Harvard University

Harvard University showing a city and heritage architecture
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Walk in the footsteps of presidents and Nobel laureates at one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in the United States.

For a truly educational experience pay a visit to Harvard University, the oldest institute of higher learning in the U.S. Universities don’t come much more prestigious, or prettier, than Harvard. Founded in 1636, it’s one of the “Ivy League” schools. This term refers to a group of eight elite northeastern US universities known for their high academic standards. It was first coined in the 1930s and referred to football competition between older universities, with ivy-covered buildings.

Harvard University is just outside of Boston proper, on 380 acres (154 hectares). Set aside at least two hours to experience the atmosphere, architecture, museums and shops.

The university was named after its first benefactor, John Harvard, who bequeathed half of his estate and his 320-volume scholarly library to one of the colleges. The staff were so pleased with the donation that the university was renamed in his honor.

There are many entrances to the university. Check out the ornate, Georgian Revival-style Johnston Gate, and then head for the Harvard Information Center in the Holyoke Centre Arcade. Learn about the history of Harvard , stock up on maps and gather brochures on the university’s architecture. Historical tours depart several times daily from the information center. These student-led tours run for about an hour. Or, take your time with a self-guided tour, made easy with a tour pamphlet which is available for a small cost.

The iconic Harvard Yard serves as the 25-acre (10-hectare) heart of the university. This is where you’ll find some of the campus’s most significant architecture, including the Wren Building, Sever Hall and University Hall. Don’t miss the Widener Library, a Beaux Arts masterpiece completed in 1915. It’s easy to lose yourself in the library’s 57 miles (92 kilometers) of shelving, which houses 3 million volumes.

Harvard features some notable museums, including the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, the Harvard Museum of Natural History, as well as the Harvard Art Museums (comprising the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Arthur M. Sackler museums). And when school’s over for the day, join students and faculty in the many bars and cafés around Harvard Square.

Harvard University is in Cambridge, a city four miles (seven kilometers) from Boston. Take the subway, a bus, or your car from the city. On-campus parking is available for a fee. The Harvard Information Center is open Monday through Saturday.

Top Hotels Close to Harvard University

The Revolution Hotel
The Revolution Hotel
3.5 out of 5
40 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA, 02116
The price is $267 per night from Oct 23 to Oct 24
Stay at this 3.5-star hotel in Boston. Enjoy free WiFi, breakfast, and a 24-hour fitness center. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean rooms in our ...
4.2/5 Excellent! (1,056 reviews)
"Construction was going on right outside the hotel which made dropping off/picking up a little inconvenient. Booked a private with shared bathroom and feels like an overpriced hostel situation."

Reviewed on Sep 26, 2022

Hyatt Regency Boston/Cambridge
Hyatt Regency Boston/Cambridge
4 out of 5
575 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA, 02139
The price is $299 per night from Sep 29 to Sep 30
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly hotel in Cambridge. Enjoy free WiFi, a 24-hour health club, and valet parking. Our guests praise the helpful staff and ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (207 reviews)
"Loved the elevators and the outside courtyard."

Reviewed on Sep 26, 2022

The Charles Hotel
The Charles Hotel
4 out of 5
One Bennett Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138
The price is $500 per night from Oct 23 to Oct 24
Stay at this 4-star spa hotel in Cambridge. Enjoy free WiFi, 3 restaurants, and 2 bars/lounges. Our guests praise the restaurant and the helpful staff in our ...
4.6/5 Wonderful! (1,000 reviews)
"Great place to stay. Clean, impeccable service and location is perfect"

Reviewed on Sep 25, 2022

Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near Harvard University

DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Boston - Cambridge
DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Boston - Cambridge
4 out of 5
400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston, MA, 02134
Hyatt Regency Boston/Cambridge
Hyatt Regency Boston/Cambridge
4 out of 5
575 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA, 02139
The Revolution Hotel
The Revolution Hotel
3.5 out of 5
40 Berkeley Street, Boston, MA, 02116
The Charles Hotel
The Charles Hotel
4 out of 5
One Bennett Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138
Irving House At Harvard
Irving House At Harvard
3 out of 5
24 Irving Street, Cambridge, MA, 02138
Copley Square Hotel
Copley Square Hotel
4 out of 5
47 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA, 02116
Cambria Hotel Boston Somerville
Cambria Hotel Boston Somerville
3 out of 5
515 Somerville Avenue, Somerville, MA, 02143
Studio Allston Hotel
Studio Allston Hotel
3.5 out of 5
1234 Soldiers Field Rd, Boston, MA, 02135
Courtyard by Marriott Boston-Cambridge
Courtyard by Marriott Boston-Cambridge
3.5 out of 5
777 Memorial Dr, Cambridge, MA, 02139
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.