Dear Freshmen: Harvard Outdoor Must-Do’s
Autumn has arrived in Cambridge, and we’ve got good news and bad news for all you freshmen currently living on campus. The good news: leaves changing color in the Yard! Apple cider donuts! All the pumpkin spiced lattes you could ever hope to drink! The bad news: autumn on campus is more like a soft intro to winter, and it’s about to get cold. Before everyone goes into dorm room hibernation, there’s no better time to (safely) take advantage of some great outdoor spots around campus. Who knows, maybe you’ll even find your new favorite outdoor study spot besides Widener steps!
For the Foodies: Science Center Plaza
Located conveniently next to the Yard, the Science Center Plaza is the place to be if you want to mix it up from your regular diet of dhall microwaveable meals. With a rotating cycle of food trucks every day from waffles to curry and everything in between, there are plenty of options to satisfy literally any craving. Check out the schedule here!
For the Studious: Schwartz Common and Pavilion
I wish I could accurately express in words my love for this outdoor must-do, but please. Just go. Only a short walk over the river to the Business School, the Schwartz Common and Pavilion is the perfect study spot when you want to “get away” from campus without actually ever leaving. It has tons of seating, and the pavilion fire pit will keep you cozy even as temperatures start dropping the moment the sun sets.
For the Peaceful: Harvard Divinity School Labyrinth & Contemplative Garden
Your first semester at college can be a stressful time, even in a normal year…now add in countless hours spent on Zoom, a dash of complete uncertainty about the future, and a pinch of limited social interaction, and it’s enough to leave anyone overwhelmed. For those hoping to find a true hidden gem away from the noise of Harvard Square, the Divinity School’s labyrinth and contemplative garden offers a peaceful setting for your next self-reflection (or quarter-life crisis, we won’t judge either way).
For the ~Vibes~: Winthrop Park
While not technically “on campus,” Winthrop Park is located close enough to all of our favorite staples (*cough cough* Jefe’s) to be included on this list. It may be small, but it undoubtedly passes the vibe check for an ideal outdoor spot. Live music? Check. Plenty of seating? Check. Adorable multicolored lights? Check! Whether it’s a socially-distanced picnic with friends or doing some solo people-watching, this tiny gem really does have it all.
For the Adventurous: Quad Lawn
Okay let’s be real, it’s not actually that far. But if you want to amaze your friends living in the Yard with a heroic journey to a new outdoor space a whole 13-minute walk away, the Quad Lawn is your destination. Featuring plenty of space for social distancing, lots of sun (for now) for those perfect golden hour selfies, and the chance to walk through Cambridge Common (two outdoor spots for the price of one!), you really can’t go wrong with this classic. Maybe you’ll even meet some Quadlings making the trek back home!
The warm-ish weather might not last forever, but your opportunities for the perfect outdoor spot around campus really are endless. If this isn’t enough to convince you to broaden your horizons beyond the Weeks Bridge (oop), the Harvard Outing Club has compiled their own Cambridge Outdoor Guide to help you find even more outdoor must-do’s to help you explore while staying COVID-free!