Harvard Square is technically located in Cambridge, though this is still an area you'll want to check out on your trip to Boston. Harvard Square is not only home to Harvard University, but also many other attractions, restaurants and more. You don't have to go far for this list of the top things to do near Harvard Square, as most are a short walk from the square itself, if not right in it.
Of course, Boston itself is a walkable city, so if you're interested in venturing beyond the Harvard Square area, visit this Boston guide with plenty of other options for things to do and see, along with where to eat and drink.
Tour Harvard Square on the Hahvahd Tour
Back in 2006, a Harvard University student started up the Hahvahd Tour, named for the phonetic pronunciation of Harvard with a stereotypical Boston accent. This has since become known as the go-to unofficial Harvard University tour – and the founder now owns Trademark Tours, which runs the Hahvahd Tour. This 70-minute, student-led tour runs daily and takes you through the main attractions — Harvard Yard, Memorial Hall, The Widener Library, the Harvard Lampoon, the John Harvard Statue and more — while teaching you about the University’s history, culture and famous Harvardians.
Walk Around the Harvard Yard
Whether you’re on a tour or not, you’ll want to take a stroll through the Harvard Yard while visiting the Harvard Square area. This 25-acre green space is the oldest part of Harvard University, which features all sorts of courtyards and other areas where you’ll find both students and tourists during warm weather months. Aside from the historic architecture throughout the campus, the Harvard Yard is part of what makes Harvard University so picturesque.
Browse the Books at the Historic Harvard Book Store
The Harvard Book Store is a family-owned, independently run bookstore that has been around since 1932. Browse their big selection of both new and pre-owned books. They even have a robot that prints and binds books in minutes on-site.
Take the Kids to the “World’s Only” Curious George Store
The “World’s Only” Curious George Store is located right in the heart of Harvard Square and is a must-visit for those traveling with young children. Even if your little ones aren’t big fans of the book series, they’ll be entertained just by walking into the store. Here you’ll not only find tons of Curious George books, but also everything from puzzles and games, to apparel, stuffed animals and other themed trinkets. It’s the perfect spot for a souvenir.
Grab Food and Drinks at Harvard Square’s Top Restaurants
As with all Boston neighborhoods, there are plenty of options when it comes to eating and drinking. One of the city’s best rooftop restaurants is Daedalus, a converted greenhouse that’s perfect for warmer weather days. Other popular spots include Alden & Harlow, Russel House Tavern, Harvest and Café Sushi. For a casual, yet delicious breakfast, try Darwin’s Ltd.
See a Movie at the Brattle Theatre
Since 1953, the Brattle Theatre has been a place to watch movies, with German film, Der Hauptmann von Köpenick (The Captain from Köpenick) as the first screening. Today, the Brattle Theatre is run by the non-profit Brattle Film Foundation, showing everything from first-run films to new releases of classic films. The theater is also known for their repertory programming, where they show movies from a certain director or genre throughout a given week or on a particular weekday over a month.
Visit the Three Harvard Art Museums
The Harvard Art Museums include the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger and Arthur M. Sackler Museums, each with different collections and identities. The Fogg Museum was founded in 1895 and is now home to Western paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photographs, prints and drawings that were created between the Middle Ages and today. Next came the Busch-Reisinger Museum in 1901, then called the Germanic Museum, which has works from central and northern Europe, including German-speaking countries. And then in 1977, the Arthur M. Sackler Museum was opened to house Harvard’s works from Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean.
Check Out the Harvard Museum of Natural History
Over 250,000 people visit the Harvard Museum of Natural History yearly. Here you can learn about the natural world, including the planets, climate change, all kinds of animals and more. There are plenty of interesting exhibits to explore in this museum. If you're into museums, visit this list of the best of Boston.
Listen to Live Music at the Sinclair
Kayak or Canoe Along the Charles River
In Kendall Square, another Cambridge neighborhood either 2 stops on the MBTA Red Line or a 15-minute drive from Harvard Square, you’ll reach the Charles River. Here you can rent canoes, stand-up paddleboards and kayaks through Paddle Boston and take them along the 9-mile stretch of river with no current, making it an easy paddle for anyone. If you’re not into boating, go for a walk along the Charles River instead for scenic city views.
Visit One of the City’s Most Popular Museums
The Museum of Science is one of Boston’s top museums, where you’ll find over 500 educational and interactive exhibits that team STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) topics to both kids and adults. There’s also the popular Charles Hayden Planetarium featuring a variety of shows throughout the year. From Harvard Square, the Museum of Science is 3 stops on the MBTA Red Line or about a 15-minute drive.
Check Out Other Cambridge Squares
There are several neighborhoods – or squares – within Cambridge, which are easily accessible by the MBTA Red Line. Check out Kendall Square, Porter Square, Central Square or Inman Square while you’re in town.