Harvard Campus Tour

December 1, 2022
By AdmissionSight

Harvard Campus Tour

Harvard University is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Boston and even on the entire East Coast. Every visitor has seen at least a portion of the Harvard campus before, either in movies, pictures, or other locations that have been inspired by Harvard’s architectural style. This makes the Harvard campus tour an unforgettable experience for every guest. Discovering all that Harvard University offers can be an exciting adventure for anyone, whether they have just started their first year at the university or are just passing through on a campus tour.

Is the Harvard campus open to the public?

Is access to the Harvard campus granted to the general public? The University has resumed allowing visitors onto campus as the situation regarding the public hearing in the surrounding area continues to improve. Beginning on May 2, 2022, the buildings were made available for public use.


A Harvard campus tour requires prior registration, to sign up, please select a date that is available from the calendar provided on the school website and then fill out the form. After your registration has been processed, they will get in touch with you to provide you with useful information to help you plan your visit as well as some reminders.

View of a female student studying in her room.

If you arrive on campus without first registering, a member of the visitor team will assist you in determining the best options available to you. This may include providing information about a self-guided tour and assisting you in registering for an open tour at a date and time of your choosing.

COVID-19 Precautions

A negative COVID test is not required to participate in campus information sessions and tours; however, all visitors and their guests must agree that neither they nor any member of their family will attend an event if any of the following conditions are met: they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days; they have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 10 days, or they have experienced, symptoms of COVID-19 within the 48 hours before the event.

Group Visits/Tours

The number of people allowed to each visiting party is limited to five. You can make arrangements to visit Harvard University by contacting the Harvard University Visitor Center if your group is six people or more.

Does Harvard have a virtual tour?

Is there a way to virtually explore Harvard? It is not a problem at all if you are unable to travel to Cambridge to check out Harvard University. The Virtual Tour of Harvard University will take you all over the campus, including residential halls, classrooms, and other buildings.

Virtual Tour

Discover Harvard without leaving your house. Make use of their virtual to explore areas of the Harvard campus, such as classrooms, laboratories, residential halls, and more, that are not even accessible during an in-person tour of the Harvard campus. Even better than the in-person Harvard campus tour, it is accessible at all times, seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, and it never reaches capacity.

Online Information Session

After you’ve had a chance to virtually explore the school’s grounds, the next step is to sign up for an online information session. During these sessions which last an hour, an admissions officer and a student will discuss various aspects of the Harvard University experience and answer any questions that are submitted via the online chat.

Important details regarding your upcoming visit

  • Requests for Special Accommodations can be made using the designated area on the registration form that is provided for this purpose. Take into consideration that they require a notice period of 21 days in advance to secure ASL interpreters. At this time, they are unable to provide interpreters for any other languages.
  • Due to COVID restrictions, the majority of the buildings are closed to the public, and those who wish to use a wheelchair are required to leave a valid driver’s license or state identification card with the staff at the Visitor Center until the chair is returned. Before and after the information session, you can use the restrooms that are located in the Elizabeth Cary Agassiz House, and after the tour, you will use the restrooms that are located in the Smith Campus Center.
  • At this time, it is not possible to store luggage or any other personal property during your visit.
  • The fact that you registered and attended the event does not have any bearing on the admissions process if you decide to apply.

How long is the Harvard campus tour?

How much time do you need to spend on the Harvard campus tour? Every tour lasts between forty-five and sixty minutes. Both in-person and online tours require participants to register in advance to participate. Every Friday, registration for the weekly tour is open. The Visit Harvard mobile app is available for download on mobile devices running either iOS or Android.

What can you see at Harvard?

What kinds of things are there to see at Harvard? The campus of Harvard University features a wide variety of historic and contemporary structures, each of which features stunning architecture and numerous photo-worthy locations. If you are not currently enrolled at Harvard, your best bet is to tour the campus either with a current student or during one of the university’s Open House events.

But regardless of whether you have a Harvard ID or not, if you visit Harvard University, you will find that the university has a lot to offer you.

Harvard Square

Visitors number more than eight million each year in Harvard Square. It is not only a popular destination for college students looking to take a break from their studies, but it is also a cultural melting pot that provides guests with an appetizing sample of a variety of different things from around the world.

Harvard Square at night

When the weather is nice, you should go and sit outside in a beer garden or on the street. The rooftop bar at Daedelus is open all year round thanks to its heating system, which allows it to be used during the winter months as well.

Harvard Hall

Harvard Hall is among the nicest things to anticipate while on a Harvard campus tour. The first version of Harvard Hall was constructed in 1672 but was subsequently destroyed in 1680. In 1764, the second Harvard Hall was destroyed by fire. Brick, granite, and brownstone were used in the construction of the current Harvard Hall between the years 1764 and 1776.

This building in the High Georgian style is one of the oldest structures on the Harvard University campus that is still standing.

The architect of the structure was Sir Francis Bernard, who was also the governor of the colony at the time. The master builder was Thomas Dawes, who was also responsible for the construction of Hollis Hall. Both John Hancock and Thomas Hollis made contributions to the reconstruction effort, which made it possible for the university to construct a library that was significantly larger than it had been in the past.

Massachusetts Hall

The oldest building that is still standing on the Harvard University campus is called Massachusetts Hall. It was constructed as a dormitory between the years 1718 and 1720 when the United States of America was still a British colony.

Massachusetts Hall at Harvard

It is the academic building with the second-longest history in the United States. It has an Early Georgian design, and its walls are a simple red brick with white accents, which is characteristic of that period.

This dormitory was built to accommodate a total of 64 students, who will be housed in 32 private rooms and 64 individual study nooks. During the siege of Boston, which lasted from 1775 to 1776, more than 640 American soldiers made their homes in the hall.

University Hall and Statue of John Harvard

The University Hall is a very impressive structure. The neoclassical style features a design that is grand in scale, imposing in appearance, and symmetrical. In contrast to the red brick that was used in the construction of Massachusetts Hall and Harvard Hall, this structure is made of white granite. The structure has earned the status of a National Historical Landmark thanks to its significance.

In 1924, the bronze statue of John Harvard that was designed by Daniel Chester French and originally located on the eastern facade of University Hall was relocated to its current location on the western facade of University Hall.

During a Harvard campus tour, visitors may occasionally hear from tour guides that it is fortunate to rub the statue’s toe; the toe is currently shining. In reality, nobody follows this particular custom. On the other hand, when graduating seniors approach the statue on the way to their commencement, it is customary for them to take off their caps and present them to the statue.

Widener Library

The history of the Widener Library is both fascinating and motivational. 1907 was the year that Harry Elkins Widener received his degree from Harvard College. His life was cut tragically short in the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. The library has over 50 miles of shelves and more than three million titles, even though the deceased was only 27 years old when he passed away.

In addition to that, it has several unique Gutenberg Bibles. The other mega libraries around the world are all public libraries, but this one is an academic library. The students are allowed to look through any book they like. Reading rooms are frequently used as meeting places for classes.

The impressive Widener Library was designed and constructed as a living memorial to Harry Elkins Widener, and the library continues to honor Harry Elkins Widener’s passion for education, reading, and books.

Harvard Yard

You should not miss Harvard Yard during a Harvard campus tour. Harvard Yard serves as the institutional and cultural heart of the university. This is the oldest part of the campus, and it was once used as a pasture for cows. This grassy area that spans 22 acres is enclosed by fencing and features 27 entry gates.

Over the course of several centuries and with the construction of numerous new buildings, the appearance of Harvard Yard has evolved. In 1813, Charles Bulfinch made the first significant improvement to the yard by positioning University Hall on the yard’s perimeter and thereby creating a space that faces inward and is cohesive throughout.

Harvard Yard

Today, the most important buildings on campus can be found surrounding Harvard Yard. These include Widener Library, Memorial Church, Sever Hall, University Hall, and Harvard Hall. In 1987, The Yard was given a spot on the National Register of Historic Places thanks to its historic significance.

Memorial Church of Harvard University

The Harvard University Memorial Church was consecrated on Armistice Day in 1932 when it was first opened to the public. Gift from Harvard alums who felt compelled to show their respect for those who lost their lives in World War 1 Additionally, it met a critical requirement for students who were looking for a suitable place to worship.

Before the construction of Memorial Church, the university was home to a chapel that was inadequate for either the weekly prayers or the weekly services held on Sundays.

The church was designed by Coolidge, Shepley, Bulfinch, and Abbott, who were all university architects. The impressive Widener Library inspired the construction of this building. The moving sculpture known as The Sacrifice features 373 alumni’s names engraved next to it as a memorial to those who passed away while serving their country in World War I.

Sever Hall

During your Harvard campus tour, you should be sure not to skip Sever Hall. Sever Hall was made possible by a donation made by Ann Sever in memory of her late husband, James Warren Sever, which funded the project. This multi-purpose academic building is made of red brick and contains a variety of spaces, including offices and classrooms.

Henry Hobson Richardson, an architect and Harvard graduate, was the one responsible for designing the structure. It is now considered his masterpiece, and the United States National Park Service has designated it a National Historical Landmark.

An interesting acoustical effect is produced by the entrance archway. On the other side of the archway, approximately 12 feet away, one can hear a whisper that is directed toward the bricks in the archway.

Fogg Museum

Three separate museums make up the Harvard Art Museum. The Fogg is the oldest and most popular of the three, and it features an extensive collection of paintings and sculptures that you really ought to check out.

Wonderful works of Western decorative art from the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as paintings, photographs, prints, and sculptures, can be found in this museum. Additionally, there are drawings from the Middle Ages on display here. You will be able to admire paintings and drawings from the Early Renaissance of France and the United States, as well as the Early Renaissance of Britain and Italy.

The Grenville L. Winthrop collection is an invaluable resource for the university’s various research and educational initiatives. This remarkable collection features drawings, paintings, and sculptures created by well-known artists such as Blake, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, Sargent, and Rodin, amongst a great number of others.

Memorial Hall/Sanders Theatre

Memorial Hall is one of the older buildings on campus, so it should be on your list of places to visit during your Harvard campus tour. Alumni of Harvard University who wanted to create a memorial on campus to honor Harvard men who fought and died for the Union during the Civil War provided the funding for Memorial Hall. Alumni William Robert Ware and Henry Van Brunt were responsible for the design of the structure.

Annenberg Hall, which was formerly known as Alumni Hall, is one of the three sections that make up this building. The other two are the Memorial Transept and Sanders Theatre.

Sanders Theatre at Harvard

The vast open area known as Annenberg Hall has, for the most part, been utilized as a dining hall. Students can find motivation within its walls, which are adorned with photographs and sculptures of notable former students and faculty members.

The Memorial Transept can be considered the building’s focal point. Marble covers the floor, and the ceiling is a soaring gothic vault that is sixty feet high. It has walls that are stenciled and paneled with black walnut, and large stained-glass windows adorn the space that is located above each exterior door.

The Sheldonian Theatre, designed by Christopher Wren, served as the inspiration for Sander’s Theatre. In the year 1875, this section of Memorial Hall was brought to completion. This theater has played host to notable figures such as Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Martin Luther King Jr.

Harvard Science Center

The establishment of the Harvard Science Center was made possible by a donation of funds made by Edwin Land, the man who invented the Polaroid camera. To make room for the upcoming construction of the new building, part of Cambridge Street was converted into an underpass. The modification made it possible for pedestrians to walk from Harvard Yard directly to the new building without any difficulty.

The contemporary steel, concrete, and glass structure that comprises the Science Center were designed by the architectural firm of Sert, Jackson, and Associates.

Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology

It is highly recommended that you pay a visit to the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology during your Harvard campus tour. It is the world’s oldest museum of anthropology and holds the largest collection of North American archaeology and ethnology. It first opened its doors in 1866 on the Harvard campus on Divinity Avenue and is now known as the Peabody Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology.

You will find artifacts from North America in this museum, including the largest collection of items from the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804. You will be able to view the most extensive documentation and artifacts ever collected relating to the Maya, Mesoamerican, and Aztec civilizations in the Central American exhibition.

The South American Collection has more than 5,000 ancient textiles from Peru in its holdings. In addition to that, there is a unique collection of items from the islands of Hawaii, Fiji, and Tonga.

Harvard Museum of Natural History

You can find the Harvard Museum of Natural History on the grounds of the University Campus, and it is highly recommended that you pay a visit to this Museum during a Harvard campus tour, which comprises three separate sections.

The Harvard University Herbaria was established in 1842 and serves as the first section. It contains more than five million different examples of plant and animal life. In addition to that, there is a magnificent collection called the Ware Collection that contains glass models of plants; the glass flowers in particular are breathtaking.

The Museum of Comparative Zoology can be found in the second section of the museum. This museum is focused on the evolutionary history of animals and houses a historically significant fossil collection.

The Mineralogical Museum in the third section of the museum houses an incredible collection of minerals, rocks, ores, gemstones, and meteorites, and is widely considered to be the highlight of the institution.

Harvard Law School

The Harvard Law School is the oldest law school in the United States that is still in operation, having opened its doors in 1817. There are a total of 19 buildings that make up Harvard Law School.

Austin Hall, which was finished in 1883, is the oldest building on the Harvard Law School campus. Henry Richardson, who was also responsible for designing Server Hall, was the architect who came up with the design for it. Originally, the entire law school was located within its walls.

One of the buildings that are most easily recognizable is Langdell Hall. The construction of the northern and western wings was finished in 1929, while the southern wing was finished in 1907. The Harvard Law School library is widely regarded as the most important academic law library in the world, and it is located in Langdell Hall.

Harvard Law School

Newer buildings on campus include Griswold Hall, which was constructed in 1967, Pound Hall, which was constructed in 1968, and Hauser Hall, which was constructed in 1995. The complex consisting of Wasserstein Hall, the Caspersen Student Center, and the Clinical Wing first opened its doors in 2012.

Cambridge Common

The Cambridge Common is a park that spans 16 acres and is located adjacent to Harvard University. It is among the best places to visit during your Harvard campus tour. When it was first established in 1630, it served the purpose of a grazing pasture. After some time, it was put to use as a military training ground.

The Cambridge Common is home to three bronze canons that are available for viewing. In addition, memorial plaques have been placed here for Tadeusz Kosciuszko and Henry Knox. In the top left-hand corner is where you’ll find the John Bridge Monument. At long last, a memorial to the Irish famine has been erected.

The Harvard campus tour may be one of the things that pique your interest in attending the university. One of the eight elite colleges that make up the Ivy League, Harvard is often regarded as one of the best universities in the world. Getting into Harvard would be a difficult process, but AdmissionSight will help you every step of the way.

At AdmissionSight, we have over ten years of experience guiding students through the competitive admissions process to get accepted to the world’s top universities. Schedule an initial consultation to go over your application in greater detail.


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