What To Do in Boston with Kids
We get a lot of questions surrounding what to do with kids in Boston. Even if you live in town, it can sometimes be a challenge to come up with some ideas on what to do on a nice day, on a rainy day, or on an in-between day! Here are some of our favorite places to visit with kids in Boston…
Boston Children’s Museum
We grew up going to the Children’s Museum and it has been so fun to explore it again as moms. Laura recently became a member ($160 for the year, for four people — good to know that children count as adults after they turn 1) and Milo and I have been tagging along. You can also get subsidized passes from the Boston Public Library and other library branches. In addition to the standard exhibits, the museum offers all sorts of special programming including dance and music. The museum has something for every age, but our favorite areas to spend time include:
Playspace – a section just for babes! They even have a soft-padded section for crawlers. They have a kitchen with microwaves, a fridge, tables, and a glider for nursing moms. It’s so family-friendly (as it should be) and it makes for a great afternoon.
Japanese House – an entire house was brought over from Kyoto and reassembled at the Children’s Museum. Did you know that Boston and Kyoto are sister cities? I was just in Kyoto in February and loved learning that the two cities share so much. We love going inside and sitting on the tatamis.
Water Play – there’s something so amazing about water. Milo loves splashing and playing with water, and it’s nice to not have any mess to clean up.
Construction Zone – this area is awesome – so much room to dig and build!
If you’re looking to grab a bite after the museum, we recommend popping over to Flour Bakery for a sandwich and something sweet (the rice krispie treats, chia pudding, and the chunky lola cookie are my favorites), or stop in to Pastoral for yummy pizzas and beer (they have gluten-free pizza, too). Pastoral is great for kids, and they sometimes let you pull your stroller right up to the table, or have a corner where you can tuck it away if they are busy.
Museum of Science
The Museum of Science is one of our favorite places to spend a rainy day. As a kid, I’ll never forget sleeping overnight with the Girl Scouts (more about overnights here). It was so cool! Everyone changed into their pajamas and then we went to the Planetarium for an evening show before falling asleep underneath the huge dinosaur.
We love walking along the Esplanade (and nearby Charlestown) before reaching the museum. There are so many fun areas to explore, and always special exhibits in rotation, but with kids we head right to the Discovery Center, which is an area dedicated to kids 0-8 years old. (In the warm weather, you can also include a visit to the Esplanade splashpad and playground nearby!)
Boston’s Harborwalk is a public walkway that weaves through the city around Boston Harbor. We love starting at Rowe’s Wharf and walking along the Harborwalk towards the ICA. You can let the kids run around (if they’re old enough to not jump in!), while enjoying the cityscape and taking in fresh air. There is almost always a breeze, so for smaller babes who like to nap in the stroller, it is the perfect spot for a snooze.
We are so lucky to live in a city surrounded by so much water. I love taking the ferry anywhere – to the Boston Harbor Islands (where you can even camp overnight!), Hull, Hingham, Salem, or even just a quick ride over to Charlestown’s Navy Yard.
Rose Kennedy Greenway
The Rose Kennedy Greenway is an amazing green space that connects downtown Boston to the harbor. After years of Big Dig construction, it’s great to see this space being utilized in such a wonderful way. It’s a wonderful place to find a shady spot for lunch (grab something from the nearby Boston Public Market or one of the food trucks), visit the fountains at Hanover Street, or take a ride on the carousel.
Visiting the Esplanade always feels like coming home to me. In high school, I would come into the city a few times a week to sail at Community Boating. Fast forward a few years, and our parents moved to the Back Bay. During summers home from college, I spent many evenings walking along the Esplanade. It has always been a special place to me.
It is still such a special place – and so much fun to visit with kids. In the summertime, there are free concerts and Friday movies at the Hatch Shell, and you’ll always find people taking naps on the grass or hanging a tent between two trees. There are also several fun playgrounds and splash pads — perfect for keeping cool on a hot day. I love to grab an ice cream (or milkshake) at nearby JP Licks on Charles Street and take it to enjoy on my stroll.
And a few ideas for outside the city…
The North Shore – with its beaches and charming cities, we love the North Shore. Contributor Elizabeth Brown shares a few ideas on where to visit in Newbury, Plum Island, and neighboring areas in this guide. She also shares what to do while visiting Newburyport. Laura is headed to Blue for a few nights this summer with Serena and Dan. I can’t wait to hear all about it!
Sudbury and Concord – Laura and I grew up in Sudbury and we have the best memories of frolicking through meadows and choosing which candy we wanted at the Wayside Inn’s general store. There are so many wonderful ways to explore the Metrowest, and we suggest starting with Sudbury and Concord. You can take a canoe ride along the Sudbury River, take a walk through Minuteman National Park (and grab lunch at Nashoba Brook Bakery), and of course spend time wandering around the Wayside Inn and The Grist Mill.
What are your favorite things to do in Boston (and the surrounding area) with kids? xo