Harvard University

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

Key Info

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 Square
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Type
Time to Spend
1 of 9
#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.

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

Explore More of Cambridge, MA

Recommended

The 20 Best Michigan State Parks

Two peninsulas, four Great Lakes and innumerable natural highlights elevate Michigan's state parks.

Zach WatsonApril 18, 2019

50 Awesome Vacation Ideas for Every Type of Traveler

Consider these vacation ideas for your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonApril 11, 2019

The 13 Best National Parks in California

You won't regret adding one of these national parks to your California itinerary.

Rachel CenterApril 10, 2019

10 Beautiful Places to Visit in the South of France

Plan a getaway to these special destinations to soak up culture, cuisine and quaint atmospheres.

Gwen PratesiApril 8, 2019

Best Carry-on Luggage of 2019

U.S. News rated the best carry-on luggage, considering recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerApril 3, 2019

The 11 Best Utah National Parks and Monuments to Visit

From birding to bouldering to boating, Utah's national parks have it all.

Zach WatsonApril 2, 2019

The 30 Best Zoos in the U.S.

Get an up-close look at wild creatures in natural settings at America's top animal parks.

Kyle McCarthyMarch 28, 2019

15 Scenic Train Rides to Add to Your Bucket List

Climb aboard these locomotives for jaw-dropping views.

Christine SmithMarch 26, 2019

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

Lyn MettlerMarch 25, 2019

10 Excellent Educational Vacations for Families

Make sure your next getaway is both enjoyable and informative.

Holly JohnsonMarch 14, 2019