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Harvard Stadium

Boston, MA

Home of the Boston Breakers

3.4

N/A

Harvard Stadium (map it)
95 N Harvard St
Boston, MA 02134


Boston Breakers website

Harvard Stadium website

Year Opened: 1903

Capacity: 30,323

There are no tickets available at this time.

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Harvard Stadium is the oldest stadium in America. It opened in 1903, and is used by Harvard University's football and lacrosse teams, as well as the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse. Previously, it had served as a venue for various events such as track and field, soccer preliminary matches for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and concerts from notables such as Bob Marley and Janis Joplin. And it even served as home to the Boston Patriots for one year before they moved to Foxboro, MA.

The stadium is noted as one of the first to use reinforced concrete as part of its construction. It has achieved National Historic Landmark status and is one of the few sporting venues to gain such status. This status means little will change at the venue, except for maintenance items, and will stay essentially the same into the future.

In 2009, the Boston Breakers of the Women's Professional Soccer League (WPSL) began to use the stadium after previous incarnations in other dormant leagues played in facilities such as Boston University’s Nickerson Field. The WPSL was suspended in 2012, so the Breakers played for one year as part of Women's Premier Soccer League Elite, a league meant to keep women’s soccer in the mindset of fans. This stopgap league meant that the Breakers were better off playing in a smaller stadium, so they played at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville, MA.

When the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) began in 2013, the Breakers jumped in and returned back to historic Harvard Stadium.

3.4

What is FANFARE?

The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:

  • Food & Beverage
  • Atmosphere
  • Neighborhood
  • Fans
  • Access
  • Return on Investment
  • Extras

Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".

Food & Beverage    2

There is a single permanent food stand open under the west stands. Offerings are basic, with hot dogs ($4), chips ($2), sodas ($4), water ($4), pretzels ($4) and nachos ($6) making up the bulk of the menu.

The main stand is supplemented by temporary stands, tents and food trucks offering different options. The largest of these on duty is Wicked Chicken, which has tenders and fries for $9, with just fries ($5) also offered. A single beer vendor selling various options for $7 is next door, as well as Anna's Fried Dough selling, well...fried dough for $6.

There are food options at Harvard Stadium, but frankly they are too expensive for this level of sport. These are MLB and NFL prices. Save your money and eat before or after the game.

Atmosphere    4

There really is no bad view in the stadium. The U-shaped stadium offers good viewing angles for soccer, although the mixed field uses will leave a confusing array of line markings that can be distracting.

If you can bring any kind of cushion, please do, as all seats are concrete bleachers without seat backs. Sitting for large periods of time here will do tricks on even the most hardy of backs and rear ends. Also, going up and down the large concrete steps and bleachers will give you a good cardio workout.

The Breakers also use only the west side of the stands, so you will see many an empty seat, even when they are drawing a large crowd. But it works, as the view of the ancient stadium enhances the whole experience.

Drum group Grooversity seems to be a common visitor to the Breakers game. Their constant drumming borders on headache-inducing, but also gives a soccer game at Harvard Stadium an international "futbol" flavor.

Neighborhood    5

Harvard Stadium is located not in Cambridge, the home of most of Harvard University, but in nearby Allston, a neighborhood of Boston. It is a short walk from Allston, across the Anderson Memorial Bridge, to Cambridge and the destination spot that is Harvard Square.

In Harvard Square, you will find many restaurant options. An inexpensive but good option is Border Cafe at 32 Church Street. Their fun mix of tex-mex and cajun should not be mixed. The catfish fajitas are one of their best specialities. Kids also get a post-meal offering of a Starburst if they clean their plates.

There is a burger war going on in Harvard Square. You will be the winner, as they are all good choices. Mr. Bartley's Gourmet Burgers is the most well-known, with their 61 choices offering good value, albeit at a cash-only spot. B.good Burgers has numerous choices, offered on beef, turkey, veggie, or chicken. The newcomer is local chain Tasty Burger, which offers their inexpensive options at a counter service upstairs and at a full-service seating area, with a bar, downstairs.

Harvard Yard is also across the street from the Square. This is a must for any new visitor to the area. Here you will get the feel and flavor of one of the nation's oldest and finest institutions of higher learning.

Many a visitor to Harvard Stadium will forget about the working class areas of Allston, but there are options here, as well. Stone Hearth Pizza is almost right across from the stadium at 182 Western Avenue, and is known for good pizzas made from locally-sourced ingredients. Swissbakers at 168 Western is also close by, and offers a unique variety of baked goods.

You also cannot forget that the whole of Boston is nearby, via the "T" bus and rail system. Try and visit the North End area and try some good italian food. There are many touristy options, but try and find a smaller joint, such as Nico's at 417 Hanover Street where you can quietly enjoy a meal.

Boston and Cambridge both offer numerous lodging choices, but prices will be high. Two hotels that often have some good values are Best Western University Brookline/Brighton (which also offers free parking and a quick place to get on the Green Line of the "T") or the Courtyard Tremont Downtown (located near Chinatown, the Theater District and Boston Common).

Fans    4

The Breakers seem to do a good job with tapping into the ever growing female soccer-playing population. You will likely see numerous teams attending games together, and most of them are girls. It is pretty cool to go to a sporting event where females are the dominant attendee.

These fans are also knowledgeable about what is going on in the field of play. They are able to see plays setting up far ahead of time and cheer right at the needed time.

Access    4

Harvard Stadium is conveniently located not far off of the I-93 or Massachusetts Turnpike. Just be aware that this is Boston and traffic will be heavy at all times. There are plenty of parking spaces for Breakers games at $10 a spot.

The better option to driving is to use the "T." The Harvard stop of the Red Line is a half-mile walk away. Also, the 66 and 86 bus routes stop in front of the stadium. The Green Line, a trolley system of the "T," is located not far away in the Brighton neighborhood, off of Harvard Street.

Return on Investment    3

Tickets can be had for a decent value. They range from $15 to $25 when bought in advance, and $18 to $27 at the gate. The cheaper end of those prices are the better value, as pretty much all the views are pretty much the same.

There are also many three-game, half-season and full-season packages available. Groups also have many options to go to games together at a good price level.

With the parking not being the cheapest and food offerings way too expensive, a Breakers game is a fair value but not nearly as great of a return on investment as it could be.

Extras    2

The historic nature of this stadium makes a visit here a must for any sports fan. They really don't make places like this anymore. It may not always be comfortable, but Harvard Stadium is unlike any other.

Check out the banners called the Breakers Pillars of Excellence that hang from the nearby building. According to the team, these individuals have "...made an outstanding contribution not only to the Boston Breakers organization, but also to the sport of women's soccer." Maren Meinert, Angela Hucles and soccer legend Kristine Lilly currently hold the distinction of being these "pillars."

Final Thoughts

Soccer is still working out its popularity in the United States. Women's soccer in the U.S., although they have shown more international success than their male counterparts, is lagging far behind the men's own poor numbers. Attending a game at historic Harvard Stadium is a unique and interesting place to show support for these hard-working women.

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Local Food & Drink

Stone Hearth Pizza Co.  (map it!)

182 Western Ave

Allston, MA 02134

(617) 903-4680

http://www.stonehearthpizza.com

Swissbakers  (map it!)

168 Western Ave

Boston, MA 02134

(617) 903-3113

http://www.swissbakers.com

Local Entertainment

Harvard Square  (map it!)

Massachusetts, Bramble and JFK (intersection)

Cambridge, MA 02138

http://www.harvardsquare.com

Lodging

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