Where is Harvard University?

Learn About Harvard's Location in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Harvard Law School
Brooks Kraft/Getty Images

Harvard is one of the most prestigious, selective, and wealthiest universities in the world. Below you'll find information about the school and its location in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Fast Facts: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Population: 118,977 (2018)

Weather: 44 inches of precipitation annually; cold, snowy winters; comfortable summers

Location: Eastern Massachusetts, just north of Boston

Attractions: Harvard Square, American Repertory Theater, Peabody Museum

Nearby Colleges: MIT, Northeastern, Boston University, Tufts University

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. VirtualWolf / Flickr

Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to Harvard University, is a colorful, multicultural city just across the Charles River from Boston. Cambridge is truly a center of academics and higher learning, featuring two of the world's premier educational institutions, Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Founded in 1630 as a Puritan settlement known as Newtowne, the city is rich in history and historic architecture, with several buildings in Harvard Square and the historic neighborhood of Old Cambridge dating as far back as the 17th century. The city boasts a wide range of cultural offerings, including several museums, an eclectic mix of art and entertainment venues, and one of the world's largest number of bookstores per capita.

Explore the Harvard University Campus

Annenberg Hall at Harvard University
Annenberg Hall at Harvard University. Jacabolus / Wikimedia Commons

Harvard University holds 5,083 acres of real estate. The main campus occupies several locations in Cambridge including the historic and famous Harvard Yard. Athletic facilities and the Harvard Business School are located across the Charles River in ​Allstom, Massachusetts. The Harvard Medical School and School of Dental Medicine are located in Boston. See some of the campus sites in this photo tour.

Cambridge Quick Facts

Cambridge, Massachusetts at Night
Cambridge, Massachusetts at Night. Wikimedia Commons
  • Population (2018): 118,977
  • Total area: 7.13 sq mi
  • Time zone: Eastern
  • ZIP codes: 02138, 02139, 02140, 02141, 02142
  • Area codes: 617, 857
  • Major cities nearby: Boston (3.5 mi), Salem (19 mi)

Cambridge Weather and Climate

Clouds Over Cambridge, Massachusetts
Clouds Over Cambridge, Massachusetts. Todd Van Hoosear / Flickr

Students who choose to attend Harvard shouldn't mind extremes of weather. Cambridge winters can be cold and snowy, and summer are often hot and humid.

  • Humid continental climate
  • 44 inches of precipitation annually
  • Warm summers (average high temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheitš)
  • Cold, snowy winters (average high temperature of 36 degrees Fahrenheitš)
  • "Nor'easters" occur regularly during winter months


The MBTA Red Line in Cambridge, Massachusetts
The MBTA Red Line in Cambridge, Massachusetts. William F. Yurasko / Flickr
  • Served by the MBTA, the Massachusetts Bus, and Transportation Authority
  • Easy access to public transit around Cambridge and to and from Boston
  • Several bike paths
  • Very pedestrian; of large U.S. communities, Cambridge has the highest percentage of commuters who walk to work

What to See

Harvard University Museum of Natural History
Harvard University Museum of Natural History. Connie Ma / Flickr
  • Museums: Harvard Art Museums, Harvard Museum of Natural History, MIT Museum, Museum of Science, Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University
  • Historical Sites: Cambridge Common, Cambridge Historical Society, Cooper-Frost-Austin House, Entrepreneur Walk of Fame, Longfellow House, Memorial Hall, Mount Auburn Cemetery
  • Arts: Cambridge Art Association, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Multicultural Arts Center, Out of the Blue Gallery
  • Entertainment: American Repertory Theater, Harvard Film Archive, Hasty Pudding Theatricals, ImprovBoston, Jose Mateo's Ballet Theatre, Ryles Jazz Club
  • Sports: Boston Bruins (hockey), Boston Red Sox (baseball), Boston Celtics (basketball), Boston Breakers (soccer), Boston Blazers (lacrosse)
  • Bookstores: Barefoot Books, Center for New Words, Harvard Bookstore, Lorem Ipsum, McIntyre and Moore, Porter Square Books

Did You Know?

The Cambridge Skyline
The Cambridge Skyline. Shinkuken / Wikimedia Commons
  • Cambridge is commonly known as "Boston's Left Bank"
  • The first legal same-sex marriage licenses in the United States were issued at Cambridge City Hall
  • Harvard University is the top employer in the city (followed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • At least 129 Nobel Prize winners (of 780 total) have been affiliated at some point with one of Cambridge's universities
  • Cambridge is the birthplace of the world's longest reigning monarch, Thai king Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX)
  • Founded in 1636, Cambridge's Harvard College, one of two schools within Harvard University, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the country
  • A resident of Cambridge is known as a "Cantabrigian"

Other Major Colleges and Universities Near Harvard

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Justin Jensen / Flickr
  • Boston College (Chestnut Hill) is one of the best Catholic universities in the country.
  • Boston University (Boston) is a highly regarded private university located in Boston's Back Bay.
  • Brandeis University (Waltham) is a smaller private university with a wide range of academic strengths.
  • Emerson College (Boston) sits on the Boston Commons and has excellent programs in communication and the arts.
  • MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge) is one of the very best engineering schools in the world.
  • Northeastern University (Boston) is a large private university in the Back Bay and Fenway neighborhoods of Boston with strengths in business, engineering, and health fields.
  • Simmons College (Boston) is a strong woman's college and a member of the Fenway Consortium of colleges.
  • Tufts University (Medford) is a strong mid-sized private university located just north of Cambridge.
  • Wellesley College (Wellesley) is one of the top liberal arts colleges and women's colleges in the country. A bus runs regularly between Wellesley, Harvard, and MIT.

Learn about all the four-year non-profit colleges near Harvard in this article: Boston Area Colleges.

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Grove, Allen. "Where is Harvard University?" ThoughtCo, Sep. 8, 2021, thoughtco.com/where-is-harvard-university-786988. Grove, Allen. (2021, September 8). Where is Harvard University? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/where-is-harvard-university-786988 Grove, Allen. "Where is Harvard University?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/where-is-harvard-university-786988 (accessed March 24, 2023).