Harvard University

#2 in Best Things To Do in Cambridge, MA
Harvard University picture1 of 2
Harvard University2 of 2
S. Greg Panosian/Getty Images

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Museums, Sightseeing, Tours, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
5.0scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 5.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

One of the world's most famous universities, Harvard has been educating students since the 17th century. It was named for John Harvard, a clergyman who died in 1638 and left the college his library and half of his estate. Visitors can walk the grounds to take in the gorgeous buildings, which span a variety of architectural styles over the centuries. There's the Georgian-style Holden Chapel, completed in 1744, University Hall, designed in 1815 by Charles Bulfinch, and the Romanesque-style Sever Hall, completed in 1880, among many others.

Recent travelers called the buildings "stunning," adding that a stop at Harvard was one of the highlights of their time in Cambridge. While visitors may not go into campus buildings, they can tag along on a free guided tour of the grounds. Tours provide an overview of campus history and offer fun tidbits. For instance, the 1884 statue of John Harvard by Daniel Chester French (the left foot of which many visitors rub for luck) is not actually a depiction of Harvard himself, but rather Sherman Hoar, a Harvard graduate who acted as the model for this sculpture.

Free, one-hour guided tours – led by Harvard students – are available at various times of the day and year, depending on the university's schedule. Visit the school's website for more information. You can also purchase a guide to go on your own or download a free audio guide from the website.

See all Hotels in Cambridge, MA »

More Best Things To Do in Cambridge, MA

Harvard Square1 of 9
Harvard Museum of Natural History2 of 9
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Harvard Square

Iconic Harvard Square, a bustling epicenter of Cambridge, is packed with quirky boutiques, bookstores, restaurants, cafes, bars, buskers and, of course, students from Harvard University, which borders one side of the square. No matter the time of day or night, there is always a lively atmosphere. Simply wandering around people-watching can be entertaining by itself.

Visitors say Harvard Square "feels like a European square" with a "fun and energetic vibe." Additionally, many add that it offers a great place to hang out in the evenings.

Read more
DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images
See full list of Best Things To Do in Cambridge, MA »

Explore More of Cambridge, MA

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

The Best Travel Backpacks for 2020

U.S. News rated the best travel backpacks using recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerNovember 25, 2019

30 Top Wellness Retreats

Rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit at one of these relaxation-focused properties.

Kyle McCarthyNovember 21, 2019

30 Fun All-Inclusive Family Vacations

Book one of these all-inclusive trips that cover food, accommodations and activities galore.

Holly JohnsonNovember 14, 2019

5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Industry considers impact as it looks to the future.

Gwen PratesiNovember 12, 2019

11 Unique and Quirky Cruise Destinations

Venture off the beaten path for an authentic cruising experience.

Christine SmithNovember 12, 2019

The 2020 Best Cruise Lines for Families

Gather up the gang and head out to sea with one of these six kid-friendly cruise lines.

Nicola WoodNovember 12, 2019

The Top Pyramids in Mexico to Visit

Add these ancient marvels to your Mexico vacation itinerary.

Lyn MettlerOctober 28, 2019

30 Top Babymoon Destinations, Trips and Ideas

From romantic beach getaways to big city adventures to glamping in the forest, these locales will inspire your babymoon planning.

Gwen PratesiOctober 15, 2019

15 Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

These tips will help pregnant women travel the world in comfort and style.

Holly JohnsonOctober 10, 2019

The Best Chicago Segway Tours

See all the top sights in the Windy City without breaking a sweat.

Marisa MéndezOctober 3, 2019