Harvard Square

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Harvard Square Located in the center of Cambridge, Harvard Square is a fun and happening area with a past that draws tourists and local history buffs alike. Boston United States 42.373563 -71.118964
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Harvard Square - Landmark | Outdoor Activity | Square in Boston.
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Party Earth Review Located in the center of Cambridge, Harvard Square is a fun and happening area with a past that draws tourists and local history buffs alike. The spot in which Washington took control of the Continental Army, and the home... ... read full review

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  • Recommended as:

    • Day Spot
    • Night Spot

Party Earth Harvard Square Review

The Scene

Located in the center of Cambridge, Harvard Square is a fun and happening area with a past that draws tourists and local history buffs alike.

Located in the center of Cambridge, Harvard Square is a fun and happening area with a past that draws tourists and local history buffs alike.

The spot in which Washington took control of the Continental Army, and the home of Harvard University, the nation’s oldest college, nowadays the Square is more of a commercial and cultural center featuring big-brand shopping outlets like American Apparel and Aldo, as well as a plethora of coffee shops, bookstores, and public art installations.

Casual hangouts like Grendel's Den, Charlie’s Kitchen, and Temple Bar draw hordes of thirsty Harvard students, while young professionals and shoppers stop in for quaint upscale fare at Upstairs on the Square (91 Winthrop Street) or politically-themed burgers at Mr. Barley’s Burger Cottage (1246 Massachusetts Avenue).

No slouch when it comes to special events, the Square is the site of numerous block parties and festivals like MayFair – an annual event that brings out bands, street vendors, and artists – as well as a daily parade of musicians, painters, and street performers.

There’s also no shortage of cultural attractions, including the renowned folk music venue Club Passim (47 Palmer Street), which has hosted everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Joan Baez; Brattle Theater (40 Brattle Street) and its mix of independent and foreign films; American Repertory Theater (64 Brattle Street) and its roster of new plays and revivals; and all the offerings of Harvard University, from lectures to the Hasty Pudding Theatrical Group and their infamous and irreverent “Man/Woman of the Year” roasts.

Loaded with good times and fascinating history, Harvard Square is definitely a don’t-miss destination for locals and visitors alike.

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Tip from Jonah:

Check out the annual HONK! Festival during the second weekend of October, when groups ranging from New Orleans-style brass bands to klezmer bands take to the streets from Davis to Harvard Square. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience, and the music is sure to get your feet moving no matter the style.

  • Crowd

    Writers, creative young professionals, Harvard students, tourists, hippies, affluent Cambridge residents, and young punks, early 20s to late 30s+.

  • Entertainment / Music

    The square hosts dozens of annual events, street festivals, and parties throughout the year, including the MayFair Festival, Oktoberfest, Cinco de Mayo, the Cambridge River Festival in June, and the HONK! Festival in October.

  • Food / Miscellaneous

    Food options include everything from upscale restaurants to street vendors.

  • Prices

    Prices vary.

  • What to Wear / Dress Code

    Anything goes.

  • Hot Nights / When to Go

    The place tends to be crowded with tourists on Saturday and Sunday days, while weekdays and weeknights draw a good crowd of students passing through for dinner and drinks.

  • Close By

    The seasonal Harvard campus tour leaves from the center of the square and offers a peek into the oldest American university.

Harvard Square User Reviews

Average rating:
The Real Heart of Massachusetts
Idia I. Mar 7, 2013
No matter where in the world you travel, you'll never find a place quite like Harvard square. It is the perfect mix of classic and trendy. With its assortment of dynamic bookstores, museums, and historical cites, students seldom have to leave the area for academic resources. And why would they want to?! Its social scene is pretty impressive as well. Its wide variety of trendy bars, cafes, nightclubs, and boutiques makes it so that you can explore the square on any given night and be sure to have a good time. My favorite place to go in the square is Daedalus, a restaurant just minutes from the heart of the square where from gorgeous rooftop seating, you can see the wide range of street performers and small groups of livened audiences far down below. Harvard Square truly is an amazing place. It is unique in that there is something for all ages and places to go for every kind of personality. There is really no way you can go to Boston without taking the subway's Red Line just a few stops outbound to visit this eclectic little square.
Awesome park!
Elyse H. Dec 12, 2012
I wish my college had a square like this one rather then a bunch of modern buildings! It just feels like you’re at an old college, you can just wander back in time and close your eyes and imagine being here fifty years ago or even a hundred years ago! It just has that timeless feel. Of course there’s shopping around the square that makes Cambridge such a cute little college town, and I took advantage of the shops believe you me! There’s just so much variety and so much going on this place is so wonderful for that.
Really cute, worth a visit
Christina W. Dec 12, 2012
The first time I went to Harvard Square I was six years old. I honestly don't remember a thing, except that I loved it and kept telling my parents after our vacation that I wanted to live in Harvard Square when I got older. Since then I have changed my mind, but the place still holds a little bit of a personal allure for me. It is just so quaint! In a strange way it feels a little bit like what my college campus wanted to be but didn't quite achieve. (We had a the amazing quad, but not the shops.) My friend who I was visiting worked on Harvard's campus a few days a week, so while waiting for her one day I wandered the campus bookstore, ate some delicious falafel, and read a book while eating Lizzy's ice cream. (It was the first warm day in March and the place was PACKED.) Just like any "college town" spot, I'm sure it can get boring after a while. But if you're visiting Boston, even if you think Harvard is not worth its salt, you should check out Harvard Square. I'm sure you'll be surprised and what you might find that you'll enjoy.
Quintessential College Campus
Tara R. Dec 9, 2012
Cambridge has a lovely college town feel despite the fact you’re close to a big city. There’s shopping, there’s lounging and plenty of green, and this does feel like a quintessential college campus. The red brick, stately academic buildings, and students in the grass actually doing their homework probably helps with this feel, as does the fact that the locations chosen for “The Social Network” were prep school surrogates of this particular campus. I have spent several happy afternoons around this square, visiting the stores, eating in the many different cafes, and strolling down the tree-lined paths.
A Unique Vibe
Jonathan K. Nov 12, 2012
Harvard square has the look and feel of a traditional American university. Harvard's architecture, statues, and students give off this hip & intellectual vibe that I haven't felt on other campuses. It probably has something to do with knowing you are walking on the campus that held people like John F. Kennedy, FDR, George W. Bush, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Barack Obama. The locals who roam around Harvard Square can best be described as having "personality." There are a lot of great places to eat and cool sights to see, so be sure to bring some friends, a camera and an empty stomach!
Harvard Square is a Hot Spot
Elaina G. Sep 30, 2012
Last stop on the 77 bus is Harvard Square, the New York City of Massachusetts. With its historical red brick streets and old buildings, it is difficult not to fall in love with Harvard Square. As you pass the musicians and artists, you find hundreds of eclectic restaurants to dine in. One of my favorites is Finale, where you can enjoy a fine glass of wine, a warm molten chocolate cake, and a cool autumn view this time of the year. There are hundreds of fun shops and events to go to during the day, and lots of bars to attend at night. If I could do college all over again, I would pick one near Harvard Square, where you are only a walking distance from a wide variety of featured events and entertaining hot spots, as well as some quiet nooks to study or read.
Classic Setting
Nick T. Sep 12, 2012
When I think college - I think of Harvard Square. Even though they are very close to each other, Boston and Harvard Square are very different in the you honestly feel like you are in a small college town in Harvard Square. Plenty of good shopping and mom and pop restaurants and delis during the day, and fun bars at night - it's hard to run out of enjoyable things to do here. You almost feel trendy and intellectual just being there with the general population coming off as being "in the know" about pretty much everything. The only downside to this area is it seems to always be flooded with tourists and tour groups that can take away from the relaxing-small town feel it provides.
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