All the Harvard (1350 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge MA) hoopla you hear out of the U.S. is not unjustified. This prestigious ivy-league school was established in 1636, making it the oldest university in the U.S. The school has produced eight U.S. presidents, 75 Nobel Laureates, and 62 living billionaires. If that’s not worth some hoopla, what is?
The school, however, has not let it its prestige go to its head too much. Just a stone’s throw from Boston, you can take a number of different tours through this sprawling building and campus in Cambridge. And who wouldn’t want to pretend to be a Nobel Laureate or a billionaire for the day, right? I’m half way to president just writing this Harvard profile.
The name Harvard comes from the college’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown. That’s just one of the facts you can learn from the student-led historical tour of the campus. It’s a free one-hour tour that doesn’t even require pre-registration. Available tour start times are: 9:45, 11:00, 11:45, 1:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 3:15 p.m., 3:45 p.m.
If you’re interested in a more private tour, you can book one online. Harvard also lets you do your own tour by providing pamphlets and even an audio tour option for a minimal fee. If you prefer, the school provides a mobile tour that can be downloaded to a smartphone.
The tours depart from the school’s information centre in the Holyoke Center Arcade.
After the tour, it’s time to go solo and get a bit of insight into student life. The best place to start is with a tasty burger at Mr. Bartley’s Burgers (featured in movies like Goodwill Hunting and The Social Network). After that, grab a quick coffee at The Greenhouse Café, a popular student hangout.
To wind up your visit to Harvard, take a leisurely stroll along the scenic Charles River. Around this area, you can see some of the student residences and maybe even catch a glimpse of the university’s legendary rowing time getting in some practice. ROW!
Mt. Auburn Street will give visitors a little taste of the Harvard nightlife. Maybe you can even have drink or a dance with a prospective president or billionaire.
Keep in mind that if you want to make a proper trip out of your Harvard visit, The Charles Hotel is just a short walk from the campus and provides a discounted rate for tourists visiting the historic university.