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Boston is an amazing place to visit with kids. It offers the perfect mix of history, culture, and just plain fun. Boston is a very walkable city, and public transportation is easy and visitor-friendly. With entertainment around every turn, this is a city that families can make the most of whether they are used to urban environments or not.
Here are our top 10 suggestions for the best things to do in Boston with kids. These include museums, of which Boston has many, outdoor activities, historical stuff, and so much more. Kids of all ages are sure to find something in Boston that completely fascinates and delights them. Ready to plan your Boston family vacation? Let’s go!
PS: Consider getting the Go Boston Card or the Boston CityPASS to save money on attractions!
Visit a museum
The Museum of Science offers fun for kids aged 1 to 100 with hands on exhibits, an Omni Theatre, a 4-D theatre, and a planetarium. The Lightning Show is exciting for everyone, as are exhibits such as the science behind playgrounds.
The Museum of Fine Arts does a wonderful job allowing both parents and children ways to enjoy the art simultaneously. The children’s audio tour keeps kids focused and learning about art while you peruse the room. There are also self-guided and guide-led tours for families, creative art projects for kids during school vacation weeks, and family focused entertainment in the theatre.
Go on a scavenger hunt
You can create your own scavenger hunt as a fun way to explore Boston, or you can utilize one of the many scavenger hunt companies that provide exciting prompts and all of the help you need through the simple download of a phone app.
Read Next: 18 of the Best Free Things to Do in Boston
Learn about history
There is an endless amount of history to be taken in throughout the city of Boston, but be sure to do it right to keep your kids interested and entertained. The Freedom Trail will allow your family to actually walk through history either on your own or with an entertaining guide.
A visit to the Boston Tea Party Museum will provide your family with a multi-sensory experience as you become part of this famous historical event.
Get your exercise in by climbing the 221 foot Bunker Hill Monument via 294 stairs in Charlestown. You’ll take in amazing views and learn about history at the same time. Be sure to check out the Charlestown Navy Yard when you’re done.
Take in nature
A boat ride out to the Boston Harbor Islands will gift your family with the best of both worlds as you view the city from the water and visit the small islands in the harbor. These islands are natural playgrounds with beaches, hiking, forts, and various opportunities for exploration. Bring a kite along for some unique kite flying opportunities!
Boston is also a beautiful city to visit parks. Splash in the Frog Pond or ice skate on it in the winter in the Boston Common, America’s first public park. Take a Swan Boat ride in the Public Garden and make sure to visit the nearby Make Way for Ducklings statues. Visiting in the spring? Don’t miss the Cherry Blossom Festival at the Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain. It’s a beautiful park for playing and walking.
Boston offers two gorgeous and unique carousels for your family’s riding pleasure. One carousel is located in the Boston Common. Built in 1947, the traditional horses overlooking the Frog Pond provides a quintessential Boston experience.
Over on the Rose Kennedy Greenway Carousel, you will find hand carved creatures that frequent the land, sea, and air of the Boston Harbor area. With beer and wine gardens, fountains perfect for play, food trucks, and pop up markets, the carousel ride will be part of a special way to spend the day that the entire family can enjoy.
Eat fun food
Your family can eat their way through Boston for days and days, but there are a few favorites that are always a big hit for the kids. Max Brenner is a chocolate bar and restaurant in the Back Bay. Your children will delight in seeing chocolate travel through the pipes in the entranceway and will be even more excited to discover how chocolate finds a way on to almost every dish.
Quincy Market in Faneuil Hall will not only allow you to visit one of the most famous places in Boston, it will also provide a marketplace of food options that will have something for every member of your family no matter what they’re craving. If you would like a more modern take on a food market to satisfy several different preferences within the family, check out the beautiful Boston Public Market nearby.
Take play to a whole new level with a visit to the New England Aquarium where you can interact with sea lions, penguins, and giant sea turtles. You can easily spend an entire day at this stunning aquarium. The aquarium also offers an Imax theatre and is a perfect stop along the beautiful Harbor Walk which is clearly delineated with signage.
Boston Children’s Museum is especially fun for children under 12. With a floor to ceiling climbing structure, hands on and educational play galore, and theatre shows in which your child can be a participant, your little ones can easily spend a full day making the most of this play-based museum.
Boston has plenty of free, family-friendly entertainment thanks to the amazing street performers of Faneuil Hall. You can also stop by the BosTix booth right there to grab discounted and last minute theatre tickets. Blue Man Group is a family favorite with multi-sensory sound and spectacle excitement that will keep everyone in the family highly entertained.
Psst! You’ll need to stay fueled, parents! Check out our list of the top coffee shops in Boston.
Become a Junior Park Ranger
Your little ones can become honorary Junior Park Rangers by completing fun activities as they take in historical sites. The Boston National Historical Park has two visitor centers where you can begin – in Faneuil Hall and in the Charlestown Navy Yard. There are many ranger-guided talks and tours and educational programs that the whole family can enjoy, and your children will love earning a prestigious honor at the same time.
See the sights
The ultimate way to see all of the major sights in Boston while also being entertained is to take a Duck Boat tour. These tours leave from the Museum of Science, the Prudential, and the New England Aquarium. The tour guides will have your family laughing and learning together and will drive you through all of the must-see places in Boston via a duck-shaped vehicle. They will also take you out to the water where your vehicle will float along providing your little ones with the opportunity to drive the boat along the Charles River. This will be a memorable experience for the entire family.
Bonus Boston Day Trip with Kids
Need to escape the city? Or dealing with a rainy day? Consider hopping in the car (or taking the train) just an hour away to Fitchburg, where you can enjoy the indoor water park at Great Wolf Lodge. This would make for a really fun thing to do with kids near Boston, and it’s one of the top water parks in New England.
Read these next:
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- 10 Best Things to Do in Cape Cod With Kids
- 10+ Best Day Trips from Boston
- The Ultimate New England Road Trip Itinerary (Flexible 2-3 Week Itinerary)
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Charise Rohm Nulsen is a writer, social media influencer, activist, and perpetual volunteer. She is a graduate of Boston College (B.A.) and Boston University (M.A.T.) who has worked in the corporate world in Manhattan, San Francisco, and Boston, as well as in education throughout Massachusetts. Now as a work-from-home-mom, she is passionate about helping other women live their best lives and bring about positive change in their communities and beyond.
Charise’s passions include motherhood, social justice, education, living a healthy and natural lifestyle, reading, writing, and traveling. You can find her blogging at I Thought I Knew Mama and sharing inspiring content on Facebook.