Harvard Square Biking Guide
Tue Nov 1, 2016
Guest Blogger By Gabriella Shares Her Favorite Bike Friendly Spots!
Hi, y’all! I’m Gabi and I’m the founder of By Gabriella, a life(style) blog where I create and share 48-hour city guides, weekly cocktails, entertaining tips, and more. Over the next few months, I’ll be partnering with my friends here at the Cambridge Office for Tourism to share fun bike-friendly guides for exploring Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Today it’s all about Harvard Square, arguably the most popular square in Cambridge - and for good reason! The food, the scenery, the shops - it’s got it all. Harvard Square has always been one of my favorite little spots; it’s both eclectic and quaint, all at the same time. Ready to bike through Harvard Square with me? Buckle up! (Your helmet...that is).
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK:
Alden & Harlow: This spot is a Harvard Square must. It’s got a well-known brunch and one of the most famous burgers in the Boston/Cambridge area. The vibe is cozy/cool (is that a thing?), with low lighting and a bold bar scene. Plus, you’ll find a huge bike rack right around the corner - so lock up and enjoy the scrumptious menu!
Zinnekin’s: Any spot that sells Belgian waffles (made by actual Belgians) has my attention. If you’re not convinced to stop in for a snack, simply walk by. If you can resist the tasty, mouth-watering scent of fresh waffles, you are some kind of superhero.
Mr. Bartley’s: If you’re looking for a burger, this is the spot. Mr. Bartley’s has won tons of awards, and their burgers are highly deserving. Despite the expansive menu, I always get the same thing - the iPhone (can you tell I work in social media?). The boursin cheese is ridiculously good and anything with caramelized onions is an A+ in my book. Oh right, I also order it sans mushrooms….it leaves even more room for extra boursin.
Border Café: If I had one guilty pleasure, it would be Border Cafe. I’m a Mexican food fiend, I crave it all the time. It’s an obsession, I’m totally aware. Border Cafe is an absolute gem and a great option if you’re not looking to spend too much on a meal - or a margarita! The prices are right and the food is downright delicious. And if you’re looking to take a short break from biking, stop in for a few appetizers, and of course - the free chips and salsa!
Harvest:I admittedly haven’t been to Harvest yet, but it gets rave reviews from the best of the best. Harvest focuses on New England cuisine with fresh ingredients - can you say yes, please?
Bonus - Waypoint:It’s not really in Harvard Square, it’s kind of in between two squares, but I wanted to share it with you all. Some background - I didn’t grow up eating seafood. My mom didn’t eat it, so I didn’t either (can you imagine a child cooking her own salmon? No way). That means I’m still exploring the many seafood options (hello, oysters! I’m so into you). I recently checked out Waypoint, and it was all so fantastic. Trust me, even if you’re not the biggest seafood fan, Waypoint is the place to go.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO:
Grab a coffee at Crema: Crema is a quintessential Cambridge cafe, it boasts two floors of seating (still a limited amount though, so get there early if you want to snag a spot!) and has some of the most delicious iced coffee. Pro tip: Get the iced coffee with a hint of maple syrup - SO much yum!
Black Ink:Anyone who knows me is aware of my love for Black Ink. Even if I’m biking by in a rush, I always lock up my bike (get the frame and the front wheel!) and run in. There’s always something small I can pick up - and if you’re looking for affordable gifts for someone special, this is the place to go.
The Sinclair:Whether you’re catching a show in The Sinclair’s intimate event space or popping in for a bite to eat, The Sinclair has some of the best vibes in town. In fact, The Sinclair is so cozy and perfect in the colder months. I was lucky enough to trek out there in a snowstorm (not usually how that sentence begins...right?), and it was so warm and inviting - it was the perfect way to spend a chilly winter night.
Harvard Book Store:If you’re like me and love a good book (or 5), be sure to pay a visit to the Harvard Book Store. It’s comfortably packed with winding shelves and cozy corners perfectly fit for selecting your next read.
Leavitt & Peirce:Harvard Square’s resident Cigar Shop. Hear me out! This shop is filled to the brim with tchotchkes and oddities that will quickly capture your attention. I decided to quickly check it out one day and spent about 30 minutes perusing everything from vintage postcards to old school games -- it is also the perfect place to bring your boyfriend, hubby or best guy friend. Whether you enjoy cigars or not, I’d recommend swinging by.
The Curious George Store:It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, pay a visit to the adorably tiny Curious George Store. It doesn’t get more ‘Harvard Square’ than that! You’ll find tiny wooden toys, Curious George apparel, and shelves upon shelves of colorful books.
Longfellow House- Washington's Headquarters: A trip to Harvard Square isn't complete without a visit to the historical and beautiful Longfellow House. Once home to the 19th-century poet Henry Longfellow, visitors can now stroll through the simply stunning gardens, attend lectures, and take a free tour.
WHERE TO STAY
Irving House: I used to only stay at the ‘big box’ hotels because that’s what I had always known, and now I’m all about finding a cozy inn wherever I travel. Check out the Irving House if you’re in the area! Nothing beats the comfort of home even while you’re away.
MY BIKE SAFETY TIPS:
Always, always wear your helmet. Is a good hair day worth it? Accidents happen and it's not always someone's fault, but you're extremely vulnerable on your bike in comparison to drivers in cars.
Cambridge is full of roads that have a bike lane. Do your best to bike down those streets, and if you're biking near parked cars, be alert. Drivers exiting their vehicles don't always think to look for cyclists and might open their door as you're biking by. I always suggest biking closer to the moving cars than the parked cars! Sounds backwards, but you definitely don't want to bike into a car door. Alert drivers will see you better than those in parked cars.
Bike with lights! The bike shops in Cambridge are sure to have some and they are worth it. If you think you're going to be out past dark, grab your lights. It's extremely hard to see cyclists in the dark without them - it's always better to err on the side of safety.
Obey traffic laws. Even though you're not in a car, your bike is still a vehicle. Bike with the traffic pattern and stop for lights, stop signs, etc.
For more safety tips and biking rules, click here!