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Harvard University
Vacation Travel Guide

Harvard University showing a city and heritage architecture

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 Charles Hotel
The Charles Hotel
4 out of 5
One Bennett Street, Cambridge, MA
The price is $179 per night from Jun 8 to Jun 8
Located in West Cambridge, this spa hotel is 0.2 mi (0.4 km) from Harvard University and within 3 mi (5 km) of Fenway Park and Hynes Convention Center. Boston ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (990 reviews)
"Great location for a visit to Harvard."

Reviewed on May 7, 2021

The Charles Hotel
Harvard Square Hotel
Harvard Square Hotel
2 out of 5
110 Mount Auburn Street, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA
Get Rates
Located in West Cambridge, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Harvard University and Harvard Square. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Boston ...
3.9/5Very Good! (109 reviews)
"Clean but small rooms. Poor ventilation - fan was on all night but room was still stuffy and warm. A lot of hallway noise and street noise early in morning. Thin walls: could hear my neighbor sneeze. Location is good, easily accessible to shops and transport."

Reviewed on Mar 4, 2020

Harvard Square Hotel
Hotel Veritas
Hotel Veritas
3.5 out of 5
1 Remington St, Cambridge, MA
The price is $159 per night from May 19 to May 19
Located in Mid-Cambridge, this romantic hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Harvard University and Harvard Square. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (998 reviews)
"great"

Reviewed on May 16, 2021

Hotel Veritas
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.

Top Harvard University Flight + Hotel Deals

Radisson Hotel Nashua
Best Western Braintree Inn
The Inn At St Botolph
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Best Lodging Options Near Harvard University

The Charles Hotel
The Charles Hotel
4 out of 5
One Bennett Street, Cambridge, MA
The price is $179 per night from Jun 8 to Jun 8
The Charles Hotel
Harvard Square Hotel
Harvard Square Hotel
2 out of 5
110 Mount Auburn Street, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA
Harvard Square Hotel
Hotel Veritas
Hotel Veritas
3.5 out of 5
1 Remington St, Cambridge, MA
The price is $159 per night from May 19 to May 19
Hotel Veritas
Irving House At Harvard
Irving House At Harvard
3 out of 5
24 Irving Street, Cambridge, MA
The price is $115 per night from May 30 to May 30
Irving House At Harvard
Sheraton Commander Hotel
Sheraton Commander Hotel
3.5 out of 5
16 Garden St, Cambridge, MA
The price is $189 per night from May 19 to May 19
Sheraton Commander Hotel
Beautiful Sunny apt Right Across Harvard Yard
Beautiful Sunny apt Right Across Harvard Yard
Cambridge, MA
Beautiful Sunny apt Right Across Harvard Yard
The Cambridge Karma House
The Cambridge Karma House
3.5 out of 5
17 Banks Street St, Cambridge, MA
The price is $218 per night from May 24 to May 24
The Cambridge Karma House
A Friendly Inn at Harvard
A Friendly Inn at Harvard
3 out of 5
1673 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA
A Friendly Inn at Harvard
Spacious 2 Bedroom -mit, Harvard, Central Square With Parking
Spacious 2 Bedroom -mit, Harvard, Central Square With Parking
Cambridge, MA
Spacious 2 Bedroom -mit, Harvard, Central Square With Parking
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.