30+ fun things to do in Boston with kids

Family and JaneyDuring our recent trip to Boston, we covered a whole lot of ground each day. We’re not lazy travelers, and we’re encouraging our kids to travel at the same pace we do. For the most part, they are amazing travelers, but we do take into account their interests when planning our trip to include attractions they most want to see. This makes it so they are as invested as we are in seeing all that we can so they can cross off their must-do list. Boston Baby and Mama 2If you’re working on a Boston list with your child, here are some great Boston destinations, activities, and ideas for exploring that kids will love. We’ve added links wherever possible to make it even easier for you to plan your trip.

30+ fun things to do in Boston with kids:

  1. Let them wander – Boston proper is almost completely walkable, and that makes it easy to let kids be your guide. Have them guide you along historic areas, or have them duck down alleys to find random fun sites that are off the main trails. Boston Alley
  2. Boston Children’s Museum – located right on the pier, Boston Children’s Museum is 100 years old this year and it houses hours of fun for kids of all ages. From kid-sized grocery stores to miniature construction sites and whole rooms where you can build towers as tall as yourself, as well as learning opportunities at every turn, Boston Children’s Museum was one of the biggest hits of our recent trip. Boston Childrens Museum 2
  3. Freedom Trail – there’s a reason why Boston’s famous 2.5 mile Freedom Trail has inspired works of art, literary pieces, and taught generations of visitors and residents all about the great town of Boston. It’s easy to follow, is completely self-guided {unless you pay for a tour}, and it’s a ton of fun for all ages. Boston Freedom Trail sidewalk marker
  4. National Parks Junior Ranger Program – the Freedom Trail is part of the National Parks System and they have a Junior Ranger program that kids can participate in. Simply pick up a Junior Ranger guidebook at Faneuil Hall or download it here and then get passport stamps as you explore. When you’re done, just bring back your guidebook with completed activities and stamps to be sworn in as a Boston Junior Ranger and receive a badge.  Junior Ranger program
  5. Faneuil Hall – right on Boston’s Freedom Trail is the Faneuil Hall Marketplace with shops, food, and a statue of Samuel Adams.  Boston city skyline
  6. Visit Bunker Hill – visit the grounds of the first major battle of the American Revolutionary War, see the monument, and check out the Bunker Hill Museum. Admission is free, and a great way to learn about this important chapter in American history. Boston Freedom Trail
  7. Boston Public Library – beautiful architecture combined with activities and fun for kids makes the Boston Public Library a must-do. Be sure to ask about discount passes available at the library for city attractions as well as their reading programs for kids.  Boston Library
  8. Explore a college campus – you can pretend you’re entering Harvard, MIT, or any number of Boston’s 60 (!!) colleges and universities. Enjoy the old architecture and help your child imagine entering in as a freshman someday. Girls skipping down Harvard steps
  9. Boston Harbor Islands this National and State Park is a short ferry ride away and great area to explore, hike, and camp with kids. Boston Harbor Islands even has numerous kids programs, including their own Junior Ranger program and other learning opportunities for kids. Three kids on Anchor
  10. Boston Common – enjoy 44 acres of green space right in the heart of the city. Many of our public transportation excursions let us out in Boston Common because it’s such close proximity to just about everything downtown. You might see horses ridden by park rangers, see shows in the park, or witness parades and marches, but even if you don’t, you will still sees tons of families enjoying the rolling hills and waterways in Boston CommonBoston Park
  11. Frog Pond – also at Boston Common is a little area called Frog Pond. In the summer, it’s a wading and splash pool for little ones, and in the winter it’s an ice skating rink. Bubs in Boston
  12. New England Aquarium – a giant glass tank spiraled by a multilevel walkway is the main draw at this waterfront attraction, and The New England Aquarium is a great way to wile away a rainy or cold day. 
  13. Boston’s Museum of Science – visit the Gilliland Observatory and stargaze for free every Friday night {weather permitting} with Boston’s Museum of Science‘s personnel. You can also visit during business hours and have fun while learning about science. Baby in Boston
  14. Quincy Market – full of rich history as well as packed with indoor and outdoor shops, food choices and more, Quincy Market is a historic market complex near Faneuil Hall and an awesome destination year-round. Quincy Market
  15. Travel like a local – Boston is fun by car, but the real fun happens when you slow down and experience Boston as a local. That means riding the T {their subway} and catching a bus ride or two, as well as walking just about everywhere to take in all the sights. Let your children count the stops to your destination, predict when trains or buses will arrive, and give them a compass to help them learn how to navigate to their favorite Boston attractions. Lily with compass
  16. Hang out with the ducks – Boston Common is great, but there’s also a great little Public Garden across Charles Street that is home to the Make Way For Ducklings statues. This will always be known as “The Duck Park” to us thanks to my niece. Boston park with ducks
  17. Greenway Carousel – my kids love carousels {or as they call them, “carous wheels”}, but it turns out that they even love them when they aren’t running. We didn’t realize the Greenway carousel was seasonal and only ran Friday-Sunday, so we missed our opportunity to ride it. That didn’t stop us from visiting the carousel after Faneuil Market during the week when some workers were doing maintenance and talking them into letting us sit on the fun carousel animals. Three kids on carousel
  18. Boston Common Carousel – there’s another seasonal carousel in Boston Common park that you should definitely hit up in spring or summer. Check the hours before you go because during off-peak times they have a shorter operating schedule.
  19. Boston bike tours – you can join guide-led bike tours from Urban Adventours or you can rent bikes from them and then explore Boston on your own while enjoying a scenic ride.  Boston building
  20. Re-enact the Boston Tea Party – we got to see some kids re-enacting the Boston Tea Party on the Liberty Clipper, and it was very popular with the kids. Actually seeing someone tossing crates of “tea” into the water really brought home the historical significance of the act. The girls in Boston
  21. Start a nature collection – from foliage you find on the sidewalks to wildflowers and bean pods hanging from trees around town, Boston is an amazing place for nature explorers to gather specimens to inspect and research. Just look how cool these bean pods are that are all over downtown. My daughter collected approximately 500 of these off the ground for her “to science”.Bean tree Boston
  22. Old State House – known as the center of the civic events that sparked the American Revolution. Less than a decade later, in 1776, the Declaration of Independence was first read to the people of Boston from the Old State House balcony, and the building became home to the newly-formed government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Old state building
  23. Catch a game – you can score tickets to a game at Fenway Park or TD Garden, or you can do Fenway Park tours if it’s in the off-season.
  24. Kings Bowl Boston perfect for rainy days or when little feet are tired of walking, Kings Bowl Boston has 16 bowling lanes, skee ball, and billiards. 
  25. Kid-centered shopping every area of town we visited had some great shops for kids. From candy stores to historical replicas, and shops with learning toys, books, and more, not once did the kids complain about “another store”. Let them help you plan the itinerary and pick a store of their choice at each stop to encourage kids to participate and see sites they want to visit. Shopping in Quincy Market
  26. Learn about Paul Revere’s midnight ride visit Paul Revere’s headstone, monument, house, and museum. Paul Revere Statue
  27. Duck Tours – hop on one of the famous Boston Duck Boats and enjoy a great way to see the city while having a ton of fun.  Boston bridge
  28. Create penny souvenirs – smashed pennies are one of our favorite souvenirs to collect because they are small enough to pack home, fun to find, and they tell the story of your trip once you return. You can find penny smashers in many historic sites and shopping areas in Boston. Boston Building 3
  29. Play photographer – If you child has an instant print camera, like an Instax or a Polaroid Snap, you can pick up a small photo album and let them fill the pages with photos they have taken during their travels. They can also add all the brochures they are sure to grab at monuments and historic sites. Boston cobblestones
  30. USS Constitution – nicknamed “Old Ironsides” during the War of 1812 in a fight with British frigate HMS Guerriere when cannonballs fired at USS Constitution appeared to bounce off, causing one of her crew to remark that her sides were made of iron. See the massive dry docked ship and visit the gift shop where you can find all sorts of fun and interesting souvenirs. Our son especially loved the USS Constitution shop and found most of his trip mementos here. USS Constitution
  31. Franklin Park Zoo – zoos are always a hit, and Franklin Park Zoo is considered the “crown jewel” of Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace Park System. The 72-acre site is nestled in Boston’s historic Franklin Park and home to exotic and native animals. In addition, they also have an all-new children’s zoo for young ones that looks amazing, but I’m kinda in love with Red Pandas, so I might be biased. 
  32. Harvard Square – off the Red Line you will find Harvard Square, which is perfect for exploring with kids. They have some great shops, restaurants, cafes, and some really cool areas that kids will love to explore. Boston Harvard
  33. Explore the North End – it is the oldest residential community in Boston, but there is so much more than neighborhoods to explore. We found the most amazing chocolate shop, called Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop, in Old North where they make candies, chocolate, and cocoa the old fashioned way. Pastry shops with lines that curve around the block, fun little souvenir shops, and gelato is everywhere you look, and it’s great fun for the little ones. Walk through Little Italy to find a delicious meal, and then explore Old North Church. Boston buildings

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