Just north of Boston is the pleasant town of Cambridge, and right at the doorstep of Harvard University is the red-brick-paved and restaurant-lined Harvard Square, bursting with activity in its web of streets. Reachable by the Red Line and frequented by Harvard students, Cambridge residents, and Boston visitors alike, Harvard Square has much to offer. Choose a sunny day to explore it, and bring along this handy guide to help you navigate! Here is your visitor’s guide to Harvard Square:
Visitor’s Guide to Harvard Square
Coffee at Cafe Algiers
Start your day with a boost of energy served up hot in a cup of coffee from Cafe Algiers. The eclectic, relaxed, coffee-loving vibes will draw you in, and the frothy milk over strong, dark espresso will satisfy.
Tour Harvard College
Whether self-guided or with a tour guide, you will feel the academic spirit and vigor exuding from the buildings across this, the world’s most well-known college. Walk around the Harvard Yard, explore the libraries, and if the sun is out you can sit on the lawns. It’s always open to the public, so explore these historic grounds!
Get Your Harvard Gear at the Coop
A university book store dating back to 1882, the Harvard Coop is your one-stop-shop for all the hats, tshirts, and decals you’ll need to show off your visit to Harvard.
Brunch at Russell House Tavern
Teeming with vintage American style and honoring well the furniture-dealing expertise of its founder, Russell House Tavern offers an exciting brunch menu. You start off with the Bloodies and Bubbles brunch drink list and move on to a brunch offering of classics and novelties. And you’ll leave smiling, after a filling meal and the camaraderie of its cafeteria-like seating plan.
World’s Only Curious George Store
Enter into a bright yellow world of childish delight at the Curious George Store that holds its place at the corner of Brattle St. and JFK St. Even if you only go in to look, you will enjoy this unique shop! It’s so random and charming that I just had to include it on this guide to Harvard Square!
Chinese Food at Yenching
A favorite among Harvard students and professors, you’ll get a hearty serving of Chinese food with a side of intellectual eavesdropping here at Yenching. The owner is friendly and hospitable, always sure to offer green tea to those waiting for a table or take-out.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Home to an impressive collection of minerals, gemstones, and geodes, as well as a world-famous exhibition of glass flowers by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka, the Harvard Museum of Natural History is worth a visit. The Museum also displays birds, fish, and vertebrate paleontology, and will easily keep you amused for a few hours. I loved the glass flowers display and definitely recommend it as a must-see in this guide to Harvard Square!
Pizza at Otto
A gastronomic experiment on the classic pizza, Otto delivers on its promise of fancy pizza, to the delight of foodies! Try the Butternut Squash, Ricotta & Cranberry pizza, the Mashed Potato, Bacon & Scallion, or the Roasted Chicken, Caramelized Pears & Fontina Cheese.
Jewelry Shopping at Zinnia’s
Beautiful, shining displays of wallet-friendly jewelry decorate the interior of this locally-owned shop. With styles as diverse as its audiences, Zinnia’s is an absolute gem of a store. You won’t be able to leave without a new piece!
Theatre Show at Hasty Pudding
The oldest theatre company in the country, Hasty Pudding has been entertaining audiences since 1770. The famous springtime performances featuring Harvard men in drag draws in curious crowds. And the annual Man and Woman of the Year is awarded here, bringing major celebrities like Amy Poehler and Chris Pratt this year to the Square for an extravagant, silly celebration.
Cupcakes at Sweet
A cupcake shop high on sugar and charm, Sweet offers tasty little cakes and an inviting atmosphere. After one cupcake threatens to send you into a suger-shock heaven, you’ll need to fill up a box to go, to enjoy later too!
That’s it, your guide to Harvard Square! Now get over there and start studying…or just sampling cupcakes all day. Whatever you like. This is a most historic area of Boston and you can’t miss it when you’re in town!
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