The Harvard campus is full of historic buildings, museums, monuments, classic architecture, and scenic green spaces, and free hour-long campus tours led by students are available. You can also take a self-guided tour by downloading an app, which features a campus map that highlights important landmarks. Some all-day tours of Boston include a visit to Harvard, while others couple Harvard with a stop at MIT.
Head to Harvard Yard to see the iconic John Harvard Statue. Interestingly, some call it the “Statue of Three Lies” because John Harvard was not the founder of Harvard (he was a major donor), Harvard was not founded in 1638 (it was 1636), and the statue is not actually of John Harvard (the model for the statue was a man named Sherman Hoar).
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Things to Know Before You Go
Harvard is a must-visit for art lovers and those interested in science for its many worthwhile museums.
Student-led tours begin at the Harvard Information Center in the Holyoke Center Arcade.
A wheelchair is available on a first-come, first-served basis for tours; you can book it a week in advance.
There are no guided tours on Sundays.
Visitors should not hold cameras up to dorm rooms or classroom windows.
The surrounding Harvard Square is filled with plenty of shops, bars, and restaurants.
How to Get There
If you are traveling by car, depending on the direction, take Interstate 93 north to exit 26 or south to exit 26A. From Logan Airport, it’s about a 15-minute drive. Parking is very limited around Harvard Square. There are metered parking spaces, though they are usually full, and private garages. You can also hop on Boston’s subway, known as the T; the Harvard Square stop on the red line is located across the street from Harvard Yard.
When to Get There
From June to October, you will encounter more tourists than students. So while the campus won’t be bustling with activity, it will be easier to navigate. During the fall, hotel rates drop and the area’s foliage makes it perhaps the most picturesque time to visit. Also, keep in mind that wintertime in Boston can be brutal, but this is when hotel prices are at their lowest.
Harvard Art Museums
The Harvard Art Museums consist of the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, each with its own collection and identity. The Fogg Museum is known for its Western paintings, sculpture, decorative arts, photographs, and more from the Middle Ages to the present. The Busch-Reisinger Museum focuses on art from central and northern Europe, particularly German-speaking countries, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum boasts works from Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean.