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Home to two of America's most prestigious universities, Cambridge exudes a certain intellectual quirkiness. A mix of historical haunts, student hang-outs, alternative art and culture venues, vintage clothing shops, bookshops and ethnic restaurants, the city is, well, really cool. Although it is located just across the Charles River from Boston, Cambridge has a distinct vibe that is noticeable immediately. Start at Harvard Square, a hub of activity and mishmash of trendy stores, outdoor cafes and colourful local characters. Pick up a walking tour map at the visitors' information booth in the centre of the Square. The route will take you past many important landmarks including the Mount Auburn Cemetery, Tory Row and the Longfellow National Historic Site. Harvard University offers student-led tours through the illustrious buildings and monuments of its sprawling campus. Art and architecture buffs should meander around the MIT campus, which includes outdoor sculptures by masters such as Picasso and 20th-century buildings designed by modern greats such as Eero Saarinen and I.M. Pei. Along the way, browse in bookshops, stop to watch street performers and grab a coffee at an outdoor café to take in all that this captivating city has to offer.
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