In response to Stephanie’s comment about her upcoming visit to Harvard, I thought I would post a list of the Top 10 Things To Do When Visiting Harvard. As I began writing, however, my roommate reminded me that admissions letters would be coming out SOON, and that new prospective students would be looking for things to do on their visits (by the way, we’re SOOOOOOOOO excited to meet you guys)!!!!
As a result, I took it upon myself to compile TWO lists – one for anyone who just wants to take a look around and one for prospective students! I will include the list of top To Do’s in my next post.
But for now…
THE TOP 10 THINGS TO DO AS A TOURIST AT HARVARD
1.) DO NOT under any circumstances touch John Harvard’s foot.
As you walk into Harvard Yard, take in its classic beauty, and reflect upon the centuries of history it has witnessed, you may find yourself drawn to a rather iconic statue of John Harvard, also known as the ‘Statue of Three Lies.’ Lest you be unprepared I shall verse you in these lies: 1) John Harvard was NOT the founder of Harvard, he was merely a donor, 2) Harvard was NOT founded in 1638, it was founded in 1636, 3) the man portrayed in the statue is NOT John Harvard… its some rando. All things considered, I personally feel that a fourth lie needs to be added to the list. This lie would be 4) touching John Harvard’s foot is NOT a good idea. I mean, go ahead and rub it for good luck…. Just don’t ask me to shake your hand afterward.
2.) Go on a Crimson Key Tour
It’s easy to say, “Go to Memorial Hall!” or “Go to Widener Library!” but really, the Crimson Key tour covers it all, and they do a GREAT job! Seriously, do yourself a favor and go on their tours. They leave from the Information Center in the Holyoke Center (next to the Au Bon Pan in Harvard Square) at 10:00 am, 12:00 pm, and 2:00 pm Monday- Saturday.
3.) Stand outside of the Science Center between 12:00 -12:07
It is said that no Harvard student can go all four years without taking at least one class in the Science Center. No, this isn’t because all students are brainiacs – it’s because SO many classes are offered in that huge, ugly building (every college campus has one… even Harvard). As a result, during class transition time – also known as ‘Harvard Time’ – a CRAZY number of students pass through the area right outside (I’ve heard stats saying up to 50% of the undergraduate student body)! If you want a taste of student academic life, go hang out there.
4.) Mr. Bartley’s Burgers
Have you seen The Social Network or Good Will Hunting?!?! If so, you may have noticed a lovely place featured called Bartley’s. This is because they have THE BEST burgers OF ALL TIME! I’m not joking. This dive has been around for a loooooonnnnggg time, and for good reason. It doesn’t matter if you’re watching your cholesterol, if you’re at risk of terrible food-induced ailments, take the gross caloric hit and GO FOR IT! You won’t regret it.
5.) Check out the Greenhouse Cafe
After you get swept away by the wave of students outside of the Science Center, head on inside and grab a snack (or Starbucks) at the Greenhouse Café! This is a major hang out spot for students in between classes, and it’s just a generally cool place to check out.
6.) Stop by the COOP
Why visit Harvard if you don’t have something to show for it? The COOP has a plethora of Harvard paraphernalia to offer, PLUS if you’re curious, you can take a trip to the top floor and look at the textbooks students buy for class!
7.) Walk along the Charles River
If it’s a nice day, take a walk along the Charles River! It is honestly one of the most beautiful strolls ever, and you can see the River Houses, where sophomores, juniors, and seniors live.
8.) Watch the Crew team practice on the river
While you’re on the river, if it’s Fall or Spring, you might be fortunate enough to witness the Crew team practicing (or racing) on the river! Crew is a BIG DEAL at Harvard, so it’s always a good thing to see.
9.) Visit Radcliffe Quad
One of the least appreciated spots on campus, Radcliffe Quad is home to three upperclassmen houses (Currier, Cabot, and Pfoho), and is where the women of Radcliffe College used to live! The Quad is less than a mile up Garden Street and has a unique history.
10.) Walk along Mt. Auburn street late Saturday night
If you want a taste for what Harvard nightlife is like, I would suggest walking down Mt. Auburn street between 11:00 pm – 2:00 am on Saturday night and seeing all of the final clubs. I’m not suggesting you try to go in, but you’ll get the sense that Harvard students play just as hard as they work.