You can easily extend the suggestions for the first 2 days to fill a third — for instance, your Museum of Fine Arts admission is good for another visit within 10 days, and you haven't actually completed the Freedom Trail — but you'll probably want to branch out. Today you head for Cambridge, Dorchester, or both. This itinerary may look a little skimpy, but it's packed with interesting destinations and activities.
Start: Museum of Science (Green Line to Science Park) or Kennedy Library (Red Line to JFK/UMass, then free shuttle bus).
1. Museum of Science
If you prefer science over history or want to stay close to downtown, head to the museum; if not, you're off to Dorchester to see the:
2. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum
Although they're very different, both of these museums are well worth a trip and a full morning. The Museum of Science, with its wealth of hands-on exhibits, is a great destination for families; adults and older kids who have studied American history can't get enough of the Kennedy Library. Both museums open at 9am. Both have cafeterias, but I recommend that you wait to have lunch until you reach Cambridge at midday.
3. Eat Like a College Kid
My favorite Harvard Square lunch destinations are casual places where the sightseer's uniform of jeans or shorts and sneakers fits right in. Mr. Bartley's Burger Cottage is my top choice anywhere for onion rings, not to mention great burgers. It's closed Sunday and Monday. The Border Café serves terrific Tex-Mex specialties.
4. Harvard Square & Harvard University
I consider these two entities one big stop because the school couldn't exist without the neighborhood, and vice versa. Allow some time to wander around and enjoy the gentrified-boho atmosphere. Take a tour, which begins at the university's Information Center, or head out on your own. "The Square" is also a fun shopping destination.
5. Ice Cream
Harvard Square is home to some of the best ice cream shops in this ice-cream-obsessed part of the world. JP Licks and Lizzy's are equally delicious, so check the daily specials if you can't decide. Take your treat to Harvard Yard.
6. Harvard Art Museums
Let your interests be your guide for the rest of the afternoon. As of November 2014, all three museums moved into a single, state-of-the-art facility designed by architect Renzo Piano. The Fogg, Busch-Reisinger, and Sackler Museums are equally welcoming to kids and adults. All of the university museums close at 5pm.
If the weather's fine, you may prefer to point yourself toward:
7. Mount Auburn Cemetery
A short distance from Harvard Square, Mount Auburn Cemetery is a gorgeous, fascinating destination.
When you've had enough, head back to the hotel. Stay in and order room service, or dress up for one of our Suggested Evening Itineraries.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.