What was once a bustling industrial district along the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts, home to soap factories and power plants, has transformed over the last three decades into what is now known as the “most innovative square mile on the planet.” With offices for 13 of the top 20 global biopharma companies — in addition to tech power players like Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon, and Microsoft — Kendall Square is one of the world’s leading centers for biotech research and innovation, drawing big groups to the New England meetings destination.
“Kendall Square is home to a host of world-renowned biopharma and technology companies all within a compact area,” Robyn Culbertson, executive director for the Cambridge Office for Tourism, tells PCMA. “Biogen, Amgen, Genzyme, Merck Research Labs, Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi Aventis, Eli Lilly, Warp Drive Bio, and Cydan to name a few.”
Once the original location of NASA’s headquarters, Kendall Square draws major leaders in the tech space, which has also meant an influx of hotels, unique meetings spaces, restaurants, and shops. Within the development, the Boston Cambridge Marriott, offers more than 12,000 square feet of event space and nearby are the Royal Sonesta Hotel, which provides 28,000 square feet of meeting space, and the Kimpton Marlowe Hotel, with 8,700 square feet of event space.
“One of the things that makes Kendall Square great for groups is its proximity to Boston and Logan Airport, combined with easy access to public transportation,” says Culbertson. Just 5.7 miles away from the Boston Logan International Airport, Kendall Square “is literally just across the Longfellow Bridge, which recently reopened after a five-year renovation. The new bridge offers improved bike lanes and pedestrian access, public transit, as well as automobile access to and from Boston. There is also the “T’s” (Cambridge’s subway system) Redline that runs beneath the Boston Marriott Cambridge directly into Boston in less than five minutes.”
Kendall Square also is in close proximity to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — the Kendall/MIT MBTA stop is located directly in Kendall Square and connects visitors with Harvard Square, Central Square, and Boston. A shuttle service also operates between the Kendall subway stop and the CambridgeSide Mall, where delegates will find more shopping and restaurant options.
The 10-acre development also offers plenty of office and lab space, looking out on more than two acres of lush, landscaped outdoor space. Kendall Square’s courtyards are perfect for team building events or unconventional meetings. This year, the community is adding four acres of new parks, expanding its outdoor event offerings.
Unique event venues within Kendall Square include the MIT List Visual Arts Center, a contemporary art museum; the ArtScience: Culture Lab & Cafe, a cutting-edge space offering drinks and dining alongside art, science, and design exhibitions; and Le Laboratoire, an innovative arts and design center. If event planners are looking for something more outside the box, there’s the Charles Riverboat Company, offering five different boat options for up to 145 people for private and corporate events. Delegates can enjoy cocktails along the Charles River or in Boston Harbor while taking in views of Old Ironsides, the Boston skyline, and Harvard University.