By Lucy Liu
You’ll definitely want to see what Harvard’s campus has to offer at Visitas. If this is your first time exploring the area, though (that guided admissions tour you took freshman year doesn’t count), even figuring out where to start can be a challenge. Lucky for you, we’ve put together 10 great spots to visit when you find free time in your Visitas schedule.
The John Harvard Statue
Take an officially-not-a-tourist-anymore photo, and remember to wash your hands before eating if you touch the foot. With so many visitors touching it every day, John Harvard’s metal foot is really not the most sanitary spot on campus.
The Smith Campus Center
The Smith Campus Center just opened last fall and sports quirky chairs, plant walls, and cafes to eat at. You can even try going up to the top floor for a stunning view of campus. Stop by to soak in the bright colors and general sense of pleasantness here.
Harvard Art Museums
Visit for a beautiful and unique way to spend an afternoon. The collection is quite impressive, and during Visitas you’ll get free admission.
Natural History Museum
If you’re more of a STEM person, try the Natural History Museum instead. Again, you’ll have free admission, so there’s no excuse not to check it out. Current exhibits include ones featuring glass flowers, glow-in-the-dark ocean-inspired paintings, and arthropods.
The Charles River
Go at sunset! It’s undeniably beautiful, and if you walk over from the Yard you’ll get to pass some of the upperclassmen houses (you’ll live in one of those from sophomore to senior year) and see what they look like.
Stop by the iconic library itself. Its stone steps are a great place to sit when the weather’s nice, and if you write a thesis this is probably where you’ll take a photo with it. If you decide to go in, remember to be mindful of the people studying inside so you don’t get any unpleasant glares.
Members of the general public can’t enter Annenberg, so you’ll feel a little like a celebrity when you walk in for the first time. Enjoy the first of your many meals here!
Curious George Store
This is the only one in the world, and it’s right here in Harvard Square. Need we say more?
The Radcliffe Quad is home to three of Harvard’s 12 upperclassmen houses, the studio that dance groups use, and the Student Organization Center at Hilles (a building used by various extracurricular groups). It could become a big part of your life depending on your upperclassmen housing assignment and which extracurriculars you get involved in, so getting a glimpse of it now might be a good idea. Don’t be shy; it doesn’t bite.
Head to the largest bookstore in the Square to find a souvenir for yourself or a Harvard Mom/Dad shirt for those back home. If you’re looking for other Harvard gear vendors, there are plenty of options around the Square. These include but are not limited to the stand near the Harvard Square T stop as well as The Harvard Shop, which is run by students.
There’s lots to do on campus, so pull out your Google Maps and start exploring. Which of these places could you see yourself spending a lot of time at next year?
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Click here to read more of the Flyby Guide to Visitas!