For families searching for their next trip that combines entertainment and education for the kids, then Boston is your pick. As one of the oldest cities in the country, Boston has a rich history and culture, with a range of activities to keep both adults and children engaged.
The Best Family-Friendly Activities in Boston
From museums dedicated to art and science to parks of historical significance offering outdoor fun, there’s something for everyone. To help you and your family plan your next outing, we’ve compiled a list of Boston’s ten best family-friendly activities in Boston.
Explore the Boston Children’s Museum
Featuring three floors of hands-on exhibitions and a variety of programs for kids of all ages, especially those interested in science, the Boston Children’s Museum is a must for families.
It has something for everyone, from art, music activities and science exhibits, including a STEAM Lab, to play spaces.
Apart from its regular displays, the museum also hosts special events and activities throughout the year, giving kids something new each time they visit.
Visit the New England Aquarium
Home to thousands of aquatic animals, the New England Aquarium is the ideal destination for families interested in marine life.
Kids can get up close and personal with Atlantic Stingrays through the Shark and Ray Touch Tank and make their way around the four-story Giant Ocean Tank, home to the star attraction Myrtle, the green sea turtle.
Not only is there a wide variety of aquatic life to explore, but the aquarium also offers several unique activities, such as inside-the-exhibit animal encounters where families can meet the aquarium’s trainers.
Walk the Freedom Trail
Families interested in blending fun with learning can explore Boston’s Freedom Trail that winds through the heart of the city.
The 2.5-mile path allows families the chance to visit 16 historical sites important to the American Revolution, from the Old South Meeting House, where the Boston Tea Party began to the home owned by legendary patriot Paul Revere.
Plenty of tours and guides are available for families wanting to learn more, but for those who wish to go it alone, the Freedom Trail is marked with a red line making it easy to follow. Visitors can also explore Boston’s famous architecture and landmarks, such as the Old North Church, Boston’s oldest church, and the Bunker Hill Monument.
Catch a Red Sox Game at Fenway Park
Sports-loving families can’t take a trip to Boston without visiting the famous Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox. Built in 1912, the park is the country’s oldest Major League Baseball ballpark and is sure to offer families an unforgettable experience.
Families can catch a ball game and take a one-hour guided walking tour to check out the amazing view from the legendary Green Monster while learning all about the park’s historic moments.
Fenway Park isn’t just for games, though; during the summer, it hosts concerts, and there’s even the odd winter sporting event. The park’s location also makes it ideal for visitors to combine a game with other activities in East Fenway that offer active nightlife and rich cultural experiences, such as the House of Blues Boston and Symphony Hall.
Ride the Swan Boats in the Public Garden
One of Boston’s oldest traditions, the Swan Boats in the Public Garden, has glided across the pond since 1877. Although the leisurely ride lasts around 12 to 15 minutes, it offers visitors the perfect tranquil experience in the middle of a busy city.
Apart from the serene ride, the iconic swan-shaped boats, which remain powered by their pedals, give visitors a sight of the beautiful flowers and sculptures throughout the Public Garden and the occasional Mallard Ducks and Swans.
Families can also stroll through the garden, which is the ideal spot for a picnic.
Visit the Museum of Science
The Museum of Science offers permanent, temporary, and featured exhibits, so visitors will never have the same experience twice.
The permanent exhibitions feature everything from dinosaurs to nanotechnology, while the museum offers new traveling exhibits each season. With live demonstrations and a planetarium, the museum provides a mix of fun and education for all ages.
There are also special events and exhibits throughout the year, such as the Garden Walk and Insect Zoo containing carnivorous plants and various insects.
Enjoy the Boston Common
The Boston Common distinguishes itself as the oldest public park in the country, having been founded in 1634. Steeped in history and significance for the American Revolution, the park is an excellent place for families to enjoy the outdoors.
The park is also home to the Boston Common Frog Pond, which serves as a spray pool in summer and an ice-skating rink in winter.
Fans of the classic children’s book, “Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey, will enjoy Nancy Schön’s famous statues that pay tribute to the book, with the Mrs. Mallard statue sitting at 38 inches high so kids can pose for photographs with her.
Explore the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Home to one of the finest art museums in the country, Boston offers art lovers a taste of an impressive collection of artwork from around the world. Not only does the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum contain over 7,500 paintings and 3,000 rare books spanning different centuries, but the museum has a fascinating history, including an infamous art heist.
Families can explore three floors divided into rooms containing artwork, textiles, ceramics, and books, such as the Spanish Cloister, Raphael Room, and Gothic Room.
But it’s not just the eye-catching artwork; visitors are often amazed by the Venetian-style palace and stunning architecture, as well as the beautiful courtyard and gardens. Apart from the artwork, the museum also hosts special events and concerts throughout the year.
Take a Whale-Watching Tour
One of the best family-friendly activities in Boston that will guarantee an unforgettable experience is whale watching.
Boston is home to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, a marine sanctuary that all but guarantees whale sightings for visitors who embark on a tour.
Visitors are treated to sights of majestic whales such as humpback, finback, and minke whales and can also see other marine animals like dolphins in the 800-square-mile protected area.
Visit the Harvard Museum of Natural History
A great destination for families who love science and nature is the Harvard Museum of Natural History in nearby Cambridge. One of four Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, the Museum of Natural History boasts a collection that includes thousands of specimens, dinosaur fossils, minerals, and rare animals.
Kids will love the interactive exhibits, such as the touchable specimens and the impressive Great Mammal Hall that displays full-sized skeletons of mammals suspended from the ceiling.
Conversely, adults will appreciate the museum’s extensive research and educational programs, including the exhibition on climate change and the immersive experience of “In Search of Thoreau’s Flowers.”
Best Family-Friendly Activities in Boston in Summary
Boston is a fantastic destination offering families lots of fun activities, from museums to parks, and experiences the kids won’t soon forget, such as whale-watching and touring Fenway Park.
The city has something for everyone, whether you’re a history buff, a sports fan, an art enthusiast, or a nature lover. So make Boston your next family destination and discover everything it has to offer!