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John Harvard Statue Tours

John Harvard Statue
This bronze statue, which stands at the center of Harvard Yard, is frequently visited by both travelers and prospective students, and it’s also been the target of dozens of pranks since its unveiling. Whether it’s covered in tar, paint, or some other substance, the John Harvard statue remains at the heart of the school named for him … even though the statue isn’t actually of him.

The Basics
Historians aren’t exactly sure what the founder of Harvard University looked like, so artist Daniel Chester French used one of Harvard’s descendants as inspiration for this 1883 statue. Some call it the “Statue of Three Lies” in reference to its inscription, which reads: “John Harvard, Founder, 1638.” Harvard was a major donor, not the founder; the university was established in 1636, not 1638; and the model for the statue was Sherman Hoar, not Harvard. Regardless, this image is among the most recognized in the city, and a stop here is common stop on walking tours of Cambridge.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • Tourists have been known to rub the left toe of the John Harvard Statue for good luck.
  • Free hour-long campus tours are available, along with a self-guided tour option via an app that features a campus map highlighting important landmarks.
  • The statue is most susceptible to incidents of vandalism during football season, when students from competing schools try to leave their mark (e.g., green paint courtesy of Dartmouth).

How to Get There

The John Harvard Statue is located in Harvard Yard in Cambridge, just north of Boston. If you are traveling by car to the university, take Interstate 93 to exit 26/26A. Note that parking is very limited around Harvard Square, but private garages are available. To avoid parking hassles, take Boston’s subway, which is known as the T, to the Harvard stop, across the street from Harvard Yard.

When to Get There

Expect smaller crowds in Cambridge in the summer, when school is out. From June to October, more tourists than students will be on campus, making it easier to explore. Come fall, visitors frequent the area to check out the colorful foliage. In general, travelers tend to avoid Boston and Cambridge in the winter when temperatures can be frigid.

Harvard Book Store
Open since 1932, this locally owned, independent bookstore is known for its extensive selection of new and used books. Customers can even print paperback books on-site from electronic files that are available online. The bookstore also hosts author events and readings throughout the year, as well as organizing a book circle.
Address: 1 Harvard Yard, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA
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5 Tours and Activities to Experience John Harvard Statue

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Walking Tours

Harvard "Hahvahd" Campus Walking Tour

For anyone thinking of attending Harvard, or for those who simply want a glimpse of college life at the famous university, this tour is a must. Get an exclusive account from current Harvard students, who provide key insights into the life and times at Cambridge with a theatrical, humorous flair. Check out the old buildings at Harvard Yard and Harvard Square and learn about the school’s storied past. Illustrated map of Harvard Square included. Choose from several departure times throughout the day.
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  • 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$14.00
From  
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  • 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Walking Tours

Harvard Campus Walking Tour with Admission to Harvard Museum of Natural History

For anyone thinking of attending Harvard, or for those who simply want a glimpse of life at the famous university, this guided tour is a must. Get an exclusive account from Harvard students, who provide key insight into the times at Cambridge. Check out the old buildings at Harvard Yard and Harvard Square and learn about the school’s storied past. After the walking tour, explore the Harvard Museum of Natural History on your own.
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  • 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
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US$24.00
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  • 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Free Cancellation

Day Trips

Boston Freedom Trail Day Trip from New York

Take a break from the Big Apple to explore famous universities and colonial history with this full-day tour to Boston. Drive through Connecticut’s capital and countryside, and stop in Cambridge for a stroll through Harvard Yard. Visit major Boston landmarks and follow the historic Freedom Trail for a tour through revolutionary sites including the site of the Boston Tea Party. Enjoy free time for lunch at Quincy Market, where you can sample local favorites like clam chowder. 
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  • 11 to 13 hours
  • Free Cancellation
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US$169.00
From  
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  • 11 to 13 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Cultural Tours

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HARVARD Campus Self-Guided Walking Audio Tour for iPhone & Android

Harvard University is the most prestigious & oldest institution (est.1963) of higher learning in USA. With our GPS enabled self-guided audio walk, get to learn about Harvard's rich history and walk through the famous Harvard Yard. Witness the John Harvard monument - a bronze sculpture located on the west side of University Hall. Also witness the dorm where John Adams & John Hancock both lived and more..This is tour is also perfect for prospective students and their families thinking of attending the Harvard College.--------This app works OFFLINE and offers a fully-guided experience - just like a student giving you a guided tour.--------After you book the tour, we will send you the APP and the TOUR PASSWORD. Simply follow the GPS map & the routing line. Stops along the route will auto-play the stories and pictures.----Pre-Travel preparation:We recommend that you download the app & the tour while you are at home, Airbnb, or wherever you have good wifi or 4G connection.
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  • 1 to 2 hours
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US$2.50
US$5.00
US$2.50 savings
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  • 1 to 2 hours

Walking Tours

Private Small-Group Harvard Square Sunset Walking Tour

Get a taste for the pleasures of collegiate life during this 2-hour sunset walking tour of historic Harvard Square. Stroll the grounds of the world’s most famous university, soaking up the array of street performers, socializing students and historic haunts that give this iconic college in Cambridge, Massachusetts its unique vibe. During your walk you’ll explore Harvard Yard, walk along colonial Brattle Street and discover centuries-old landmarks like the Old Burial Ground Cemetery. A professional guide is included to help add insight to your walk.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
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US$395.00
From  
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation


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