I’m often asked, “Is it worth it to visit Harvard Square?” After all, you have to get on the subway and take it all the way to Cambridge, which takes all of 15 minutes. Well, the short answer is, “Definitely, YES!”
First, Harvard Square itself is such an interesting place. You can watch the chess masters in action at Au Bon Pain while enjoying a cup of cappuccino. You can listen to the street musicians. Or you can just watch as, literally, the world goes by. If you stay at the Charles Hotel, you’ll be right there.
You can also take a peaceful walk through Radcliff Yard, which was created in 1879 to provide a space for women to get a Harvard education without permitting them to attend the university. How times have changed!
You can also stroll down Brattle Street, known as “Tory Row”, where those who remained allegiant to the crown built mansions prior to the revolution. They ended up leaving en masse, escorted by British Troops to Nova Scotia, but their historic homes survive. One of such homes later became the home Henry Wadworth Longfellow and is now a living museum.
For lunch, you can head to Mr. Bartley’s Burger Village (best burgers in Boston) or John Harvard’s Brew House (unique, spicy meatloaf). Both restaurants offer a taste of the Harvard Life.
Finally, any visitor should take a walk through Harvard Yard, the university’s original campus and where you’ll find Massachusetts Hall (built in 1718). You can also ponder the “three lies” of John Harvard’s Statue (sorry, no hints!). It’s also worth checking out the world’s largest college library, the Widener.
- Alan Maltzman of BostonCityWalks.com