Exploring Boston with Kids
For a few days over Spring Break this year, I packed up the kids and drove them north to soak in some sightseeing, shopping, tasty food and even a little history in Boston, Massachusetts. It’s a very walkable city and my 9 and 12-year-old did fine on foot all day, but there is no way we would have been able to cover the ground we did if the 5-year-old wasn’t cruising in her chariot for some of it. Here’s our short list of what to see in Boston while you’re visiting.
Here are a few of our favorite stops around the city and a few that we are looking forward to on our next trip to The City on a Hill.
There is a new Courtyard Marriott that just opened in downtown Boston. In my experience, these properties are usually very family friendly and budget friendly.
Their lobby is open and full of seating. A perfect spot to escape the hotel room, but still be able to wear your slippers. After exploring the city all day, you could head back to the hotel and bring down a board game, take out pizza and a bottle of wine for mom and dad. Sounds like a perfect way to end the day to me!
If you’re looking for a quick counter service meal with fresh, local food, the Boston Public Market is perfect. We stopped in to wander around and found all sorts of yummy treats. The kids loved getting free samples of the fudge and ordering their favorites for later. Coffee, nuts, bagels, ice cream, apple cider donuts, soups, sandwiches, honey, teas, the list goes on and on. Check out the vendor map here
The market is open Monday through Saturday from 8 am to 8 pm. And 10 am to 6 pm on Sundays. This would also be a great place to snag a quick dinner and eat it back in the comfy lobby of your hotel. It is all indoors, so depending on what time of year you are visiting, it’s a nice place to wander and escape the elements outside.
We continued on foot toward the waterfront and passed by the New England Holocaust Memorial. It’s a beautiful memorial about a horrible time in history. There are six towers that symbolize the six million Jewish victims who were killed during the Holocaust. Etched in the glass panels of the memorial are the millions of numbers that were assigned to the prisoners who entered one of the concentration camps. Quotes from survivors and details about the Holocaust are located on the inside of the towers. It’s open and accessible to the public 24 hours a day.
We wandered over to Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market next. It’s a collection of shops, restaurants, street performers and of course history. Faneuil Hall was built back in 1742 to house the city’s merchants. As England continued to impose taxes on the colonists, Faneuil Hall became an important meeting place for the Sons of Liberty, a secret society to help protect the rights of the colonists. It was the Sons of Liberty who organized the infamous Boston Tea Party. In 1826 it expanded to include Quincy Market to house the growing number of merchants in Boston. You can learn a little more about the history of Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market here.
Today, Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market house a number of different shops and quick service restaurants that are perfect for lunch or dinner and a little piano practice 😉
It’s open Monday – Thursday 10 am – 7 pm, Friday – Saturday 10 am – 9 pm and Sunday Noon – 6 pm. Larger restaurant hours may vary and holiday hours might vary as well so I would double check the website before you head out. The kids love wandering around the market and soaking up the sunshine.
In the warmer months, the Greenway Carousel would be a fun spot to take a break from exploring and affordably log some more smiles to the trip. It’s located a short walk from Faneuil Hall Marketplace, right next to the waterfront and Christopher Columbus Park. It is usually open on the weekends starting late March or early April and then daily from April until the beginning of October. It continues to be open weekends until January. Tickets are only $3 each and you can pay by cash or credit card whooot! You might want to double check the calendar for opening times and dates before promising a ride to the little ones 😉
We visited during the week in March so unfortunately the carousel wasn’t up and running yet, but the kids were excited when they found a waterfront playground in Christopher Columbus Park.
Sandpit, little zip line, slides, climbing and a bench for mommy to sit and enjoy – sold! I always love when we come across little gems like this on our adventures.
Benches line the park so you can sit and take in the gorgeous view.
I’ve decided that we need to visit again when it’s a bit warmer to take full advantage of some of the amazing parks that Boston has to offer. There are a few parks in downtown Boston that have water features where the kids can cool off for a bit from late May through mid-October. North End Park, Armenian Heritage Park, Wharf District Parks and Chinatown Park all have fountains. A lot of these parks also have food trucks available during the week.
Because I’m obsessed with hotels, we popped into the Boston Marriott Long Wharf located on the waterfront, minutes away from Fanueil Hall, the North End, and the Freedom Trail. It has a gorgeous lobby and would be perfect for hosting a group event or if you’re able to snag a good room rate to bring the family. The location is perfect.
Based on a good friend and local Bostonian’s recommendation, we visited the original Regina Pizzeria for lunch. There are a few different locations, one of them being back at Fanueil Hall, but we hit the original location in the North End of Boston. It’s a tiny little restaurant and it can get pretty crowded during peak tourist season so if you go early or late, you’ll have a better shot at getting a table right away. It was delicious. Seriously, ya’ll are going to have to stay for a few days just to eat your way around the city. There are so many delicious restaurants to choose from. Just walk around the North End and the smell of Italian food pulls you in every direction.
If you’re coming to Boston, you need to hop on the Freedom Trail. Both of our boys are currently learning about the American Revolution and they were so excited to see a lot of what they’re learning about in school.
It’s a 2.5 mile marked trail along downtown Boston featuring different historical sites along the way such as churches, meeting grounds, statues and more that all help tell a piece of the story of the American Revolution.
The kids loved following the trail and finding the next stop along the trail and the best part… it’s FREE 😉
Giacomo’s is a tiny little Italian restaurant in the North End that usually has a line out the door. The line moves surprisingly fast for such a small restaurant. We only waited about half an hour before getting a table. They only accept cash and do not offer a kids’ menu, but it was well worth it. We ended splitting a couple of entrees between us and loved all of it.
After dinner, we headed over to Mike’s Pastry for dessert. There are so many options and you seriously can’t go wrong, BUT you will need to try the cannoli.
We also heard from our local Boston buddies that Modern Pastry and Bova’s Bakery are both also very good and might not be as busy as Mike’s. I have decided that next time we are in Boston we will be conducting a taste test that will require us to test out multiple delicious treats from each location 🙂
We should have stayed in the city longer. There were so many other museums, restaurants, and parks we didn’t get to visit. We lucked out with wonderful weather, but if bad weather strikes during your visit, you should definitely check out the Boston Museum of Science in Cambridge or the New England Aquarium.
If you are visiting Boston soon, make sure to pack your sneakers and stretchy pants my friends. Until next time Boston!!