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Things to do in Cambridge

Cambridge is the fifth-largest city in the state of Massachusetts. Named after the University of Cambridge in United Kingdom and located just across the Charles River, this city offers delights to a variety of people. From art, architecture and antiques for the aesthetic eye, beautiful scenic views for the nature lover, to academic havens for intellectuals, Cambridge has it all.

Massachusetts Cambridge

Famous for being the home of the two most prestigious universities in America, Cambridge is a proud city with a rich history. English Puritans were the first to settle here in 1630 and created an agricultural town, which was later industrialized after the bridges had been built over the Charles River. Early in the 19th century, Irish immigrants populated the area and by the end of the century, Cambridge had opened its welcoming arms to people from Italy, Portugal, Poland and Germany and Soviet émigrés. The result is a city of diverse and tolerant culture, which is why it advertises itself as "a city where counter-culture still lives, classic culture thrives, and multicultural is a way of life." The temperature of Cambridge is mild humid with relaxing sunny summers. There are a number of things to do in Cambridge and it is guaranteed that you will have the time of your life here. With such a diverse reservoir of tourist attractions, you don’t have to worry about the city not offering you adventures of your choice. Major attractions that top tourists’ list of things to do in Cambridge are visiting the Harvard and MIT Museums, and strolling, jogging or biking along the gorgeous Charles River.

Places to Visit in Cambridge

There are many great places to visit in Cambridge, whether you are dining in, appreciating art or simply enjoying the sights. Francis Russell Hart Nautical Museum and Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts are good places to start with. One of the most visited and valued site is the Mt. Auburn Cemetery. Being the first botanical cemetery in the United Kingdom, it has great historical significance apart from its picturesque views. You can climb the Washington tower to get an unparalleled view of the Boston skyline, visit the ornate graves of luminaries or simply explore the 175 acres of natural beauty. If you’re looking for a place to jog or walk, the Charles River is another great place. The lovely view and fresh air will energize you for the entire day. Harvard Square is a hub of activity and there are many shops and cafes you can visit. To satiate your aesthetic appetite, the Harvard Art Museums is the one to go to. The Harvard Art Museums are comprised of three museums: the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum. Other famous places to visit in Cambridge are the Peabody Museum, Fresh Pond, List Visual Arts Center, Fort Washington and the Old Cambridge Baptist Church.


Things to do in Cambridge - Harvard Square

Cambridge issues a vibe of intellectualness, which becomes prominent when you visit Harvard Square. Harvard Square is the heart of Cambridge and generally the first stop for tourists. Encompassing the Harvard University and the business district along with the triangular plaza at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, Brattle Street, and John F. Kennedy Street, Harvard Square is world famous for its sidewalk cafes and boutiques.

If you have a list of things to do in Cambridge, put visiting Harvard Square on the top. The Harvard University, the Harvard “T” Station and the Harvard Coop are situated in the Square (as it is commonly called by the locals). Since it is a major transfer station, and thus has high traffic of pedestrians, Harvard Square attracts buskers and street musicians (who must first take permission from the Cambridge Arts Council).

If you are thinking about the things to do in Harvard Square, you can start with the Cambridge Common. This is a public park and a common site to play ball games and Frisbee. It also has various monuments, many of which are related to the Revolutionary War. Or if you are in the mood to watch a play, you can go to American Repertory Theater-Oberon.


Things to do in Cambridge - Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology

Established in 1866 as a gift from George Peabody, the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology is a steward to archival, archeological and ethnographic collections from all over the world. Millions of years of human culture are encompassed in the Peabody Museum, with particular focus on the Americas and the Pacific Islands.

One of the most recommended things to do in Cambridge is to visit the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology. It is a member of the Harvard Museums of Science and Culture (HMSC). It prides itself for showcasing the collections of human cultural history that cannot be found anywhere. There are permanent exhibitions such as Hall of the North American Indian, Pacific Islands Hall, Encounters with the Americas, Day of the Dead and more. You can also enjoy the temporary exhibition: “Wiyohpiyata: Lakota Images of the Contested West.”

If you are wondering about the things to do in Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology, we have you covered. You can attend the community programs that the Peabody Museum arranges throughout the year, or you can browse through the extensive collections in the Museum. The Peabody Museum holds more than 1.2 million individual objects and 500,000 photographic images that you can explore. Moreover, there are substantial archival records to boot.


Things to do in Cambridge - Fogg Museum

In 1896, Fogg Museum was first opened to the public. It is the oldest of the three in Harvard’s Art Museums. Along with the Arthur M. Sackler Museum and the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Fogg museum constitutes the Harvard Art Museums. Situated in 26-32 Quincey Street, Fogg Museum was added to the National Register of Historic Places in Cambridge, Massachusetts on May 19, 1986.

If you are interested in Western paintings, decorative arts, sculpture, prints, photographs, and drawings from the Middle Ages to the present, then taking a trip to the Fogg Museum should be on your list of things to do in Cambridge. Constructed in the Colonial Revival and Georgian Revival architectural style with an area of 2 acres, the Fogg Museum houses more than 200,000 works on view.

For any art aficionado, enjoying the architecture and collections is one of the things to do in Fogg Museum, along with experiencing the most thought-provoking visit to a museum. Many famous impressionist and post-impressionist works are included in the Maurice Wertheim Collection, and the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection holds more than 4,000 works of art. The collections may not be the most extensive, but they definitely include collections of the most important paintings, sculptures and drawings.


Things to do in Cambridge - Fresh Pond

Fresh Pond is a reservoir and park in United States that consists of a 155-acre kettle-hole lake and 162 acres of surrounding land. There is also 2.25 mile perimeter which is popular among runners, cyclists and walkers, along with a nine-hole golf course for the golf enthusiasts. For the City of Cambridge, Fresh Pond Reservoir is a vital part of the drinking water supply system.

If you wish to relax and are wondering about the things to do in Cambridge, you can visit Fresh Pond for a fresh experience. Before its use as a reservoir, the ice of Fresh Pond was harvested for shipment to North American cities and other places as far as India, Europe and China. Frederick Tudor, Boston’s “Ice King” was one of the ice harvesters in that era.

Fresh Pond was owned privately in the mid-19th century. In 1865, the business of supplying water from Fresh Pond came under the city ownership. Later, by the end of the century, a well-structured system for public water supply had been constructed and all the land surrounding Fresh Pond Reservoir came under the possession of the city. If you’re looking for things to do in Fresh Pond, you can have a walk along the quiet path, take out you bike for a ride across the picturesque scene or play with your dog in the cool breeze.


Things to do in Cambridge - Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts

The Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts takes pride in holding the record of being the only building in the United States and one of the only two in the Americas (the other building being Argentina’s Curutchet House in La Plata) to be designed by the distinguished Swiss-French architect, urban planner, designer and painter Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, who was famously known as Le Corbusier.

Le Corbusier is considered to be one of the pioneers of modern architecture, and designed the Carpenter Center of the Visual Arts with the collaboration of Chilean architect Guillermo Jullian de la Fuente. The building was completed in 1962, and the popularity of the designers makes visiting this building one of the most important and topmost things to do in Cambridge.

At Harvard, the idea of creating a visual arts department started to take form in the mid-1950s. With a budget of $1.3 million, the center was created based on Le Corbusier’s Five Points of architectural design, known as the “Five Points of a New Architecture”. The department of Visual and Environmental Studies of the University is housed in the Center and visiting there to watch screenings by the Harvard Film Archive is one of the things to do in the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts.


Things to do in Cambridge - List Visual Arts Center

List Visual Arts Center (LVAC) is a contemporary gallery established in 1950 by MIT and was originally named Hayden Gallery. It was renamed to List Visual Arts Center to honor a gift by Vera and Alberta List in 1985. It was then relocated to Wiesner Building, its current location, which was designed by Partners Architects and the MIT Alumnus I. M. Pei.
Visiting the List Visual Arts Center is one of the best things to do in Cambridge.

The LVAC is recognized as a platform that lets art enthusiasts explore challenging contemporary art making in all media. Comprised of 6000 square foot galleries, the List Visual Arts Center hosts internationally recognized exhibitions that are open to the general public. Through the Percent-for-Art program, the LVAC allots funds for commissions of artworks that are created during renovations or a new construction.

If you are thinking about the things to do in List Visual Arts Center, you can enjoy the commissioned works of artists such as the polychrome floor in the Green Center for Physics by Sol LeWitt, the stainless steel piece by Anish Kapoor in the Stata Center and Louise Nevelson's Transparent Horizon in front of the Landau Building. Apart from enjoying major artworks by Pablo Picasso and Alexander Calder, you can attend many free hands-on art workshops that are family friendly.


Things to do in Cambridge - Francis Russell Hart Nautical Museum

In 1982, The Francis Russell Hart Nautical Museum was merged with MIT and in 1922 it was moved to Cambridge and was established as a new source of MIT's Department of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. The famous maritime historian, William A. Baker, was the curator of the Francis Russell Hart Nautical Museum from 1963 to his death in 1981.

One of the top things to do in Cambridge is visiting and admiring the awe-inspiring Francis Russell Hart Nautical Museum. Francis Russell Hart, the creator of the museum, was interested in the history of the Caribbean and began writing articles, which were published in journals, on famous maritime figures of the Caribbean. His interest and focus on the history of Caribbean led to the bulk of collections that the museum now boasts of.

If you are wondering what would interest you in the museum, then let us tell you that the most popular things to do in the Francis Russell Hart Museum is exploring the extensive and oldest archives of nautical technology in the USA. The collections exhibited are those that are the cutting-edge technology of today, and also those that date back as far as the 16th century ocean technology.


Things to do in Cambridge - Old Cambridge Baptist Church

Situated three blocks south-east of the redline Harvard Square T-Stop in Cambridge; the Old Cambridge Baptist Church is an American Baptist church that holds a historic heritage. When the members of the First Baptist Church in Cambridge decided to start a new church, they worked together to create a congregation that was founded in 1844.

The church became North Avenue Congregational Church when it was sold to Congregationalists, and was constructed to its current design by Alexander Rice Esty in 1869. The Old Cambridge Baptist Church is designed as a Gothic Revival structure, built of granite and local fieldstone. The asymmetrical building is a muscular, solid construction that protects and flaunts delicate stained glass windows, and admiring the subtle elegance of the historic building is one the best things to do in Cambridge.

The progressive and all-encompassing community of the Old Cambridge Baptist Church welcomes everyone with open arms. One of the top things to do in Old Cambridge Baptist Church is to join the welcoming community for prayer and spiritual development. Commemorating life through the arts, and working for justice in all aspects of life, the community is home to various ministries and organizations that work toward their common goal of empowering people.


Things to do in Cambridge - Fort Washington

In November 1775, George Washington ordered the soldiers of the Continental Army to build the “three half-moon batteries” along the banks of the Charles River. In 1867, officials of the City and State helped create a park around the historical structure which is now known today as Fort Washington Park.

If you’re thinking about things to do in Cambridge that involves visiting a place with a rich historical stature, Fort Washington is the place for you. Situated at 95 Waverly Street in Cambridge, it holds the title of being the only fortification to survive the Siege of Boston and the oldest one surviving defense from the American Revolutionary War.

One of the things to do in Fort Washington is to have a leisurely walk around the beautiful and well-maintained park. The only remaining earthwork of the three forts commissioned during the Siege of Boston, the Fort Washington Park has a huge American flag in the middle of the fort and three artillery pieces from old Fort Warren, which serve as replacement for the missing cannon. These replacements were provided by the State. The park is now a popular place to play with your canine companion.