A Walk of Harvard University: Secret Societies, Scandalous Traditions & Life on the Yard

Boston, MA

  • Resist the urge to rub John Harvard's shoe. Photo: Jorge Salcedo
  • A view of Harvard Square from above. Photo: Anthony John Coletti.
  • The Harvard station circa 1930s.
  • Climb the curved staircase in the Coop.
  • The Coop from the second floor.
  • Mass Hall circa 1865.
  • Harvard Commencement from the speaker's stage.
  • John Harvard is a major tourist attraction.
  • Inside the study hall in Widener Library.
  • The grand staircase in the entry of the Widener Library.
  • The Dexter Gate leading into Harvard Yard.
  • Wigglesworth Hall.
  • The Porcellian Club headquarters.
  • An 1884 invitation to the Porcellian Club.
  • Note the eyes, nose, mouth and hat of the Harvard Lampoon headquarters.
  • The Harvard Lampoon at night. Photo: jblandino.
  • The courtyard leading into the Russell House Tavern.
  • The Battle of Trafalgar at the Russell House Tavern. Photo: Beth Treffeisen.

1 hour
0.8 mi
Guided by Kevin
Kevin Lynch


As an alum of the university, I know a few things about Harvard, student life and the bustle around Harvard Square. Come on a walk of the campus and surrounding hangout spots. Along the way we'll discuss student traditions, celebrity alums, secret societies and more. Our walk will include top gems in Harvard Yard, a visit to the Coop student store, and a cocktail at one of the favorite restaurants in Harvard Square.

About Your Guide

Chicago born, Minneapolis raised, DC native. Studied political science and creative writing. Enthusiast of historical non-fiction, chocolate chip cookies, crime dramas and gin. Preferably not all at the same time, but I wouldn't say no.

Go on this Sidewalk

Guide Points

  1. Harvard Square

    At the triangle in the middle of Harvard Square, we are greeted by waves of students, hippies, goths, professors, musicians, skateboarders …

  2. Harvard Coop

    The Harvard Coop Bookstore may seem like an odd choice to visit this early into our tour, but we come for a few reasons:

  3. Massachusetts Hall

    We emerge onto Old Harvard Yard, the center of the university. We'll walk around a bit, but first, note the first building on the right.

  4. John Harvard Statue

    Whatever you do, do not touch the bronze statue of John Harvard. Sure, plenty of others are rubbing the shiny toe, but they aren't the stud…

  5. Widener Library

    Widener Library is the most popular undergraduate library on campus, whether for scholarly reasons or for more-sociable ones.

  6. Wigglesworth Hall

    Wigglesworth Hall (or "Wiggs") is the second largest freshmen dorm on campus, forming a southern barrier between Harvard Yard and the traff…

  7. Porcellian Club

    The Harvard version of a secret society is a "finals club." These include the A.D. Club, Fly Club and Spee. But Harvard's most prestigious …

  8. Lampoon Castle

    The funniest building on campus reflects the personality of its inhabitants. This is the headquarters of the Harvard Lampoon, the comedic m…

  9. Russell House Tavern

    We end our visit to Harvard at the Russell House Tavern, probably my favorite restaurant in Harvard Square.

Sidewalk Reviews

  1. 6 Reviews

    1. Anonymous

    Apr 15, 2021

    1. Anonymous

    Oct 15, 2019

    1. Anonymous

    Jul 14, 2019

    1. Anonymous

    Jun 7, 2019

    1. Elana

    Oct 5, 2018

    1. Anonymous

    I walked a lot today & this made my experience so much richer! Thanks for the history & info!

    Feb 20, 2018

About Sidewalk

Sidewalk is an app that provides free, guided walk experiences that can be created by anyone with stories to share about places they know and love.

The app navigates people through a neighborhood walk using GPS turn-by-turn directions, rich imagery and storytelling.