January 20, 2018

Boston with Kids: 8 Family-Friendly Must-Do’s


Our View from the Ferry

Over the summer, we took the kids on a two-week road trip from DC to Boston and back. We ended up spending just three days in Boston, but it’s now one of my most favorite cities. Not only is there so much to see, but it’s so clean and family-friendly. Here are eight must-do’s if you’re planning a trip to Boston with your kids.

Ride on the Ferry: We stayed at the Residence Inn Boston Harbor on Tudor Wharf, which was about a ten-minute walk to the ferry at the Charlestown Navy Yard (where you can see the USS Constitution). We took the short ferry ride each day (just a few dollars each for adults, and kids are free) to Long Wharf in Boston. It drops you off next to the aquarium, and the views of Boston are spectacular.

Touching the Rays at the New England Aquarium

Visit the New England Aquarium: All kids love fish, and the New England Aquarium was a special treat because not only were there fish of all shapes and sizes, but there were also penguins. They were completely adorable and we arrived right at feeding time, which was fun. The four-story, 200,000 gallon Giant Ocean Tank was a real treat too, especially looking down at the fish from the very top.

Eat at Quincy Market: When it’s time to eat, head to Quincy Market for more choices than you’ve ever seen. You’ll either find exactly what you want or you’ll feel completely overwhelmed by the extent of the food court choices (40+ food court stops).

Molly at the Playground Near the Residence Inn

Play on the Playgrounds: I was amazed by the availability of public playgrounds. From where we were staying at the Residence Inn, there were two beautiful playgrounds within a ten-minute walk. One of the playground even had a sprayground, and we probably spent two hours there our final night in town.

Take the Boston Duck Tour: I’ll be honest, at $33 per person ($22 per child), the 80-minute Boston Duck Tours are expensive and definitely a splurge. However, our guide was fabulous. He had lots of great trivia, and even let my daughters steer the boat during the part of the tour when we went from land to water. It was very entertaining, and not your average tour of a city.

The Swan Boats

Take a Ride on the Swan Boats:Enjoy a 15-minute boat ride around the lagoon of the Boston Public Garden on the Swan Boats. The boats are shut down for the season, but starting in April, the crew will be paddling them once again.

Sit on the Make Way for Ducklings Sculpture: Just around the corner from the Swan Boats, it’s a must to have your kids take a picture with the bronze sculpture of the ducks from the children’s book, Make Way for Ducklings, in the Boston Public Garden.

Make Way for Ducklings

Ride the Carousel in the North End: If you stop to eat at Quincy Market, it’s less than a ten-minute walk to the carousel. It’s just $3 per ride, and it was a fun after-dinner activity for the kids. Apparently it’s across from Commercial Street (I can’t remember exactly where it’s located, but Google tells me that this is where it is).

Kate on the Carousel in the North End

Now these are just the things we were able to do in three days. We also went to Cambridge to visit my step-father at Harvard (less than five miles, but a nightmare of a drive) and to the Franklin Park Zoo (about 25 minutes outside the city), but if you’re staying in downtown Boston, the above are musts.

As I mentioned above, we stayed at the Residence Inn Boston Harbor on Tudor Wharf. Not only was it a fabulous place to stay with an even more fabulous breakfast buffet, but all of the rooms are suites, and suites with doors. I know, a novel concept, especially since many suites in hotels don’t have doors. It was nice to be able to sightsee and then take naps in our own spaces.

At the Franklin Park Zoo

We had a two-bedroom suite, which was incredible. The three girls all snuggled up in a king bed, and me and my son slept in another king bed. For this part of the trip, my husband had gone home, and our au pair was with us, who got to sleep on a sleeper sofa in the living area, which was quite comfortable.

We had a refrigerator, stove, sink and even a little dining table, which was nice. We were able to keep milk cold and ice cream frozen, so it was perfect. The Residence Inn in Boston was also in a great location too and within walking distance of so many attractions in the city. I can’t wait to go back.

You may also want to check out this list of 20 free Things to Do With Kids in Boston!

Have you been to Boston? What are a few of your favorite activities to do with your kids while in the city? Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: I received one free night’s stay at the Residence Inn Boston Harbor in Tudor Wharf, and a discounted rate on two additional nights. However, all opinions expressed in this post are my own.


  1. Great post! I would add a trip to the Museum of Fine Arts, Harvard’s Museum of Natural History, the Boston Harbor Islands, a game at Fenway Park, a walk on the Freedom Trail, and a visit to the Arnold Arboretum.

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