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Why We Love Travel

Suggest a Local Tip

From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.

Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.

Benefits of Traveling Locally

While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:

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More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.

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Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.

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Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.

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Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.

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More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.

Explore Local: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Home to both Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge is nothing if not smart — and exploring it is a smart idea, too, whether you’re a newcomer or an old-timer. Here are our favorite things to see, do, and explore in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.

Parks in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Alewife Brook Reservation

Although a truly urban landscape, there are some incredible natural preserves in the greater Boston metro area. Here are a few of the best state and national parks and wildernesses near Cambridge, MA.

Alewife Brook Reservation

Established more than a century ago in 1900, the Alewife Brook Reservation preserves and protects a stunning natural landscape that’s home to a wide range of wildlife, particularly birds. Trails carry adventurers alongside urban wetlands and offer an opportunity to get out into nature without going too far at all from the urban core. (Parking is not available onsite, but is available at the Alewife MBTA station.) 

Beaver Brook Reservation

With nearly 60 acres of open fields and woodlands, the Beaver Brook Reservation is another beloved local green space that offers city-dwellers the opportunity to get out in nature right in their own backyard. Along with its forested trails, this park is known for its pond, which geese congregate around, as well as a scenic waterfall. 

Draw Seven State Park

A small state park located within the city limits of Somerville, Draw Seven State Park is a nine-acre day-use facility that’s perfect for games of pickup soccer, waterfront lounging, or strolling or biking down one of its paved paths. Athletic fields and picnic areas make this small riverside site a great place to spend sunny Massachusetts summer afternoons. 

Mary O’Malley State Park

Overlooking the Mystic River in the neighboring community of Chelsea, Massachusetts, Mary O’Malley State Park is particularly well-loved for its views of the Boston skyline. Offering an open field that’s perfect for picnicking as well as a playground for the kiddos, this small, urban green space is a great spot to spend a sunny afternoon or to catch a beautiful sunset. 

Mystic Lakes State Park

Looking to enjoy a day at the beach without wandering all the way out to the coastline? Mystic Lakes State Park offers the perfect opportunity to get out (or alongside) the water, whether you’re hoping to boat, sail, swim, or simply sunbathe. A small state park offering grilling facilities, an on-site picnic area, and two free parking lots, this green space is only 20 minutes away from the heart of Cambridge. 

Roxbury Heritage State Park

A state park that’s all about preserving history as well as nature, Roxbury Heritage State Park is located in the heart of the former town of Roxbury, which was annexed by Boston back in 1868. Among other historically significant attractions, this park includes the Dillaway–Thomas House, an imposing colonial edifice that was originally built in 1750 and is thought to be one of the oldest surviving structures in the area.

Hiking in Cambridge, Massachusetts

You don’t have to drive all the way out to western Mass to find some incredible hiking opportunities! Here are some of the best trails around for those who want to get their boots on the ground, no matter your skill, fitness, or interest level.

Mount Auburn Loop

A beginner-friendly hiking option right in the heart of Cambridge itself, Mount Auburn Loop runs just shy of a mile and a half in length and sees about 120 feet in elevation gain along the way, making it a great place to stretch your legs and take in some fresh air without huffing and puffing in effort. Offering a combination of greenery and urban views, this trail is closeby enough for a quick jaunt before or after work.

Harvard Yard Tour

You can’t really call yourself a Boston-area resident until you’ve experienced Hah-vahd Yahd, right? The Harvard Yard Tour is an urban walk just shy of two miles in length, seeing negligible elevation gain along the way. As you wander on this historic campus, you’ll get the opportunity to wonder at the impressive buildings as well as to engage in some good, old-fashioned people watching.

Southern Middlesex Fells Loop

A beautiful lakeside trail that runs just about three and a half miles and sees approximately 400 feet in elevation gain along the way, Southern Middlesex Fells Loop is the perfect easy-to-intermediate option for hikers hoping to get a few more miles under their belts while also enjoying some incredible views. With its glorious lakeside, this trail is favored not only by summer hikers and mountain bikers, but also snowshoers in the winter.

Western Greenway to Hemlock Trail

Looking for a longer adventure — something you can really stretch out on? The Western Greenway to Hemlock Trail hike runs about 10 full miles out and back and sees almost 800 feet in elevation gain along the way, putting it firmly into the moderately challenging category. Along with hiking trips, this trail is also favored by outdoor runners and those looking to spot local wildlife and birds, which congregate around the various bodies of water that exist in the Rock Meadow Conservation Area.

Skyline Trail Loop

At eight and a half miles long and almost 1,000 feet in elevation gain, Skyline Trail Loop is the most difficult hike we’ve listed in this guide… but still not so intense as to be impossible for most in fairly decent shape. Those brave enough to tackle it will be treated, as the trail’s name implies, to incredible skyline views, as well as serene lakesides and forest cover on the way to the vistas at the top.

Restaurants in Cambridge, Massachusetts

You’ve got a lot of adventuring to do in Cambridge and the surrounding areas — and that means you’re going to need some fuel. Here are the best restaurants to check out in Cambridge, whether you’re after Mexican, Italian, or, of course, seafood. 

Benedetto

Freshly-crafted pastas, lovingly-prepared entree specials, and a vast array of homemade gelatos crown the menu of Benedetto, one of the best mid-range Italian restaurants in the entire Boston metro area. Best of all, homemade sea salt and olive oil focaccia is available to start off your evening, with a wide array of from-scratch toppings and spreads. 

Olé

You don’t have to go south of the border — or even south of the Mason-Dixon line — to enjoy some incredible Mexican food! Olé is one of the best-loved Mexican restaurants in Cambridge, serving up fresh and delicious favorites in a lively and convivial atmosphere. Along with your tacos, enchiladas, or Mexican lasagna, be sure to check out the tequila and mezcal list for something satisfying to wash it all down with.

Veggie Galaxy

For plant-based options that are just as satisfying as those you’d find at a “regular” diner, check out Veggie Galaxy, a diner-style establishment that specifically focuses on vegetarian and vegan versions of your favorite comfort foods. From stuffed French toast to loaded burgers and poutine, if you can imagine it, it exists and Veggie Galaxy, guilt-free. Take your carnivore friends to convince them that good vegan food does exist! 

Courthouse Seafood

If there’s one kind of cuisine you absolutely have to have in the Boston area, it’s seafood — and Courthouse Seafood is a favorite among locals for good reason. Offering delicious deep-fried seafood platters as well as chowders and sauteed dishes, this restaurant is located immediately adjacent to a fish market, so you can give it all a whirl yourself at home. 

Mix-it Restaurant

If you’re looking for the best Asian food in town — well, there are plenty of options. But you absolutely can’t go wrong at Mix-It, a pan-Asian restaurant that offers Thai, Korean, Indonesian, Chinese, and freshly prepared sushi. Along with all these edible delights, this spot also offers a fantastic wine list, including a number of hand-selected sakes fit for an aficionado. 

Activities in Cambridge, Massachusetts

From historical tours to modern-day delights, there are so many wonderful things to get familiar with in Cambridge. Here are a few of our favorite options.

For Kids and Families 

Cambridge has so many family-friendly opportunities that are as educational as they are entertaining! Grab the kids and check out these top picks.

The Harvard Museum of Natural History

A world-class natural history museum that will get you and more family familiarized with the world around us, from ancient dinosaur bones to African wildlife, microbiology, and more, the Harvard Museum of Natural History is a stand-out experience for visitors of all ages, and many educational programs are designed specifically for children of various ages. 

Fenway Park

“Take me out to the ballgame…” Even if your kids aren’t old enough to remember that song for themselves, they’ll be singing it on the regular after one experience of the famous Fenway Park. Go to see a Red Sox game or simply to enjoy a delicious soft pretzel and take in the atmosphere. Either way, it’s a must-do moment that will create lifelong memories.

Museum of Science

For a museum that’s more specialized around the discovery side of things, check out the Museum of Science. Along with an impressive catalog of permanent exhibits, this museum also hosts events and temporary exhibitions as well as a planetarium, 4-D movie theater, and more.

At Night

There’s no shortage of stuff to get into at night in Cambridge. The question, rather, might be where to begin. Here are some of our favorite post-daytime options.

Boston Night Market

Think of it like a farmer’s market, but with a bit more of an after-hours vibe. Either way, the Boston Night Market is an incredible opportunity to enjoy local food, art, and entertainment, and yes, adult beverages are served! This is a great option for those looking for things for couples to do in Cambridge. 

Museum of Bad Art

Tucked away into the community of Sommerville is a museum the likes of which you surely haven’t encountered before. The Museum of Bad Art collects and showcases the pieces that never had a chance of making it into the main galleries… but still deserve their time in the limelight, if only for their sheer badness. (Plus, it’s a small enough display that you won’t lose interest halfway through.)

Cheap Things to Do in Cambridge

It’s easy to accidentally part with more of your money than you meant to in a city as cool as Cambridge. Fortunately, there are some wonderful affordable options to add to your itinerary. Here are our recommendations.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

For those times when you’re in the mood for something to eat, but you can’t for the life of you figure out what, Faneuil Hall Marketplace is the perfect option: just window shop until you find something you can’t resist! Best of all, many of these take-and-go meals are less expensive than what you’d find at a comparable sit-down restaurant in town. 

The Paul Revere House

You know the story of the man — so come get some more context on his personal history. The Paul Revere House preserves and displays this historic home and other period artifacts that shed light on what life was like here during colonial times. Plus, ticket prices start at just $5 for adults.

Free Things to Do in Cambridge

You read that right! Here are some of our favorite totally-free options to dig into in Cambridge. 

Boston Public Garden

Tucked immediately adjacent to Boston Common and serving as a communal gathering place since 1837, the Boston Public Garden is truly an incredible go-to when you’re looking for a break from it all. At 24 acres in size and free and open to the public 24 hours a day, there’s plenty of space and time to get lost in here. 

John Harvard Statue

While you’re tackling the Harvard Yard tour, be sure to stop by the iconic statue of John Harvard himself, which was originally erected back in the late 1880s. Notice that Harvard holds an open book on his knee and also has a stack of tomes ready to tackle waiting beneath his chair.

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Wellness in Cambridge, Massachusetts

Spas in Cambridge

If you’re in need of some pampering, look no further than Cambridge, which offers a variety of lovely day spas and salons. Here are some of our go-tos. 

Pyara Spa and Salon

Something of a one-stop shop for all things restorative and beautifying, Pyara Spa and Salon offers massages in a wide range of modalities as well as skin care for both face and body, along with more traditional salon-style services like haircuts, hair coloring, styling, mani/pedis, and more. This salon also offers special bridal packages to get you totally ready for your big day, from head to toe.

Cambridge Massage Collective 

Specializing in therapeutic touch and also acupuncture, the Cambridge Massage Collective is committed to creating a personalized care treatment custom built for your body and needs. Advanced massage styles such as cranio-sacral treatments, lymphatic drainage, scar management, and cupping are available, along with more traditional choices. 

Best Gyms & Yoga Studios

Staying in shape isn’t just something you do — it’s a whole way of life, if you do it right. Here are some of the best gyms and yoga studios in the Cambridge area for those looking for a sweat session (or several).

Vim Fitness

You, too, will be full of vim and vigor after a workout at Vim Fitness. Considered by many to be the best gym in the entire greater Boston metropolitan area, this spot is known for its comprehensive range of equipment, on-site nutrition and massage services, group classes including Pilates, and personal training. In short, it’s got everything you need to make your goals a reality — just add you.

Down Under School of Yoga

While there are many yoga studios to choose from in greater Boston, Down Under School of Yoga stands apart for its commitment to creating a truly inclusive space that caters to everybody — and every body. Along with their classic range of vinyasas and flows, this spot also offers yoga taught in Spanish language as well as yoga specifically designed for kids and teens. Take advantage of their newcomer special and see what it’s all about and which classes you best vibe with.

Day Trips near Cambridge, Massachusetts

Martha's Vineyard

As replete as Cambridge itself is with opportunities to go out and explore, there are also some incredible places to day-trip to in the immediate vicinity. Consider these great options!

Salem

The witch trials may have made it famous, but Salem is a quaint New England town with a lot to offer even for those who aren’t ghost believers… though if you are, you’re certainly in for a treat, particularly around Halloween time. Just 40 minutes from Cambridge, this spot is a great option for a true day trip, one where you can arrive home in time for dinner if you like.

Martha’s Vineyard

If you’re truly looking to get away from it all, perhaps a trip to the coast is in order — or even to a coastal island. Martha’s Vineyard is famous for its incredible seascapes, indulgent boutiques and restaurants, and idyllic farmlands. Take the two-and-a-half-hour trip (including a trip on the ferry) and make a long weekend of it.

As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Cambridge that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Cambridge? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.

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