Things to Do in Boston With Kids Before They Grow Up

Children grow up so fast, don’t they? One day they’re following you around and cry when you leave them waiting in front of the bathroom, and the next day, they’re suddenly too cool to be seen around their parents. If you happen to be moving to the Massachusetts capital with your children, seize the moment before they grow up and experience the best things to do in Boston with kids and create unforgettable memories you’ll cherish forever. Whether you’re just visiting or relocating long distance, it is essential to know that B-town has a lot to offer in terms of family and kid-friendly activities, so stay tuned and check out our list of things to do with kids in Boston.

Is your family looking for attractions to visit in B-town? Whether you want to visit an aquarium, museums, or just enjoy the river's view, this city has a lot to offer.

You have for sure heard about the local annual marathon, you probably know something about the city’s history, but as a parent, you’re probably wondering what is there to do in Boston with kids? Well, for starters, we can tell you that B-town won’t let you down when it comes to fun things to do in Boston with kids.

We all know how children tend to lose interest pretty quickly. What’s fun now might be utterly dull in just five minutes, and as a parent, you know how challenging it can be to keep them entertained for more than a few hours (or minutes). Luckily, there is a vast offer of unique things to do in Boston, so it is safe to say that you and your youngsters will spend loads of quality time together in your new hometown.

Is Boston Good for Families?

Capital cities are not usually known for being particularly kid-friendly, and that is rarely their strongest point, which is why families love moving to the suburbs instead. There’s just too much crowd, concrete, tourists, traffic, and noise going on in big cities. However, B-town might surprise you, even if you don’t move to some of the lovely suburbs of Boston.

With a population of almost 700,000 people in its core and a bit over 4.5 million in its metropolitan area, B-town, also known as the Hub, welcomes newcomers of all ages. Since it is Massachusetts’ capital, it is nice to know that the so-called Bay State was recently named the second-best state for raising children in the country. So, let’s take a look at some of the perks of living in Boston with your youngsters.

Why Should You Start a New Life With Children In B-Town

You’ll have a hard time deciding which school your youngest ones should attend because there are many great ones. There are almost 120 colleges in a 25-mile radius area, as well. No need to relocate and pack for college when your kid already lives in one of the greatest cities for students, right?

One of the biggest concerns of every parent is safety. Even though the Hub is generally pretty safe when compared to other major cities, you should still be cautious. When choosing which one of the best neighborhoods in Boston should be your home, pay attention to crime rates. Some of the best communities for families are Charlestown, Roslindale, Beacon Hill, and Hyde Park.

Did you know that “The Walking City” is one of B-town’s many nicknames? That should tell enough about its walkability. It is often featured in the top ten most walkable US cities, but don’t worry when your kids start wining that their feet hurt; hop on the subway, and continue exploring.

Children in B-town can enjoy numerous green areas, playgrounds, and parks that are well-maintained and clean. Also, there are a few spots around B-town that are great for hiking even with small children.

With children, it is essential to have a good and reliable doctor nearby. From Children’s Hospital, Brigham & Women’s, Mass General to Mass Eye and Ear, you’ll find everything you need without having to worry about it in case of any emergency.

We all know that children are not the biggest fans of books, especially when there are not many pictures in them. However, Bostonians love their bookstores, and going to bookstores is, in a way, a part of their local culture. They just love reading. In an environment like that, your child could also become a bookworm, especially if you take your kid to one of many children’s bookstores from an early age.

Relocating to a different city with a family is not every child's dream. However, once they see all the fun attractions in B-town, they'll quickly change their mind.

Tips for Exploring B-Town With Children

No one knows your child better than you, and although every kid is different, they all tend to behave similarly in certain situations or at a specific age. It is why we would like to point out a few tips for conquering B-town with your children. Adjusting to your new lifestyle can be challenging, especially if you just moved from a small town to a big city because there are so many different things going on. So, let’s take a look at some tips for conquering Beantown with children.

  • Discuss a plan in advance in case you get separated from your child
  • Hold hands on the street and always keep an eye on the children
  • Do not jaywalk, always use a crosswalk
  • Wear comfy shoes or sneakers if you opt to explore on foot
  • If using transportation, carefully study all the lines and routes you’ll need in advance
  • Don’t overpack your bag, bring only the essentials. Every child can carry a backpack with a water bottle and some snacks
  • Don’t make a tight schedule. If you plan to engage in several activities in one day, keep in mind that things probably won’t go the way you expected, and you might have to skip something.
Watch where you cross the street and keep an eye on your kid, whether you're in the city center or on the market.

Things for Kids to Do in Boston Should Be Engaging and Age-Appropriate

Relocating with children is always challenging, and you have to put an effort to make that transition as smooth as possible and make them fall in love with their future hometown. The older they are, the tougher it’s going to be. They have to move away from friends, change schools, leave their bedroom, and so on. Those are all very significant and turbulent changes in the life of a child. While you’re worrying about the cost of living in Boston, your kid is going through the same level of stress about other stuff.

So, how to make your kid fall in love with B-town? Children don’t really care about the best restaurants in Boston unless they can get a free toy or a creative dish. They are simple in that sense. They want to feel safe, loved, and have loads of fun. Ok, sometimes they don’t know what they want, but nor do parents. However, not all activities are suitable for children of all ages. You have to understand what your child is into, what might be exciting or boring. And don’t worry, there’s plenty of options to choose from. So before they grow up and want to experience Boston nightlife, here’s what they shouldn’t miss during the daylight.

Whether you go to the center, or further to the suburbs, you'll easily find many attractions suitable for the entire family.

Best Things to Do in Boston With Kids

For starters, we decided to focus on major age groups, toddlers, preschoolers, and schoolers, as well as teens. We skipped babies because, well, they are babies, and therefore they are the most manageable child age group to move with. If you’re moving while pregnant or with a small baby, take a look at these tips and take notes because, in a few months or years, you’ll need them too.

What to Do With a Toddler in B-town?

Having a toddler from 1 to 3 years old means you’ll probably never have a dull, but nor a single free moment without them. They’ll follow you wherever you go, and they are somewhat the easiest age division to keep entertained. They can get excited about the smallest stuff, but don’t rush with taking them to the science museums or something that requires too much explanation and attention. Here are some of our suggestions for activities you should definitely check out with toddlers:

  • Puppet showplace – This is an excellent spot for toddlers and something you’ll probably visit more than once. Every show has its recommended target age group, and there are a lot of plays for children older than three years. “Puppet Playtime” is a series of shows specifically for toddlers, so keep that in mind. Ticket prices tend to vary, but if you become a member of their club, you’ll get a discounted rate for each show.
  • Muckykids – You want your child to start developing its inner creativity and art appreciation from your age? Muckykids offers art classes for children, starting with those who are just 18 months old. If your child likes to draw over walls, tables, and everywhere around the house, just bring him here for its weekly dose of creativity. Located in Cambridge, Muckykids offer a drop-in studio for six days in a week, meaning that you can come by at any time and join the fun. The price is $16 per child per hour, with no fees for adults.
  • Swimming lessons – At the YMCA of Greater Boston, you can find swimming lessons for children aged six months and above. It is a great spot to teach your youngsters to swim and fall in love with water before they hit the beach.

What to Do With Preschoolers and Schoolers in B-Town?

A bit older children can be more demanding. They already developed an attitude, they know what they like or not, but at the same time, they can understand more. Therefore, you can focus on programs that will help them learn through games and interaction, and of course, museums, which we will discuss a bit later in greater detail.

  • Legoland Discovery Center – This indoor Lego playground is designed for children from 3 to 10, and not only do they get to play with their favorite toys, but they can also visit the Miniland. A replica of B-town’s major landmarks made entirely out of Lego bricks. You can even throw a birthday party over there for up to 25 youngsters. There’s also an annual pass that pays for itself in just two visits, so it is worth considering if your kid is into Lego’s.
  • Whale watching – The New England Aquarium Whale Watch tour has boats that are designed specifically for such tours and are equipped with supplies such as crayons, papers, and snacks. The tour lasts around 3.5-4 hours, depending on weather conditions, and it departs from Central Wharf. Tickets are a bit pricey, but if you get a combo and purchase it with the New England Aquarium admission, you can save up some money. The season starts in March and ends in November, and in case there are no whale sightings on your tour, you’ll get a free ticket for another one.
  • Franklin Park Zoo – This Zoo opened in 1913, and it is currently run by Zoo New England, which is also in charge of the nearby Stone Zoo. It is located just four miles from Downtown. They organize themed events throughout the year, interactive classes on different topics suitable for children and adults. Besides seeing animals such as lions, zebras, and giraffes, children can enjoy riding a carousel, a train, or just playing around the 10,000-acre playground field. Tickets are $13 for children and $19 for adults.

What Can a 13 Year Old Do in Boston?

When children start getting into that teen phase, they no longer want to spend so much time with their parents. They like to explore on their own with their friends and be cool. Although you should keep an eye on them until you are sure they’re aware of how to behave in public and stay safe, there are some tours or events they can do without parental supervision. But we’ll understand if you’ll be spying on them behind a bush or from a car.

  • Codzilla ride – For those looking for a thrilling experience and fast boat rides, Codzilla is the answer. This high-speed boat generates 2,800 horsepower, and its speed goes around 40 miles per hour. It is loud, fast, and exciting. There’s also a chance you’ll get wet, depending on where you sit. This is not something parents enjoy so much, so some even let their children go alone with friends.
  • Community Boating and Sailing (CBI) – If teens want to learn how to sail, ride a kayak or a canoe, they can join CBI’s summer program and learn it. Cruising around the Charles River with a group of friends will help them get a different perspective of B-town and do something different and cool.
  • Outdoor movie – During the summer break from school, you’ll find outdoor movie screenings in many parks. It is perfect for organizing a family picnic or just hanging out with friends and watching movies under the stars. The Hatch Memorial Shell is the largest outdoor venue on the banks of Charles River that attracts numerous visitors to these types of events.
A visit to the aquarium is something that every kid enjoys, so make sure that this aquarium is on top of your list.

Can a Visit to the Museum Be Fun? Check Out These Kid-Friendly Museums in B-Town

You can’t expect your toddler or teenager to know how to appreciate and enjoy abstract art or classical painting. So don’t push them if you see that that’s really not their cup of tea. On the other hand, many museums focus on topics that are more appropriate for children and offer more interaction and excitement. Whether you opt for one of the organized tours or let your child explore science and arts on its own, keep in mind some general guidelines and rules of behavior.

When a Visit to the Museum Becomes a Great Deal for Your Kid

Children are not really known for being the biggest fans of museums, whether its history, arts, or science. However, a visit to one of these places might change their minds, so make sure to include them on your must-see list:

  • Boston Children’s Museum – Offering a vast number of educational programs, interactive exhibitions, and other events, this is an absolute favorite among parents and children of all ages. Its primary focus is on science, environmental awareness, culture, health, and arts. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult the entire time, and the admission fee is $18.
  • Tea Party Ships & Museum – Want to find out what actually happened at that famous B-town tea party? Visit this full-scale replica of the ship and explore multiple artifacts and interactive features. This floating museum is located on the Congress Street Bridge, and a guided tour starts every 15 minutes. Tickets for adults are $25 and $15 for children.
  • Harvard Museum of Natural History – Exploring it will give you the chance to see dinosaur fossils, gemstones, meteorites, and many more. Make sure to check out their event calendar and see the schedule of upcoming events for children. Tickets are $10 for children older than three years, and $15 for adults.
  • The Paul Revere House – Located on 19 North Square, this is the oldest private home in B-town, and it used to belong to Paul Revere. This tiny wooden museum gives visitors an insight into the authentic colonial style since all rooms are still decorated in that way. Guided tours last around 30 minutes, and there are special programs for children looking to find out more about the rich history of this place. The entrance is free for children under 5, older children pay $1, and parents $3.5
  • The Mapparium – This specific attraction is a part of the Mary Baker Eddy Library, and it is available for a view on a tour only. These tours don’t last long, and there is a new one every 20 minutes, so it is not something that is going to take too much of your time. The stained-glass globe will take you back to 1935 at a reasonable fee. Children younger than 6 have free admission, others pay $4, and adults pay $6.
  • Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) – How could we skip one of the most important art temples in New England? This is not just about paintings; it offers so much more, including various programs for children and parents. Tickets for adults are $25. Children under 6 are free of charge, and for youth (7-17), the standard fare is $10, but on weekends they have a free entrance and after 3 PM on workdays.
  • Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum – We finish our list with one of the B-town’s hidden gems. This unique venue is set in a 15th-century Venetian-style palace with a beautiful inner courtyard, a setting so unique you might think you’re somewhere in Italy for a second. Here you’ll find paintings, sculptures, tapestry, manuscripts, furniture, and many other works of art while admiring the stunning architecture of this palace. The entrance is free for people under 18, as well as for anyone with a name Isabella, or if you come here on the day of your birthday. Students pay $5, adults, $15, and seniors $12.
From arts, science, and history, to some not so typical museums, join one of many tours and find out something exciting about B-town's history.

Spending a Day at the Public Park and Enjoying Outdoor Activities

B-town is great for outdoorsy families who enjoy walks around the river, having picnics, or just playing outside. If you’re moving with pets, you’ll be happy to hear that two of the most beautiful parks, Charles River Esplanade and The Public Garden, welcome leashed dogs and their owners.

Get Away From City Center Crowds and Spend an Afternoon in a Park

It is impossible to go through all green areas and parks in B-town, which is why we curated a brief list of our favorite ones. Let’s take a look at the map to see which one is in your neighborhood.

  • Fort Warren on Georges Island – a 2-16 mile walkway, loads of green areas, BBQ spots, and even a small beach are good enough reasons to visit this beautiful Castle Island, accessible by car.
  • The Lawn on D – This playground features LED illuminated swings, music, interactive art installations, and it is often home to many events.
  • Armenian Heritage Park – Get lost around the labyrinth maze and enjoy gardens, tree-lined promenades, swing benches, and get a snack from one of many food trucks nearby.
  • Boston Common – The oldest public park in the nation is the perfect place for all types of outdoor activities, from playing football, frisbee, or just laying under the sun, reading a book, or having a picnic. Options are endless.
  • The Public Garden – This is the first public botanical garden in the US, and therefore it is incredibly well-maintained. Here you’ll find lush greenery and even some tropical plants.
Get away from the hustle and bustle of the center and enjoy a peaceful afternoon in one of Boston's many parks.

Playgrounds in B-Town Worth Visiting

For those days when your child yearns to go to the playground, it is good to know that there is a variety of them around B-town. They don’t all have the same features, so when children get bored with one, you can just take them to another and discover a whole new world.

  • Martin’s Park & Playground
  • Thomas Menino
  • Alexander Kemp Playground
  • Christopher Columbus Waterfront
  • North Point Park & Splash Pad
  • Auburndale Cove
  • Bates Playground
  • Charles Bank Playground & Spray Deck
Numerous playgrounds in every neighborhood are easily accessible from any street, so your children can always socialize, play, and meet friends.

Kid-Friendly Restaurants

Going to a cafe or a restaurant with children can quickly turn into a nightmare, not just for parents but for everyone sitting around them, especially while they’re young. If you want to avoid any inconvenience and perhaps embarrassing situations, focus on places that are known for being kid-friendly and have special menus for them, here are only some of them:

  • The Independent, 75 Union Square
  • The Kirkland Tap & Trotter, 425 Washington St
  • Brewer’s Fork, 7 Moulton St
  • Granary Tavern, 170 Milk St
  • Max Brenner, 745 Boylston St

Kid-Friendly Hotels

In case you are relocating somewhere deeper in the metro area, but you want to spend a weekend in the heart of B-town and explore all its kid-friendly venues, consider your accommodation and transportation options. In case auto transport was not a part of your plans, and you’ll have to rely on public transportation, then seize the weekend and stay at least two full days in one of these hotels:

  • Colonnade Hotel – kid and pet-friendly
  • Omni Parker House – close to all attractions and offers special programs for children
  • Midtown Hotel – very budget-friendly
Visit one of many kid-friendly restaurants and don't worry about a thing.

The Best Free Things to Do in Boston With Children

Having children and trying to fulfill all of their wishes can be expensive. Forget about spending money on romantic things to do in Boston if you’re moving in with your partner and offspring. It is never just an entrance ticket for something; you’ll have to buy them popcorns or ice cream along the way, and they’re always thirsty or hungry. All in all, an eventful day can end up costing a lot. However, you can still spend some quality time together without spending too much, or nothing at all. Many museums offer free entrance on specific dates so make sure to check that as well, and take a look at some of our suggestions for completely free activities:

  • Take a walk down the Freedom Trail
  • Climb to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument
  • Spend a day at the beach and enjoy the view
  • Go stargazing on clear Wednesday evenings at the Observatory
  • Stroll around the Harborwalk
  • Go cycling on a kid-friendly bike trail
  • Stroll around the historic Beacon Hill neighborhood
  • Go on a free tour around the State House, weekdays from 10 am to 3:30 pm

How to Have a Smooth Transition Between the Old and New House When Relocating as a Family

Preparing your children for a long-distance relocation is not easy, even when you’re going to such a cool area. Dedicate some time to them and hire someone else to handle all the moving services and help with packing. Finding reliable Boston cross-country movers will help you carry out a stress-free moving, and with children around, that’s all you need. You don’t have to worry about how to find best-sized boxes or how to pack kitchen items. Hiring expert movers near you will save the day.

Tips for Relocating With Children

  • Don’t leave them in the dark, make them feel like their opinion matters
  • Include them in the process and let them pack some of their toys
  • Point out the benefits and all the things for kids to do in Boston
  • Get them excited about decorating their bedroom and play area
  • Organize a party to say bye to friends
  • Give them some time to adjust and fall in love with their future hometown
Make sure your children are all on board for this relocation.

Share the Story About B-Town’s Attractions

All these and many more, including shopping around the famous Quincy Market, or visiting one of many local farmer markets are the best things to do in Boston with kids. We hope we gave you enough ideas, but there is still more to discover, so don’t hesitate to share your experiences and hidden gems with others. Without a doubt, it is safe to say that there is always something going on. So if you are wondering, what is there to do in Boston this weekend for kids? We are sure that the answers you find won’t leave you disappointed.

Written By: Jane Davis