Free Your Mind and Wallet in Harvard Square

Posted September 2, 2009 by Kate Hamman

MA-Cambridge-HrvdBkstre-DEF Average joes rub shoulders with the educated elite in this smart little square in Cambridge. And as Harvard students return to their Ivy-League classes, the rest of us can take advantage of the cheap eats, classic flicks, and intellectual side of the Square without having to attend a lecture. Plus, if you spend a little time around these academic types, you may even learn a thing or two for free.

The Brattle Theatre: After entertaining audiences for more than 100 years with live and filmed performances, this historical theater exhibits a certain amount of discriminating taste. And since most of the big blockbusters are playing at movie houses elsewhere, the Brattle is open to highlight some of the brainier flicks of the past and present. You may be able to catch a classic, independent, horror, animated, or foreign film, simply depending on what mood the Brattle's in during a given week. Tickets cost $9.50, but are worth every nickel and dime to see some of history's greatest films once again on the big screen.

Grendel's Den: Grad students call this underground bar, named after the monster in the epic poem Beowulf, home. Happy-hour specials make this hangout even more attractive. If you order one $3 drink between 5:00 and 7:30 any night and from 9:00 to 11:30 Sunday through Thursday, you can have anything off the menu—from simple soups to a $25 cheese fondue for two—for half its original price. This deal feeds even the most ravenous of monsters, with little damage to the pocketbook.

Harvard Book Store: There are few places in this world where you can spend an entire day without realizing you've missed lunch and possibly dinner. This little bookshop across from Harvard Yard is just the type of place where time stands still. With a basement housing thousands of used and remainder books selling for a fraction of their original price, it's difficult not to get lost in the stacks. The upstairs sells new hardcovers and paperbacks ranging from classics to cookbooks, making it easy to find something to fit your reading fancy.

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(Photo: Harvard Book Store)

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