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While often overshadowed by Boston – a city that is widely regarded as the epicenter of history and culture in Massachusetts – Cambridge has a charming character of its own that is well worth taking the time to explore.
Located on the opposite side of the tree-lined shores of the Charles River, Cambridge is home to two of the world’s best universities, Harvard and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), as well as a wealth of diverse and interesting museums, historic buildings dating back to the 17th century, leafy parks, and hotels that are much more affordable than those in its neighboring city.
Photo by Nathan Rupert via Flickr
What makes Cambridge unique is that – as a result of the continuous arrival of worldly scholars – the city’s 100,000 residents represent almost every nationality in the world. Cantabrigians value individuality and the preservation of culture, which is why you’re more likely to find small boutique shops and vintage stores, family-run restaurants, and traditional pubs, rather than chain establishments.
Photo by Myles Tan via Flickr
The best way to get around the city is on foot (Cambridge is both compact and flat), or by hiring a bicycle for just $6 per day. It’s also possible to jump on the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) red line at Harvard and be in downtown Boston in just 15 minutes.
There are a selection of quality accommodation options in Cambridge that don’t come with the Boston price tag but that are perfectly located for exploring both cities.
Located in Harvard Square, Hotel Veritas is a short walk from the university and its museums of art and natural history. With just 31 elegantly decorated, comfortable rooms, this independent boutique hotel has a cosy, welcoming ambience, and is one of TripAdvisor’s top-rated hotels in Cambridge. Guests praise the hotel’s decor and cleanliness, as well as its professional and courteous staff.
The Charles Hotel
An AA Four Diamond award-winning hotel, The Charles Hotel features a classic New England design, and a large in-house library. As the name suggests, it’s located close to the Charles River, and also less than a 5-minute walk from Harvard University.
Photo by Paul Geffen via Flickr
The hotel is home to two restaurants and its very own jazz club, as well as having an on-site spa and salon. Guests can also enjoy complimentary admission to the Wellbridge Athletic Club, adjacent to the hotel.
The Kendall Hotel
Originally a 19th century Engine 7 Firehouse, The Kendall Hotel has been renovated to include modern conveniences whilst at the same time tastefully preserving the building’s authenticity. It’s located just minutes from Cambridge’s MIT in the forward-thinking Kendall Square neighbourhood, and is also just minutes from Longfellow Bridge, which leads straight into downtown Boston.
Royal Sonesta Boston
Located in East Cambridge right on the banks of the Charles River, and offering stunning views of the Boston skyline, the Royal Sonesta Boston has 400 well-appointed guest rooms, two highly acclaimed restaurants, and a 24-hour fitness center. There’s even an atrium-style pool overlooking the Charles river, for that extra bit of luxury.
Photo by Joey Lax-Salinas via Flickr
With just 14 guest rooms, Harding House feels more like a bed and breakfast than a hotel, and is praised for its welcoming atmosphere and impeccable hospitality.
You can reach Harvard University in under 15 minutes on foot, or it’s just a 7 minute walk to the ‘T’, from where you can reach downtown Boston in just three stops.
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