boston with kids

Hang with Colonials on Boston’s Freedom Trail. (Photo: Alamy)


Spill the Tea or Ride a Swan: This Is Boston with Kids

Beneath Boston’s gruff exterior lies the sappy heart of a city that loves its kids. Boston’s most prominent charity, the Jimmy Fund, is named for a young baseball fan and cancer survivor.

The stuffy sounding Public Garden is actually a delight for kids with its swan boat rides and whimsical statue honoring the children’s book “Make Way for Ducklings. Plus, local museums go the extra mile to make learning about science and history interactive and entertaining for children.

Throw in some duck boats and the fact that Boston is a great walking city — its top attraction, the Freedom Trail, is a 2.5-mile stroll through the origin story of the American Revolution — and you’ve got a great destination for a family weekend getaway.

Follow the Freedom Trail

Active families who follow the Freedom Trail from its start on the Boston Common to its endpoint in Charlestown can make stops at historic sites like the Old North Church, the Paul Revere House and the site of the Boston Massacre.

But the trail can also be taken in family-friendly chunks: walking across the Charlestown Bridge from the North End neighborhood to tour the USS Constitution — completed in 1797 and the oldest active commissioned warship in the world — is especially fun for kids.

Fuel up for the walk with a cannoli from Mike’s Pastry: You’ll know you’re close to this North End landmark when you start seeing people toting their signature blue and white boxes down Hanover Street.

Spill the Tea

Young rebels will love the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum in South Boston, an immersive retelling of Boston’s early revolt against English taxation that includes tossing crates of tea from the deck of a boat into Boston Harbor (OK, it’s Fort Point Channel, but close enough).

Just steps away you’ll find the Boston Children’s Museum, which has an outdoor maze, a three-story climbing sculpture, and exhibits and programs designed to stimulate creativity through the arts and hands-on learning.

Refresh and Reflect

The giant Hood milk bottle outside the museum is both a landmark and a snack bar where you can reward the kids before exploring the new Martin’s Park, which honors the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombing with an accessible playground, water-play areas, nature trails and telescopes for stargazing or viewing the waterfront.

For lunch, check out the $6 kids menu at the Granary Tavern on Milk Street, which includes six entrees like mac ‘n’ cheese and chicken tenders, a drink and Hoodsie cups of ice cream for dessert.

Say “Quack”

When they’re not transporting the Patriots or Red Sox on championship parades, Boston’s famous Duck Tours vehicles trundle through the city streets before plunging into the Charles River for narrated tours by land and sea.

Touristy? Sure, but it’s great for kids, and the guides (or “ConDuckTors”) provide an entertaining overview of Boston’s history and culture. Duck boat tours start at two locations, the Museum of Science and the New England Aquarium, both of which belong on your must-do list for a family weekend in Boston.

Get Schooled

The Museum of Science has hundreds of exhibits focused on various aspects of science and technology.

Get the kids involved in hands-on demonstrations of wind power and experiments demonstrating how light and water pressure work, dinosaur fossils and New England wildlife displays, a transportation museum with vintage steam engines, and an IMAX theater and planetarium with daily shows.

Peek Under the Sea

boston with kids
The aquarium is a must-do. (Photo: Getty Images)

Located on the downtown waterfront, the New England Aquarium has a giant ocean tank filled with sharks, tropical fish, rays and live coral; the most famous inhabitant is Myrtle the green sea turtle, who is at least 80 years old and has lived at the aquarium since 1970.

Penguins and seals have their own habitats, and the aquarium also offers daily whale-watching tours from March to November. Admission to both the aquarium and the Museum of Science is included in the Boston CityPass, a decent deal for families.

Batter Up

If your visit to Boston coincides with a Red Sox homestand, get tickets and immerse yourself in the history of Fenway Park in America’s most passionate sports city.

If the team is on the road or it’s the offseason, you can still tour the oldest major league baseball stadium in America, including a walk inside the famous Green Monster.

Where to Stay

Sheraton Boston Hotel; Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel; The Westin Boston Waterfront; Aloft Boston Seaport District; Element Boston Seaport District; W Boston; Boston Marriott Long Wharf; The Ritz-Carlton, Boston; Courtyard by Marriott Boston Downtown; Residence Inn by Marriott Boston Cambridge

Discover more of Boston this summer and get up to 20% off our best available rates.