The Story of Cambridge, Massachusetts – The Outdoor Women

The story of Cambridge, Massachusetts is a verse and chapter of American history. Founded before the American Revolution, today Cambridge is home to the world’s finest schools of higher education, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It’s this fusion of history and innovation that distinguish Cambridge as a remarkable city of global significance and the ideal choice for a family vacation.


An early British settlement, Cambridge was founded in 1630. The location was chosen because its position, a short distance from Boston Harbor, was deemed easily defensible. The founders of the ‘New World’ had lofty hopes for ‘Newe Town’. The original village site is today found in the heart of Harvard Square. The area is a Mecca for parents wishing to educate their children on the founding of America.

2 Higher Education Giants, 1 City

It’s this bold vision that inspired Harvard University, America’s oldest higher education institute and the world’s most prestigious school. Harvard was founded in 1636 by the Massachusetts State Legislature and named after its seminal benefactor, Englishman John Harvard. Since then Harvard has graduated 8 Presidents, 62 billionaires, Nobel Laureates and many of the world’s great thinkers and innovators.

Meanwhile, MIT was established in 1861 in the shadow of America’s growing industrialization and quickly forged close ties with business. The institute, often referred to as ‘The Engineers’, began with an emphasis on applied technology yet today hosts management, economics, linguistics students too.  MIT’s bond with industry is sustained to this day. On graduating, students enjoy significant levels of employment when compared to the national average.

Discover The Harvard Tour

Many families, and aspiring students, visit campus every summer and immerse themselves in the student culture.  Harvard Tours and Summer Camps are available and are designed to foster and encourage the academic instincts of teenagers who dream of attending the Ivy League.

Harvard hosts an official tour led by past and present students. The tour embarks from Harvard’s tourist information center in Holyoke Arcade. The official tour is free, but capped to a maximum of 35 visitors.  Tourists who enrol are at once immersed in the institutions history and the many great thinkers and leaders who have graced its grounds.

You’ll discover Harvard Yard and John Harvard’s statue. Tradition decrees that aspiring students rub Harvard’s shoe for good luck (so remind the kids to bring along some shoe polish). You’ll pass the dorms of Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama and John F. Kennedy – Although many tourists are just as curious to learn where Natalie Portman and Tommy Lee Jones refined their wits. Through the tour you’ll experience historic buildings including Sever Hall, Memorial Hall and the Widener Library, the largest academic library in North America.

But Cambridge is more than just Harvard University. Step away from the tour, and just along the Charles River, you’ll find the grounds of MIT. Befitting an institution that has graduated many of the world’s great architects, MIT is punctuated with bold and brash designs. The Stata Center and Simmon’s Hall are just two architectural marvels to behold.  I.M. Pei designed the Green and Wiesner Building’s.

A Word On Things To Do In Boston …

When tourists ask ‘Where is Harvard located?’, the answer rarely includes Boston. However, Harvard’s Campus and 15 schools are dispersed through Cambridge and nearby Boston.  Schools based in Boston include Harvard Medical, Dental and Public Health. For almost 400 years the two cities have sustained strong ties.

The heart of Boston is within walking distance from Cambridge. Boston provides much needed relief from the student rivalry in her sister city. Boston is home to sporting giants, the Red Sox and Bruins. The city also hosts the Tea Party Ship and Museum and a famous little bar where everyone knows your name, Cheers.

The Tea Party Ship & Museum has been ranked among Boston’s foremost attractions. Located on Congress Street Bridge the floating museum uses actors and high-tech exhibits to rouse the American Revolution to life. The Freedom Trail, meanwhile, takes you on a tour of 16 historical sites through Boston & Cambridge. Whatever your passion, sport, or choice of tipple, there’s something for everyone.

Before you visit Cambridge do your homework. Contact the official Harvard Tour and book your reservation.  Through the year there are events, festivals and traditions to behold. Visit the websites of the Cambridge and Boston tourism boards and plan well ahead to ensure you and your family don’t miss a thing.

From its colonial founding to its present standing, today Cambridge is home to little more than 100,000 residents and an ever fluctuating student population. As education evolves, the future of Harvard & MIT remains unknown. However, there’s little question families will be drawn to historic Cambridge for generations to come.

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