Besides its renowned status for groundbreaking research and world-class education, Harvard’s campus is an abundant reservoir of cultural, historical, and architectural wonders waiting to be explored. Harvard campus boosts iconic historic landmarks as well as world-class museums. These attractions cater to a wide range of interests, making it a must-visit destination.
If you are curious about what lies behind the ivy-clad walls of one of the world’s most prestigious educational institutions, you have come to the right place. In this article, I will introduce you to the exciting attractions you can discover on Harvard University’s renowned campus. Therefore, keep reading this exciting guide to enlighten yourself.
Harvard University, established in 1636, is one of the most prestigious and renowned educational institutions in the world. Nestled in the heart of Cambridge, Massachusetts, this Ivy League university is not just a center for academic excellence but also boosts a rich and stunning campus. When visiting Harvard, there are numerous attractions to explore, from historic buildings to world-class museums.
Whether you are a student interested in academic, a history enthusiast who love impressive buildings, or a curious traveler eager to explore a prestigious place, this guide will help you discover. Furthermore, Harvard University ranks among the most popular destinations in Boston and along the entire East Coast. Taking a tour of Harvard University promises a memorable experience, as many visitors have encountered glimpses of the campus through movies, images, or places influenced by Harvard’s distinctive architecture.
Harvard University boasts a blend of modern and historic buildings showcasing elegant architecture and iconic photo spots. While some areas are exclusive to students, visiting with a student guide or during the Open House is ideal. However, whether you possess a Harvard ID or not, a visit to Harvard University promises a wealth of experience.
Now, let me tell you what you can see at Harvard when you embark on your visit. Let start!
Let’s start our tour at the heart of the Harvard Campus: Harvard Yard. This iconic and picturesque green space is surrounded by the university’s oldest and most beautiful buildings. This area became part of Harvard University in the late 1600s, originally hosting Harvard College dormitories.
Now, it’s where you will find the famous John Harvard Statue, where you can witness countless visitors snapping pictures every day. Legend has it that rubbing John Harvard’s left shoe brings good luck to students, so do not forget to make a wish while you are there. The statue also offers an opportunity to learn about Harvard’s history, as it is often referred to as “The Statue of Three Lies.”
Moreover, it’s not only a place to relax and enjoy the scenery but also a hub for academic and social activity. Harvard Yard spans 25 acres (10 hectares) and is enclosed by 35 gates, with entrances at Mass Ave and the Science Center. Within the yard, you will also find libraries and a memorial church, which serves as the venue for Harvard’s annual graduation ceremony.
One of the most striking buildings in Harvard Yard is the Widener Library, which is part of the Harvard College Library system. This area lies behind the John Harvard Statue, which is called Tercentenary Theater, within Harvard Yard. Furthermore, this library is the university’s flagship and houses millions of books, manuscripts, and rare collections.
While the interior is reserved for students and researchers, the stunning architecture of the exterior is a sight to behold. The grand facade of the library showcases intricate carvings and symbolizes Harvard’s dedication to knowledge and scholarship.
Harvard Art Museums
For art enthusiasts, the Harvard Art Museums are a must-visit. Just a short walk from Harvard Yard, these museums host an impressive collection of nearly 450,000 works of art, encompassing paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from various cultures and time periods. The museums consist of three separate facilities: the Fogg Museum, the Busch-Reisinger Museum, and the Arthur M. Sackler Museum.
The Fogg Museum is known for its European and American art, while the Busch-Reisinger Museum specializes in Central and Northern European art. The Arthur M. Sackler Museum is home to Asian, ancient, and Islamic art Whether your interest lies in classical masterpieces or contemporary works, these museums cater to a wide range of tastes and preferences.
Furthermore, you will also encounter a delightful assortment of Neo-classical arts and craft silver, along with antique furniture. This includes a 17th-century Essex County chair, an original Harvard school desk, and an 18th-century intricately carved writing desk.
While you may not see Harvard Square as the first thing in online pictures of Harvard, it is a crucial and memorable spot for students and visitors. This is where your Harvard University tour begins. Harvard even has its own T section (underground, metro, or subway) called Harvard Square, making it the perfect starting point for your visit.
In addition, if you ever get separated from your tour group, you can easily meet back up here. Furthermore, the building of Cambridge Savings Bank, which has become a landmark over the years, stands at the junction of John F. Kennedy Street and Massachusetts Avenue. You can also find other structures and shops, such as bookstores, toy stores, and a Bank of America, also surrounding Harvard Square.
In addition, Harvard Square also hosts various events and festivals throughout the year, so make sure to check the calendar for any happenings during your visit. You can also check out center spots, such as Starbucks, Au Bon Pain, and The Coop. Harvard Square is a place where you can explore the local culture, grab a bite to eat, or shop for souvenirs.
Harvard Science Center
For those interested in science and technology, a visit to the Harvard Science Center is a must. North of Harvard, the Science Center houses computer labs, classrooms, and a science library for undergraduates. This modern and innovative facility accommodates a variety of interactive exhibits and educational programs that explore various scientific disciplines.
Whether you want to learn about astronomy, biology, or physics, you will find engaging displays and demonstrations that cater to all ages. Moreover, in the main lobby, you can view a room-sized 1944 electromechanical computer. Additionally, the Science Center houses the Cabot Science Library, the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, and the collection of Scientific Historical instruments featuring items dating back to the 1400s.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
If you have a fascination with the natural world, the Harvard Museum of Natural History is a captivating destination. This museum features an extensive collection of fossils, minerals, and thousands of meticulously preserved animals. One of its most famous exhibits is the Glass Flowers, a collection of incredibly life-like glass models of plants created by the Blaschka family in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Furthermore, the museum also houses an impressive dinosaur exhibit, showcasing fossils and reconstruction of these ancient giants. It is a fantastic place for both adults and children to learn about the earth’s history and biodiversity.
Memorial Hall is an epic example of Gothic Revival architecture and an important historical and cultural site at Harvard. Built in memory of Harvard graduates who fought in the American Civil War, the hall serves as a tribute to their sacrifice. Memorial Hall encompasses three sections: Sanders Theatre, Annenberg Hall, and Memorial Transept.
Memorial Transept is an accessible vault that serves as a gathering area for Sanders Theatre. Sanders Theatre is an exquisite performance space known for its beautiful woodwork, stained glass windows, and exceptional acoustics. Sanders Theatre hosts lectures by celebrities or renowned alumni, with notable speakers like Martin Luther King, Jr., Winston Churchill, and Theodore Roosevelt having delivered speeches there.
Harvard Business School
While not located in Harvard, the Harvard Business School Campus is worth a visit for those interested in business and entrepreneurship. Across the river, you will spot the iconic Bakery Library, a globally renowned structure. For the ideal Harvard photo moment, visit the HBS yard, where you can capture Baker Library as an impressive backdrop.
In addition, the campus also offers beautiful views of the Charles River and is a peaceful spot to stroll. Therefore, do visit this place whenever you have the chance.
If you are a sports enthusiast or just want to experience a piece of Harvard’s athletic history, visit Harvard Stadium. Built in 1903, it is one of the oldest football stadiums in the United States.
The stadium has a distinctive horseshoe shape and offers a glimpse into the rich tradition of Harvard athletics. Even if there isn’t a game or event taking place, you can still admire the impressive architecture and take a walk around the field.
In conclusion, you have so much to see at Harvard, ensuring that your visit will be a truly enriching and unforgettable experience. Whether you are drawn to its historic landmarks, world-class museums, or the vibrant atmosphere of Harvard Square, this prestigious university has something to captivate every visitor. So, make plans to visit and explore the rich tapestry of Harvard’s academic, cultural, and historical heritage for a memorable journey.