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Harvard University - Top University in Massachusetts

Exploring The Top Universities in Massachusetts as a Tourist (2024)

You’ll be overwhelmed by the number of universities in Massachusetts. But don’t worry – this article will provide you with an overview of some of the major ones so you can make informed decisions about which ones to visit if you are visiting Massachusetts. Massachusetts is a state that has a splendid history, beautiful sights, and excellent colleges and universities.

Massachusetts has plenty of amazing colleges and universities to explore for tourists. These universities in Massachusetts are recognized for their academic excellence, groundbreaking research, and exceptional faculty. Whether seeking a liberal arts education or a career-focused degree, universities offer students many options.

Exploring the Top Universities in Massachusetts as a Tourist

So, pack your bags and begin your adventurous journey in Massachusetts today! In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the top 10 colleges and universities that are worth visiting as a tourist in Massachusetts

1. Harvard University

If you’re looking for a tour of the top colleges in Massachusetts, Harvard University pops first in mind. Harvard University is one of the most prestigious universities in the world, and it’s situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was established in 1636, making it the oldest university in the United States.

Harvard has produced many Nobel laureates, U.S. presidents, and world leaders. Harvard Yard is a significant landmark at Harvard, which is the historic center of the university. Visitors can observe many landmark buildings, such as the John Harvard statue, a favorite selfie spot. Harvard also has several museums, including the Harvard Art Museums and the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

If you’re visiting Massachusetts and looking to explore some of the top colleges, Harvard University cannot skip from the mind. As America’s first university, Harvard is steeped in history and offers impressive facilities and amenities. Whether or not you take a campus tour, there’s plenty to see and do around Harvard’s sprawling grounds.

When you arrive at your destination, don’t forget to explore some of Harvard’s landmarks, such as the John Harvard Statue or the Widener Library.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT is a well-known research university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It’s famous for its vital programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). MIT has produced many Nobel laureates and successful entrepreneurs. Visitors can take a walking tour of the campus, including many notable buildings, such as the Stata Center, designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry.

The MIT Museum is also a popular visitor destination, with exhibits on robotics, artificial intelligence, and other cutting-edge technologies. It’s also known for its ability to turn out world-renowned entrepreneurs, including Dropbox founder Drew Houston and founder of EDAAY, Jeff Zients.

Attractions you mustn’t miss include the brainchild of MIT graduate and filmmaker John Underkoffler, the institute’s walkway – affectionately dubbed “The Infinite Corridor” – allows visitors to soak in views of its history-rich hallways inspired by the film Minority Report.

The MIT Museum preserves unique objects from the Institute’s archives that illustrate breakthroughs over 150 years, including robots and holograms from A.I. researchers.

3. Tufts University

The third spot on our list of notable colleges and universities in Massachusetts is Tufts University, situated in Medford and Somerville, just five miles from downtown Boston. This private research university was established in 1852 and is recognized for its unique interdisciplinary approach to education and research.

Tufts University has several well-regarded schools, including the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. The university also has a renowned veterinary school, the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Tufts University’s campus is known for its beautiful architecture and landscape.

Overall, Tufts University is an excellent choice for students pursuing an education emphasizing interdisciplinary learning and community engagement. Its commitment to social justice and sustainability make it a unique and forward-thinking institution.

The main attractions at Tufts University include Tisch Library. This library holds over a million books, hundreds of periodicals and reference materials, and two beautiful gardens. It’s also a great place to get a bite to eat or take a break from studying.

Another place to explore here is the Remis Sculpture Park. This sculpture park allows visitors to view artistic works that blend with the natural environment. Here you can explore sculptures from all over the world, including from local artists. The museum of Modern Renaissance showcases the work of contemporary artist Elena Kalman. It’s a great place to admire her work and explore other exhibitions on display.

4. Boston College

Boston College is one of the top colleges in Massachusetts, renowned for its academic excellence, diverse student body, and beautiful campus located in the picturesque Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Boston. It was founded in 1863 by the Society of Jesus and is well known for its strong hold in business, law, and humanities programs.

Boston College has a notable alumni network and has produced many successful individuals in fields such as politics, business, and sports. Visitors to the campus can take a walking tour to see many of the university’s historic buildings, including Gasson Hall and St. Mary’s Chapel. The university also has several museums, including the McMullen Museum of Art.

You can also walk around the campus and visit some of its most famous landmarks, like Gasson Hall, which features a beautiful Gothic-style tower and stunning views of the campus, as well as St. Mary’s Chapel, a beautiful church located in the heart of the campus.

5. Northeastern University

Northeastern University is a top college and university in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 1898, it is renowned for its co-op program, providing students with real-world work experience while pursuing their degrees. The campus features a mix of historic and state-of-the-art buildings, and visitors can explore and admire the architecture.

Matthews Arena, the oldest indoor ice hockey arena still in use, is a popular attraction for sports enthusiasts. Additionally, the university is conveniently located near Fenway Park, making it an ideal destination for anyone interested in sports. Overall, Northeastern University is an excellent destination for those interested in higher education, sports, or simply exploring the city of Boston.

Some of its unmissable attractions include the Sacred Space, a beautiful outdoor garden perfect for relaxing and meditating. The John D. O’Bryant African-American Institute showcases African-American history and culture with lectures, symposiums, public programs, art exhibits, and more. The Marino Center offers an aquatics center with a heated pool, a basketball court, a squash court, a dance studio, and more.

6. Williams College

Williams College, situated in the picturesque town of Williamstown, Massachusetts, offers visitors a quintessential New England college experience. Established in 1793, the college is renowned for its exceptional liberal arts programs and close-knit community of approximately 2,000 students.

The campus boasts an idyllic rural setting, featuring 46 acres of lush greenery and striking architecture that blends the old with the new. Visitors can stroll through the campus to admire the buildings’ intricate design or attend one of the many cultural events, including music performances and art exhibitions hosted by the college.

Williams College’s location in the heart of the Berkshires also provides opportunities for outdoor activities, such as hiking or skiing.

You’ll find some historic sites in Williamstown, including The Clark Art Institute, founded in 1955, which houses an impressive range of American and European paintings and sculptures; Chapin Library of rare books & manuscripts; and Field Memorial Library. You can also find a few delicious dining options near the college.

7. Amherst College

For those seeking a world-class liberal arts education, Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, is a must-visit destination. Founded in 1821, the college is committed to providing its students with an unparalleled academic experience that fosters personal growth.

The campus is just off Massachusetts’ Route 9, and visitors can explore the college’s grounds to take in the stunning architecture of its historic buildings. The Mead Art Museum, located on campus, is also a must-visit destination for art enthusiasts. The college’s location in the charming town of Amherst provides visitors with ample opportunities for dining, shopping, and exploring the town’s vibrant cultural scene.

Once there, Amherst offers some unique attractions, such as its Herter Memorial Fountain, located on the college’s main quad. The fountain was constructed in 1924 and was named after founding trustee Christian Gustavus Herter in 1957. It has since become an iconic symbol of Amherst College and a popular photo spot.

No visit would be complete without taking a glance at the Frost Library, which houses over 1 million print materials and tens of thousands of electronic resources. And if you’re visiting during the summer, see if any of their special events are taking place, like their annual Family Weekend or Summer Concert Series!

8. Wellesley College

If you’re looking for a serene and picturesque college experience, look no further than Wellesley College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. With a small and intimate campus, it’s the perfect destination for students who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Located just a few miles outside Boston, visitors can easily explore the city’s vibrant cultural scene and attractions, including the renowned Museum of Fine Arts and the historic Freedom Trail.

Wellesley College is also home to several notable landmarks, including the stunning Wellesley College Botanic Gardens and the breathtaking Lake Waban. Visitors can stroll through the campus to admire the beautiful architecture of its buildings, including the historic Tower Court and the modern Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center. With its serene campus, Wellesley College is a must-visit destination for those seeking a tranquil and enriching educational experience.

Wellesley College is close to significant landmarks like the Charles River Reservation, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, and the New England Aquarium.

9. Brandeis University

Situated in the picturesque town of Waltham, Massachusetts, just a few miles from the bustling city of Boston, Brandeis offers a unique combination of urban and suburban experiences. It has a vibrant social life, with a range of student organizations, clubs, and events, and provides students with ample opportunities for research and innovation. Its campus is stunning, with a mixture of traditional and modern buildings, including the iconic Shapiro Campus Center.

Visitors can also explore the Rose Art Museum, which boasts an impressive collection of contemporary art, or walk through the botanical gardens and campus conservation areas. It has loads of beauty and charm that come with being set in such a gorgeous location.

The campus features iconic landmarks such as Rose Art Museum, The Kniznik Gallery, and Usdan Student Center—all ideal places for visitors to explore during their trip there!

10. Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Worcester Polytechnic Institute (or WPI) is a top-tier engineering school in Worcester, Massachusetts. Established in 1865, WPI offers an array of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs in engineering, science, technology, and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The Institute boasts a strong research community and collaborates with leading companies and research institutions worldwide. Additionally, the campus is located only an hour west of Boston, providing students with easy access to the city’s cultural and professional opportunities.

WPI has many stunning landmarks where students can find a break from their studies, such as the 19th-century dorms, the Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center, and Hartwell-Rogers Hall — the oldest building on campus. You can also find plenty of amenities around campus, like restaurants and coffee shops, or take a short ride into downtown Worcester for even more options.


When you hit each campus, remember to capture the unique sights, sounds, and experiences each university brings. From its historic architecture to innovative classrooms, Massachusetts’ top 10 universities will surely provide you with an unforgettable travel experience.

The people you meet and the stories you hear will make this trip even more memorable. Learn the history, explore the campus, and discover the unique culture of each university.

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