The Ultimate List of Fun Things to do in Boston With Kids

Posted on: July 10th, 2019 by

Our family just had a wonderful time on a family vacation to Boston. Like many of our trips they go way too fast, we didn’t do all the things to do in Boston with kids that we could have BUT we still had a wonderful time. We’re so thankful to our host, the Royal Sonesta Boston for inviting us to stay and providing us with some meals and accommodations AND to Chevy for loaning us a great set of wheels, a 2019 Chevy Traverse to get there. 

 

Getting to Boston can be quite the drive. It tooks us about 6-7 hours but with a comfortable spacious vehicle with wifi for the kids and pretty roads to get there, we didn’t mind at all. It didn’t hurt that we had so much to look forward to once we arrived in Boston.

 

Pretty roads on way to Boston

Pretty roads on way to Boston

 

Boston surprised us!

 

For as big of a city as Boston is, it certainly didn’t feel like it. We’ve been to New York City and Philadelphia multiple times, big cities too. But the city of Boston is different. It was almost as if it moved at a slower, quieter pace. We didn’t expect that, but the surprise was definitely appreciated.

 

DAD was in charge!

Eating ice cream at Toscanini's in Boston

Eat ice cream at Toscanini’s in Boston

 

Unlike most of our press trips where we have a set schedule of where we have to be and when, this time I left it up to my husband to decide where we’re going. It was after all Father’s Day and Boston had been on his bucket list.

Boston is beautiful!

 

building in Boston with beautiful architecture

 

We couldn’t help but walk around and be stunned by its beauty. The architecture of the buildings, the availability of historic buildings offering tours, the magnificence of the Boston Public Garden left us wanting to explore more and more. We walked about 20,000 steps in our fullest day of exploring Boston. Yet, I wish we could have explored more.

 

Boy asleep on leather seats in 2019 Chevy Traverse

Those Chevy Traverse leather seats sure made a great place for my son to nap on the way back to New Jersey .

 

Like I mentioned we didn’t get to explore all the things to do in Boston with kids so we’ve had some help with this guide to a Boston family vacation. You’ll read details about the Boston family attractions we’ve visited, the ones Melanie has blogged about, and the suggestions we’ve received from travel bloggers and parents like you.

 

Which ones did we miss? Let us know which Boston family attractions you’d recommend and we’ll add it to our list!

 

family selfie at Boston Public Garden in Boston

 

Free Things to do in Boston with Kids

Take a walk along a trail or make your own!

Love architecture? Boston has plenty of beautiful architecture and historic buildings to admire and so many ways to see it. Take advantage of one of the many established walking trails or create your own using Google or other sites. Take a look at this Facebook post to get some ideas of where we walked around Boston with kids.

 

Boston architecture

 

Stroll in the Boston Public Gardens

One of the more beautiful sites my husband lead us to in Boston … The Public Gardens are open daily and are magnificent. It is a great place to take the kids for a fun outing in Boston. Officially titled as The Public Garden, it was actually the first public botanical garden in the country. The Public Garden is located next to Boston Common so together they make up the northern part of the “Emerald Necklace” which is an overall name given to the famous string of 9 parks (with over 1100 acres) that are a prominent part of the Boston landscape. The Public Garden has several well known features that are make the visit to the garden more than worth it:

    • Roughly 100,000 different plantings to view and walk through.

 

Bridge in Boston Public Gardens

 

    • A pond which features the famous Swan Rides during the warmer months (see below) and because it is only 3 foot deep at its deepest, it stays frozen for long periods of time and is maintained for ice skating in the cooler months.

Pond in Boston Public Garden

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    • Statues. Within the Boston Public Garden, you will also find many gorgeous statues, including the Equestrian Statue of George Washington, Mary E. Moore’s “Small Child Fountain” and many more.
    • See some of our pictures in this Facebook post or learn more at their website.

 

Explore Boston Common

Have we mentioned that Boston Common is actually the oldest park in the country? Additionally, not only is Boston Common beautiful, but it has countless kid-friendly activities, such as a splash pool, playground, carousel and continuous live entertainment. Learn more at www.boston.gov/parks/boston-common.

 

boys with tree in Boston Public Garden

 

Quack like a duck at the Duckling Statue Boston Common

An always popular family activity in Boston is the Duckling Statue at Boston Common, the statue depicts the 1941 Robert McCloskey ducks. It is fun to visit, open 24 hours per day, 365 days a year. If you are looking for a family friendly, Instagram friendly place to visit, this is it! https://www.boston.gov/parks/boston-common.

 

Duckling Statue at Boston Common

 

Travel through history on the Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail has been called one of the best free experiences in the nation, because in as much time as it takes you to walk the 2.5 mile trail, you will see 16 different historic sites. Keep in mind that some of these sites do require a small fee for entry, but you can walk by and see them all for free. www.thefreedomtrail.org.

 

Tour the Massachusetts State House

The Massachusetts State House is arguably one of the top 10 most recognizable (that golden dome is hard to miss) historical buildings in the nation. The house is located on Beacon Street across from Boston Common and is very easy to access via public transportation.

 

Massachusetts State House in Boston

 

It is also part of the Freedom Trail. Tours, inside the building, are given Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. Tours last approximately 30-45 minutes and include an overview of the history and architecture of the State Capitol.  While there is no cost to the tours, reservations are required. The only way to make one is by calling the Massachusetts State House at 617-727-3676. Learn more at malegislature.gov/statehouse/visit.

 

Get to know the Boston National Historical Park

The Boston National Historical Park is a 43 acre historical park which spans throughout Boston.  When you make a trip to the Boston National Park, you can expect to see parts of the Freedom Trail, 2 separate visitor’s centers, and many, many more historically important locations.  There encompasses portions of Downtown Boston, Charlestown, and South Boston. In addition to managing its properties that are a part of the park, the Park operates two visitor centers at Faneuil Hall and in the Charlestown Navy Yard. The park also works and cooperates with many different partner organizations which comprise the Freedom Trail.

 

Boston National Historical Park

 

There are many different ways to explore Boston’s past. At our visitor centers you can collect free maps and information about Boston and the Park. Here you can also participate in any scheduled free Ranger-Guided Talks and Tours. Visitors can also explore the Freedom Trail and Black Heritage Trail with our free app for iOS and Android.

 

Boston National Historical Park boys looking over the maps

At the Boston National Historical Park looking over maps.

 

The Park also offers a wide variety of Education Programs for field trips and education groups. Learn more at www.nps.gov/bost.

 

Sign up for free historic walking tours at the National Parks of Boston

The National Park Service provides free guided walking tours through Boston. You can sign up at the Fanueil Hall or learn more here. Some tours may charge to enter the building. Tours include:

    • African Meeting House Tours
    • Picturing Frederick Douglass
    • Black Heritage Trail Tours
    • Old State House Tours
    • Different versions of the Freedom Trail Tours
    • Walking the Battlefield
    • USS Cassin Young Tour

 

Boys walking around Boston

 

Earn Junior Ranger Badges

While you are at the park, be sure to visit a Boston National Historical Park Visitors Center and sign your kids up to be a Junior Ranger. There are quite a few sites that make up the Boston National Historical Park. Next time you head out to one of these sites, be sure to visit a Visitor’s Center, there are two (Faneuil Hall and Charlestown Navy Yard) and check into the Junior Ranger program, which is free! Learn more at www.nps.gov/bost/learn/kidsyouth/beajuniorranger.htm.

 

Junior ranger booklet for Boston National Historical Park

 

Play at the Esplanade Playspace

Next to the Charles River, you will find the Esplanade Playspace which is full of fun for kids of all ages. This park features such adventurous challenges such as a disk swing, zipline, climbing net and more. You will have a hard time getting the kids to want to go home after playing here. You can learn more at their website, esplanade.org/playgrounds.

 

FREE Boston events for kids

Here are some great free Boston events for kids.

  • Puddlestompers – Puddlestompers Summer Program offers kids ages 3-6 & 6-8 the chance to get out and enjoy nature and it is completely free. Learn more at www.puddlestompers.com/summerabout.

 

  • Arlington Astronomy Nights at Robbins Park – Every Saturday night June 15 through September 7, you can catch Astronomy Nights at Robbins Farm Park. No need to bring a telescope, there will be one available to view out of. Learn more at www.arlingtonastronomy.org.

 

 

  • Summer Light Shows at Rings Fountain – There are seven different water features here that brings kids and adults alike all summer long, the Summer Light Shows can’t be missed though. This show features energy-efficient color LED lights that dance along with the unpredictable spray of the fountains. Learn more at www.rosekennedygreenway.org/visit/fountains.

 

Cheap Things to do in Boston with Kids

The following Boston family-friendly activities are $5 or less per person.

Frog Pond Carousel

The Frog Pond Carousel has been in operation for several years now and is an extremely popular attraction. It is open to the public seven days per week. This carousel is full of zany, funny characters like a chariot, wildlife figures and horses. Learn more at bostonfrogpond.com/frog-pond-carousel.

 

Swan Boat at Boston Public Garden floating on the water

 

Swan Boat Rides

During the warmer months, you can catch a ride on a Swan Boat for less than $4 at the Boston Public Garden. At the park’s lake, you can enjoy a 12 minute ride around the lagoon while you enjoy the view of the nation’s oldest public park. Learn more at swanboats.com.

 

Paul Revere House in Boston

 

The Paul Revere House

No visit to Boston is complete without a trip to the Paul Revere House. When you visit the Paul Revere House, you are actually visiting 3 landmark properties and seeing captivating and historical sites along Revere’s ride. Your history books will come alive with this visit. Learn more at www.paulreverehouse.org.

 

More Fun Things to do in Boston with Kids

The best museums for kids in Boston

Boston Museum of Science

The Museum of Science is at 1 Science Park, Boston MA. Hours are 9 AM – 5 PM Saturday – Thursday, open until 9 PM Friday.

 

alternating the river flow exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science

 

We headed to the Museum of Science on our last morning in Boston. We thought we wouldn’t need much time. Don’t make the same mistake – this place is huge! We saw a little from each floor. Like Melanie said when she visited, “Each exhibit was better than the last. With a focus on science, nature and health, visitors can see live bees and dinosaur models; learn about the human body and the life of a butterfly; or be an engineer and learn about modeling.” On her visit her family built trampolines, watched an astronomy presentation, and saw a man get struck by lightning! On our visit, we engineered rivers, laid on a bed of nails, and rocketed to the moon. It’s truly a educationally diverse and engaging museum – one of Boston’s must do’s!

 

boys building at Boston Museum of Science

 

This is not only a museum of science, but also an indoor zoo. It features over 700 interactive exhibits, as well as quite a few live presentations throughout.  You can also find yourself enjoying a show at the Mugar Omni Theater, or the Charles Hayden Planetarium. Museum of Science tickets are included as part of the Little Scientists Hotel Package at the Royal Sonesta Boston.

 

boy in engineering a river exhibit at Boston Museum of Science

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For more Museum of Science photos, see Melanie’s Facebook Album or Jenn’s Facebook Album.

You can learn more at their website, www.mos.org.

 

Boys in Boston Museum of Science Rocketship

 

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

The Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum is at 306 Congress Street in Boston.

We visited the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum a while back and had a wonderful time. To be able to visit and experience some of the most famous times in history was incredible! Read about our Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum experience.

You can learn more at their website, www.bostonteapartyship.com.

 

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

 

Boston Children’s Museum

The Boston Children’s Museum is located at 308 Congress Street in Boston.

You just can’t talk about Boston Museums for families without mentioning the Boston Children’s Museum! Here you will find a fun playground, musical and theatrical performances, learning programs, special events and more. They also have different events throughout the year so you will always find something new and fun to experience. The price to get into this museum is on par with other museums, but parking is a bit pricey, so you might consider using public transportation to get there.  

You can learn more at their website, www.bostonchildrensmuseum.org/visit.

 

Our favorite family attractions in Boston

Touring Fenway Park

This was at the top of my husband’s Boston bucket list. Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox, the Park offers public tours hourly 9 am to 5 pm, most days. We were able to receive press passes BUT everything we saw YOU can see too. Each tour lasts about an hour and takes you to almost every area of Fenway Park. Take a look at the field from different views, the Green Monster, the special red seat, the press box and more in this Facebook post.

 

Old seating at Fenway Park in Boston

 

Learn more at www.mlb.com/redsox/ballpark. 

 

Boys on Green Monster at Fenway Park in Boston

 

 

New England Aquarium

The New England Aquarium is at 1 Central Wharf, Boston MA. Hours are 9 AM – 5 PM weekdays, open until 6 PM weekends.

Melanie shared from her visit, “So much of Boston is on the water, so it’s fitting that a top notch aquarium would be on its shores. The New England Aquarium will impress you with the giant ocean tank – like nothing we’d ever seen!  

 

in Boston New England Aquarium fish tank

 

It stretches up four stories and inside there are hundreds of animals, and if you time it right, even divers! But when you first enter you can’t miss the penguins! The exhibit stretches across the full first floor and has several species of penguins. Feedings happen twice daily where they’re hand fed and it’s fun to watch!

 

In Boston New England Aquarium penguin feeding time.

 

Want to touch? There’s a touch tank too, where the rays will come right up to you. Our favorites are always the seals, and we watched them put on a show in the outdoor marine mammal center. Want more? There’s an IMAX theater and whale watching cruises offered as well. The aquarium offers a cafe and a gift shop, and is about a 2 hour visit.”

 

New England Aquarium

 

For more New England Aquarium photos, see our Facebook Album.

Learn more at www.neaq.org.

 

The Prudential Tower Skywalk Observatory

Skywalk Boston is at 800 Boylston Street, Boston, MA. Hours are 10-10 (open until 8 in Winter).

Another experience Melanie had in Boston with kids is visiting the Skywalk Observatory. The Skywalk is fully enclosed, on the 50th floor of the Prudential Tower, a shopping/office complex in the Back Bay/Copley Square area. “It was a sunny morning and we weren’t disappointed with the views! We could see Fenway Park, the Charles River, even planes taking off from Logan Airport.

 

Prudential Tower Skywalk Observatory view of Boston

 

The views aren’t the only things. The Skywalk also houses the “Dreams of Freedom Museum,” with so much detail about Boston’s diversity and immigration. My kids enjoyed playing Who Wants to Be An American, and stopping in to see the movie “Wings Over Boston.” I liked seeing who in the city uses rooftops, and looking at the various architecture from high up.

 

Prudential Tower Skywalk Observatory museum area

 

Depending on  your level of interest, you could spend an hour at the Skywalk but if you drive, be aware of the parking fees in the Prudential Tower garage (starts at $12/hour, up to 3 hours for $14 with any store purchase at Prudential).”

 

Prudential Tower Skywalk Observatory in Boston

 

For more Prudential Tower Skywalk and Observatory photos, see our Facebook Album.

 

Here are a few more Boston family attractions that we’ve blogged about in the past.

Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum

 

Dive into History with the USS Constitution Museum Boston

 

Tour Boston with the Old Town Trolley Tours

 

Our favorite places to eat in Boston with kids

I have to tell you one of our favorite things about eating out with kids in Boston was the availability of gluten-free options. Every place we visited either had a gluten-free menu or gluten-free options on the menu. Aside from our meals at the ArtBar at the Royal Sonesta Boston, we paid for all of our meals.

  • ArtBar at the Royal Sonesta Boston

    • Located in the Royal Sonesta Boston in Cambridge. You do not need to be a hotel guest to have a meal at the restaurant.

 

Steak dinner at the ArtBar at the Royal Sonesta Boston in Cambridge

Steak dinner at the ArtBar at the Royal Sonesta Boston in Cambridge.

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    • We arrived in Boston hungry and ready to stretch our legs. Our first stop was the ArtBar, one of the Royal Sonesta Hotel Boston’s restaurants. The restaurant provided us with a complimentary dinner. It was just what we needed to fill our bellies. Our waiter was awesome and even encouraged us all to try a new food, Sweet Potato Tater Tots. They were delicious! And I’m not usually a fan of sweet potatoes.

 

Sweet Potato Tator Tots at the ArtBar at the Royal Sonesta Boston in Cambridge Massachussetts

You MUST try these Sweet Potato Tator Tots at the ArtBar.

 

    • Take a look at the menu that DID include gluten-free options. The boys ordered burgers. My husband ordered Roasted Salmon with a side Caesar salad. I ordered Steak Frites. I also ordered Loaded Chips as an appetizer. They were so yummy, the view of the water so great I forgot I was working and didn’t get a picture before they were all gone. Oops. 

 

Jenn's Family dining at the ArtBar at the Royal Sonesta Boston in Cambridge Massachussetts

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    • You can view my pictures of the rest of what we ate in this Facebook post or learn more at their website, www.artbarcambridge.com.
    • We also were treated to breakfast. The breakfast menu included gluten-free options like this YUMMY French Toast. The boys had traditional French Toast with sausage and fruit while dad had scrambled eggs with sausage and toast. Take a look at these pictures.

 

French Toast at the ArtBar at the Royal Sonesta Boston in Cambridge

French Toast at the ArtBar at the Royal Sonesta Boston in Cambridge

 

  • Cheesecake Factory

    • Located at 100 CambridgeSide Place in Cambridge.
    • The Cheesecake Factory is always a hit, which makes it great. It’s delicious, and you know you are going to like it. Sometimes when you go to a new city, a familiar place, with gluten-free options you can trust, is a good place to be, don’t you think?
    • You can learn more about their menu and restaurant at their website, thecheesecakefactory.com.

 

World of Beers cheeseburger with tater tots kids meal

World of Beers

 

  • World of Beers

 

family selfie at World of Beers in Cambridge

 

  • Game On

    • Located at 82 Lansdowne Street in Boston.
    • I hesitated adding the Game On restaurant in Boston here. On the one hand they are in a great location with a family friendly environment.  Over 13,000 square feet of eating and entertaining space, world-renowned pizza to ping pong tables, batting in an official Fenway Park Batting Cage, and gluten-free dining options this should have been a winner for my family. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Our food took a significant amount of time and then came out overcooked. Our waitress was almost nonexistent. We visited during the early lunch hour. And with a nearly empty restaurant, it wasn’t clear what the reason for the poor service and delay was. But perhaps your family can have a better experience than mine.
    • You can see their menus at their website, gameonboston.com.

 

Game on Restaurant in Boston

 

Our favorite places to stay in Boston with kids

 

Front Entrance to the Royal Sonesta Boston in Cambridge Massachussetts

 

 

Residence Inn Tudor Wharf Boston

On the bridge heading back to the Residence Inn Tudor Wharf

 

View our complete photo album of Boston pictures in our Facebook album.

 

Whether you’re a fan of colonial times, or U.S. History in general, or just appreciate beautiful cities, Boston should be on your family travel list! It had been on our wishlist of places to bring our kids for some years, and we’re so glad we finally made it.

 

For more help planning your family vacation to Boston, please visit our series about Boston family vacations.

 

To arrange a feature on your location please contact Jennifer Auer at Jenniferauer@jerseyfamilyfun.com.

Posted in: All, Family Vacation Ideas, Family Vacations to the Northeast

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Jennifer Auer is the hyperlocal mom blogger who runs Jersey Family Fun. From New Jersey, this mom of 3 boys just can’t sit still! Her husband likes to say she’s a work-at-home mom who never stays home. Jennifer started traveling as a child and hasn’t stopped since. Instead of letting her husband and boys slow her down, she brings them along! Did you know that boys behave better when they are out exploring? As her boys transition from tweens to teens there’s still so many places she wants to discover with them both across the U.S. and internationally. She has been a Jersey Girl for 20+ years, and a Jersey Mom for 8+ years and a New Jersey mom blogger for 10 years, although she'd much rather be referred to as an influencer or just by name. She has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a focus on Entrepreneurship from Bryant University in Rhode Island.

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