Across the Charles River from Boston, the 18-square-kilometre city of Cambridge is a hub of innovation fed not only by Harvard University but also by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Spend the day exploring the campus to see the world’s largest holography collection at the MIT Museum, the whimsically accordioned facets of the Frank Gehry-designed Ray and Maria Stata Center for Computer Information and Intelligence Sciences and a performance by the world’s oldest continuously operating juggling group. Here, you’ll also find a mural on the floor of the Green Center for Physics consisting of squares filled with multicoloured geometric shapes that seem to change dimension, depending on your point of view.

On Broadway, take the elevator at Cambridge Center to its secret rooftop garden to view Boston’s skyline and then stop at Broad Institute’s DNAtrium on Main Street to check out free, interactive displays detailing biomedical discoveries. Continue on to Miracle of Science Bar + Grill on Massachusetts Avenue and order off the periodic table menu. Try Rb (a burger topped with jalapenos and pepper jack cheese) or B2 (two beef skewers with apricot chutney) with a Downeast Cider, then duck into a brick alcove dubbed Graffiti Alley to admire street art that glistens under a multicoloured glass canopy.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Walk another 15 minutes down Massachusetts to reach Boston Burger Company for a rich dessert. Order from its Freak Frappe menu for a boozy milkshake masterpiece that may incorporate a candy rim, deep-fried bananas, toasted marshmallows or an entire slice of strawberry shortcake.

For yet more art appreciation, take the subway from Harvard to Davis station to visit Somerville Theatre where you’ll find strange paintings at The Museum of Bad Art.

Getting there: WestJet flies to Boston four times a day from Toronto and Halifax.

Read more from our Boston Neighbourhood Guide