Emerging in recent decades as a hotbed of innovation and academia, East Cambridge flourished into a place for intellectual young people and trendy residents. Sharing a strong identity with the bustling Kendall Square and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), it’s quickly being recognized as a perfect place to work, play and live with close proximity to Boston. There’s pretty views of the Charles River from sleek apartment high rises, tons of new taverns to explore and a overall feeling of renewal to embrace in this fun neighborhood.
East Cambridge has some deep history dating back to revolutionary times when it was only a marsh known as Lechmere Point. By the mid-1800s, the Fitchburg Railroad and Grand Junction Railroad opened up possibilities for commercial and residential dwellings in the area. Town lines were created between Cambridge and Somerville while further construction and landfill continued throughout the 1920s. Although primarily commercial space until the 1990s, the neighborhood has undergone a redesign and gentrification as housing costs rose in nearby districts. Currently, there is a giant ongoing project of a dozen apartment towers being built in East Cambridge along with other plans for repaired public transportation.
With new and old construction changing the landscape of East Cambridge on the regular, it’s worth noting some of the interesting structures scattered throughout the neighborhood. For instance, the MIT campus has the Stata Center, created in 2004 by Frank Gehry. Its strange angles and jutted spires make for an odd façade, which houses classes and research facilities.
On the Charles River, many MIT students, locals and travelers will partake in water sports when the weather is pleasant. One of the most popular activities is boating, particularly sailing and kayaking. There’s plenty available for renting to explore the city and enjoy scenic views from the water.
Alter exploring, have a bit to eat or a tall pint at one of the area’s fun and trendy hotspots. Most are new and draw big crowds, including the sushi joint Fuji found in Kendall and the Cambridge Brewing Company. Quick, hearty sandwiches can be found at the Squeaky Beaker near the MIT campus, and The Helmand has some wonderful Afghani cuisine. Shoppers will find haven at the Twin City Plaza as well on the western border for brand name shops and specialty stores. Closer to the river is the Cambridgeside Galleria with department stories, a movie theater and dining options.
East Cambridge lacks large event spaces, but still holds a few regular events for its residents and visitors to enjoy year-round. It’s worth checking the calendar at the Multicultural Arts Center for their roster of shows, concerts and gallery showings. On the Charles, there are annual canoe and kayak races that take place from Dedham to Brighton in April. Although the Museum of Science lies between the borders of West Boston and East Cambridge, this venue also hosts annual galas and events open to the public.