Kendall Square is a neighborhood in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with the "square" itself at the intersection of Main Street, Broadway, Wadsworth Street, and Third Street (immediately to the east of the secondary entrance of the Kendall/MIT subway station). It may also refer to the broad business district that is east of Portland Street, northwest of the Charles River, north of MIT and south of Binney Street. The One Kendall Square complex is actually located half a mile to the west of the traditional location of Kendall Square, between Broadway and Binney Street (on the other side of which is the Kendall Square Theatre).
Originally a salt marsh on the Charles River between Boston and Cambridge, Kendall Square has been an important transportation hub since the construction of the West Boston Bridge in 1793, which provided the first direct wagon route from Boston to Cambridge. By 1810, the Broad Canal had been dug, which would connect with a system of smaller canals in this East Cambridge seaport area.
The area became a major industrial center in the nineteenth century, and by the beginning of the twentieth century was home to distilleries, electric power plants, soap and hosiery factories, and the Kendall Boiler and Tank Company. The square was named after the company, which in turn was named after one of its owners, Edward Kendall. When the Longfellow Bridge replaced the West Boston Bridge in 1907, it included provisions for a future rapid-transit subway link to Harvard Square and Boston (now the Red Line); the original Kendall subway station was opened in 1911. MIT moved to its new Cambridge campus, then located south of Kendall Square between Main Street and Massachusetts Avenue, in 1915.
In the 1990s and 2000s, the area between Kendall and the new CambridgeSide Galleria transformed from an industrial area into a collection of office and research buildings, housing over 150 biotechnology and information technology firms as of 2011. In 1997, the industrial buildings between Third, Binney, Fifth, and Rogers Streets were declared the Blake and Knowles Steam Pump Company National Register District. The Kendall Square Association was formed by approximately 80 organizations in February, 2009.
High-tech firms are lured by the proximity of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) campus on the south side of Main Street. MIT owns some of the commercial real estate in the square,  and has been actively constructing space for new high-tech tenants as well as rebuilding its own facilities fronting Main Street. Nearby MIT facilities include the Stata Center and the MIT Sloan School of Management, as well as many other buildings of the eastern end of the MIT campus. The MIT Press Bookstore is a regional attraction, offering a complete selection of Press titles, plus a large selection of complementary works from other academic and trade publishers, including magazines and academic journals, for browsing and retail purchase.
Many high-tech firms are in two high-level office complex parks: One Kendall Square and Technology Square, both about half a mile west of the traditional location of Kendall Square. The Cambridge Center office development is closest to the Kendall Square intersection. The Cambridge Innovation Center a shared office space for startups and venture capital firms founded by Tim Rowe currently occupied by almost four hundred businesses from one person size up is also close by at One Broadway.
Restaurants in the area include The Friendly Toast, Tommy Doyle's Irish Pub & Restaurant, Cambridge Brewing Company and Legal Sea Foods, popular locations for business gatherings. A food plaza on the first floor of the Marriott Hotel, and food trucks parked in lots near the corner of Main and Vassar Streets (weekdays lunch only), sell fast food at low prices, with a variety of cuisines (Asian, Italian, Mexican, etc.) to choose from.
Several hotels are located in Kendall Square, including the Boston Marriott Cambridge, the Cambridge Residence Inn, and the Kendall Hotel. Several more hotels are located within walking distance. There have also been several large condominium developments.