A Day Away | Nextdoor in Cambridge, MA
By 4Squares Residential Group in Partnership with Judi 411
Welcome to another segment of 4Squares Residential Group's "A Day Away," where we feature fun places to spend the day across Massachusetts. This month we're offering a staycation theme as we head a few cities over to Cambridge, MA. If you're looking for a change of scenery within a few miles of home, touring Cambridge is a splendid way to while away a summer afternoon.
Fun Facts about Cambridge
1. Cambridge was originally founded to be the Massachusetts capital
In 1630, Massachusetts Bay leaders couldn't agree on the Commonwealth's capital. Meeting in Watertown on the last day of the year, they spotted a hill near the Charles River, just downstream, and named it Newtowne, now known as the Harvard Square area.
2. Harvard was Cambridge's consolation prize.
It's hard to think of a world-renowned institution as a consolation prize, but according to our friends at Cambridge Historical Commission, it's true! In 1634 the Governor and his assistants chose Boston as our capital, leaving Newtowne in the dust. Two years later, they chose Newtowne as the site of a college to train ministers for the colony, which prompted Newtowne to change its name to Cambridge, after the university town in England. And the rest, as they say, is history.
3. Cambridge residents are "Cantabrigians" (please note there's no "d").
Some famous Cantabrigians include actors Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, the poet E.E. Cummings, and comedian Lenny Clarke.
Curious to learn more fun facts about Cambridge? Visit the Historical Commission’s list here.
Something to Do
A day in Cambridge wouldn't be a day in Cambridge without a stop in Harvard Square, home to you – you guessed it! – Harvard University. But there's more to the Harvard Square than the world-renowned university; it's a hustling, bustling business area full of shops and restaurants – a place of history, books, ideas, entertainment, and learning. And the best way to hit all these touchpoints is to book a Hahvahd Tour!
The Hahvahd Tour - 1400 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA
The popular notion of Harvard is that it's a dry, stuffy academic institution, and The Hahvahd Tour shows you that the stereotype couldn't be further from the truth. Led by Harvard students who have their fingers on the pulse of where to see and be seen, these theatrical, 75-minute tours bring the campus alive.
Guides take you on a theatrical, entertaining performance-style tour through campus to iconic landmarks like Harvard Yard, Johnston Gate, Cambridge Common, Memorial Hall, Science Center, The Harvard Crimson, Harvard Lampoon, and the John Harvard Statue. They'll also regale you with stories of Harvard History, Harvard Culture, and Famous Harvardians.
Booking in advance is strongly recommended. When you reserve online, you'll also have the option to double down on
the fun and add a tour of neighboring MIT to your time, and top off the day
Charles Riverboat Company, 100 CambridgeSide Place, Cambridge, MA
For those who have "been there, done that" in Harvard Square, a cruise along the Charles River is a great alternative, and the family-owned and run Charles Riverboat Company is the 4Squares Favorite for maritime fun.
Sightseeing excursions depart from the Lechmere location adjacent to CambridgeSide and take voyagers on a 70-minute tour of the historical and cultural sights along the Boston and Cambridge shorelines. Enjoy the spectacular views of Beacon Hill, Esplanade Park, Back Bay, Boston University, M.I.T., Harvard, and sailboats and rowers galore.
Architecture Cruises offering views of historic and contemporary architecture along Boston Harbor, the Charles River Locks, and the Charles River basin are also an option, as are Cocktail & Sunset cruises.
Somewhere to Shop
Cambridge Antique Market, 201 Monsignor Obrien Hwy, Cambridge, MA
If antiquing is your jam, but you're not up for the drive to Brimfield or another far-off venue, then Cambridge Antique Market is the place for you.
Cambridge Antique Market is a four-story treasure trove of antique items ranging from furniture and jewelry to quirky collectibles and vintage clothing for any collector or anyone just interested in poking around.
Cheapo Records, 538 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
Whether you're a long-time vinyl-record lover or new to the musical medium, Cheapo Records in Central Square is a must-stop on your Cambridge tour. Flip through the 45 rpm singles for music nostalgia on steroids, an experience you can't get on iTunes or the internet.
No matter the musical genre – Oldies, Jazz, Folk, Classical, Blues, Rock n Roll, Disco, or Soundtracks – Cheapo will bring the music to your ears on vinyl, CDs, or cassettes (!). There's also a selection of vintage concert t-shirts in the back available for purchase or simply perusing.
Someplace to Eat
Toscanini's, 159 First St, Cambridge, MA 02139 and 899 Main Street, Cambridge, MA
Summertime means ice cream for dinner (or lunch!), and for Cantabrigians, only Toscanini's will do.
Rated a Best of Boston ice cream shop for so many years it's hard to keep track, Toscanini's, or Tosci's for short, offers a creative variety of flavors beyond your standard vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry. Tantalize your tastebuds with Gingersnap Molasses or Roxbury Puddingstone, their signature style of Rocky Road with dark chocolate, marshmallows, and chocolate chips.
Tosci's also makes delectable ice cream cakes in off-beat flavors like Green Tea and Mango and good ol' standbys like Cookies n Cream and Belgian Chocolate. The flavors that caught the 4Squares team's eye? Kulfi, a combination of almonds and pistachios mixed into cardamom ice cream, and B3, a mi of brown butter, brown sugar, and brownies! YUM!
Veggie Galaxy, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA
For a diner experience with a side of virtue, head to Veggie Galaxy in Central Square and grab a booth for a sit-down meal.
Breakfast is served all day long, and the menu spans classic diner options like burgers and fries (burgers are vegan by default), soups, salads, nachos, and cheesy fries. Check out their Cauli Corner for fun twists on cauliflower, including Cauli Po’Boy, Cauli Tacos, and Cajun Spiced Cauli. Bar drinks including beer, sangria and the Galaxy’s Big Ass Mars (their twist on a Bloody Mary) are also available.
What's your favorite town to staycation near Medford, MA? Showcasing cities throughout Massachusetts is one of our favorite ways to help our readers (and clients!) love the way they live in Medford and beyond. Drop us a note at Jen@4SquaresRE.com and tell us your hidden gems hangouts! Want more? Subscribe to our newsletter!