While the neighborhood is quite close to the constantly busy Campus of Harvard, it maintains more of a laid back vibe. The area is also known for its lush greenery and ample green space. The western part of this neighborhood is largely composed of parks, trees and other lush space, while the eastern part is largely residential buildings, homes and apartments. As you can tell, there is something for everyone in this neighborhood.
The neighborhood is also accepting of all individuals no matter your background, race, culture, or beliefs. It is a very liberal place and people there are very tolerant. As you might expect from the previous sentence, the area is also among the most multicultural neighborhoods in the Boston area. Only 57% of the neighborhood is white, 20% is black, 15% is Asian, and 7% is Hispanic/other.
To reflect this multiculturalism, the neighborhood has a large number of different types of cuisine available such as traditional American, Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, and more. Most of these restaurants (and a majority of the good shopping) reside on Massachusetts Avenue, as it is the largest and busiest street in the neighborhood.
Cambridge itself was incorporated in 1846, that is when the railroad lines stemming from Boston finally reached North Cambridge. This expansion led to the starting of the brickyard and an ice-cutting industry, which brought new residents to the neighborhood. Soon enough (with help from the various universities and startups in the area), the area became more of an intellectual hub than a blue collar working hub. Today, the area has a number of students, but also some families who enjoy the proximity to action, but with a more laid back vibe with ample outdoor areas to spend time with friends and family.
Due to the close proximity to Harvard and the nice mix of residential space and green space in the neighborhood, the average rent in North Cambridge is around $2,500 a month, which is right around the middle of the pack when it comes to rent in Cambridge as a whole. Also, you have a lot of options and variety when it comes to where you want to live as anything from multi-family homes to large apartment buildings are ready and available to be rented.
Another thing that North Cambridge is known for are its railways. As a result, the whole of North Cambridge is easily accessible via a number of different types of public transit. Whether you like to take the bus, the subway or anything else, there are stations throughout North Cambridge that can take you anywhere in Boston that you want to go.
While public transit is likely the preferred method of travel, there are others of course. While driving isn’t always advised in areas of Boston, one can drive in North Cambridge without it being too much of a problem as there is a fair amount of public parking available, though it often comes with a fee.
In addition to that, walking or riding a bicycle are fairly popular options in North Cambridge due to the large number of outdoor paths throughout the neighborhood. The scenery of the neighborhood also makes walking and bicycling everywhere when it’s nice out a little less boring and painful.
- Tufts University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Harvard University
- The Fresh Pond Mall is among the best shopping centers in all of North Cambridge and features many big box stores and restaurants alike.
- Danehy Park is a large 50-acre park in North Cambridge that is built on the site of a former landfill. Instead of the area being rendered useless, the city built a park here that lets people play sports, go for walks, see nature, go for bike rides and much more.
- The Fresh Pond is a large lake located in the area, which has a perimeter path that is perfect for taking a nice walk, jog or run. There is even a golf course nearby.
- Even if you are not a student there, visiting the Harvard campus is always worthwhile as some of the best and brightest people on the planet have attended there. The grounds are nice and just to be in a place with that much innovation and brainpower is something special.
- Lanes and Games is a one-stop-shop for all your entertainment needs. It consists of a bowling alley, numerous pool tables, great bar food, video games and more.
- Just east of the neighborhood sits The Rockwell. This is a great little spot that often houses comedy shows, plays and concerts. It seats 150 people, so it is a cozy and intimate place that also has a bar.