Porter Square

Porter Square Cambridge

Photo by Moroccan Mary

About Porter Square

Porter Square is named for Zachariah B. Porter, owner of a local hotel in the area that later coined the term “porterhouse steak.” Porter Square is home to Lesley University. Click here to learn more about Lesley University.

Porter Square is a small shopping district offering a mix of chain and local restaurants and large chain retailers. Although it does not attract as much foot traffic as nearby Harvard Square, locals enjoy the nearby gym, supermarket, and CVS.

Art in Porter Square

Porter Square is unique because it is one of the few stations that participates in “Arts on the Line,” a program started in the 1970s to bring more art to MBTA stations. Six of the 20 pieces reside in the square, including large granite pillars and bronze “gloves” scattered along the station escalators.

Two other structures also stand out to visitors. The first is Porter Exchange, an art-deco structure which was formerly a Sears & Roebuck store. The building now belongs to a local university. The second is named “Gift of the Wind,” a 46-foot stainless steel structure that resembles a windmill.

Looking for the Porter Square Galleria? Click here.

porter squareDespite its small size, Porter still offers various eateries, especially Japanese restaurants. The square has long been a center of Japanese culture.


Porter Square is located at the intersection of Somerville and Massachusetts Avenue
between Harvard and Davis Squares.


Public Transportation & Parking

Porter Square is accessible on the MBTA’s Red Line at Porter Station, as well as several bus lines. Parking is available in several of the shopping centers, although many of the spaces are small. It is advisable to take public transportation.

Interesting Facts

  • Because the Porter Square station was made out of rock rather than clay, it is built much deeper into the ground than other stations. As a result, there are 199 steps in the station, and many long escalators.
  • Porter Square’s center of commerce used to be nearby cattle yards, which provided beef to the surrounding areas.