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Life and culture: Eating at MIT

You can choose to join a conventional meal plan with access to dining halls, or cook for yourself (and often, your friends) in a community setting.

Everyone prefers to eat differently: alone or together, made or served, vegan or paleo, and so on. So, just like in our approach to housing, we give our students options about where, how, and what to eat.

Your options

  • If you choose to live in one of the five residences that have a dining hall, you must buy into a conventional meal plan and eat at any dining hall on campus.
  • If you choose to live anywhere else,01 E.g. in one of the five residences that <a href="https://studentlife.mit.edu/dining/residential-dining">don’t have a dining hall</a>, in FSILG housing, independently, etc. you may buy into a meal plan and eat at any dining hall, or you may choose to cook for yourself in large, well-appointed community kitchens, or both.

Some students come to MIT having cooked all their lives, others have never cooked before but learn how, and others decide that cooking is something they will learn to do eventually. There is no right or wrong answer overall, just a right answer for you.

Meal plans

MIT’s meal plans, which are managed by Bon Appétit, offer options for food sensitivities and special diets. During the school year, you can see daily menus here. Students who don’t use all of their meals can choose to donate them to classmates through a program called SwipeShare.

Where to shop

For students who are cooking for themselves, or who just need snacks, there are several supermarkets near the MIT campus. In nearby Central Square the Harvest Co-Op accepts TechCASH and sells organic, natural, gourmet, and conventional products with sustainable sources, while the Korean supermarket HMart carries staples of both Western and Eastern cooking. MIT also operates shuttles to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods stores, while some other students rent Zipcars to carpool to Costco for bulk shopping. Many students swap tips for grocery shopping with operational and financial efficiency.

Campus restaurants

In addition to meal plans and cook-for-yourself communities, there are several retail dining restaurants located across campus for students who need something on the go, plus at least one quasi-legitimate popup student diner.

You can learn more about eating at MIT at the MIT Dining website or in the blog posts below.

  1. E.g. in one of the five residences that don’t have a dining hall, in FSILG housing, independently, etc. back to text