Central Square

 Central Square
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About Central Square

Central Square serves as the traditional downtown for Cambridge, playing 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, with a strong institutional presence at either end. At the heart of the Square, 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 the YWCA on Temple Street and offices for the Cambridge Housing Authority in the historic old police station building on Western Ave. 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). Altogether, the Square features a vibrant arts and culture 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 mix of life science, technology and other professional services.

About Lower Cambridgeport

Lower Cambridgeport is made up of University Park, a 27-acre mixed use development of 2.3 million square feet of office, commercial, hotel, and residential space. In addition to University Park, Cambridgeport is home to the Sidney Research Campus, a 340,000-square-foot campus hosting smaller life sciences tenants. Click here for more information on design guidelines for University Park.

Central Square Businesses

Central Square Small Retailers and Restaurants Map (October 2019)

Central Square Resources

Central Square District Assessment Report (2018)

Central Square Commercial District Locus Map

Central Square Advisory Committee

Central Square Market Profile (2018)

Central Square Business Association

Area Map of Central Square Commercial District

Area Map of Lower Cambridgeport Commercial District

Central Square Projects & Documents

Central Square Online Customer Survey Report (2014) 

Kendall Square Central Square Planning Study (2011-2013)

Central Square Final Report 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

Charles River Bridges Reconstruction (active)

Western Ave Reconstruction (completed)

For More Information

For more economic development information and activity in Central Square and Lower Cambridgeport, please contact Pardis Saffari at psaffari@cambridgema.gov, or at 617/349-4654.

For more information on community planning activity in Central Square and Lower Cambridgeport, please contact Wendell Joseph at wjoseph@cambridgema.gov, or at 617/349-9462.