Outside the Boston city limits and right across the Charles River is Cambridge, home to Harvard, MIT and a reprieve from the city bustle. From quaint coffee shops to magnificent libraries, Cambridge is full of fun surprises and photo opportunities. It's a short ride or quick public transit trip from Boston and there are dozens of things to do. Take a tour of the Harvard or MIT campus, visit historical sites, grab a bite to eat on a patio, get some shopping done. There's plenty for everyone and even more if you're a Gilmore Girls fan.
3 SPOTS TO GRAB A BITE
Crema Cafe on Brattle Street serves up classic cafe fare plus more. Bomb espresso drinks are accompanied by pastries, sandwiches, salads and more. Don’t miss out on their seasonal quiche and make sure you save room for dessert! The cafe itself has a quaint feeling to it but there is no shortage of space. The first floor is full of tables with an upstairs area as well and expansive outdoor patio. There might be a ton of seating but this is one hot spot so don’t be surprised if you struggle to find a seat.
Henrietta’s Table brings the best of farm to table cuisine to Cambridge. The rustic, homey atmosphere coupled with a tasty seasonal menu is the perfect spot to take your parents. They’re also known for a great brunch but the restaurant fills up quick so get there early or make a reservation in advance.
Orinoco is Latin American flavor in one of the most unexpected places. Share empanadas and small plates with friends or have a sandwich all to yourself. The mix of Venezuelan and Brazilian flavors spice up your day and leave you satisfied. The restaurant closes for a few hours before lunch/brunch and dinner so make sure you check their hours before heading over.
3 PLACES YOU MUST VISIT
Harvard Square is the center of downtown Cambridge. Many coffee shops, cafes and shops are in the square. They have regular events year round and plenty to see and do. It’s also a great spot for photos in case you love adding to your Instagram feed.
Harvard Yard is essentially Harvard University’s quad. It’s a beautiful place to take photos, especially in the fall. You can pretend you’re Rory and Lorelai Gilmore walking through during an impromptu road trip! Widener Library and Memorial Church, two notable buildings on the campus, are accessible through the yard. Harvard Square and the Harvard Art Museums are right outside of it.
Longfellow House-Washington’s National Headquarters is on Brattle street, not far from Harvard Square. Included in our round-up of historical sites to visit, this treasure is full of history from pre-Revolutionary times to literary legends. Home to important meetings held by Washington and social gatherings hosted by Longfellow, this site has seen the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Charles Dickens and more. If you are a history lover, you need to visit this home and go on a tour.
WHERE TO GRAB PHOTOS
For you Instachampions, Cambridge is an excellent place to grab a lot of great photos. I recommend Harvard Yard for gorgeous fall photos. Memorial Church is a magnificent piece of architecture for those of you looking for beautiful buildings. Also keep in mind, Johnston Gate, any spot around Harvard Square but the Peet’s Coffee is really cute, the steps of Widener Library which just so happens to be the place of Rory Gilmore’s dreams (and mine too). Walk around the edges of Harvard Yard to find plaques with quotes and inspirational sayings. Finally, if you can squeeze it in, take a walk along the Charles River for gorgeous views of the Boston skyline.
You can actually read off the same (or similar) bulletin board that Rory and Lorelai Gilmore saw in the road trip episode of Gilmore Girls.
There are food trucks right outside the Harvard Yard during lunchtime on weekdays with tasty food and drinks.
Getting to Cambridge is accessible by public transportation from Boston and makes for a great day trip. If you’re not comfortable taking public transportation, depending on the area of Boston you are coming from, it’s not a particularly expensive Lyft or taxi ride.
Come ready to walk. Don’t drive around Cambridge. Put on comfortable shoes and trek it because you never know when you’ll find a great photo opportunity or place you want to explore. The best adventures while traveling are done on foot.
Take advantage of all the museums. Harvard has several incredible museums and being such a highly-acclaimed university, they’re well worth it. Prices range but I’d definitely choose at least one or two and browse around while you’re in town.