What to do with kids in Boston? Plenty! It’s a big city with a small city feel, easy to get around in, with a bounty of accessible parks and public spaces even at its most urban core.
1. Bike the Freedom Trail
The Boston Freedom Trail is 2.5 miles long and connects 16 significant historical landmarks which played a role in the American Revolution, including churches, cemeteries and meeting halls. The trail winds through Boston Common, the North End and other neighborhoods. With stops, this route will easily take at least half a day.
If you’re interested in a custom tour, Urban Adventures can tailor a route to your family’s needs and provide a guide to lead the ride.
2. Take the ferry to Historic Salem, MA
Hopping a harbor ferry for a 50-minute ride from Boston’s Long Wharf to the town of Salem, MA is an easy way to combine a day-trip from Boston with a cruise.
Historic Salem is famous for its witch trials of 1692 and there are a number of stops of interests on the subject including The House of the Seven Gables, the Salem Witch Trials Memorial and the Witch/Corwin House. There is no shortage of quirky shops and eateries which take advantage of that notoriety as well as plenty of walkable shoreline for some relaxed exploration.
However, Salem is also home to the Peabody Essex Museum, a right-sized museum that offers a number of exhibits, tours and programs that appeal to kids as well as adults, including a tourable 200- year-old Chinese house which has been reconstructed in the courtyard, historic house tours and the fairytale-like interactive stick structures of artist Patrick Dougherty.
Contact Boston Harbor Cruises for schedule and rates.
3. Visit the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway
While it’s possible to walk the Greenway in a brisk 30 minutes, with children it will probably not be a linear experience! There are five sections to the park, all with slightly different offerings and a multitude of options for running, exploring and playing around. If you’re staying in one of Magellan’s nearby hotels, a stop at the Greenway would be an excellent way to wind the kids down before bed every night.
As an added bonus, there are a variety of food options close at hand. Check out the Greenway’s food vendor schedule.
Here are a few of our favorite stops:
The Labyrinth – A very large circular winding path paved in granite and set in lawn. Unlike a maze, a labyrinth has only one way in and one way out, plus it’s flat, not raised, so there’s no chance of losing anyone. Brilliant fun.
The Canal – Children love the canal, a long, shallow rill (think splash pool) where they can wet their feet or watch their flip flops swirl around. Kids+water+a bunch of other kids = relaxing fun for parents (too bad they don’t serve cocktails off a cart).
The Carousel – A unique carousel located at The Tiffany & Co. Foundation Grove. Hop on an animal native to Boston: lobster, cod, fox, squirrel, grasshopper, peregrine falcon, turtle, butterfly, skunk, oarfish, whale, rabbit, owl, and harbor seal. The Carousel was designed to be accessible to individuals with disabilities.
The Porch Swings – 8 porch swings have been recently installed under the pergola in North End Park, attracting ‘swingers’ of all ages.They seem to be especially popular in the early evening, after dinner.
4. Play at the Boston Children’s Museum
The Boston Children’s Museum is a hands-on, one-stop shop for learning about science, culture, the arts, literacy, history, health, and the environment. We know your children will love it too. And because each of our exhibits and programs are designed for children and the adults in their lives…you might have just as much fun as your kids do.
Exhibit highlights include: the Japanese House, Bubbles, Kid Power, Raceways and The Common.
When you’re done at the museum, a few minutes walk east on the boardwalk under the bridge will bring you to The Barking Crab seafood restaurant. With its illuminated red and yellow stripped awnings, it’s like eating under the Big Top with a great view of the inlet. Eclectic, casual and great fun for kids and adults alike.
5. Paddle the Waters of Boston
With Charles River Canoe & Kayak, there are a variety of options for pre-set and customizable paddling tours around Boston harbor. Tours are conducted in double kayaks and begin with a basic introduction to kayak strokes. They then head toward the harbor, passing the Museum of Science, original Charles River Dam, and Zakim Bridge before transiting the locks into Boston Harbor. Other sites and landmarks include the Charlestown Navy Yard to view the U.S.S. Constitution and U.S.S. Cassin Young, the New England Aquarium, Rowe’s Wharf and Moakley Courthouse.
6. Take in an Outdoor Movie
Outdoor movies have become a summer tradition in Boston, offering a mix of adult and family-friends films. Here are three options:
Mayor Walsh’s Movie Nights – various Boston Parks
August 3 to August 27, 2015
Coolidge at the Greenway – Wharf District Park, Boston
Tuesdays, June 16 to August 4, 2015
Prudential Center Family Film Festival – Prudential Center, Boston
Every Saturday in July & August
7. Explore the MIT Museum
265 Massachusettes Ave, Bldg. N51
A museum unlike any other, the mission of the MIT Museum is to engage the wider community with MIT’s science, technology and other areas of scholarship. A huge hit with slightly older kids and adults. Highlights include:
Holography: ‘Dimensions of Light’ presents visitors with an opportunity to view and interact with selected works from the MIT Museum’s comprehensive holography collection.
Robots and Beyond shares the results of decades of Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovation at MIT. Visitors learn about tele-operated surgical robots, robotic legs, and socially intelligent humanoid robots that interact with their environments in human-like ways. There are prototypes and other media that trace the evolution of some of MIT’s resident robots, including Kismet, Cog, and RoboTuna.
8. Eat Ice Cream at the Scooper Bowl Ice Cream Event 2016 –
Eat All the Ice Cream You Want – and Support a Great Cause
June 7 – 9, 2016 Noon to 8pm, City Hall Plaza
The event involves about 20 tons of ice cream donated by 8 ice cream companies and raises money for the Jimmy Fund, the fundraising arm of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
A great excuse to eat (a lot of) ice cream and do some good at the same time.
Our Luxury Hotel Consultants Recommend:
What once was the Charles Street Jail is now one of Boston’s must-see luxury hotels, The Liberty Hotel. The storied past is evident from the high vaulted ceilings, exposed brick walls, and open walkways that overlook the lobby. The former exercise yard has been transformed into a private courtyard that has become one of Beacon Hill’s most treasured ‘hidden gardens.’ Once a place people longed to escape, The Liberty Hotel is now a place people wish they could stay longer.
Surrounded by luxury boutiques in the historic Beacon Hill neighborhood, Four Seasons Boston prevails with class and elegance. With just the right amount of Boston flair, this award-winning hotel offers exceptional service, extensive amenities and legendary cuisine. Four Seasons promises a warm, welcoming, and sophisticated New England experience.
The Colonnade Hotel is a hip and lively property with sleek design elements and edgy features. Located in Boston’s fashionable Back Bay neighborhood, the hotel features a stunning rooftop pool perched 11-stories above the city of Boston. This summertime hot spot is the best place to cool off and take in the sights.
See all of our Boston Luxury Hotels