Cambridge is the fifth-largest city in Massachusetts, and it’s filled with history, diversity, and innovation. Home to prestigious universities like Harvard, Radcliffe, and MIT, Cambridge feels like a college town, but has attracted a wealth of technology companies like Google and Microsoft, lending to its reputation as Boston’s funkier, more progressive neighbour. The city is easy to navigate using public transportation, benefitting from Boston’s ‘T’ train system and local buses. It’s also very bike-friendly, and the Hubway bike-sharing program makes it easy to hop off the subway and onto a bike for cheap and easy exploration.
Eat Like a Cantabrigian
Locals love the low-budget Tex-Mex cuisine at Border Cafe just outside Harvard Square, and can’t say enough about the traditional Irish pub fare and twice-weekly live music at The Druid. To satisfy your sweet tooth on the cheap, don’t miss Toscanini’s Ice Cream, which The New York Times credits with “the world’s best ice cream”, and be sure to hit L.A. Burdick in Harvard Square for a cup of famously rich hot chocolate. To sample local beers, head to Cambridge Brewing Company, where you’ll sip alongside MIT and tech company types.
Swanky Stays that are Easy on the Wallet
Visitors can find Cambridge hotel deals at popular chains like Sheraton Commander Hotel, with 173 newly redesigned rooms and complimentary high-speed Internet, or the Hyatt Regency Cambridge Overlooking Boston, which offers a complimentary shuttle to nearby attractions. Cambridge also offers an abundance of small inns and bed-and-breakfasts, like Harding House and Whitman House Inn, which offer an affordable alternative to traditional hotels. Rooms at the luxurious Charles Hotel are pricey, but you can grab a guidebook and enjoy a tour of its regional American art collection at no charge.
See Free Local History
There’s lots to do without spending a dime, thanks to Cambridge’s walkability and abundance of history. If you’re not afraid of ghosts, wander through Mount Auburn Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark and the final resting place of notable figures like Dorothea Dix, Buckminster Fuller, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Get a feel for campus life by taking a free student led tour of Harvard. After, enjoy the street musicians and eclectic shops of Harvard Square or stop by the tiny Passim folk club that once hosted Bob Dylan and Bonnie Raitt. Architecture buffs can take the Red Line T to Kendall Station and find buildings created by modern masters Ghery, Pei, and Saarinen. End the day with a stroll along the Charles River, stopping for a game of tennis, a concert at Hatch Memorial Shell, or to take photos of the beautiful Boston skyline.
Cambridge packs so much in. With theaters, museums, shopping areas, historical attractions, and more you’ll be tempted to forget all about the big city of Boston nearby and spend your whole trip here. The concentration of universities and new businesses means a constant flow of new arrivals, bringing enthusiasm and diversity to this already-eclectic enclave of culture, entrepreneurship, and history. You’ll feel the energy as soon as you step outside, and the brisk New England weather and picturesque scenery will keep you coming back.
AUTHOR BIO: Rebecca Metz is an avid road tripper, hotel hopper, and sufferer of wanderlust. She has a soft spot for national parks and wine regions, and writes about her adventures either online or in a well-worn journal, preferably while relaxing in a beach chair.