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Harvard Book Store, Cambridge

4.4
#16 of 44 in Things to do in Cambridge
Gift & Specialty Shop Shopping
Bookworms really shouldn't miss Harvard Book Store, established in the 1930s. Long the center of intellectual activity in the area, the store isn't affiliated with the renowned university but remains a favorite of both students and professors. You'll find plenty of newly printed fiction here, as well as bargain and used books. To visit Harvard Book Store on your trip to Cambridge, use our Cambridge vacation trip planner.
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3 days in Cambridge BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Cambridge & Boston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 13 days in New England BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, teens, kids, beaches, popular PREFERENCES: August, teens, kids, beaches ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 7 days in New England BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, popular PREFERENCES: August, teens, kids, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Cambridge BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, outdoors, romantic, historic sites, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, outdoors, romantic, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 8 days in New England BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 21 days in New England BY A USER FROM UNITED ARAB EMIRATES July, kids, museums, popular PREFERENCES: July, kids, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 6 days in Cambridge & Boston BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Cambridge BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in Massachusetts BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 10 days in United States BY A USER FROM CANADA July, teens, kids, culture, beaches, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, kids, culture, beaches, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
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Where to stay in Cambridge

As the home of two renowned universities, Cambridge caters mainly to the families of current or prospective students. You can stay near the university campuses by booking your room at a student-oriented bed and breakfast or guesthouse, which offer simple, comfortable lodging for a fraction of the price charged by the big chains. If you don't mind paying more and wish to stay near the city's major cultural attractions, consider a hotel just across the Charles River from downtown Boston.
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78 reviews
Google
4.6
  • There are so few good bookstores left these days. I fondly recall the Saturday afternoons I used to spend browsing book shops and record shops - both relics of the past. I wasn't shopping for anything...  more »
  • Lovely independent bookstore in Harvard square. Very helpful and pleasant staff and a wonderful array of books. Delightful to browse and look at the books. Definitely visit them!  more »
  • Wonderful bookstore with great authors coming to speak,most recently Elizabeth Warren. Nice selection of remainder books and used books downstairs as well.  more »
Google
  • DO NOT GO HERE. I just left the store... I was so excited to be visiting Cambridge, for its academia as well as fun businesses I expect from a college town (living in one myself). I tend to go out of my way to spend a substantial amount of money at independent bookstores, especially when traveling, because I have worked at our local store and understand how much it is appreciated due to chains tend to be easier to locate, sometimes cheaper, etc. The draw of independent book stores is the knowledgeable service, the aiding of a community, and bonding with other book lovers. I experienced none of that here, which was a surprise of such a well-known, long-running store. Everyone I came in contact with was either disinterested or outright rude to both myself and my mother. I approached someone to ask about a local section and was waved in a general direction with no directions or further help and then when I returned to the information desk asking for help with a specific title was met with an eye roll and sigh. It wasn't dead but it wasn't overly busy to the point where there was a line but even if there had been-- that isn't an excuse to treat a customer that way. I wasn't attempting to bond or mentioning my working at an indie store. I simply stated I was looking for a specific title and the author's last name. They remarked that they didn't have it but could order it; I said thank you but that I was traveling and again was met with an attitude. They suggested I look downstairs in their used section and once down there I was met with no help either. I have been to Shakespeare and Company in Paris (famous as well), and even with the stereotype of the French not liking Americans or tourists in general, still got the same treatment I expect from an independent store. Huge disappointment overall. A student directed me to try The Coop and the staff there was fantastic. They didn't have the book either but were helpful and friendly. Take your business there!
  • Love love love it!!! There are so many amazing books! I spent almost an hour and a half there because I just couldn't decide what to get! P. S. There's a 'secret' part downstairs where used books are shelved. The prices are great, and I even found some of the books that I wanted to get upstairs for discounted prices!!
  • This is a really cool used bookstore. It's crammed with books inside and then has an awesome section outside as well. If anything it's good for pictures.My favorite thing in there though was the bin of vintage postcards for $3 a piece. A bunch of the ones that were written on and postmarked were really old, I saw one from 1908. Awesome.
  • A classic of the remaining bookstores in the area remains a great browsing experience and equally great for its live author reading events.
  • This is an outstanding example of the friendliness and literary ambience of our independent bookstores. Great for browsing. It's downstairs area devoted to used books and also publishers' remainders is always a source of unexpected finds.