Kendall Square – Cambridge, MA

Kendall Square is known for being a growing and developing community of office buildings, towering apartments, shopping centers, and restaurants that span a 10-acre area — and it’s only 15 minutes west of downtown Boston, across the Charles River Basin, with a 2.5-acre square situated at the intersection of Main Street, Broadway, Wadsworth, and Third Street. Lush landscaping and world-class design help give the area its signature look.

Restaurants & Nightlife

Tapas restaurants, cafes and healthy-eating establishments grace the streets of Kendall Square, but there's no shortage of sushi bars, pizza joints, steakhouses and ethnic cuisine. Restaurants can be found throughout the neighborhood, but many sit on or near Main Street, such as Area Four and Henrietta's Table. Area Four, a traditional American-style eatery, takes pride in not being fancy or fussy. It has been named one of Boston's 50 Best Restaurants. Patrons delight over the garlic knots, and pizza is a must if staying for lunch. Henrietta's Table offers farm-to-table cuisine in a high end atmosphere. The owners opened the doors 20 years ago and since that time, they have fed celebrities, Nobel laureates and New England farmers. The establishment is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Check out Henrietta's Table Yard Sale, which lets diners choose a two or three-course meal at a reduced price. In the warmer months, dine on the spacious outdoor patio. There's plenty of nightlife in Kendall Square. The Dance Complex puts on performances and workshops all year, or you can catch a comedy show at ImprovBoston. Some restaurants entertain later into the night. Middle East Restaurant doubles as a nightclub, and The Plough and Star lets you dine and catch a show at the same time. If you enjoy jazz music, Ryles features live jazz performances in a laid back club setting. This Cambridge favorite also offers a Latin Caribbean night every Thursday. If you want to dance the night away, try Middlesex Lounge, where the decor is minimalist, a live DJ keeps the music pumping and the cover charge costs only $5. In the summer months, Kendall Square hosts the Summer Concert Series. Enjoy lunch at one of the many restaurants and catch some local talent all in the same afternoon. These free concerts take place every Tuesday and Thursday.

History & Culture

Kendall Square was originally a salt marsh until the first wagon route was established in 1793. The area became a major industrial center in the 19th century, with distilleries, power plants, factories and Kendall Boiler and Tank Company — which gave the neighborhood its name. The Kendall subway station opened in 1911, connecting the area with Boston. The NASA control center was originally slated for Kendall Square, but the project was later moved to Houston, Texas. The MIT Museum, loaded with robots, holograms and other technological innovations, sits on the edge of Kendall Square, and the Museum of Science stands nearby, with a lightning show to amuse all ages, and a butterfly garden that makes this museum a must. The Kendall Square Association hosts events throughout the year for the general public, with film nights, free concerts and farmers markets.

Transportation

The most common ways to get around the neighborhood are by foot, bicycle or car, with buses and subways used to transport people to outside areas. The subway only has one red line, with two more upcoming in the near future. Cabs abound, with the main companies being Cambridge Checker Cab and Cambridge Taxi Co. Uber operates in the neighborhood, and ZipCar has a presence here as well. Most parking comes with a fee. One Kendall Square Garage offers 24-hour parking services. Half an hour typically costs $6.00, but many local businesses validate for a partial discount.

Cost

The cost of living sits high in this area, due to the amount of people working and studying in Kendall Square. Many students live together to cut down on the cost, as a one-bedroom apartment can run close to $2,000 per month. The average cost of riding the subway is $2.65 and the bus runs $2.10. A Charlie Card provides a modest discount. Monthly and yearly bus and subway passes also help cut costs. If you're driving, keep in mind that gas in the Kendall Square area can be 1% higher than in Boston.

Shopping

A free shuttle takes residents from Kendall Square to the CambridgeSide Galleria Mall, the closest major shopping center. The mall includes a Macy’s, a number of small retail shops, and restaurants such as the Cheesecake Factory. A few high-end retailers in Kendall Square sell books, men’s and women’s clothing and even costumes. If you're looking for value, the Garment District sells upscale vintage and consignment items. If you believe that someone else’s junk may be your treasure, then make it a point to stop at MIT Flea Market. Several supermarkets dot Kendall Square, from the family-owned Stop and Compare Supermarket to Commonwealth Restaurant and Market, were you can get a hot pastrami sandwich with duck fat fries. Locals say this particular market adds a farm-like feel to Kendall Square. And speaking of farms, Kendall Square hosts a summer farmers market, which runs from June through October. Not only can you purchase fresh produce, but also dairy products, meats, fish and plants — and don’t forget to pick up some fresh-baked bread, specialty sauces and sweet treats.

Parks

Greene Rose Heritage Park is centrally located at Kendall Square on Broadway. They have fountains, lots of flowers and vegetation. Play some tennis on the courts or enjoy the view from benches sitting in the grassy areas. Kids enjoy the jungle gym and swings. Sundays seem to be the busiest days at the park, but weekdays quiet down. Kendall Square does not have any actual dog parks but most parks allow dogs on a leash. In the winter, Kendall Square opens its ice skating rink to the community free of charge, and every year they host a "Holiday on Ice" celebration. Movies for the entire family play in the park during summer months. Locals love to kayak, and equipment can be rented at Charles River Canoe & Kayak. Take a tour to get amazing views of the skyline, and hire on of their guides to point out various landmarks along the way.
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