan into the city, and the bus system is pretty good too.
The T (Massachusetts Bay Transporation Authority)
The 'T' is the nickname of the Subway system in Cambridge and Boston. It's a part of the Massachusetts Bay Transporation Authority, which is also responsible for the bus system.
Everyone told us that the streets around Cambrige are difficult to navigate by car because they don't really follow any pattern, the drivers seem to be inpatient, and the streets change their names without any warning. So, don't drive if you don't have to! The T offers a safe, convenient, cheap, and easy-to-use transporation alternative, and is actually the preferred way of getting around for many tourists. How cheap? In 2002, it only cost $1 to ride it.
Some T station geography
The Havard Square station is located in the heart of Cambridge at (you guessed it) Harvard Square. The same line inbound to Boston will take you by the M.I.T. (Kendall) Station, and the Park Station (Boston Common), and eventually to the South Station (Amtrak train/bus station).
Remember that the 'inbound' T takes you into Boston, and 'outbound' T takes you back to Cambridge (or out into the other suburbs). I believe the line we used was the Orange line. It was adequate for us to get around Cambridge and Boston.
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Boston T Subway
there are two ways of going to cambridge from boston if you don't want to rent a car and drive or if you don't have local friends who will show ou around, the more touristy will be via the assorted Boston Trolley Buses and the public subway, the boston T, where it has a stop in the center of Harvard Yard in Cambridge and the Massachusetts Institute of Techology at Kendall via the Red Line and the one way trip from your hotel or inn in boston will be $ 2.00 via a charlie card or $ 2.50 via cash and charlie ticket.
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Boston Trolley Tour Buses
being a historic and touristy City, there are various Boston Trolley Buses plying routes around the boston area and beyond like Cambridge, this trolley tours are different from the regular big bus tours in the fact that you can hop on and off the designated trolley stops which are located beside the major attractions and you can spend time on your own to see this attractions. these trolley bus tours are available from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm everyday during march to december and 10:00 am to 2:00 pm from January to February and costs $ 34.95 for one day and $ 43.95 for two day passes.
you can buy the tickets at the Fanneuil Hall, or at some of the trolley stops which have ticket booths or upon entering the trolley bus, you can pay at the trolley bus driver for the day or two day passes.
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Hourly Parking Garages in Harvard Square Area
Parking around Harvard is quite limited, so it is wise to use the "T" (Boston's subway) when visiting. Take the Red line & get off on Harvard Square. If you do decide to bring a car during your visit, there are hourly parking garages that you can avail of in the Harvard Square area.
Here's a list of parking garages with their posted on-line rates:
1.) Harvard Square Parking Garage, [(617) 491-0298], 1 Bennett Street, Cambridge
2.) Church Street Parking Lot, [(617) 723-1488], 41 Church Street, Cambridge
3.) Holyoke Center Parking Garage, [(617) 723-1488], just off Harvard Square between Massachusetts Ave and Mt. Auburn Street. Enter on Holyoke St.
4.) University Place Garage, [(617) 491-0801], 124 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge
Source: HLS Student Services page on area parking
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THE KENDALL SQUARE STATION
FOR 50 YEARS OR MORE, I have heard the Kingston Trio sing about the Kendall Square Station in their famous song "Get Poor Charlie off the MTA." Well, here it is.
The subway (called the "T") does run from Boston up through Cambridge. The Kendall Square Station is also the stop for M.I.T., the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where you can purchase a "Nerd Power" t-shirt if you really want one.
Two stops farther west, or "outbound" will drop you off at the Harvard University station.
The Red Line is the one that goes up through Cambridge.
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Parking and traffic are tough...
Parking and traffic are tough in Cambridge, so your best bet is to take the Red Line T (subway) from Boston or from Alewife (at the northwest edge of Cambridge on Rt. 2), which has a big parking lot. The main attractions are at Harvard and Central Squares, which both have Red Line stations.
The best way to get around Cambridge is on bike or on foot, though the Red Line also runs through the city.