Boston may be having a tough winter, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add Boston to your must-go list, especially with so many free family activities. Take a look at 20 free and fantastic things to do with kids in Boston.
Things to Do With Kids in Boston
1. Make Way for Ducklings. Yup, make way. It’s a must to snap a pic with your brood posing atop the bronze duckling sculptures from the popular children’s book, Make Way for Ducklings. You’ll find them in the Boston Public Garden.
2. Watch World-Famous Street Performers. Head to Faneuil Hall Marketplace for a variety of street performers ranging from jugglers to magicians to acrobats. All performances are free, but leave a tip when the hat comes around if the act was especially good.
3. Walk the Freedom Trail. No visit to Boston is complete without a walk along the Freedom Trail to check out a few or all 16 historically-significant sites, including the Boston Common and the site of the Boston Massacre. Just look for the red-lined route.
4. Picnic at the Boston Public Library. Pack a lunch and cop a squat or find a table in the courtyard of the Boston Public Library, one of the most lovely spaces in all of Boston. In the summer, enjoy a free one-hour concert with music ranging from classical to jazz.
5. Play on the Playgrounds. The availability of public playgrounds in Boston is fantastic. A fan favorite is the TADpole Playground at the Boston Common. Climb on the frog sculptures throughout the playground and look for a summer reading series once school lets out.
6. Stroll the Farmers Market. It’s easy to find farmers markets worth exploring across Boston. Chat with vendors, pick up some fresh produce and look for fruits and vegetables grown locally, like apples and peaches. The Copley Square Farmers Market opens for the season in mid-May.
7. Climb the Tower at Mount Auburn Cemetery. For fantastic views of Cambridge and Boston, climb to the top of Washington Tower at Mount Auburn Cemetery and soak it all in. Enjoy a self-guided one- to two-mile walk around the first garden cemetery in the United States.
8. Watch the Seals Swim and Play. Just outside the New England Aquarium is a 42,000-gallon harbor seal exhibit. You can watch the seals swim, sleep and play. As a bonus, a few times each day the seals interact with aquarium staff during training sessions.
9. Take a Tour of the USS Constitution. Climb aboard the USS Constitution in Charlestowne for a free tour given by a naval ensign. Then, step next door to explore exhibits at the USS Constitution Museum. Entrance to the museum is by donation.
10. Go on a Public Art Walk. Thanks to the Boston Art Commission, you’ll find temporary and permanent artwork in neighborhoods all across the city. Download a printable map and take a Public Art Walk to check out up to 100 works of art.
11. Splash in the Frog Pond. Bring your little ones to cool off in the fountains at the Frog Pond in the Boston Common starting in late-June. As a bonus, look for free summer yoga sessions that meet weekly in the park, too.
12. Play Wildlife Bingo at the Arnold Arboretum. The Arnold Arboretum offers a variety of free activities, like wildlife bingo and photo scavenger hunts, to help children learn about nature. Check out a Living Museum or Science Lab discovery pack for activities to do around the Arboretum.
13. Take a Tour of the State House. Guided tours of the State House are given weekdays year-round between 10 am and 3 pm. These free tours last 30-45 minutes and highlight the history and architecture of the State Capitol building.
14. Climb the Bunker Hill Monument. The site of the first major battle of the American Revolution, Bunker Hill Monument stands 221 feet tall and is open daily for those who want to take in the views from the tippy top.
15. Observe the Starry Night Sky Through Telescopes. On Wednesday evenings throughout the year, the Coit Observatory at Boston University invites visitors to observe the night sky through telescopes and binoculars. This one-hour program offers a great way to learn about astronomy.
16. Walk Along Newbury Street. Take a walk down fashionable Newbury Street for boutiques, restaurants, specialty shops and salons. When the weather is warm, grab a bite, or even just an ice cream, at one of many restaurants with outdoor seating.
17. Be Entertained by Even More Street Performers. Faneuil Hall isn’t the only place to go for street performers. Harvard Square also boasts street performers, as well as free summer concerts. Be sure to hit the college bookstore for some Harvard gear before you leave the square.
18. Enjoy Free Entry Days (Nights) at Local Museums. Many museums across the city have a free entry day or night. Many more offer free children’s admission every day. At the Museum of Fine Arts, for example, children get in free daily after 3 pm, while all patrons are free Wednesdays after 4 pm.
19. See the Most Famous Steeple in America. Head to Old North Church in the North End to see where two lanterns were lit and displayed to let townspeople know the British were coming by sea. Hear a short presentation on the church and the lantern story before exploring on your own.
20. Take a Campus Tour. Both Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology offer daily guided tours of their campuses. What a fun way to learn about the history of each campus and the state of each school today.
Before you go, check out this virtual tour of Boston courtesy of FlipKey. Have fun!
What are your favorite things to do with kids in Boston?
Photo Credit: Diego Maia