Named after Washington Allston—a visionary painter and 1800 Harvard graduate—the town of Allston features vibrant, eclectic art that reflects the neighborhood's creativity and diversity. On this self-guided tour, you'll discover "can't-miss" public art installations along Western Avenue (and beyond!) and learn the stories behind them and their artists. Follow along to explore hand-painted murals, sky-high sculptures, 25-cent art prints, and more!
What You'll See:
Pictured: Hand-painted murals featured on the Walls on Western garage at Zone 3.
Pictured: The bronze sculpture, 'Quest Eternal' as seen near the entrance of Smithfield Playground in Allston.
Pictured: Art installation 'WE ALL' in The Grove, a pocket park on the corner of North Harvard St. & Western Ave.
What You'll Learn:
Stories behind the art
Pictured: Presence by Mary Frank, 1985–86, bronze. HBS Art and Artifacts Collection
What You'll Learn:
Pictured: The artist, IMAGINE (aka Sneha Shrestha), posing in front of the mural 'Saya Patri (One With a Hundred Petals)'
What You'll Learn:
Pictured: 'Interconnected' by Sophy Tuttle, painted on the facade of the old New England Deposit Library
Choose Your Own Path:
Whether you only have 30 minutes or you're on your way to/from Cambridge, we've compiled a list of recommended routes for you to take in order to get the best tour experience! Find previews below and learn more by downloading the Visit Harvard app!
Going to the Smith Field Playground? This route features stops between Zone 3 and Trader Joe's—with plenty of time to take a ride down a slide!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Visit Harvard mobile app?
Visit Harvard is a free mobile app by the Harvard Visitor Center that features a collection of self-guided tours centered around the Harvard University experience. The Visit Harvard mobile app can be downloaded by anyone with a smartphone, tablet, or desktop, to be enjoyed from wherever you might be visiting, whether it’s in-person or from the comfort of your own home.
What are Harvard Public Art Tours?
The Harvard Public Art Tours are part of a self-guided tour collection that highlights the local art that surrounds—and beautifies— the Harvard community, from hand-painted murals to sky-high sculptures. The first released tour in the collection focuses on the Allston neighborhood, specifically along the Western Avenue corridor and into the Harvard Business School campus. Not only will you be guided to view these artworks in-person, you'll also learn the history behind each piece as well as the artist who created them. The tour features guided mapping, photos, and audio tracks for convenience and accessibility.
In the near future, we will release the next tour in the collection which focuses on the public art throughout Harvard's Cambridge campus.
How long is the mobile tour?
This self-guided tour takes place across 28 mapped stops along Western Avenue, including several stops on Harvard Business School's campus. At a standard walking pace, it will take up to 1 hour to complete the 2 mile long tour.
Note that we have also included information about several shorter tour routes in the app. Some of these routes include options that will only take 30 minutes to complete. You can view this information by downloading the Visit Harvard app and selecting "Harvard Public Art Tours: Allston."
Where does the mobile tour begin?
The official tour route begins at the tour stop Evo, located at 395 Western Avenue, Allston, MA 02134. In the app, we've suggested several other routes that begin at other locations, including the Harvard Business School or Barry's Corner.
What is the terrain like for people who use mobility aids, like wheelchairs or canes?
This self-guided tour takes place on flat terrain (easy grade urban sidewalks) and is mobility-friendly, wheelchair accessible, and stroller-friendly. The self-guided tour also has additional in-app accessibility options for visitors who are visually or hearing impaired, including voiceover and image descriptions.
Can I take the mobile tour in-person or virtually?
This mobile tour is designed to be accessed in-person throughout the Western Avenue corridor in Allston. It can also be viewed from the comfort of your own home. Simply download Visit Harvard in the app store, select the Harvard Public Art Tours: Allston, and begin your journey!
Where can I download the Visit Harvard mobile app?
Who should I contact if I have further questions?
The Harvard Public Art Tours are part of a collection of self-guided tours featured on the Visit Harvard app by the Harvard Visitor Center. For more information about Visit Harvard or other tour offerings (including virtual and in person student-guided tours), please visit the Harvard Visitor Center's official website.