Boston is the perfect location for a family trip full of activities and non-stop fun! There is never a shortage of kid-friendly museums, attractions, and events in this beautiful, New England city. Find something to enjoy with your little ones any time of year.
The city of Boston provides a more charming city experience with plenty to do, in contrast to the overwhelming size of some other, larger cities. Keep reading to see our list of top things to do in Boston with kids below!
New England Aquarium
Enter the New England Aquarium and be prepared to be greeted by the Boston’s most beloved penguin exhibit! Look to your right and see the 200,000-gallon vertical tank, home to thousands of aquatic species. Look out for divers! This aquarium is full of the wonder of the ocean and includes interactive exhibits like a sting ray touch tank and star fish touch tank. See a show at the IMAX 3D theater and you’ll feel like you’re an ocean-dweller too. Make sure that you arrive early in the day! This will allow you and the kids enough time to enjoy all the exhibits without having to wait in the notoriously long ticket line.
Swan Boat Rides in the Public Garden
The Swan Boats are a historic mainstay in the stunning Public Garden and have been in operation since 1877. Each pontoon boat carries 20 patrons, so getting a group together is always a good time! Expect to wait anywhere from 10-15 minutes for your boat to arrive. Each tour lasts about 12-15 minutes as the driver peddles you around the lake. Kids will enjoy catching sights of turtles, ducks, and real swans! Before you leave the park, check out the adorable Make Way for Ducklings statue that pays homage to the beloved children’s book.
Free Friday Flicks at the Hatch Shell
Friday Flicks at the Hatch Shell is a true Boston tradition that can’t be missed! Find a place on the lawn in front of the Charles River and enjoy games provided by local radio stations with the kids before the movie starts. Movies begin when the sun goes down and are shown every Friday (weather permitting) in the months of June, July, and August. To get more info on what’s showing, call the hotline for the Free Friday Flicks at: 617-787-7200.
Harvard Museum of Natural History
Minerals, mammals, and dinosaur bones, what more can you ask for? The Harvard Museum of Natural History has something for kids of any age! This experience is the perfect size for an easy and manageable day trip. One of Boston’s more quaint museums, there is no rush or crowds when going through the exhibits. Parking can be tricky here, so public transport is recommended. If driving: plan for a Sunday trip when street parking is free and resident permits are not needed.
The Lawn on D
The Lawn on D is located in the Waterfront District and provides an outdoor event experience for the entire family to enjoy. It is free to enter, and visitors are welcome to enjoy the lawn games available like bocce ball, giant Jenga, cornhole, and more. The outdoor event space is best known for its iconic glowing circular swings that light up the location at night. Take a look at the calendar to find out when to catch a live music show or which food trucks and vendors will be available for your visit.
Boston Museum of Science
The Boston Museum of Science offers an interactive and educational experience for kids and adults! The three wings of the museum include the green, blue, and red wings. Each wing provides hands-on learning experiences that rotate frequently. With so much to do, expect to spend the day here! Catch a break mid-day for lunch at the food court with a variety of eating options. Most importantly, be sure to visit the planetarium and view a 4D show! These special portions of the museum are considered hidden gems to frequent guests.
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston
One of the best attractions for kids in Boston is the Legoland Discovery Center. This location is made with kids ages 3-10 in mind and takes about 2-3 hours to complete. The center has indoor rides, building workshops, and insane LEGO statues including a full city of Boston replica made from over 1 million LEGO bricks! Purchasing the Ultimate Package tickets are well worth it as they come with a LEGO lanyard, an activity puzzle, and a LEGO figure for souvenirs! Stop by the gift shop before you leave for special edition LEGO sets you won’t find in stores.
Boston Whale Watching Tours
The Boston Whale Watching Tours are provided by the New England Aquarium and Boston City Cruises. Get ready for a high-speed adventure on whale watch catamarans that reach almost 40 mph! Each experience lasts about 4 hours and is destined to provide sights of not only whales, but dolphins and other ocean critters too! The cruise takes you through Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary as New England Aquarium specialists educate you and the kids on what you’re seeing. Tip: Make sure to dress warm! Even in the summer it can get cold when you’re zooming across the ocean!
Rings Fountain is located on the Greenway in the Wharf District Parks. One of 6 fountains on the Greenway, Rings fountain is a great way to cool off on a hot summer day. 64 nozzles shoot water up into the sky creating various displays to enjoy. Spend a while at this fountain, and if you have time walk down to the Harbor Fog misting public art piece for more fun!
The Boston Common is the oldest public park in the United States. When visiting here you’ll be sure to see many historic monuments, public art installations, and friendly squirrels! A massive playground and play structure is geared for kids ages 5-12. Little ones aren’t forgotten though as the park provides a toddler water spray feature they’ll enjoy for hours. Locals suggest buying parking ahead of time online so you can enter the adjacent parking garage with a quick scan.
Museum of Fine Arts
The MFA is considered one of the best art museums in the world, and an absolute must-visit in Boston. With more than 100 wide-ranging galleries, this massive museum can take some time to get through. Plan to spend your day traveling through rooms of ancient artifacts from around the world, as well as wings for modern art installations. Kids will get a kick out of the famous mummy room: a wing dedicated to various ancient tombs!
Boston Public Library
Not just for local library card holders, the Boston Public Library offers lots to do for visiting families. Enter the historical central branch of the library and take part in an architecture or history tour or see a concert in the gorgeous courtyard behind the library. Daily events and activities are always a good time and include rotating ice cream trucks outside the library.
Mayor Menino Park & Playground
The Mayor Menino Park was created for children 5-12 years old and is entirely inclusive with components and structures to satisfy a huge range of abilities and ages! The idea for the park was to provide a place for outdoor physical therapy, gross motor activity, and a place for wheelchair users to enjoy an adaptive playground experience. Located right next to the harbor, enjoy a picnic on the dock with the family after play or read some story books in the garden cove.
Franklin Park Zoo
Visit the Franklin Park Zoo and prepared to be wowed by the exotic animals and the gorgeous sculptures that cover the grounds. This zoo boasts tons of different animals and exhibits and is the perfect way to spend the day with the kids. Locals rave about the lights show that happens every year in the summer, where dozens of animal sculptures are illuminated as guests walk through. If you’re planning on catching this, buy tickets in advance as they sell out quickly for this popular attraction!
Larz Anderson Auto Museum
The Larz Anderson Auto Museum boasts the United States oldest preserved car collection. This is a must visit for vehicle or motor loving kids! After viewing the collection indoors, head out to the lawn for special events like car shows or even sledding in the winter! Tours last about 45 minutes, and even better, pricing for kids 6-12 is only $5! This location is truly an affordable good time the whole family can enjoy.
Map of Things to Do in Boston with Kids
Frequently Asked Questions about Things to Do in Boston with Kids
What can you do in Boston for free?
Take a free walking tour
Visit the U.S.S. Constitution
Tour the Samuel Adams Brewery
Tour the Boston Public Library
Play at the Lawn on D
Peruse the Boston Public Market
Watch an Outdoor Movie in the Park
Faneuil Hall Marketplace
What can you do in Boston at night with kids?
Boston Night Market
Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum
Boston Chocolate School & Tours
Miracles & Other Deceptions: The Close Up Magic of Paul Gertner
Museum of Science
Boston Children’s Museum
How many days do you need to visit Boston?
You really only need around 3-4 full days to fully explore the city. You can definitely add a few days on to your trip to visit the surrounding areas that are close by!
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