Central Square

Central Square Mass Ave at Night
Photo Gallery

About Central Square

Central Square serves as the traditional downtown for Cambridge; at the same time, it plays many roles as a vibrant, mixed-use district. It is central in many ways—it is the seat of City government, it is mid-way between Harvard to the west and MIT to the east, and it is surrounded by four dense, livable neighborhoods.

The character of Central Square changes along the length of Massachusetts Avenue, beginning with a strong institutional presence at the western end. Here, City Hall and the Lombardi Building form the center of Cambridge city government, with the City’s Senior Center across the street, adjacent to the YMCA. Nearby are also the YWCA on Temple Street and offices for the Cambridge Housing Authority near Prospect Street. Continuing eastward, in the block between Prospect and Pearl Street, Central Square Station is one of the busiest on the Red Line, complemented by bus stops for the many lines that link the Square to the broader region.

There are several mixed-use blocks between the Station and Lafayette Square at the intersection of Mass Ave and Main Street (also known as Jill Brown Rhone Park). All together, the Square features a vibrant atmosphere created by its numerous ethnic restaurants, interesting shops, small offices, and diverse nightlife. In the daytime, there is a strong business presence in buildings throughout the length of the Square, with a focus at an historic office tower and a more modern high-rise near the Station.

Central Square Resources

Central Square Commercial District Locus Map

Central Square Advisory Committee

Central Square Market Profile  (2013)

Central Square Business Association

Area Map of Central Square Commercial District 

Central Square Projects & Documents

Kendall Square Central Square Planning Study (2011-2013) 

Central Square Bike Ban Area (2012)

Central Square Red Ribbon Report  (2011)

Central Square Customer Intercept Survey Report (2009)

Central Square Improvements Project Master Plan (1995)

Draft Central Square Development Guidelines (1989)

Central Square Action Plan (1987)

Infrastructure Updates

Western Ave Reconstruction (active) 

Charles River Bridges Reconstruction (active)

For More Information

For more economic development information and activity on Central Square, please contact Chris Basler, cbasler@cambridgema.gov, 617/349-4601.

For more information on community planning activity in Central Square, please contact Elaine Thorne at ethorne@cambridgema.gov, at 617/349-4648.