Harvard University in Cambridge, located just north of Boston, is synonymous with prestige and accomplishment. This Ivy League university accepts only the best and provides a curriculum to students that challenges and inspires them to succeed (faculty and alumni hold over 45 Nobel Prizes!). The country’s first institution of higher learning ever established, Harvard University is a historical school that is also constantly looking toward the future and creating new innovations in education, science, technology, the arts and beyond. Looking at a list of notable graduates of Harvard University -- some of which include Barack Obama, Theodore Roosevelt, Rashida Jones, Norman Mailer, Helen Keller and John Quincy Adams -- it’s easy to see that the school has a rich and diverse heritage.
Luckily, you don’t need to be a straight A student to explore the campus, which is full of historic buildings, monuments, beautiful architecture and scenic green spaces. Head to the Harvard Yard to see the iconic John Harvard Statue -- with its inscription of “John Harvard • Founder • 1638” -- which has been a part of the campus for centuries. Interestingly, some call it the “Statue of Three Lies,” which represents the fact that 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).
The Memorial Church is also worth a stop, built in 1932 to commemorate soldiers who had lost their lives in WWI. Today it stands as a place to not only worship, but to remember. Additionally, Memorial Hall is a striking High Victorian Gothic that pays homage to Boston’s defense of the Union and the country’s abolitionist movement during the Civil War. Harvard University is also home to one of the world’s most impressive bookstores, open since 1932. The bookstore hosts a large array of events like panels, book discussions and science fairs. On the Harvard University campus you’ll also find a number of interesting museums, some of which include the Peabody Museum, Sackler Art Museum, Fogg Art Museum and the Busch-Reisinger Museum. Continue exploring the area in Harvard Square, which is full of shops, bars and restaurants.
Free hour-long campus tours of Harvard University are led by students and begin at the Harvard Information Center in the Holyoke Center Arcade. Dates and times of tours vary. Another option is to purchase a tour pamphlet at the Information Center and do a self-guided walking tour of the campus at your own pace.