From storied institutes of higher learning, to a vibrant arts and entertainment scene, Cambridge is so much more than just any old college town. It is a quintessential American city, with deep roots and fearless innovation combining to create a living experience unlike anywhere else in the nation. If you are searching for homes for sale in Cambridge, MA, look no further. Boston Pads can help you find the perfect property.
Homes for Sale in Cambridge, MA
From storied institutes of higher learning, to a vibrant arts and entertainment scene, Cambridge is so much more than just any old college town. It is a quintessential American city, with deep roots and fearless innovation combining to create a living experience unlike anywhere else in the nation.
Cambridge, MA at a Glance
Though it only incorporated as a city in 1846, Cambridge has played a role in American history since the nation’s inception. A small farming village during the Revolutionary War, Cambridge nevertheless held no fewer than three different forts during the fighting, one of which – Fort Washington – is still here.
Modern Cambridge is a haven for some of the nation’s brightest minds. Scholars, students, engineers, historians, and literature buffs of all kinds make Cambridge their home, as do modern tech companies, authentic New England pubs and restaurants. There is plenty of residential space for anyone and everyone drawn in by the city’s charms.
Neighborhoods with Homes for Sale in Cambridge, MA
With Harvard University sitting neatly at the town’s center, residents describe neighborhoods in Cambridge, MA in terms of cardinal directions from the school – north, east, south, and west. While there is no hard and fast rule about what you will find in each neighborhood, each corner of Cambridge has its own distinctive vibe that is worth keeping in mind.
A City of Squares
Instead of the cardinal directions, some Cambridge residents describe their neighborhoods in terms of the nearest square. To be sure, it is a city packed with traffic squares, each with a unique flair. Whether or not you live near one, the squares will soon become quite familiar as you look at the homes for sale in Cambridge, MA.
Sometimes known as Area 11, Somerville brackets North Cambridge to the northeast, Arlington to the northwest, Belmont to the west, and Porter Square in the south. With approximately 10,642 residents residing in a mix of single-family homes and apartment complexes, North Cambridge is an excellent place to make your home.
Porter Square creates a dynamic neighborhood in Cambridge. Though part of the neighborhood extends to nearby Somerville, the Porter Square T Stop – housing both Red Line and commuter rail access – makes this area between Davis and Harvard Squares a nexus of shopping, commerce, and cuisine.
With Yume Wo Katare Ramen, Tampopo, and I Love Sushi – to name just a few – Porter Square is one of the best places in Greater Boston for Japanese food. The Shaking Crab sports bar’s excellent shellfish, Gustazo’s Cuban Cuisine and Music, and the excellent artisan bakery Bagelsaurus provide plenty of variety, no matter what you crave.
One of Greater Boston’s better-kept secrets, the word is getting out about East Cambridge. Easy proximity to the Orange, Green, and Red Lines, makes it easy to get around. Many denizens of this diverse, close-knit neighborhood forgo transportation altogether when heading to nearby Charlestown, Beacon Hill, or even Somerville, getting around purely on their own. With Boston’s West End just across the river, catching a game at the TD Garden – without having to pay for parking – is just one more thing in the list of perks that come with living in East Cambridge.
Home to Tech Square and the Kendall/MIT T station, the majority of Cambridge’s office space resides within Kendall Square, with titans like Google, Maven Technologies, and IBM Resilient among the ranks of employers calling the district home. From MIT professors to software engineers, many Kendall Square residents enjoy a practically nonexistent morning commute, making this one of the more attractive neighborhoods in Cambridge.
Just north of Central Square at the juncture of Inman, Cambridge, and Hampshire streets, Inman Square blends bars, restaurants, live entertainment venues, and various boutiques at the heart of its diverse neighborhood. Recent renovations added Victorian-style benches, streetlights, and bus stops to the historic district. Comedians like Jay Leno got their start in the Square, and Outpost 186 serves up some of the freshest jazz in New England on a regular basis.
The northernmost point of the Green Line at Lechmere Station, this square at the junction of First and Cambridge hosts one of the only real-deal indoor shopping malls within Cambridge and Boston proper – Cambridgeside Galleria.
While plenty of people live in this neighborhood, very few of the homes for sale in Cambridge, MA are within its borders. The majority of its residents are university students, residing in on-campus housing. Even so, there are occasionally some excellent properties available in South Cambridge. If you have your sights set on this district, we recommend working closely with a locally based real estate agent who can find you active properties, like the agents at Boston Pads. Get in before someone else swoops in and claims your dream home.
Home of the legendary “Graffiti Alley”, this certified Cultural District is packed with international cuisine, live entertainment venues, houses of worship, and classic bars and pubs. Formerly the home of the Necco factory (a site now used by Novartis International AG for research labs), Central Square is a hotbed for startups, with everything from video game studios to pharmaceutical research companies getting their start in the Square. It has been home to Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and John Forbes Nash’s “Beautiful Mind,” and countless others who fell in love with the district’s irrepressible vibes. Take a swing through the Square yourself, and you just might count yourself among them.
If you are looking for the finest, most luxurious homes for sale in Cambridge, MA, then you have come to the right place. West Cambridge is home to some truly breathtaking Colonial Revival, Victorian Queen Annes, and other majestic, historic homes, in both the Gold Crown Historical District, and hidden back among copses of trees. That said, it isn’t all palatial manors. Elegant condos, modern duplexes, and other new construction offer residents a different route to residing in one of Greater Boston’s most desirable neighborhoods.
A triangular plaza – and the surrounding neighborhood – right at the heart of Cambridge, Harvard Square lives at the junction of Brattle Street and Massachusetts Avenue. A commercial district adjacent to Harvard Yard, the Square also houses a major Red Line T stop and Cambridge Common park.
With a massive amount of sidewalk traffic, Harvard Square is frequently home to street performers. Street performers must acquire a license from the Cambridge Arts Council. World-renowned musicians such as singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman, indie rocker Mary Lou Lord, and Billboard topping, Kickstarter were all part of the Harvard Square scene. New York Times Bestselling Author Amanda Palmer was also part of the show. Therefore, if you want to be able to say you saw the next critical darling before he or she became famous – or just enjoy the raw, artistic spirit of a good street performance – then catching some buskers at the Square is likely to be worth your time.
Population of Cambridge, MA
As of the 2010 census, 105,162 souls called Cambridge, MA home, with a population density of roughly 16,469 persons and 7,406 housing units per square mile. This made it the 10th most densely populated incorporated city in the United States at the time. As of the time of this writing, an estimated 118,977 people live in Cambridge, with an estimated density of 18,503 people per square mile.
To put that in perspective, the estimated population density of Boston proper is only 13,894 people per square mile, and the suburb of Brookline clocks in at a spacious 8,750 people per square mile. A remote suburb this is not. Cambridge is a vibrant city, where people see a great deal of one another in the course of their daily lives. A high-energy city with a kinetic tangibility to its ideas, it’s no wonder that so much innovation and inspiration comes from Cambridge. The enthusiasm can prove downright infectious.
Notable People from Cambridge, MA
If one counts university students, a list of notable people who lived in Cambridge at some point in their lives could fill an entire bookshelf and not do its subject justice. With that said, here are four individuals who called Cambridge their home outside of their time as university students.
Born in 1615, Usher was the first recorded bookseller in the thirteen original colonies. Hezekiah Usher published, printed, and sold the very first books in the nascent nation. In addition to bookselling, he also was a founder of the First Church in Boston, as well as a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts.
Born in the early 19th century, Bartlett was a prodigious writer and publisher, best known for his enduring work, Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations. Frequently shortened to simply Bartlett’s, the book is the longest enduring and most widely distributed collection of quotations in the entire world. First published in 1855 and updated in 2012, it has had 18 editions. Literate by the age of three, Bartlett’s insatiable appetite for books would define his life. Though he left his beloved bookstore in 1862 to join the US Navy during the Civil War, he continued updating his quotation book. He also compiled a monolithic concordance of Shakespeare’s works, which is still considered the standard to this day.
Named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, Leslie Dewan is a prominent voice in American nuclear engineering. Born in 1984, the MIT graduate is a member of the MIT board, co-founder and CEO of Transatomic Power, and a pioneer in cleaner, lower-cost atomic energy. Her designs for generation IV molten salt reactors provide a much-needed modern update to conventional water reactors, pushing the technology forward towards a safer, cleaner, more efficient form. Selected as one of TIME magazine’s “30 People under 30 Changing the World” MIT Technology Review’s “35 Innovators Under 35” and Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” in the field of energy, Dewan is undoubtedly one of the brightest minds to come out of Cambridge. That’s saying something.
Though many associate the legendary basketball player with the New York Knicks, the Jamaican-born Ewing spent his formative years right here in Cambridge, MA. Coming to America in 1975 at the age of 12, Ewing had zero real exposure to basketball before coming to Cambridge, though he excelled at cricket and football (soccer) back in Kingston.
Attending the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, Ewing worked with Coach John Fountain and rapidly became one of the best high school basketball players in the entire country. He went on to attend Georgetown University, making basketball history at every step of the way. A member of the ‘92 “Dream Team” and one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History, Ewing’s legendary journey took him around the world. However, it all began in Cambridge.
History of Cambridge, MA
Cambridge was around for centuries before it had the name Cambridge. In December of 1630, a group of settlers found a nice patch upriver of Boston Harbor, believing it would provide safety should they be attacked. With Thomas Dudley, his daughter Anne Bradstreet, and her husband Simon among their number, settlers built the first Colonial houses in the territory by the spring of 1631.
For the first year of its existence, they called the settlement “new town”. Lacking a more formal name, a town functionary called it “Newe Town” and recorded it as such in the Massachusetts official records. , By 1638, record keepers renamed it Newtowne. The middle of 1638 saw the end of that sobriquet, however. In May of that year, residents renamed the town Cambridge in honor of the English university where many of the settlers were educated.
Much has changed since then, but the location has not. The site of the original village is the home of modern-day Harvard Square. Founded in 1636, Newe College was the original name of Harvard University. In 1638, it housed North America’s first printing press thereby contributing much to United Staes history. In 1941, in honor of John Harvard, the school was renamed Harvard University.
Growth and Revolution
Just eight miles from the colonial capitol of Boston, Cambridge was a burgeoning little agricultural village by the dawn of the Revolutionary War. Most citizens lived near the college, with a combination of farms and wealthy estates scattered along the road to the capitol. On July 3, 1775, George Washington traveled north from Virginia to Cambridge Common to meet with a group of volunteer soldiers in what many historians consider the birth of the United States Army.
After the war, Cambridge experienced explosive growth, with the West Boston Bridge connecting Cambridge to the city in 1792. This vastly cut down on travel time between the cities. Along with the Canal Bridge opening in 1809, this transportation influx led to a surge in industrial and residential development across Cambridge.
Finally, in 1846, Cambridge incorporated as a city, with the city’s downtown gradually shifting from Harvard Square to Central Square. The city’s streetcar suburban push heavily influenced development. By 1920, Cambridge was among New England’s primary industrial centers, with a population of some 120,000 residents working at a variety of factories. Cambridge factories had a distinct focus on sweets. Inventors of the Fig Newton, Necco, Charleston Chew, Sugar Daddies and Sugar Babies, and Junior Mints all worked in Cambridge’s confectionary sector.
While Junior Mints are still made here, modern Cambridge is better known for technology companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, as well as cutting-edge biotech research firms. Of course, it remains a destination for scholars from around the world.
Real Estate Data on Homes for Sale in Cambridge, MA
This city offers something for everyone, as evidenced by the wide range of homes for sale in Cambridge, MA. As of the time of this writing, you can find a palatial 7-bedroom estate in West Cambridge for $5.5 million, a gorgeous 2-bedroom condo on a tree-lined side street near Porter Square for $685,000, and plenty in between.
With a median sale price of $828,300, and median list price per square foot of $805, Cambridge is a costlier option than Boston proper when you compare Boston’s figures of $676,000 and $742 per square foot, respectively. However, residents get a unique living experience that they simply cannot replicate anywhere else. If the cost of homes for sale in Cambridge, MA is off-putting, we recommend getting in touch with a real estate agent based in the area. You might be surprised what an insider can do.
We know some insiders and they would love to work with you. So get in touch with one now.
Transportation near Homes for Sale in Cambridge, MA
With Routes 2, 16, and 28 (the McGrath Highway) leading to Cambridge, the city is plugged-in to New England’s network of highways. However, the Massachusetts Turnpike and I-93 require a quick jaunt over to Boston’s Leverett Circle to access.
Parking in the city is possible, but schedule plenty of time to find a spot. Fortunately, Cambridge has excellent public transportation access, courtesy of the MBTA, as well as the Charles River Transportation Management Agency (CRTMA), which operates shuttles for many of the city’s largest employers. Between the Red and Green Lines, the Commuter Rail, busing, and the CRTMA shuttles, many Cambridge residents eschew driving altogether, relying on public transportation for their daily commute.
Other Forms of Transportation in Cambridge
Trails, sidewalks, and bike lanes abound in Cambridge, with numerous options to get around the city by yourself. Recognized by Bicycling Magazine as one of the best cities in the United States for cycling, Boston sets an example for other cities. Seeing people out and about is a common sight in Cambridge, with the highest percentage of folks who simply walk to work and walk around the city.
Education near Homes for Sale in Cambridge, MA
Some call Cambridge the “intellectual capital of the world”. While different locals across the globe surely beg to differ, there is no denying that Cambridge is a hotbed of American ingenuity, critical thought, and intellectual drive. From Pre-K up through Harvard’s doctoral programs, Cambridge is home to some of the most qualified, passionate, and skillful educators in the nation and perhaps the world.
Higher Education in Cambridge
No conversation about education in Cambridge, MA is complete without mentioning Harvard University. Founded in 1636, Harvard is the oldest – and arguably the most prestigious – institute of higher learning in the United States, standing tall among the best colleges in the world. With the world’s largest academic library and a historic campus that covers 5,000-plus acres, Harvard University inspires generation after generation Harvard University exerts a powerful influence culturally, intellectually, and professionally on the city.
Counting eight U.S. presidents, tech giants like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, and international figures like former Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, and Harvard’s list of alumni reads like a who’s who of famous and influential people. Harvard has also produced actors and musicians such as Matt Damon, Natalie Portman, and Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave guitarist Tom Morello.
Standing next to Harvard is the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where groundbreaking research and innovation are the order of the day. Running along a mile’s worth of the Charles River, as well as numerous off-site facilities, MIT played – and continues to play – an integral role in advancing modern science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in the US and around the world. As of this writing, no fewer than 96 Nobel Laureates, 26 Turing Award-Winners, 58 National Medal of Science recipients, 73 Marshall Scholars, 50 MacArthur Scholars, 48 Rhodes Scholars, and 16 of the US Air Force’s Chief Scientists have roots in MIT.
Beyond the Big Two
There is more to higher education in Cambridge than just Harvard and MIT. It is also home to the excellent Hult International Business School – home of the Hult Prize, the largest student competition for societal good in the entire world. It routinely ranks among the top business programs in the world – including #13 worldwide in The Economist’s Masters of Management programs, #7 in Bloomberg Businessweek’s Best Custom Programs Globally, and #21 in the Financial Times’ Best Executive Education Programs Globally Combined Rankings.
In addition, there are the fine arts, counseling, expressive therapy, creative writing, and all-around practical art education of Lesley University. The century-old Longy School of Music of Bard College rounds out the educational options of this historic area. The Cambridge School of Culinary Arts adds another dimension to these hallowed grounds.
It is of little wonder that no less than 129 of the world’s 780 total (as of this writing) Nobel Prize winners have ties to Cambridge’s universities. If you are looking for America’s potent, innovative, intellectual heart, then congratulations, you have arrived.
Public and Private Schools in Cambridge
Cambridge is renowned for its educational institutions, and that extends to its primary and secondary schools. Notable schools include the Pre-K-6 Benjamin Banneker Charter Public School, boasting a coveted 9/10 overall ranking from greatschools.org, including a rare 10/10 mark in equity overview. It truly provides an excellent education to all of its students, regardless of demographic factors.
Cambridge is also home to the award winning 6-12 Community Charter School of Cambridge, the well-regarded Pre-K-5 John M. Tobin, the top-rated Cambridge Montessori Schools, the impressive academics of Pre-K-5 Cambridgeport, and the excellent co-educational independent Fayerweather Street School. No matter the age of the student, Cambridge is simply a great place to attend school.
Local Attractions near the Homes for Sale in Cambridge, MA
Sure, one of the benefits of buying a home in Cambridge is your proximity to Boston proper, but Cambridge itself has more than enough going on to last you a lifetime. The shopping, dining, historical and intellectually stimulating sights, live theater, classic pubs, and nightlife will keep you stimulated and entertained. Here are a few of our favorites.
Peruse the Bookstores at Harvard Square
Even if you are not a bibliophile yourself, there are few experiences so quintessentially Cambridge as hitting the loop of independent booksellers in Harvard Square. Children of all ages love The Curious George Store, while Raven Used Books scratches that academic and literary urge perfectly. The Grolier Poetry Book Shop is the United States’ oldest, longest-running store devoted solely to poetic works, and the Harvard Book Store boasts one of the best overall selections of any bookstore anywhere. If you desire something more eclectic, visit The Million Year Picnic for alternative and indie comics, or the pop culture icon that is Newbury Comics. Whatever your taste, if it involves print and pages, you are going to have a feast in Harvard Square.
Visit Cambridge’s Many Museums
The presence of so many excellent educational institutions influences more than just the student population. It provides some truly excellent local attractions. Harvard alone boasts more than 20 museums, more than half of which are open to the public. This includes the world-renowned Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology at Harvard University, one of the oldest such museums in the world. As if that were not enough, Harvard also digitally hosts numerous collections online, which anyone can peruse at their leisure.
Scheduled to move to Kendall Square come 2021, the MIT Museum combines collections that you might expect such as archives of technology, science, and nautical technology. In addition, there are some unexpected exhibits, such as the most comprehensive holography collection in the world, kinetic art installations, and cutting-edge works from the Center for Advanced Visual Studies.
In addition to the numerous university museums, Cambridge is also home to historic museum houses like the Longfellow House/Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site.
What is it Like to Live in Cambridge, MA?
Cambridge has always been about change. From revolutionary scholars to a legendary counter-culture scene of booksellers, activists, and punk rockers, Cantabrigians — yes, that is the proper term for a resident of Cambridge – continue to push the envelope forward. Those moving to New England for the first time should prepare for some lively seasonal weather. Cambridge experiences all four seasons to the fullest, so pack both your swim trunks and cozy sweaters alike.
Ultimately, living in Cambridge is about immersing yourself in a city that is simultaneously energetic and innovative, while also being introspective and scholarly. For those who call it home, there really is no comparison. Therefore, if any of the homes for sale in Cambridge, MA are calling to you, we would be delighted to help you make this one-of-a-kind city your new home.