Cambridge, Massachusetts offers visitors excellent dining, world class museums, and a performing arts scene that’s one of the best in the nation. If you enjoy touring history-rich sites, you’ll find a large variety of interesting things to see here. Some of the city’s attractions can be a bit pricey, but fortunately there is plenty to do that’s either free or very affordable. Here are ten fun things to do in Cambridge, MA that cost less than $10.
1. Tour Harvard University
Harvard University offers a number of public tours in addition to its tours for prospective undergrads and graduate students. The public tours are led by volunteers and last about an hour. You’ll be taken to see some of the school’s most famed buildings, various gardens and outdoor areas, and you’ll receive a wealth of insightful information from your guide. Harvard University has a historical guided tour, the Official Harvard Military History Tour during the summer and fall, and you can also take a self-guided walking tour. Be sure to take plenty of pics and don’t be afraid to ask questions — the guides love talking about the history of the university and all of its sights.
2. Cambridge Public Library
Most libraries are nothing remarkable, but that’s not true of Cambridge Public Library. If you’re not from the area and you go there, prepare to feel a bit of envy because it’s unlikely that your city’s library is as awesome. The building itself is an architectural gem and inside are scores and scores of books and media. Cambridge Public Library’s main branch has a teen room, children’s room, outdoor seating area, Wifi across the entire property, almost 100 public computers, and each month the Library hosts over 100 programs and events. The new lecture hall is the site of esteemed presentations given by some of the area’s most notable thinkers, and it’s also where book discussion meetings are held. Bibliophiles and lovers of literature will feel right at home there.
Cost: Free. The parking garage costs 25 cents per 15 minutes, and you can pay with quarters or a credit/debit card.
3. Longfellow House National Historic Site
Longfellow House is one of the most popular historical sites in the nation, and it’s the actual home of 19th century poet Henry W. Longfellow. This isn’t just where Longfellow lived, but George Washington also hosted his headquarters at the house from July 1775 to April 1776 during the Siege of Boston. Longfellow House holds original furniture, art pieces, and decor, and visiting there is like stepping back in time.
Cost: Visiting the park around Longfellow House is free. All of the tours and programs there are free as well, but you’ll have to take a guided tour.
4. North Point Park
For a nice day outside in a gorgeous area, head to North Point Park located at 6 Museum Way in Cambridge, MA. It opened in December 2007, boasts 8.5 acres of lush grounds, and millions have visited since it debuted to the public. There are places in North Point Park to bike, take a stroll, play areas for kids, and a skate park.
5. Harvard Art Museums
The Harvard Art Museums is a collection of exhibits comprised of what used to be three separate museums. It holds over 250,000 pieces representing just about every type of media from nearly every continent on the globe. You’ll see pieces from antiquity as well as modern day works. There’s enough to see here to easily fill an afternoon.
Cost: Cambridge, MA residents are always admitted for free, and Massachusetts residents get in for free on Saturdays from 10am to noon with proof of residency.
6. MIT Museum
The world renowned MIT Museum was founded in 1971, and it has a number of fascinating collections that range from photography and holography to robotics and maritime history. To see the most recent technological developments and research from MIT, head to the 5,000 square foot Mark Epstein Innovation Gallery on the museum’s ground floor.
Cost: Admission is free on the last Sunday of each month from September through June.
7. Cafe ArtScience
Some people drink their coffee but others literally inhale it, particularly those dining at Cafe ArtScience. It’s located in Kendall Square beside Le Laboratoire Cambridge, which is an arts and science center. Both Le Laboratoire Cambridge and Cafe ArtScience are the creations of David Edwards, a Harvard biomedical engineering professor. There are plenty of costly dishes on the menu, but the coffee and desserts are affordable.
Cost: Inhalable coffee is $2, and desserts are $6 or less.
8. Flour Bakery & Cafe
Flour is one of the nation’s most famous bakeries and the owners have even released an acclaimed cookbook. If you’re in Cambridge, MA, drop by Flour and see what all of the buzz is about. The scent of freshly baked bread and pastries fills the air and tempts anyone walking nearby. The delicious treats range from chocolate truffles to croissants and caramel pecan sticky buns. More filling soups and sandwiches are also made fresh each day. The lines can get long, but the wait will be worth it.
Cost: You can buy a drink and a couple of treats for less than $10.
9. Minuteman Bikeway
Contrary to popular belief, Paul Revere never yelled, “The British are coming!”. However, he did ride through Cambridge, MA and the path he took is now known as Minuteman Bikeway. The 11 mile path goes through Bedford, Lexington, Arlington, and Cambridge and is a great way to both get outside for some fresh air and experience a historical site like never before. There’s beautiful scenery and foliage in the area, and this is a popular destination on the weekends.
10. MIT Museum Hart Nautical Gallery
Those interested in ships, sailing, and nautical artifacts will enjoy visiting MIT Museum’s Hart Nautical Gallery. The collection holds a vast number of striking full hull ship models from the last few centuries and there’s also tons of useful information available about the history of each one.