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Enjoy Cambridge, MA!

Updated on August 19, 2013
Try your skill in a scull!
Try your skill in a scull! | Source

Want to insure that you have a great time in Cambridge, Massachusetts? Then simply add a few of the following to your must-do list:

1. Stroll (or jog or bike) along The Charles River as it winds past historic Harvard University — take your dog along!. Or, if you feel particularly energetic, why not head out onto this placid and scenic stretch of river in your very own rowing scull? Take along 7 of your heartiest friends. You'll likely be joining the oaring crews of buff Radcliffe women and cut Harvard men as they rhythmically run through their workout paces in the early morning mist. It’s an experience like no other.

Green quads, red brick, alabaster stone
Green quads, red brick, alabaster stone | Source

2. Treat yourself to a performance of North America’s oldest theatrical troupe. (And third oldest in the world.) You’ll laugh along to the latest song-and-dance-and-comedy stylings of Hasty Pudding Theatricals, and marvel at the Rockettes-like line of high-stepping chorines — comprised completely of Harvard men in drag.

3. Sample some of the outrageously savory pizzas at Otto, on Massachusetts Avenue, just opposite Harvard’s Johnston Gate. Perhaps your new all-time favorite will be the butternut squash, ricotta and cranberry pizza? Or perhaps a generous slice of spicy pulled pork, scallion and herb? No matter what selection the folks at Otto happen to be baking when you walk in, you can’t go wrong. And be prepared to stand and eat, or to take your slice along on a people-watching stroll through the busy byways encircling Harvard Square.

Hogwart's? Nope. Harvard's Freshman dining hall!
Hogwart's? Nope. Harvard's Freshman dining hall! | Source

4. Venture between the red-brick piers and into famed Harvard Yard with all of the other aspiring students, avid parents, and visitors from around the globe. Wander the 25-acre central campus with its historic structures dating back over the past few centuries, and don’t forget to rub for good luck the shoe-tip of the John Harvard statue seated before the frosty-white stonework of University Hall. (That good luck gesture just might ensure that a child, grandchild, niece or nephew ends up getting admitted to the world's #1 university!)

5. Zig-zag through the narrow brick-paved lanes of the city’s heart, looking for just the right bistro or café or taqueria to tempt your tastes. You will find scores of dining establishments, offering everything from ramen to roast pork, sushi to spaghetti, mussels to mochi. Whether you’re seeking a hot and happening crush of students or a tamer crowd of parents and dons, you won’t be disappointed.

Ramble round the Harvard Square roundabout.
Ramble round the Harvard Square roundabout. | Source

6. Explore Cambridge Common. This broad swath of greenery just northwest of Harvard Square is populated by several playing fields and a number of historic monuments and handsome statues. Offering a pastoral respite among the hubbub of Cambridge, the Common is frequented by many frisbee-playing undergrads, sunning coeds and ambling locals. Note the Sheraton Commander hotel at its westerly edge, named for the fact that, upon Cambridge Common just prior to the Revolutionary war, General George Washington assumed command of the first assembled army of the fledgling United States (colonies) of America.

7. Admire the architecture. Where else within a 15-minute stroll can you spy the works of Josep Lluis Sert, Corbusier, H.H. Richardson, Robert Venturi, Walter Gropius, Benjamin Thompson and Minoru Yamasaki, let alone all the archetypes of early Colonial design?

Aptly-named University Hall
Aptly-named University Hall | Source

6. Take the T to Boston’s North End. That’s right, Cambridge lies a mere several public transit stations from this jumping gentrified entertainment area of Boston. Known as Beantown’s Little Italy, the North End teems with over 100 eating establishments and is one of the oldest continually inhabited residential districts in the United States. Join the teeming revelers on any weekend evening to cap off your fun time in Cambridge.


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    • rickzimmerman profile image

      rickzimmerman 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      PeggyW: The freshman dining facility, Annenberg Hall, was always configured as a ballroom, special function area or dining hall, but it is physically fused with two other components, one of which is a flanking loggia or gallery, known as Memorial Hall, that is dedicated to Harvard's Civil war dead, and is outfitted with mahogany paneling, stone accents, stained glass and ornate ceiling work. The third component is Sanders Theater, which is a stunning in-the-round traditional theater, equally well appointed. It is Sanders that houses parents attending special student events and speeches through the years. You can see more of these, plus a great pic of the exterior of Memorial Hall, at my Examiner page.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Thanks to you I now have some idea of what there is to see and enjoy in Cambridge, MA. Your photos really added to the enjoyment of this article. That freshman dining area at Harvard is fantastic! Looks like the inside of a church. Did it ever serve that function and has just been repurposed? Voted up, useful, interesting and will share.

    • rickzimmerman profile image

      rickzimmerman 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Actually, AR, you'd find that a vast majority of the population surrounding Boston is good ol' blue-collar types with strong faith, conservative values and a dedication to America, motherhood, and apple (er . . . Boston Creme) pie. :)

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 5 years ago from America

      If I go to Mass. do I have to converse with a bunch of liberals???...........think I will stay in OK and look at the pics you posted! LOL