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Guide to Boston for Families

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From educational activities to outdoor spaces perfect for letting off steam, Boston offers a wealth of opportunities for family fun. Here are the top spots that kids big and small can enjoy together.

Good for
  • Family
  • History Buff
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Thrifty Traveller

8 Places

7 City Tips

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Map

8 Places

Boston Public Garden

Parks, Gardens

New England Aquarium

Aquariums

Boston Children's Museum

Children's Museums

Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

History Museums, Ships

Rose Kennedy Greenway

Parks

Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Points of Interest & Landmarks, Shopping Malls

George's Island

Hiking Trails

Captain Jackson's Historic Chocolate

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Karen G's City Tips

  • Avoid driving as much as possible; parking is expensive! Boston is a very "walkable" city, and the subway ("The T") is easy to use. There are also plenty of cabs and buses.
  • Instead of buying a paper transit ticket from one of the machines, ask an attendant for a Charlie Card, which you can load with money – it ends up cheaper.
  • Locals say, "If you don't like the weather, wait a minute...it will change!" It could be hot, humid, cold, sunny, rainy or snowy (sometimes in a day!) so pack sunscreen and layers.
  • Many sidewalks are brick and cobblestone. Sneakers or other flat walking shoes are recommended.
  • Boston caters to all tastes and budgets, from gourmet to street food.
  • Neighborhoods (and cuisines) include: North End (Italian), Chinatown (Asian), South Boston (Ethnic), downtown (Pubs and Taverns), and Newbury Street/Back Bay (Trendy, Upscale).
  • Tip 15-20% at sit-down restaurants.
  • Boston Public Garden
    Parks, Gardens
    See more photos
    Karen G Says:

    The beautiful Boston Public Garden is part of Boston Common and is lovely any time of year. You can bike or stroll along its paths, past flowers, gardens, and water features. Parents can relax a bit, while children have plenty of room to run around safely.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Swan Boats only run from April to September.
    • Swan Boats can get very popular, so you may have to wait a while. Try to plan your ride during "off peak" times of the day.
    • Kid fans of the story "Make Way for Ducklings", can see the bronze statues of the Mallard family near the gate at Beacon and Charles Streets.
    • Right across Beacon Street you'll find the Bull and Finch Pub. Exterior shots for the TV Show "Cheers" were filmed here.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 364 things to do in Boston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • The Boston Delight 10/12/2018
    • Take a relaxing walk! 09/12/2018
    • Boston Public Garden
    Address:
    69 Beacon St
    Boston, MA 02108-3422
    Phone:
    +1 617-723-8144
    Other:
  • New England Aquarium
    Aquariums
    See more photos
    Karen G Says:

    Say hello to the harbor seals as you enter the New England Aquarium – a great experience for young children, older kids, and adults. There are hands-on exhibits where you can touch urchins, mollusks, starfish and other creatures, and you can wind your way along the glass wall of the enormous saltwater tank to get up close and personal with sea life of all shapes and sizes.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • It's typically very busy when children are not in school, so be prepared for crowds!
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #57 of 364 things to do in Boston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Nice aquarium, not on my top list 10/12/2018
    • Awesome Turtles! 08/12/2018
    • New England Aquarium
    Address:
    Central Wharf
    Boston, MA 02110
    Phone:
    +1 617-973-5200
    Other:
  • Boston Children's Museum
    Children's Museums
    See more photos
    Karen G Says:

    The Boston Children's Museum is a fun, creative experience for kids – with a fabulous waterfront location. Depending on the things your kids like to do, you could happily spend anywhere from 1 hour to half a day here.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • On Friday nights from 5-9 pm, admission is hugely discounted. If your kids can tolerate a later bedtime, this is a very budget-friendly way to visit!
    • Older kids may find some of the exhibits interesting, but the museum is really geared toward 2-8 year olds.
    • Visit the Hood Milk Bottle out front!
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #35 of 364 things to do in Boston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • My 22 month old loved it! 11/11/2018
    • Indoor climbing structure! 10/11/2018
    • Boston Children's Museum
    Address:
    308 Congress St
    Boston, MA 02210-1016
    Phone:
    +1 617-426-6500
    Hours:
    Fri
    10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
    Sat - Thu
    10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
    History Museums, Ships
    See more photos
    Karen G Says:

    History comes to life at the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum. Characters in costume share interesting facts and tell the story of the infamous colonists who dumped tea into Boston harbor. You can go aboard a replica of one of the Tea Party ships and even throw some tea over, just like the rebel colonists did!

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • This is a perennial favorite for school groups, so you could find one or more field trips here if you visit during the school day, particularly at the end of the school year.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #19 of 364 things to do in Boston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Pricey, a little too geared toward kids 07/12/2018
    • Fun and historic! 01/12/2018
    • Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
    Address:
    306 Congress St
    Boston, MA 02210-1027
    Phone:
    +1 617-338-1773
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Rose Kennedy Greenway
    Parks
    See more photos
    Karen G Says:

    Stretching from the North End to Chinatown, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy is a pleasant place to walk among lovely green spaces and rose gardens, with top-notch waterfront views. There is a carousel, as well as fountains that the kids can play in when the weather is warm. Plus, most of the traffic now travels beneath this area, making it quiet and safer for little ones to explore.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The kids will love the waterplay area near the North End side of the park.
    • Pop into the North End to get amazing pizza, Italian pastries or gelato, then bring your food back to the greenway for a picnic.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #15 of 364 things to do in Boston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Makes Living Through "The Big Dig" Totally Worth It! 26/11/2018
    • This is a linear park 06/11/2018
    • Rose Kennedy Greenway
    Address:
    JFK Surface Road
    Boston, MA 02111
    Phone:
    +1 617-292-0020
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    7:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • Faneuil Hall Marketplace
    Points of Interest & Landmarks, Shopping Malls
    See more photos
    Karen G Says:

    The Quincy Market building at Faneuil Hall (pronounced 'FAN-yule Hall') is the best place to go when your family can't agree on what kind of cuisine to eat. Resembling a massive food court, the building offers almost every type of food you could dream of: pizza, Chinese, New England clam chowder, pastries, ice cream, sandwiches, salads, smoothies... There is truly something for everyone, and if you're after a more formal meal, there are several sit down restaurants in and around the marketplace as well.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • History Buff
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • Take a walk down the length of the hall (it's not that long) to see what's on offer before making a decision. Then walk back and visit the stalls that have your favorite(s).
    • You can find seating in the circular middle of the building on the main floor, or you can go upstairs. Sit outside if it's nice, and you can people-watch while you eat!
    • There are souvenir carts just outside the food hall. You can find all kinds of Boston memorabilia here, but it can be expensive.
    • Street performers entertain the crowds on the cobblestoned walkways, so take your meal outside if it's dry.
    • For history lovers, Faneuil Hall is the adjacent building, and there are artifacts and exhibits inside of this political epicenter.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #50 of 364 things to do in Boston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Bit of a joke 07/12/2018
    • Just shopping? 05/12/2018
    • Faneuil Hall Marketplace
    Address:
    1 Faneuil Hall Sq
    Quincy Market
    Boston, MA 02109-1604
    Phone:
    +1 617-523-1300
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • George's Island
    Hiking Trails
    See more photos
    Karen G Says:

    If it's a really hot day, George's Island makes for a cool, breezy getaway spot; or, if your kids are simply done with the city noise and commotion, and need some open space, look no further. Stop at the island's visitor center first for a map of all the interesting things to see, and then plan your perfect day together.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Get the ferry at Long Wharf, and line up early so that you can get the best spot on the upper deck (wear sunscreen!).
    • Be sure to take a picnic and a blanket with you.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #42 of 364 things to do in Boston
    • Spend a summer Sunday here 30/11/2018
    • Fort Warren here 19/11/2018
    • George's Island
    Address:
    Boston Harbor
    Boston, MA
    Phone:
    +1 617-727-7676
    Other:
  • Captain Jackson's Historic Chocolate
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Karen G Says:

    Got chocolate lovers and history buffs to please? Captain Jackson's Historic Chocolate Shop will not only teach you something about the history of chocolate - and what it smelled and tasted like in the 18th century – but you can of course buy as much of its delicious products as you like to try and take home with you.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • It's a small shop, so you might want to try to visit during "off peak" times.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #54 of 364 things to do in Boston
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • You need a ticket to enter this shop 12/10/2018
    • Informative 19/08/2018
    • Captain Jackson's Historic Chocolate
    Address:
    21 Unity St
    Boston, MA 02113-1315
    Phone:
    +1 617-523-6676
    Price range:
    US$8 - US$8
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
    Other:
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