Boston is a great family city with something to entertain frogs of all ages. If you are visiting Boston with kids — that would be tadpoles for Mommy Frog and me — you are in store for a great trip! Boston is rich in history, culture, sports and just plain fun. With so much do, it’s best to plan your trip to “Beantown,” aka “The Hub of the Universe,” by considering some tips for visiting Boston with kids to get you off to a great start.
Tips for Visiting Boston with Kids
Tackling Transportation While Visiting Boston with Kids
Boston is a condensed big city. This is definitely one of those places where you can walk around, use public transportation and don’t necessarily need a car. In fact, Boston is known as “America’s Walking City,” but you can also get around by subway, bus, boat, trolley car, commuter rail and even bicycle. Here are a few tips for visiting Boston with kids in relation to transportation around the area.
In Private Cars
Whether you are renting or riding in private cars while visiting Boston with kids, it’s a good idea to know the seatbelt and car seat laws, as they may differ from the laws in your state. All drivers and passengers who are 13 and older must wear seatbelts. Children must ride in child safety seats until they are 8 years old or over 57 inches tall. Children older than 8 or taller than 57 inches must wear safety belts
In Taxi Cabs and Hired Cars
If you will be taking a taxi in Boston with children, you'll need a car seat or booster for any child under 8 or shorter than 57 inches. You can order a ride with an appropriate infant seat, regular car seat or booster. If you get caught using a taxi or other car or van without a car seat, you (not the driver) could be fined $25 for each passenger who is not properly restrained.
On Buses, Trains or the T
The Massachusetts Bay Transpiration Authority (MBTA) offers affordable transportation via subway, bus, commuter rail and ferry. You do not require car seats for your tadpoles when travelling by these methods.
Boston Logan International Airport is Boston’s main airport. There are several ways to get to and from the airport. The MBTA has Blue Line Subway and Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit service to downtown Boston; these are the most affordable options. The Silver line is FREE to the South Station Rail and bus terminal and has a free connection to the Red Line downtown Boston and other locations, as well. The Silver Line has a drop-off and pick up area in front of each airport terminal. The Blue Line subway will connect you to the Orange Line and get you to downtown Boston and surrounding areas. There is even a commuter boat option!
It can be difficult traveling with little ones and luggage, so you can always arrange a ride with a taxi cab company or through Uber or Lyft (be sure to order a car seat if needed). These options will cost more than other forms of transportation, but it can make your life a lot easier than managing strollers, luggage and travel-weary tadpoles on buses and trains.
Prepare for the Weather When Visiting Boston with Kids
Depending on the season of your trip, you may need to prepare for weather when you visit Boston with kids. You’ll find the most pleasant weather June through October, with highs in the 70s and 80s in the summer and 60s and 70s in the fall. In the summer, you can head out to Cape Cod for beautiful beaches, but that is a vacation in itself! November through February can be quite cold and even snowy, so you’ll need warm winter clothes in those months. Springtime is beautiful, but the average temperature can range from the 30s to 60s, so wear layers and check the weather for your visit so you are prepared for whatever comes your way. You may be interested in packing an umbrella or raincoat.
Read Up Before Visiting Boston with Kids
Before we visit a new city, we love to read books about the city or that take place there. It helps the tadpoles make connections and get excited for seeing their stories come to life. Read your young children "Make Way for Ducklings," which is set in Boston Public Garden. Then, when you visit the garden, it will be like jumping into the story, especially when your tadpoles encounter the bronze statue of the ducklings! Elementary school readers may enjoy "Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events" or the "Clementine" books, which happen to take place in Boston. Middle school and high school readers can immerse themselves in some revolutionary historical fiction through "Johnny Tremain," which takes place in Boston during the 1700s. If you have sports fans and are planning a trip to Fenway Park for your first Boston Red Sox game, your young reader may enjoy reading “86 Years: The Legend of the Boston Red Sox,” by Melinda Boroson, before the game.
Fun Activities to Do in Boston
Visit Historical Sites
One of the best times for visiting Boston with kids is just after the kids have finished a unit on the American Revolution in school. History buffs will no doubt love the two and a half miles of the Freedom Trail. Put on your walking shoes before you begin the journey, where a well-marked path will guide you past the city’s most historical sites, such as Faneuil Hall Marketplace and the Paul Revere House. You can take a self-guided tour or a guided tour, which can offer a lot more insightful information and background than taking the walk on your own (plus, your guide may be dressed for the occasion in historical garb)!
As amphibians, we frogs love exploring cities by both land and water, so the tadpoles are especially excited about the Boston Duck Tours. The amphibious WWII vehicles can help you get your bearings by driving on land to show you all of the important landmarks in the city via streets, and then make a splash right into the Charles River for views of the Boston and Cambridge skylines.
Another avian water boat adventure is the Swan Boats. The same family has run the business and has preserved the tradition since the 1870s. The Swan Boat ride is a short 12- to 15-minute ride during the warmer months of the year — usually mid-April to mid-September. The driver pedals you around the Public Garden Lagoon on a catamaran with a giant swan on the back. There is usually a short wait and the price is affordable.
Enjoy the Parks
When the weather is nice, there are many beautiful parks in Boston. Boston Common is a central public park in downtown Boston at the southern end of the Freedom Trail. It’s the oldest city park in the United States! You can also wade in the Frog Pond in in the summer and go ice-skating in the winter. We can’t help feeling at home at the Frog Pond, no matter what season it is! The Public Garden is perfect for a leisurely stroll amongst flowers in warmer months while you watch the Swan Boats sail by. The Charles River Esplanade offers miles of shoreline with grassy banks and running paths. You can rent kayaks or sailboats on the water. The Boston Public Library may not be a park, but its beautiful courtyard with sculptures and a fountain makes it a great place to have lunch (there’s a café there).
If you are visiting Boston with kids, you don’t want to miss some of Boston’s amazing museums. The newly renovated Boston Children’s Museum has something for every kid, from an art studio to bubbles, dinosaurs, tools in a workshop, places to run and climb ... and so much more. It makes a perfect rainy day indoor activity.
The Boston Tea Party Museum and boat replica is right next door to the Children’s Museum. History will come to life as your kids learn about The Tea Act, the Sons of Liberty and the Committees of Correspondence. The John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum is located in Boston and you may also enjoy the New England Aquarium and the Museum of Fine Arts.
Dig Up Some Local Eats
Boston offers a lot of tasty seafood, clam chowder, fish and chips, lobster, clams and baked beans. They don’t call it “Beantown” for nothing! You’ll want to sample some of the local tastes while you are there. You can even get a kick out of ordering a McLobster sandwich during the summertime months in Massachusetts. Other Frog Family favorites include pizza at Figs and Georgetown Cupcake on Newbury Street.
See a Sports Game
Boston has many teams popular with sports fans. Depending on the season, you may be able to catch a Celtics game, a Red Sox Game at historic Fenway Park in the city or head out to Foxborough, Massachusetts to see the New England Patriots.
Be Street Smart When Visiting Boston with Kids
Boston is a pretty safe city, but it always pays to be smart and vigilant when traveling to any major city.
- Hold hands.
- Look both ways when crossing the street.
- Use a crosswalk — no jaywalking!
- Do not assume cars will stop for you, even if you have the walk signal.
- Discuss a plan in case you become separated.
- Note your hotel address — you can pick up a business card when you check in.
- Keep valuables in a safe. Do not carry money or ID in a backpack.
- Ask for directions if you are not sure where to go.
- Know which subway or bus line and stop to take before you board.
- Stay in well-populated areas at night such as Quincy Market, Back Bay and The North End.
- Just use your street smarts, keep valuables and cell phones safely stowed and out of sight and keep the kids close to you whether you are on the street or using public transportation.
Kid-Friendly Boston Hotels
When visiting Boston with kids, you’ll want to pick a kid-friendly hotel near your must-see attractions. Undercover Tourist is now booking discount hotel rooms in Boston! You can get a jump on saving money on your family-friendly hotel. Here are a few suggestions for hotels in great locations:
- The Boston Marriott Long Wharf is on the waterfront, offering great views and an indoor pool. This location has easy access to the Boston Children’s Museum, the aquarium, Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market.
- The luxurious Four Seasons Hotel overlooks the Public Garden and Beacon Hill caters to families with children by offering toys upon arrival, kid-sized robes, a free cookie-making class, and late night snacks on Saturday nights. They have an indoor pool, complete with pool toys.
- The stylish Colonnade Boston Hotel is located close to public transportation as well as Fenway Park, Copley Plaza and Public Garden. Tadpoles will love the views from the floor to ceiling windows in each room and splashing in the rooftop pool.
Boston makes a great family vacation no matter how old your tadpoles are. With these tips for visiting Boston with kids, you’ll be off to a great start!
Have tips for visiting Boston with kids? Please share them with us in the comment section below.
Related: Top Things To Do in Boston with Kids