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Tourism in Harvard University

By Izhar Alonso |

Visit Harvard University with its architecturally varied buildings, its youthful environment and its stories of lies associated with John Harvard’s statue.


The University of Harvard is one of the most important and famous universities in the world, so many people dream with visiting it. The best part is that this university complex located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is open for tourists who want to bathe in culture.


Boston is your best departure point if you want to go to Harvard. There you can take a cab or the subway and find yourself at the university in approximately 25 to 40 minutes. That will give you enough time to read this small guide to Harvard. Yet, if you take a cab ask them to drop you off at Harvard Station so that you can visit the whole complex on foot.


Once at Harvard you’ll get the chance to make a self-guided or guided tour. Since both options offer many advantages, DINKtravelers suggests preparing for a long walk, wearing sports clothes or at least tennis shoes and packing a bottle of water.

If you make a self-guided tour, buy a map of Harvard at any of the shops near the entrance. This way you won’t get lost and you’ll be able to explore the places that really interest you, dedicating as much time as you wish to each stop. On the other hand, the guides that give the tours are usually Harvard students, so they’ll be eager to show you their favorite spots in their alma mater, and they’ll tell you interesting anecdotes students have lived there.


During your visit you’ll find buildings with very varied architectural characteristics. This is because the history of the university began in 1636 and has developed throughout several centuries. Among those buildings you’ll find libraries, faculties, churches like the Memorial Church of Harvard University and the Old Baptist Church. Also, you’ll find 18 museums including the Harvard Art Museums and the Harvard Museum of Natural History. Apart from that you’ll get the chance to visit Memorial Hall, a huge Victorian Gothic building that was constructed in 1865 in memory of the Harvard students and faculty staff who fought during the Civil War.


Seize the opportunity to visit the statue of John Harvard because there are many fun stories related with it. First, when you’re standing in front of it you’ll notice that one of the sculpture’s shoes is gold and shiny. They say that if you rub it you’ll have good fortune. Another thing that will interest you is to learn why it’s known as the Statue of the Three Lies. This is why:

  • John Harvard is not the man represented in the statue. That’s just a Harvard student from the 19th
  • Some people think that John Harvard founded Harvard University, but actually, he was a benefactor. In fact, Harvard was founded by the Great and General court of Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  • Harvard was not founded in 1938 as they suggest, but in 1636, being the first university in the United States.

At the end of your tour take a break and relax at one of the university’s coffee shops or restaurants. Lastly, if you want to feel as part of the university community, visit the souvenir shops where you can buy pens, cups, t-shirts and sweatshirts with Harvard’s colors and logo.