10 Fun Things to Do in Boston with Kids
Boston, the history-packed City on a Hill, is one of America's most vibrant cities. From the sports to the seafood to the breweries to the numerous testaments to the Founding Fathers, there's certainly no shortage of fun things to do in Boston. But what about kids activities? Can you really find enough to do that'll satisfy the whole family? Our answer is a resounding yes—you shouldn't let the city's equally intellectual and tough reputation stop you from having a memorable family vacation. Instead, just let us be your guide. We've put together a list of our favorite fun things to do in Boston that'll have you and the young 'uns grinning.
1. Freedom Trail
An obvious choice? Yes, but an essential one at that. At just 2.5 miles long, it's totally manageable for the whole family. Though if the kids are really little, you might consider breaking the trek up over a couple of days. Along with passing historic landmarks, such as Boston Common and the Paul Revere House, you'll also take in the beauty of the city's hilly neighborhoods and harbor-front views. Want to get a little more out of it? Try booking a tour, like this one, where a family of four can follow an expert guide for just $27.
Don't miss: The Granary Burying Ground, a 17th-century cemetery that houses the headstones of famous revolutionaries, such as Samuel Adams and John Hancock
Grab a snack: Try a Boston cream pie at Parker's Restaurant to give kids a taste of the classic dessert at the hotel that invented it.
Like the Freedom Trail, the Boston Children's Museum is a real must-do with obvious kid appeal. The second oldest children's museum in the world, it houses exhibits exploring science, art, and cultures from around the world. There are, of course, plenty of interactive exhibits, too, allowing kids to play as they learn.
Don't miss: Explore•a•Saurus, an exhibit that highlights the scientific process and the joy of discovery while teaching little ones about the prehistoric world—oh, and there's an animatronic dilophosaurus, too!
Got teens in tow? Head to the Museum of Science instead, where they'll get a lot more out of the exhibits.
Pro Tip: Make museum hopping easier with the Boston Explorer Pass (from $72), which gets you into up to five activities or museums.
3. Blue Hills Reservation
Break things up a bit from all the city life by heading out to this slice of the great outdoors. Spanning some 7,000 acres with 125 miles of hiking trails ripe for exploring, the whole family can get a breather from the chaotic urban bustle.
Can't miss hike: Chickatawbut, where kids will delight in scrambling over rocks or picking blueberries in the summer before getting a great view of the Boston skyline
Grab a snack: Pack a picnic lunch and head to Houghton's Pond Recreation Area for scenic lakeside views.
This might be the sweetest entry on our list in more ways than one: the 70-year-old bakery is famous for its tasty variety of cannolis. In the heart of Boston's Little Italy, it's also in a charming neighborhood that's perfect for strolling around or grabbing a fresh bowl of pasta for lunch. Just make room for dessert at Mike's.
Best cannoli flavor: Espresso for the grownups (fans compare the taste to a creamy latte) and Oreo—yes, Oreo—for the kiddos
Insider tips: Bring cash, because Mike's doesn't take cards, and if it's nice out, skip the crowded café seats and walk around the corner to Paul Revere Mall to enjoy your snacks.
5. Boston Public Garden
Just when you think there couldn't be any more beautiful green spaces in town, there's Boston Public Garden. The first public botanical garden in America, it's also one of the finest. As you walk among the birch and maple trees, keep an eye out for Romeo and Juliet, the park's resident swans.
Don't miss: The Make Way for Ducklings sculpture, an ode to the famous children's book, is near Charles and Beacon Streets.
In the winter: Grab a pair of skates and go ice skating on the pond when it's frozen over.
6. Fenway Park
The oldest park in Major League Baseball, Fenway holds a special place in many fans' hearts, and seeing a game there is a one-of-a-kind experience. Whether you're a Red Sox fan or not, a visit is a great way to expeience some Boston culture that allows you to kick your feet up for a bit and relax. Make seeing a game even less of a hassle by grabbing a deal for a game for two (from $49).
What to eat: A lobster roll, of course, from Yankee Lobster
Get an autograph: An hour before the game starts, one player will be in the designated autograph alley; head out early for the chance to get something signed.
7. Visit Salem
Salem provides another opportunity to get away from the city, but to experience a witchy wonderland instead of the great outdoors. The Witch Trials of 1692 and 1693 made the town famous, and there are plenty of spooky monuments from that time period. If you or your teens are lit buffs, you'll also love swinging by the House of Seven Gables, which was made famous by Nathaniel Hawthorne's book of the same name.
Don't miss: A guided tour of the town, like this one from Wicked Salem Tours, where a family of four can get the inside scoop on the town's history for just $35
Best time to visit: October, of course, when the spookiness factor is upped significantly and special events are hosted
No matter how old your kids are, they're sure to be blown away by the magnificent display of nature on a whale-watching tour. Boston's probably not the first place you'd think of for such a tour, but many guaratee sightings all season long and offer a free tour on another day if you don't spot anything! You can even save 44% off or more by picking up a deal like this one from Capt. Bill & Sons Whale Watch.
What you'll see: Humpback whales, leatherback turtles, and even giant sunfish
Best time to go: Any time between April and October
9. USS Constitution
Why settle for just museums when you can get the truly interactive and immersive experience of touring the USS Constitution? The three-masted frigate was used in the War of 1812, and visitors can go aboard the ship and get a real feel for what it was like to be a sailor more than 200 years ago. A museum and learning center are nearby to provide additional info, making for an informational and well-rounded experience.
Don't miss: The Arms and Armament section of the museum, where you can see 18th- and 19th-century swords and muskets up close
Insider tip: As of late summer 2017, the ship has completed a major restoration, making viewing the newly refurbished vessel a must
10. The Old State House
Another historic building, but it's one that shouldn't be skipped. Kids will love seeing muskets used during the Revolutionary War and artifacts like a velvet coat once owned by John Hancock himself. The Old State House can be found along the Freedom Trail, but if you want to go inside, you'll need to pay admission. Save big with this deal for up to 50% off entry for two or four.
Don't miss: Taking a guided tour to get the absolute most out of your experience
Insider tip: Kids under the age of 18 can get in for free!