Heading to Boston? Whether you’re planning a holiday or a long-term move to then the My City (with kids!) series is a great place to start. These guests posts are all about interviewing local family travel bloggers to find out all about their hometown. This week it’s the turn of Keri Baugh, a wife, mom of three and a family travel blogger at Bon Voyage With Kids who is sharing the inside scoop on the best things to do in Boston, MA (with kids!)
My husband and I first moved to Boston, Massachusetts over twenty years ago, after falling in love with the city on our first visit.
One of the oldest cities in America (a relative term, as the United States is not as old as Europe), Boston is very historically significant, as it is where key events that led up to the American Revolution took place. This is what led the formation of the United States.
Boston is a very walkable city located right on the ocean. It is also very international and is home to some of the world’s top universities and hospitals.
It is also a great place for families to live and visit. We have lived here with our three children, ages 11, 7 and 7, since they were born, with a year abroad to England in the middle.
Things to do in Boston with kids
What we love about Boston is that it is a remarkably interesting city, with so much history. Its location on the ocean makes it ideal for summer visits to the beach on nearby Cape Cod or to the local islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Part of the New England states, it is also close to the sought-after ski resorts of Vermont and New Hampshire, giving us the best of all the four distinct seasons.
With Boston’s history, variety of activities, and fantastic location, it is ideal for a family vacation.
Best Family Activity to do in Boston
One of our favorite family activities is to go on The Freedom Trail Foundation’s Walk Into History tour. Led by a guide in historic clothing, who takes on the role of a historical figure, you walk parts of The Freedom Trail and learn about the key events that led to the American Revolution. It is really interesting for school aged children and adults alike.
Another favorite spot for kids is the Boston Tea Party ship and museum. Located on an actual ship, it is fun and unique way to learn about the infamous Boston Tea Party, one of the other signature events leading to the American Revolution.
Best Places to visit in Boston
Just a bit of a drive outside of the city, but well worth visiting if you come to Boston, are Plymouth Plantation and the town of Salem, Massachusetts.
Plymouth Plantation is another kid-friendly experience into history, as you learn about the pilgrims who landed on Plymouth Rock. Their village is set up with guides in character who describe to you the life and struggles of the pilgrims. They remain in character, so it is like you have traveled in time to speak to the pilgrims themselves! It is the site of where one of America’s most significant holidays originated, Thanksgiving. You can also meet descendants of the Wampanoag people, who can discuss their way of life.
Salem, Massachusetts is the site of the historic Salem Witch Trials. There is a fascinating museum there, although this town is really exciting around Halloween.
My Kids Favorite Outing in Boston
Our kids love going on the ocean and one of their favorite experiences has been a whale watching tour. Because Boston is on the harbour, taking a whale watching tour from Boston Harbour is easy to do and a great family experience if you visit during the summer and fall months. Boston is known for its seafood, so after catching a glimpse of the breaching whales off the coast of Massachusetts, you can head to Legal Seafoods for a delicious meal (located right where the boats dock.)
Most Iconic Sites to see in Boston
The most iconic sites to see in Boston are the Make Way For The Ducklings statue, based off the children’s picture book, or to take a ride on the Swan Boats.
Both are located in the Public Garden in the heart of the city. This area is a lovely spot for enjoying a quiet afternoon, and you are right near some of Boston’s most famous addresses of Charles Street and Newbury Street for some shopping.
Boston is amazing all seasons of the year, but if you come in the summer, our favorite iconic thing to do is to catch a Red Sox game in Fenway Park. One of America’s most beloved baseball teams, few things capture Americana in the way that an old-fashioned baseball stadium like Fenway park does. It is also extremely kid-friendly.
Best Bad Weather Outing in Boston
On a bad weather day, Boston’s Children’s Museum is a great way for kids to explore, burn energy, and learn a few things about Boston. The New England Aquarium is also a fun indoor experience worth visiting (and right near the Legal Seafoods.)
Best Free Things To Do in Boston with kids
The best free outing in Boston is to visit Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. Not only is this lively area quintessential Boston architecture, it is full of entertainment for kids to enjoy. Many street performers put on acts for passersby and there are plenty of shops to browse.
Inside Faneuil Hall, there are a few historic demonstrations that are interesting for kids. And, Quincy Market is an extended food hall that is a feast for the senses. It is a very entertaining way to spend part of the day. You are also in walking distance to Boston Common, which has a free playground and a Frog Pond for looking and is a great place for a picnic lunch.
Insider Tip for visiting Boston with kids
One of my favorite insider tips of something unique to do in Boston with kids is the Ghost and Gravestones Trolley tour, for anyone who likes ghost stories. Dressed in historically haunted clothing, the guide leads 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 many fascinating stories, this is the ideal setting for enjoying a haunted history tour like this one.
Best Family-Friendly Restaurant in Boston
No visit to Boston is complete without a meal in the North End. The historic Italian district of the city, it is full of incredible Italian restaurants and a very lively place to visit. La Famiglia Giorgio on Salem Street is our family’s favorite restaurant. But do get there early, as they don’t take reservations.
Afterward a cannoli from Mike’s Pastry is a must. Don’t be alarmed by the crowd. This bakery is used to it and is well staffed and organized to help the line move quickly, but trust me, it is so worth it! Our kids love the chocolate covered cannoli the best (be advised, it is a cash only bakery.)
Getting Around With Kids in Boston
Getting around with kids is best done by foot, public transportation or ridesharing. A tip about Boston is that driving a car is tricky. Not only are the streets very confusing, but Boston drivers have some of their own nuances. Parking is also difficult and expensive. So, if you can take public transportation, walk (it is very walkable), or ride-shares, I recommend it over driving.
Best Family Friendly Places To Stay in Boston
Staying in Boston can be expensive, but there are several hotels right along the Charles River in Cambridge. Cambridge is right next door to Boston, and depending on where you stay, you can find public transportation easily into the city. There are hotels right in the Harvard and Central Square areas, which would be suitable for families.
For a unique hotel right in the city, the Liberty Hotel is one to explore. A former prison turned hotel, it is thematic but tasteful, and right in the heart of the city. The Marriott Residence Inn in Charlestown is also a great choice for families, and walkable to the North End. If you want to be right in the city, the Park Plaza, Fairmont Copley, Marriott Copley and Sheraton are all in the Back Bay. Though centrally located, these hotels will be very expensive.
Boston is a wonderful place to put on your family bucket list. Not only will you enjoy beautiful and walkable city, you will learn a lot about American history. It is fantastic and vibrant place to visit with kids.
Top 5 Things to do with kids in Boston
1. The Freedom Trail Foundation’s Walk Into History Tour
2. A Boston Red Sox Game
3. Whale Watching Tour
4. Ghost and Gravestone’s Tour
5. Cannoli From Mike’s Pastry
About the Author
Keri is a wife, mom of three and a family travel blogger at Bon Voyage With Kids. She has lived abroad three times, is a former Disney Cast Member, worked for an educational travel company, and traveled regularly before kids and with her kids. She loves to inspire families to enjoy the journey of traveling with kids and to experience destinations, not just visit them. She also loves finding ways to inspire learning about other cultures and countries when not traveling. In addition to traveling, Keri loves skiing, scuba diving, yoga, baking, and sewing.