The atmosphere is a different one than you would experience at many other places in Massachusetts and around the country. It can have a “big city” vibe with lots of hustle and bustle, while still maintaining a sparse population of about 100,000 people. While the space of the city is largely residential and lacks parks and wildlife, the educational institutions have amazing and beautiful green spaces that are a worthy substitute. In addition, there are numerous bike paths throughout Cambridge as well that can let you see some amazing scenery.
In terms of the demographics, there is an extremely diversified population in Cambridge as people flock from all over the world to attend and work at the legendary universities there. On top of the academics in the city, there is a blossoming technology sector in the city as many top flight companies in IT and Biotechnology call Cambridge home. The city has also been dubbed the “City of Squares” as most of its commercial districts are major intersections known as squares, which can be a great place to spend an afternoon walking around.
The area that would one day become Cambridge was first settled in 1630 by English Puritans. It began as an agricultural town and was not really a convenient place until the late 1700s and early 1800s, when bridges were finally built over the Charles River. This allowed for greater industrial development in Cambridge and it became an industrial town. Over the next few years, immigrants from all over the world (Ireland, Portugal, Germany, Italy, and more) came to Cambridge, which is part of the reason the city is still very diverse to this day. In the 1900s, industry began to move south and led Cambridge to lean on the power of their education and innovation fields, which worked and led many tech start-ups to pop up around Cambridge.
However, as the city made the move from an industrial center to an intellectual center, this led Cambridge to have one of the most expensive housing markets in the entire North-eastern United States. As a result, this made it hard for some people to stay. Due to the mix of the proximity to Boston and all the amenities and opportunities in the city, housing prices have remained fairly stable over time, even after the bursting of the Housing Bubble in the U.S. In addition to the housing being quite expensive (about three times the national average), the cost of living in the area is also a fair bit higher than the rest of the state and the country (about two times the national average).
There is a great and reliable public transit system in Cambridge that hits basically all of the possible points of interest in the city. While it does not operate 24 hours a day, it begins at 5:30am and runs until 12:30am on the weekdays, with a slightly different schedule on the weekends. A good road and bridge system allows travel around Cambridge to be easy, and even the taxi rides are fairly affordable (10-25 dollars) to most of the major tourist attractions.
In addition to all this, you will see many people riding their bikes as the main option for transportation as Cambridge is likely the most bicycle-friendly area in all the Greater Boston area. While the bike paths are great, most major streets have a bike lane and drivers are very aware and respectful of the riders, so getting around on two wheels is a breeze.
- Harvard University
- The Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Cambridge College
- Cambridge School of Culinary Arts
- Hult International Business School
- Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Boston
- You definitely have to check out Harvard and MIT as they are two of the most famous and renowned universities on the planet and have notable alumni that include Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, numerous presidents, dozens of Nobel Prize winners and more.
- There are several amazing museums to check out in the city as well such as the Harvard Museum of Natural History and the Harvard Arts Museum.
- Don’t miss the beautiful calm nature and ambiance you will experience while visiting the Mt. Auburn Cemetery, which is also among the most scenic locations in Cambridge.
- Checking out the Charles River should also be high on your list of things to do and if weather permits, you should definitely take a chance to get on the water and go rowing or sailing.
- Take a nice, scenic and fresh bike ride through one of the many bike paths found in the city. This is an amazing way to not only see the city, but get a nice workout in too!
- There are a number of interesting and informational tours that you can take that will show you the amazing history and innovation that has taken place in Cambridge.
- Don’t miss the Stata Center, which is truly one of the most unique pieces of architecture that you will ever see.