Technically the “square” is a triangular plaza at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, Brattle Street, and John F. Kennedy Street, but the term is also used to identify the surrounding neighborhood, which includes Harvard University. Like many college towns, this area is packed with bars, restaurants, cafés, bookstores, and shops, making it the perfect place to people watch in Cambridge. Walking tours are available, and some all-day tours of Boston include a visit to Harvard Square.
Things to Know Before You Go
Skateboarders can be found hanging out near a sunken area of Harvard Square known as “the pit,” and the outdoor chess tables in front of the Smith Campus Center are legendary for high-level public matches.
Metered parking is limited around the square; 1- and 2-hour meters only accept quarters, but parking is free all night and on Sundays and holidays.
Colonial homes from the 1700s line Brattle Street, which was known as Tory Row for the Revolutionary War sympathies of those who lived here.
How to Get There
Harvard Square is located near the center of Cambridge, Massachusetts, at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, Brattle Street, and John F. Kennedy Street. To get there by subway (known as the T), take the Red Line to the Harvard station; several buses also stop nearby. Bluebikes, Boston's bike-share program, has kiosks around the square.
When to Get There
The most popular times to visit the Boston and Cambridge area are the summer, when the weather is warm, and the early fall months, when the foliage is changing colors. Keep in mind that Cambridge will be extra busy during college graduation time, which is typically in May and early June.
John Harvard Statue
For visitors and prospective students alike, the John Harvard Statue is a local touchstone—literally. Tourists can be found rubbing the left toe of the bronze statue for good luck. Located in Harvard Yard, the figure is a symbol of the university and sometimes the target of pranks by students from visiting schools, especially during football season.