Left Bank Biking in Boston
City Tour, 6 Miles
You've heard of Boston. But across the river is Cambridge and Somerville, Boston's "Left Bank." Of course that name references Paris' Left Bank or Rive Gauche which refers to the southern bank of the Seine. But more importantly the Left Bank of Paris was the Paris of artists, writers, philosophers, and more. Similarly, there is a high number of artists and writers in Cambridge and Somerville. This route will be a tour of the artistic side of the city.
- Hubway, $6 daily
- Cambridge Bicycle - $30 daily for Raleigh Classic Roadster with front basket, u-lock and helmet
- Start of ride - Kendall Square / MIT, Red Line
- End of ride - Harvard Square, Red Line
What to Bring?
Basket, pannier or backpack to carry shopping purchases; Camera; $15 for admission into the Harvard Art Museums; money for food and shopping purchases
A. MIT Visual Arts Center 20 Ames St E15, Cambridge | listart.mit.edu | (617) 253-4680
Just as MIT pushes at the frontiers of scientific inquiry, it is the mission of the List Visual Arts Center, located on the campus of MIT, to explore challenging, intellectually inquisitive, contemporary art making in all media. They are best known for annually presenting five to eight changing exhibitions. If you have time, make sure to also check out their publicly-sited sculptures by such artists as Henry Moore, Louise Nevelson, Pablo Picasso, and Alexander Calder. FREE
B. HARVARD ART MUSEUMS 32 QUINCY ST, CAMBRIDGE | WWW.HARVARDARTMUSEUMS.ORG | (617) 495-9400
The Harvard Art Museums are comprised of three separate museums—the Fogg Museum, Busch-Reisinger Museum, and Arthur M. Sackler Museum each with a different collection and history. The Harvard Art Museums' recent renovation unites their collections under one roof and the museums now feature 40 percent more gallery space. While their collection is broad and diverse- don't miss their German expressionist collection as well as their Impressionist pieces. The color in Vincent Van Gogh's Self-Portrait Dedicated to Paul Gauguin is absolutely captivating. $15 admission
C. Harvard Book Store 1256 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge | harvard.com | (617) 661-1515
I’m a fan of independent bookshops and this is a classic. They have a large selection and I often tuck myself in one of their narrow aisles browsing their fiction, comic, or fine art books. Make sure to go downstairs and check out a selection of remainders and used books. They also offer bike-delivery and have a book-making robot.
D. CAMBRIDGE ARTIST'S COOP 59A CHURCH ST, CAMBRIDGE | WWW.CAMBRIDGEARTISTSCOOP.COM | (617) 868-4434
If you can’t afford a Van Gogh head here. The Cambridge Artists Cooperative is an artist run shop featuring many local Boston area artists. You will find artwork, jewelry, pottery, scarves, hats, and more.
E. Biscuit 406 Washington St, Somerville | www.visitthebiscuit.com | (617) 666-2770
The Biscuit is a great place to relax, have coffee or tea, a scone, and read a little. They have many fresh-baked items and their sandwiches are also good. I’m a fan of the fruit squares and have spent many hours drawing and eating here.
F. Micro Museum 72 1/2 Union Square, Somerville | tinymuseum.org
You’ve seen BIG art now, but don’t underestimate tiny art. The Mµseum might be the smallest museum in the world with a 10”x16”x8” gallery complete with track lighting, wood floors. You can find it at 72½ Union Square (between the Subway and The Independent.) Blink and you’ll miss it- but don’t miss it. It won’t take you very long to see. FREE
G. Aeronaut Brewery 14 Tyler St, Somerville | aeronautbrewing.com | (617) 718-0602
Right next to Artisan's Asylum (located in the same former envelope factory) is another great place to get a drink and talk. And if beer is your thing this is the best place to go. Relax and try a flight of their in-house brewed beer while discussing your next creative project. They often have food trucks in their parking lot in case you’re hungry. Check out their calendar for specific happenings and details.
H. Museum of Bad Art 55 Davis Square, Somerville | www.museumofbadart.org | (781) 444-6757
You may have viewed Picassos and Van Goghs. But none of their paintings included aliens or Elvis or were painted on velvet. The masterpieces at the Museum of Bad Art are truly priceless. If you have any trouble understanding the art each piece is comes with a written interpretation to help you grasp many of the complexities inherent in the work. And while you’re in the building, rest your feet and watch a movie. (free with a purchase of a movie ticket)