Dear Parents: Here’s Where You Should Hang Out in Harvard Square

By Angel Zhang

Hello Harvard parents and welcome to the thing your child reads in lecture instead of paying attention our quirky student life blog. Have you been abandoned by your child even though you came all the way to Cambridge to see them? Here’s some places you should visit in the Square while your soon-to-be college graduate is busy taking graduation photos or catching up with their freshmen year best friends.

Harvard Art Museums

Out of all the places on this list, this may be the one you can tell your kid about rather than the other way around. This museum is free to the public, very aesthetic for family pictures, and has five levels of exhibits to explore. I have no idea how many hours it might take you to go through all of this art, but it’s definitely a way to kill time and make your camera roll look more cultured. The cafe is definitely more popular among Harvard students, so be sure to grab a vanilla cardamom latte on your way out!

The River / The Quad

If your student lives at The River, go visit The Quad or vice versa.

The Charles River is beautiful in the summer and your student probably has sent you pictures they took standing on Weeks Bridge or on Memorial Drive. You may even be able to recreate pictures you have been sent by your kid, and show them you can take better photos than they can. You can make them jealous of the free time they gave you by choosing not to spend them with you.

And Elizabeth Warren lives near the Quad, so maybe you’ll see her taking a stroll around the Cambridge Commons. The area also has a myriad of restaurants, a Starbucks, and an ice cream place which are all much more peaceful than any location within Harvard Square. If you want a break from the city atmosphere of the Square, head to the Quad for a more suburban environment.

Friendly Toast

This place took absolutely forever to officially open up its Harvard Square location, but it’s the best brunch you can get in the Square. Whether you’re in the mood for sweet or savory, Friendly Toast will have your fix. It is also decorated as a cool 90’s diner and has a quick table turnaround. Come to this brunch spot for both the food and the experience!

The Harvard Bookstore

I could spend hours here if I had no responsibilities to tend to. In fact, when I have spare time, you’ll usually find me here. The staff recommendations are constantly changing, and you’ll always find a new paperback on sale you have to talk yourself out of buying. Parents, come here if you have 15 minutes to multiple hours to kill.

Hopefully these spots reveal to you some aspects of the reality your student(s) experienced the last four years in the brick city of Cambridge. As you walk around and notice the hustle and bustle of Massachusetts Avenue, maybe you’ll recognize some of the spots your child has told you about!

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