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5-Hour Itinerary: A Day in Cambridge

5-Hour Itinerary is a series—based on the New York Times’ “36 Hours”—in which we serve as your guide to the ultimate Boston day-trip, stringing together thoughtfully chosen locations and activities into a one-of-a-kind itinerary.

Though one of America’s best cities lies at our fingertips, many Boston College students have yet to experience all that Boston’s neighborhoods and surrounding towns have to offer. Stepping outside of the usual haunts such as Back Bay, the Commons, and the North End, can offer a more complete view of the city and a whole new array of favorite stations for brunches, dinners, date nights, finals study spots, and more.

One such often overlooked neighborhood is Cambridge, home to more than just Harvard and MIT. Below is a comprehensive guide to some of the hidden gem exhibits, eats, and endeavors off the Red Line.



The Friendly Toast; Photo courtesy of Tumblr

The Friendly Toast ~ 1 Kendall Square b3101 || (617)-621-1200

The quest for a breakfast or brunch spot in Cambridge will surely lead you to this name. The diner vibes and comfort food, as well as its proximity to the cultural activities that Kendall Square has to offer (canoe and kayak rentals, farmer’s market, unique cafes, and several concert venues) make the Friendly Toast a great place to start your day and plan what steps to take next. Menu favorites include the shop's much-talked-about varieties of eggs benedict and homemade granola.


Zinneken’s Waffles ~ 1154 Massachusetts Avenue ||  (857)-756-0416

If your adventures lead you to spend the bulk of your day closer to Harvard than MIT and Kendall Square, or if you’re looking for a sugar high to start the day, take your brunch ambitions to Zinneken’s. This restaurant does “real” Belgian waffles with insanely good topping combinations (try the sin or the gourmand) and also offers a wide selection of coffees.

If you can’t make it to Zinneken’s in the AM, no worries—it is open all day and makes a perfect afternoon snack or dessert.


Kendall Square Cinema ~ 1 Kendall Square || (617)-621-1202

A personal favorite, Kendall Square Cinema doesn't stop at just showing blockbuster hits. These lesser-known films may not be on your “must see” radar, but are ones you won’t want to miss—think Oscar nominees and foreign films. This cozy and on-the-smaller-side theater also offers less predictable movie snacks (out of the ordinary popcorn flavorings and old fashioned candy) that will make it hard to go back to overly-buttered popcorn or overpriced Sour Patch Kids.


Harvard Square; Photo courtesy of Tumblr

Harvard Square; Photo courtesy of Tumblr

The Curious George Store ~ 1 John F. Kennedy Street

Cambridge, home of two prestigious universities, several museums, and numerous restaurants, bars, and cafes, is also the home of the world’s only Curious George Store. This niche store is owned by a couple with young children and sells exclusively Curious George merchandise, including everything from toys to clothes to party kits to stationary. The owners also put on Curious George events (which, unless you are accompanied by a child under the age of 10, most likely will not interest you).


Felipe’s Taqueria ~ 21 Brattle Street || (617) 354-9944

For lunch or dinner, Felipe’s is the best Mexican food in the area. Located just two minutes walking distance from the Harvard Square T-stop and fewer than 10 minutes from the Charles River, Felipe’s authentic Mexican cuisine rivals El Pelon only by way of its increased space for seating. Order either nachos or a Chimichanga (deep-fried burrito)—you will not be disappointed.


Photo courtesy of bill_comstock / Flickr

The Fogg Museum; Photo courtesy of bill_comstock / Flickr

Harvard Art Museums: Fogg Museum ~ 32 Quincy Street || (617)-495-9400

Harvard is central to three art museums—Arthur M. Sackler, Busch-Reisinger, and Fogg—all of which boast collections from different geographic and historic points. All are worth spending time in, but a favorite among Harvard students is the Fogg Museum, which boasts the largest variety of artworks, ranging from photography and print to sculptures to paintings dated as early as the Middle Ages and as recently as present day. Current Harvard Art exhibits include a photograph series called “The Art of Citizenship” and a mixed media exhibition on “Modern Art and Modernity.”


LA Burdick Handmade Chocolates ~ 52 Brattle Street || (617) 491-4340

If you don’t head to Zinneken’s for dessert or an afternoon treat, Burdick’s should definitely be your next choice. With multiple types of “drinking chocolates” as well as coffee and espresso drinks, pastries, chocolates (in the form of mice, penguins, or cigars), and a variety of other indulgences, you may never want to leave.

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