Boston, USA :
Boston, Massachussetts – The Ultimate Guide with Kids
Boston is a city rich with natural beauty and historical and cultural significance. There are many things to do in Boston with kids. Read on and find out what they are..
Getting to Boston:
Boston is on the East Coast of the United States in the state of Massachussetts. Boston Logan Airport (IATA: BOS) is the main gateway to the city and New England region. Many major carriers fly directly into Boston from Europe whilst most flights from Asia will require at least one connection. Within the US, Boston is easily accessible via plane and by car, train, (Amtrak)or bus, particularly if you are in the eastern part of the country.
Getting Around Boston:
Driving around Boston is not necessarily recommended for tourists as the streets are not on a grid or particularly easy to navigate. Parking also tends to be difficult. Boston, however, is meant to be a very walkable city with excellent public transportation. The Boston "T" (subway) serves major areas of the metropolitan well. Taxis are available but are expensive.
Where to Stay in Boston with Kids
Boston is known for its distinct neighborhoods, all with their own assets to consider when choosing accommodation. You can’t go wrong with anything in the downtown or North End districts, as you’ll be within walking distance of great family dining, the New England Aquarium and Boston Children’s Museum, and the Freedom Trail, and steps from several T stops as well.
I recommend Marriott’s Custom House, where guests not only learn about the history of the city, but sleep in it, too. The location can’t be beat: the Custom House is just half a block from Faneuil Hall in one direction, the harbor in another, and the Old State House on the Freedom Trail route in yet another. If you don’t want to be in the center of the action, Boston’s Back Bay is a great choice (I’d recommend using a vacation rental site such as HomeAway to find an affordable family option).
Things to Do in Boston with Kids
Boston has a variety of great fair weather and rainy day options. While the sun is shining, take the kids on the famed Freedom Trail, which starts in the Boston Common (an easy T ride from downtown and accessible by car) and winds its way 2.5 miles through the city on an easy-to-follow red brick trail. Guided tours are available, but I recommend the self-guided option with young kids; the visitor’s information booth in the Commons has maps and guidebooks on-hand for just this purpose. The trail is free, but you’ll want to enter a few of the historical sites (which are approximately $3-5 for entry). The trail ends at Bunker Hill, but kids may become distracted at the second-to-last stop, the U.S.S. Constitution (otherwise known as Old Ironsides). It’s free to enter the ship (though wait times exist for the below-deck tours).
A trip on a Boston Duck Tour is another must-do, as a great overview of the city while families are highly entertained. This tour, aboard a bus-turned-boat, takes visitors around the city then straight into the Charles River, where ‘conDUCKtors’ allow kids a turn at the helm.
If the weather turns inclement, head to the New England Aquarium, which is small enough to be manageable with young kids but large enough to be first rate. Make sure to start with the new sting ray and shark tank, where kids can touch the marine life (if they dare!). A short walk across the bay from the aquarium is the Boston Children’s Museum, a three story kid-mecca of climbing equipment, exploratory Boston city scenes, and exhibits.
Definitely no dearth of things to do in Boston with kids.
Dining with Kids in Boston
If you’re staying downtown or en route on the Freedom Trail, a great place to take kids to eat is Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market, where row after row of food vendors line the interior hallways. A fun, busy atmosphere, there’s something for everyone at Faneuil Hall, plus great shopping! Nearby is the Black Rose, where pub fare meets family fare (and should you have a babysitter on-hand, this restaurant turns into a full bar after 10 pm).
Shopping in Boston with Kids
Faneuil Hall is a complete network of boutique and national brand shops where kids will be entertained, and the Back Bay has plenty of upscale shopping for the adults.
Things to Avoid in Boston with Kids
Boston is a highly visitor-friendly city. Common sense precautions are all that’s necessary; take cabs instead of the T late at night, and use your hotel’s safety deposit boxes to store valuables and jewelry.
General Tips on Travel to Boston with Kids
- Boston is a pedestrian-friendly city; it’s even easy to get over the harbor bridges on foot.
- Cab fare is more expensive than in some other Eastern Seaboard cities, so opt for the user-friendly Boston T when navigating the city.
- Pack a bag with plenty of water and sunscreen when setting out to walk the Freedom Trail
- Boston gets humid in the summer months, and you can become sunburned or dehydrated without even realizing it!
- If your kids are national and historical park stamp collectors, remember to stop at the historical sites with your national park passports or even a piece of scrap paper; all of them are on the registry!
Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids, a family travel resource covering kid-friendly resorts, attractions, outdoor adventures, and all the pit stops you'll need along the way. She also writes for a number of print and online travel publications, and is a family travel expert at Best Family Travel Advice. She lives in Oregon with her husband and three sons, where they enjoy backyard adventures when they're not traveling.
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