Cambridge Ranks as America’s Most Charming College Town

No surprises there.


Photo by Olga Khvan

With its ivy-clad brick buildings and ubiquitous bike-with-basket combos, Cambridge is—without a doubt—very charming. So charming, in fact, that it’s been ranked the most charming college town in America.

A report by apartment-finding platform RentLingo came to that conclusion using a self-created data-mapping tool called the Charm Index. By looking at variables like the quality of local businesses, crime statistics, the availability of parks and walking trails, and the amount of “charming shops,” which include book stores, antique stores, coffee shops, restaurants, art displays, and boutiques, the Charm Index generates “charm scores” for every street within a town. These charm scores are then viewed on a heat map.


Heatmap provided by RentLingo

After analyzing dozens of college town heat maps, Cambridge (represented by Harvard University) turned out to be the hottest—it received an overall charm score of 99.10 out of 100.

According to the Charm Index, the town’s most charming street is John F. Kennedy Street. The report looks to be suggesting that Harvard Square is more charming than other parts of Cambridge, though there is a bit of darker coloring around areas of MIT.

The victory here, though, is that Cambridge beat out the likes of Berkeley, California, Burlington, Vermont, and Boulder, Colorado. So congrats, Cambridge, on your seemingly Harvard-centered charm.