If you are headed to New England for a family vacation, there are so many things to do in Boston with kids! As a place where we have lived for many years, I can say that not only is Boston a great place for families. But there are so many unique Boston activities for kids.
Boston is very good for families and it is a great place to visit year-round, whether you are on a fall or summer road trip or looking for a great winter destination. Even if you are here just for a day or for work, it is well worth planning a Boston itinerary because it is such a unique city.
Truth be told, I am an adopted local, having lived in Beantown on and off for 20+ years. Now that we live here with kids, these are the 15 best things to do with kids in Boston, tried and kid-approved, your kids will love!
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Why Visit Boston With Kids
Many people stumble upon Boston when they come for work or to look at schools.
This is exactly how I was introduced to the city in 4th grade. My parents had a conference in Boston and brought us along for the trip, and I fell in love!
But, it is truly one of New England's treasures, and one must visit place in the United States. There are so many historical treasures in and around Boston that make it a truly unique place. From the best things to do in Plymouth, MA to visiting Salem, stopping in Lexington and Concord, and around the city itself, it is a wonderful place to visit with kids.
One of the best things about downtown Boston is that it is easy to get around, making it one of the best USA weekend trips! You can see and do a lot of things with even young kids in just two or three short days.
We definitely experienced some of the best activities in Boston for kids, so much so that I always dreamed of living here! In fact, there are many amazing things to do in Massachusetts.
But this city is particularly special. In Boston, finding fun things to do with little ones isn't hard because it is a very family-friendly city. Here's why you should bring kids to this “wicked amazing” city.
Boston is fascinating and historical and is home to where the first shots of the Revolutionary War took place. This is what ultimately led to the United States becoming a country.
In addition to the historical sites and activities in Boston proper, the towns of Lexington, Salem, and Plymouth are not far. Kids can learn more about the American Revolution, the Salem Witch Trials, and the arrival of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower, and the first Thanksgiving. Opening your children's eyes to history is one of the best kids' activities in Boston for kids because it will bring their history books to life!
Boston's historical and educational sites have so many activities to do with kids in Boston for homeschooling families or to supplement school. Or, just for them to learn about the importance of this great city.
Being in the United States, it is located in one of the best countries in the world for education. Plus, Boston is known for being one of the best cities in the world for education, as home to over 80 colleges and universities. So naturally, it's very educational for kids.
Boston is a beautiful city. In addition to its quintessential architecture and distinct neighborhoods, it is on the ocean (the Boston Harbor, as it is known.) There are also many nearby beaches and maritime activities kids will love! And, during New England fall foliage season, Boston needs to be on your itinerary!
With its top-tier universities and medical institutions, many people come from around the world to live, work, and study in the Boston area. It has quite a diverse and international community. It also has wonderful museums and cultural events, including live music like the Boston Pops!
Boston also has a unique local culture of its own. So many of Boston's neighborhoods, restaurants, and traditions are beloved by its' residents.
And, there are so many unique and cool boutique hotels where you can stay! How about in a former jail or a former firehouse? Now that will make your visit even more fun for kids!
Of course, it is also a big sports town, home to the Red Sox, Bruins, and New England Patriots. The Fenway Park stadium is a fantastic place to experience Americana and a traditional American baseball game. It is definitely a memorable experience and one of the best kids' activities in Boston.
There are many distinct neighborhoods as part of Boston. It is well worth visiting many of them and their signature spots to get a flavor of the city.
And, its location makes it perfect for spectacular weekend getaways from Boston to places throughout New England and even New York City!
A very walkable city, with a good public transportation system (known as the T), Downtown Boston is fairly easy to get around on foot. It is not great for parking – spots are both expensive and hard to find – and driving can be challenging. But walking from neighborhoods is doable for a lot of the signature places in the city.
Plus, there are plenty of activities to do on foot as the Boston Harbor walk, a visit to Christopher Columbus Park along the way, watching airplanes flying in and out of Logan Airport, shopping in downtown Boston, and much more. You'll find that walking is a great to tour Boston.
Easy Day Trips From Boston
It is easy to expand your vacation beyond the city, because there so many easy day trips from Boston to enjoy with kids.
While many people are familiar with Boston's south shore, Cape Cod and the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, there are other really special and unique areas to explore when visiting Boston with kids.
Many of these are seaside towns, sailing and fishing communities, and spots with great beaches. In winter months, you can access amazing ski resorts in Vermont and New Hampshire in under a two hour drive.
The north shore is full of gorgeous towns, artist areas, and a seafaring culture. In fact watching boats go by, shopping, and enjoying seafood are some of the best things to do in Rockport, Massachussetts, one of the most picturesque towns in New England.
There are so many things to do in Boston with kids, and you can really plan an epic vacation to this special city the whole family will love. Here are some of our favorites!
The 20+ Best Activities For Kids In Boston
Now that you know why you should visit Beantown with kids, let's get to the best things to do in Boston with kids. These are my favorites!
Led by guides in historic clothing, the tour guides take on the role of a real historical figure. It is a real walk into history as you learn about important events that led to the American Revolution through fascinating storytelling and taking you to important sites.
This tour is great fun for adults and kids alike, and it should definitely be on your bucket list of the BEST things to do in the USA! It is a great way to learn about America’s fascinating start in an interactive way and see Boston at the same time. And it is always one of the best kids' activities in Boston that I recommend to any family coming to the city!
You will get to see the Old North Church and other significant historical sites along the way. It's a great way to learn about the American Revolution.
If you want to continue your Freedom Trail on a self-guided experience beyond the walking tour, be sure to head over to Charlestown! Here you can also see the Bunker Hill Monument and walk up its 294 steps to the top, which is one of the best free things to do in Boston!
If you head to Charlestown, be sure and dine in the historic Warren Tavern (once visited by George Washington). And leave time to visit USS Constitution (also called “Old Ironsides” in the Charlestown Navy Yard), the oldest commissioned warship in the world that is still afloat!
And, also be sure to stop at the North End, where you will find the Paul Revere house. The North End is walkable from Charlestown.
Check out my review of Boston's Freedom Trail Foundation Walk Into History Tour!
2. Tour the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum
A follow-up experience to The Freedom Trail is the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum, another signature moment that contributed to the Revolutionary War.
This fun spot is great for kids, as they climb aboard an actual ship, with guides in costume and learn about the Boston Tea Party event. My kids love this experience as they learn a lot while stepping back into time in an interactive way. It's like having a history lesson but in a fun way.
3. Faneuil Hall, Charles Street, Boston Common
During the Freedom Trail walking tour, you will get to see Faneuil Hall and the Boston Common. But, if you want to explore these areas a bit more, there is quite a bit to see.
The Hall includes a few historical displays, such as the first printing press, as well as some great souvenir shops. Right next door is Quincy Market, a lively food hall and shopping area. This is a great spot for lunch and some shopping, as well as for the kids to enjoy the myriad of street performers.
Right off the Boston Common is the historic and picturesque Beacon Hill, one of the most iconic neighborhoods of Boston full of beautiful red brick buildings. A stroll on the lovely Charles Street in Beacon Hill is a nice way to spend an afternoon and find a café for an afternoon snack.
The Boston Common is also where you will find the Frog Pond, which in the winter turns into a fabulous outdoor ice skating rink!
Across from the Boston Common is the first Public Botanical Garden, in the heart of the city, where my kids love to see the famous Make Way For The Ducklings statue, based on the beloved children's book. People often dress up Mrs. Mallard and her ducklings for different holidays, an.d it is a great spot for families to visit
This area, the heart of the city, is a lovely spot for enjoying a quiet afternoon or enjoy your snack from Charles Street. And, you are right next to the famed Newbury Street for some additional shopping.
4. Ride The Swan Boats
If you come to the Boston Common, the oldest public park in America, a signature experience (in the warmer months) is to ride the signature Swan Boats in the Public Garden. The only boats of this type, a swan boat ride in the Public Garden is a relaxing and unique experience for visiting Boston that kids love!
5. Watch a Game at Fenway Park
If you have a bit more time and are visiting in the summer or during baseball season, getting to tour the Fenway Park stadium – or even getting to see a game and the Green Monster – is well worth it. Several weekend games are designated as family events, and our kids love the activities they offer for families.
Of course, getting to see a Boston Red Sox game in Fenway Park is pretty cool too! In fact, it is one of the best things to do in America! While you're watching a Boston Red Sox game, definitely try one of their hot dogs, also known as a Fenway Frank, and an ice cream in a mini Red Sox hat! My kids love that part.
As one of America’s most beloved and iconic baseball teams, few things capture Americana in the way that this old-fashioned stadium of Fenway park does. And getting to see a game is a cherished experience, even for Bostonians! You can book your tour of Fenway Park here!
6. Whale Watching
There are a variety of boat tours and harbor activities you can do from the Boston Harbor. But one of the most special is this whale watching tour. Our kids love this experience and getting to see whales breach in the ocean. It is definitely one of the best activities to do with kids in Boston.
7. Boston's Children's Museum
Seen from afar by its signature Hood milk bottle outside, Boston's Children's Museum in the Fort Point Channel (near Seaport District ) is a very fun, three-level interactive museum suitable for kids from toddlers on up. With a large climbing structure in the center, the museum hosts many interactive exhibits and educational hands-on activities themed around exploration.
While it is one of the best Children's Museums and year-round activities for younger kids, there is also a lot there that appeals to older children as well!
Some of the displays are specifically unique to Boston, including their “big dig” area, where kids can discover construction equipment, plus the famous Japanese House.
One of the areas that my kids particularly loved is the Boston Black exhibit. Developed in conjunction with leaders across the city, this exhibit takes kids through a number of Boston neighborhoods. Through interactive experiences that highlight the diversity in Boston's Black community, kids can discover more about the diversity of the people who live in Boston.
Once you see the giant milk bottle, you know you have found the Boston Children's Museum!
If you travel to Boston in the fall, be sure to check out one of the best places to go apple picking in New England!
8. Visit the New England Aquarium
Another favorite spot for kids in Boston is the New England Aquarium. Appropriately located right on the Boston Harbor, guests are greeted before they enter the building by sea friends in the Atlantic Harbour Seals exhibit. Upon entering, kids can touch rays and sharks, see penguins, meet more seals and sea lions, and discover the sea life and Caribbean coral reef in a variety of aquariums throughout the building.
The Giant Ocean Tank in the center of the building is a draw to watch and observe as you ascend to the next level. My kids always love spending time watching to see if they can catch a variety of favorite fish, sea turtles, and sea creatures go by! The tank is home to dozens of Caribbean reef animals, including rays, eels, barracuda, and 40-year-old resident Myrtle, the green sea turtle.
9. Visit North End of Boston For Dinner
One of our family's favorite things to do is to stroll around and enjoy a meal in Boston's North End. This area is home to Boston's “Little Italy”, and where you find authentic and delicious Italian restaurants of all sorts. A favorite restaurant of ours for family dining is Mi Familia Giorgio.
You will also discover Italian markets selling high-quality products – many of which are imported – and Italian bakeries and cafes. It is also where Paul Revere's home is located and part of the Freedom Trail will take you through this quaint and quintessential neighborhood very special to this city. To enjoy your experience, even more, you can book this North End Food walking tour.
10. Stop At Mike's Pastry for a Cannoli
While on the northside, after dinner, Mike's Pastry is a must-visit for a famous cannoli. Don't be alarmed when you see the massive crowd inside. This place is famous, and tourists come from all over to try it and get a box of sweets in one of the signature white and blue boxes.
Mike's Pastry is always well-staffed and used to quickly moving customers along, so you won't have to wait long before delighting in one of these incredible treats! Note that it is cash only.
11. Take a Day Trip To The Beach Or Cape Cod
Cape Cod is often listed as having some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and a beach day can be had on a day trip from Boston (about an hour or two drive, depending on where on the cape you land.) You can also take this ferry from Boston to Provincetown and walk around this picturesque town.
For a shorter drive from Boston, consider one of the North Shore beaches near Gloucester, Ipswich, or Newburyport. These beaches often close access once the parking lots fill up, so be sure to arrive early.
You could also take a day trip to Martha's Vineyard if you plan ahead.
12. Go on a Day Trip To Salem, Massachusetts
A great day trip, and another option for a fun historical outing in the Boston area, is a day trip to Salem, Massachusetts. While very popular during Halloween, Salem has much to offer other times of the year too!
Known for the historic Salem Witch Trials, this quaint oceanside town has a fascinating Salem Witch Museum my kids truly enjoyed. There are many historic spots in Salem, including a variety of daily historic and nighttime ghostly tours!
It is also quite picturesque with many shops and restaurants. It's a great New England town to explore, and ones kids will love! To make planning easier, make sure that you buy this Ferry Ticket from Bostom to Salem in advance.
13. Take a Day Trip To Plymouth, Massachusetts
About 45 minutes south of Boston in another quintessential New England seaside town of Plymouth. It is home to Plymouth Rock, a reproduction of the Mayflower Ship (called the Mayflower II), and Plimoth Patuxet (formerly Plimoth Plantation), one of best kid-friendly activities in the area.
Families can step into history as you learn about the Pilgrims who landed in America as you explore the Mayflower II, the ship which brought the pilgrims to the American colonies. You can also visit Plymouth Rock, which is where the ship first made landfall.
One of the most fun and educational things to do is visit Plimoth Patuxet, where you will enjoy the experiential site. My kids loved visiting the historic English village with guides in character. It is the site where one of America’s most beloved holidays was born – Thanksgiving.
You can also meet real descendants of the Wampanoag people, who can discuss their ancestors' way of life from a modern perspective. Note that these guides are real members of the Wampanoag community and not actors (unlike the characters in the English Village), so it is important to respect their culture and heritage.
Visiting Plymouth on your trip to Boston is a fantastic activity for the whole family. If you don't want to plan the day trip on your own, you can book this guided day trip from Boston to Plymouth.
14. Ghosts and Gravestones Trolly Tour
One of my favorite fun things to do in the evening in Boston with kids is the Ghost and Gravestones Trolley tour for anyone who likes ghost stories. After boarding the haunted trolly, ghostly guides dressed in historically haunted clothing, lead families on a frightfully good time of tales of history and the ghost stories that accompany it.
In a place like Boston, a city with so much history and many fascinating stories, it is a great evening activity to enjoy with kids.
15. Take a Boston Duck Tour
A great way to tour Boston and get an overview of the city is on a Boston Duck Tour. These World War II amphibious vehicles travel on land and water, giving you a great way to see all that downtown Boston has to offer.
Kids can learn a lot about Beantown as your Duck Boat tours past famous landmarks and historical sites, narrated by the driver. It is also one of the best ways to get a ride on The Charles River, one of the most memorable highlights of the experience! My kids' favorite part is getting a chance to “drive” the boat on the river, which is why it's one of the best family-friendly attractions.
16. Go on the High-Speed Codzilla
If you're traveling with older kids, then this is one of the things to experience in Boston. Being the only high-speed boat ride in Boston, you'll be able to enjoy a thrilling ride on the water while spotting some famous attractions.
It's an awesome way to cool off on a hot summer day, have plenty of fun, and be splashed while cruising at almost 40 miles per hour. Young kids may find the speed boat scary, but if you're with teenagers who enjoy thrilling rides, then this is one of the best ways to have family fun in Boston.
Since it's the only high-speed boat ride in Boston, I recommend booking in advance to be assured of a spot. You can easily book online from here.
17. Visit the Boston Public Library
There is no doubt that the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a library is books, but Boston Public Library offers much more than that. While you'll be able to browse different books, you'll also be able to admire its architectural grandeur, murals, impressive interior, and expansive courtyard.
As adults enjoy every piece of decor and statues, kids will fall in love with the Maps room, where their creativity will shine through. The puzzle room is equally impressive, an activity both kids and adults can enjoy, making a visit to the Boston Public Library one of the fun family things to do in Boston.
18. Take a Boston Segway Tour
One of the fun things to do in Boston for families is to go on a segway guided tour. This will give your kids a different perspective of the city while learning about its history — something they wouldn't be keen to do except on segway. Even a non-history buff would be excited about it.
The only downside is that younger kids can't participate, as one has to be 14 years and older to ride on a segway, but it's still one of our favorite family-friendly attractions.
There are various Boston segway tours to choose from, but regardless of what you opt for, you'll have a great time, as this is one of the cool things to do in Boston with the entire family. Both parents and children alike will enjoy visiting the city's historic sites in a cool way.
19. Visit the Labyrinth at Armenia Heritage Park
There is no shortage of things to do in Boston with children and participating in Labyrinth at Armenia Heritage Park is one of them. The park is teeming with kid-friendly activities, but one that stands out is the Labyrinth which highlights life's journey.
If your kids are competitive in nature, they may end up competing to see who gets out of the “maze” first.
Besides the maze or white stone circles on the ground, there are other things to do in the Armenian Heritage park. From relaxing at the water fountains and chilling in the gardens to grabbing a bite from the food trucks.
20. Thomas Menino Park and Playground
Regardless of where you travel to, a playground will always be one of the kids' favorite places to go to, and Thomas Menino Park and Playground is no exception since it's one of the many great places in Boston for family fun.
This is the perfect place to go if you're feeling a bit tired, but the kids still want to have fun. Kids can play around, jump on various structures while you enjoy the adjacent views of the harbor, or head to the vantage points to enjoy the great views of the Boston skyline.
More Things To Do in Boston With Kids
If you have more time in Boston, we suggest adding these activities to your list of things to do with kids in Boston.
- Visit Boston Public Garden if your kids are fans of the “Make way for ducklings” book. They love the swan boat ride that floats around the lagoon in the Boston Public Garden.
- The Boston Public Garden is also one of the green spaces you shouldn't miss in the city
- Visit Mugar Omni theater for an exciting experience.
- Go to the Christian Science Plaza to enjoy the reflecting pool and a children's fountain. You can find the Christian Science Center at the junction between Massachusetts Avenue and Huntington Avenue
- Enjoy various activities at Castle Island. Castle Island is one of the prettiest shoreline parks in Boston.
- Learn about Boston history at Fort Warren on Georges Island. Fort Warren was built in 1833 to protect Boston and took two decades to complete.
- Explore Rose Kennedy Greenway; do not miss the murals at Dewey Park near South Station, plus its signature red Adirondack chairs. There are lots of fun things to see on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, and there's always something going on.
- Visit the Children's Library
- Take a tour for free at Fort Independence. Fort Independence is one of the oldest fortified sites in North America, and it's worth seeing, especially since it's a free activity.
- See the Stainglass Globe at the Mapparium, at the Mary Baker Eddy Library
- Take a day trip to Boston Harbor Islands by boarding a ferry from Atlantic Wharf
- Book a Boston Harbor Cruise – There are many different ones. This is the cruise I recommend booking.
- Explore Charles River Esplanade; enjoy the stunning water views of the river plus those of Harvard University. You can also rent kayaks, canoes, and sailboats from Community Boating and sail along the Charles River or even grab a bite at Owl’s Nest beer garden. Kids will enjoy playing in the small spray park during the summer months and the other fun events here.
- Visit the Museum of Science; kids will love the interactive playground at Science in the park, looking at the indoor lightning bolts, and you bet they'll be mesmerized by the musical staircase called Soundstair. The Museum of Science is no doubt one of the best places to visit in Boston with children.
- Enjoy the fascinating exhibits at the Harvard Museum of Natural History
- Relax on Carson Beach in South Boston during the summer months
- Go for a New England Aquarium Whale Watching tour which departs from Central Wharf. Kids will be happy to know that this tour comes with a snack bar
- Have fun at Martin's Park & Playground; This playground is dedicated to Martin Richard
- Explore the Seaport district of Boston. This neighborhood has a lot of family-friendly activities in Boston, from museums, and arcade games, to cute overhanging swings. This place offers a number of free things to do in Boston with kids.
- Visit Arnold Arboretum Harvard University; this is another one of the fun Boston family activities.
- Visit The Museum of Fine Art, where both kids and adults can enjoy viewing the art. They also have self-guided and guided tours for families and fun art projects children can do during school vacation weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Boston Good For Families?
Yes, as you can tell by this post, there are so many things to do with children in Boston, and so it is a great place for families. In fact, many families live in and around Boston, often with little ones. So there are great activities for kids of all ages!
What Can Kids Do In Boston In The Winter?
Boston does get a hearty winter, and so there are plenty of things to do with kids in Boston in the winter! Some of our favorite activities include ice skating on the Frog Pond in the Boston Common, seeing a Boston Pops Holiday Performance, watching the Boston Ballet's performance of the Nutcracker, or watching the Blue Man Group show.
Other great, indoor things kids can do in Boston in the winter include:
- The Boston Museum of Science
- The New England Aquarium
- The Legoland Discovery Center. Located in Assembly Row shopping complex, kids will enjoy admiring the miniature Lego Boston and trying the Kingdom Quest Laser Rider at the Legoland Discovery Center.
- The Museum of Fine Arts
- Harvard Museum of Natural History
- The Boston Children's Museum
- Mapparium, at the Mary Baker Eddy Library
- Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
- John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum and Library
- Blue Man Group Show
- USS Constitution Museum (also called “Old Ironsides” in Charlestown Navy Yard) – Kids will love touring the USS Constitution and experiencing a sailor's life firsthand.
- Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown (also on the Freedom Trail)
- Old State House
- Paul Revere House (in the North End). You can take a guided tour here.
- Old North Church; this church houses the city's tallest steeple
- Old Town Trolley Tour – The best sightseeing tours of Boston are the Old Town Trolley Tours.
- Franklin Park Zoo – Now operated by Zoo New England, adults and children alike will enjoy seeing exotic animals on top of the farm animals at the Franklin Park Zoo.
Is Boston A Good Place To Take Kids and Toddlers?
Yes, with all of the activities on this list, I can say Boston is a great place to take kids! It is educational, historic, and interesting. Not only is Boston a good place to take kids for vacation, but it is also great for homeschooling families! And Boston is good for toddlers.
There are lots of playgrounds around the city toddlers will love, including in Boston Common, the Back Bay, and Harvard Square!
Toddlers love the Boston Children's Museum, the Make Way For the Ducklings Statues, the Swan Boats, and the New England Aquarium. Those are just some of the best things to do in Boston for toddlers.
What Is There To Do at Night in Boston With kids?
While there are so many family-friendly things to do in Boston during the day, the night also presents several activities if your kids are up for it. Some of our favorite things to do in Boston with kids at night include;
- Museum of Fine Arts during the MFA Late nights special events
- Boston Museum of Science on Fridays
- Catching a beautiful sunset on this Sunset Cruise
- Enjoying the stunning city views from the Skywalk Observatory Boston
- New England Aquarium
- Stargazing at Coit Observatory
- Faneuil Hall Marketplace
- Exploring Boston’s Children Museum
What Can Families Do at Night in Boston?
Just like in the previous section, there are so many family-friendly activities to do in Boston at night! But if you need more suggestions, below are some more ideas of things to do in Boston at night as a family.
- Outdoor movie watching in various parks especially in summer
- Climbing at Brooklyn Boulders Somerville
- LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston
The Last Thought About The Best Things To Do In Boston With Kids
Boston is a wonderful place to put on your family bucket list. Not only will you enjoy a beautiful and walkable city, but you will also learn a lot about American history. It is a fantastic and vibrant place to visit with kids.