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People joining hands and ice-skating on an outside rink. Christian Science Monitor via Ge

The 23 best things to do in Boston with kids, mapped

A seasonally definitive guide to family-friendly fun in the Boston area

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Because of its compact, historic neighborhoods and bucolic New England waterfront, Boston is probably America’s greatest walking city. Similarly pedestrian-friendly cities such as Cambridge surround it, too.

This makes the Boston region especially easy to visit and to navigate with kids, including around the holidays.

Other great metropolitan areas boast world-renowned museums, gorgeous green spaces, and zoos that keep kids coming back again and again. But in Boston and its surrounding region, everything is a bit more doable for families: The top sites are often clustered together or just a short ride away on the city’s subway, buses, and commuter rail.

We’ve mapped 23 of the best kid-friendly activities in the Boston region during wintertime that will please locals and visitors alike. See something we missed? Leave a comment below. And be sure to check the websites and call the phone numbers for any special hours or offers.

Traveling to other cities with your kiddos? Don’t miss Curbed’s maps of the best family activities in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco, New Orleans, Austin, and New York City.

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1. Sky Zone Trampoline Park

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91-B Sprague St
Boston, MA 02136
(857) 345-9693
Visit Website

There’s plenty of padded, bouncy fun to be found in this indoor trampoline park. The prices are pretty reasonable, and walk-ins are welcome. There is also a Sky Zone location in Everett, which is just north of Boston. 

2. Jump On In

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100 Holton St
Boston, MA 02135
(617) 789-5867
Visit Website

The oldest indoor inflatable and jumping facility in New England is full of just that: inflatable structures that can endure the frantic bouncing of several kids at once. Pro tip: Bring or wear socks. No shoes or sneakers allowed. 

A row of kids making funny faces against an inflatable backdrop. Jump On In

3. Harvard Museum of Natural History

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26 Oxford St
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 495-3045
Visit Website

If your future archaeologist loves dinosaurs, rocks, and taxidermied animals, this is the spot.

Pick the galleries that interest your kiddos the most (the Great Mammal Hall and the Vertebrate Paleontology exhibits are always a good place to start), and be on the lookout for storytimes and family-oriented classes.

4. Cambridge Public Library

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449 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 349-4040
Visit Website

The main branch of the Cambridge Public Library has an entire third floor just for kids and adolescents. 

The state-of-the-art building also has a playground and an expansive green space just outside, and it’s down the street from Harvard’s main campus. 

A long rectangular glass building in the middle of a wide field. Wikipedia

5. Museum of Fine Arts

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465 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 267-9300
Visit Website

Parents will love the Museum of Fine Art’s extensive 500,000-piece collection, including an impressive Egyptian exhibit and a stunning number of Impressionist works. But kids can also have a blast here. Grab the MFA Guide: Kids’ Tour, sign your kiddo up for a weekend art class, and be on the lookout for self-guided activities for everyone from toddlers to teens.

6. Franklin Park Zoo

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1 Franklin Park Rd
Boston, MA 02121
(617) 541-5466
Visit Website

We like the Franklin Park Zoo at any time of year, thanks to an interactive children’s zoo, well-maintained grounds, and exhibits that cover all the major animals. Still need to run out some energy? Hit the 10,000-square-foot playground.

A girl looking through glass at a gorilla at a zoo. Boston Globe via Getty Images

7. Franklin Park

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1 Franklin Park Rd
Boston, MA 02121

Come for the natural beauty of this 485-acre Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park, stay for a plethora of playground options sure to please any crowd, even during the colder months. Older kids should head to El Parquecito de Hermandad for rock climbing and a zip line, while younger kids will like the Tiffany Moore playground area. Also: Sledding.

Young people traipsing up a snow-covered hill with sleds and toboggans in hand. Boston Globe via Getty Images

8. The Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library

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200 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 450-7000
Visit Website

Set inside the Mary Baker Eddy Library, the Mapparium is a three-story, stained-glass globe that offers a three-dimensional perspective of the world. Designed by architect Chester Lindsay Churchill and opened in 1935, the map’s historic nature is supplemented by a modern music and light show. Not as interesting for young kids, but a good choice for young teenagers or budding map lovers.

A large colorful glass globe. There are people standing at a desk area within the globe. Photo by John Nordell/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

9. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston

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598 Assembly Row
Somerville, MA 02145
(617) 702-5593
Visit Website

Budding builders shouldn’t miss a stop at Legoland Discovery Center, set in Somerville’s Assembly Row complex. It’s a good choice whenever the weather is too hot or too cold, and kids can marvel at a miniature Lego Boston or play in the climbing-wall area.

A group of people reaching out and up in the stands of a show at Legoland Discovery Center in Boston. Boston Globe via Getty Images

10. Boston Public Library

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700 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 536-5400
Visit Website

Both the Boston Public Library system and the surrounding Minuteman library system for Cambridge, Somerville, et al, offer a ton of storytimes and activities for families. But, if you have to pick just one, head to the Children’s Library at the central library in Boston’s Copley Square. Whimsical decor and brightly colored walls—including a very cool sensory wall—complement an extensive collection of books for grades 8 and under.

A colorful children’s library entrance with people coming in and out. Boston Globe via Getty Images

11. Boston Duck Tours

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4 Copley Pl #4155
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 267-3825
Visit Website

Don’t be deterred by the touristy nature of the duck boats or the colder weather; they are still a great way to see the city. Guests board the World War II-era amphibious landing vehicles and head out on a 90-minute tour that’s part terrestrial and part aquatic via the Charles River. Bonus: Many captains will even let kids take a turn in the cockpit.

A large blue combination boat and truck rides along a street in Boston.
 A ‘Duck Tour’ amphibian boat/truck lumbers up Boylston Street.
Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

12. Museum of Science

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1 Museum Of Science Driveway
Boston, MA 02114
(617) 723-2500
Visit Website

Parents and children alike will marvel at the exhibits at the Museum of Science, although it’s nearly impossible to see all 130,000 square feet in the same visit. Preschoolers should head to the hands-on Discovery Center, while older children can challenge their parents at Math Moves or learn about human health in the Hall of Human Life. Don’t miss the musical staircase called Soundstair.

13. Boston Children’s Theatre

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539 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 426-5000
Visit Website

One of the oldest children’s theatrical organizations in the country, Boston Children’s Theatre presents classic and contemporary productions through classes, workshops, and live performances.

You can check out the shows here, and note that venue locations may differ (although many performances are at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA).

14. Boston Public Garden

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4 Charles St
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 635-4505
Visit Website

Got a budding arborist? Right next to Boston Common is the lusher 24 acres of the Public Garden, America’s oldest public botanical garden. It, too, is full of attractions, including statuary—the Make Way for Ducklings and the George Washington statues are probably the most famous—as well as (of course) plenty of foliage that looks particularly quaint in the wintertime. 

Several small bronze statues depicting a mother mallard and her chicks. Shutterstock

15. Boston Common

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139 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02111
(617) 635-4505
Visit Website

The oldest public park in the United States offers something for everyone, no matter the season.

In the winter, the Common’s famous Frog Pond becomes one giant ice-skating rink, complete with skate rentals. There is also a large year-round playground right next to it.

A kid ice-skating on an open-air rink with more people in the background. Shutterstock

16. Bunker Hill Monument

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Monument Sq
Charlestown, MA 02129
(617) 242-5641
Visit Website

The 221-foot obelisk was dedicated and opened in 1843 to commemorate the June 1775 battle of the same name, the first major fight of the Revolutionary War. Visitors can climb all the way to the tip-top for some nice Charlestown views and then recover on the sloping law afterward—perfect for wearing the little ones out. There is also a museum about the battle and the surrounding area across the street.

17. Freedom Trail

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Freedom Trail
Boston, MA

Start the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail at the Visitor Information Center on Boston Common and then follow the red line on the sidewalk past many of the region’s most popular Revolutionary-era historical sites.

Bundle up, though! Adolescents will probably make it through the complete trail just fine in the winter, but the wee-er ones might wilt.

A wide park with a red-brick line running through a white concrete path. Shutterstock

18. U.S.S. Constitution Museum

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Building 22, Charlestown Navy Yard
Charlestown, MA 02129
(617) 426-1812
Visit Website

Hop aboard “Old Ironsides” and you’ll be walking on the oldest commissioned warship still afloat in the world. Kids can tour the warship as well as interactive museum exhibits that examine life at sea and maritime history.

19. Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

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306 Congress St
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 338-1773
Visit Website

Created as an immersive experience to help kids and adults understand the beginnings of the American Revolution, this hands-on museum brings history to life. Interact with costumed live actors before boarding a historically accurate replica of the Tea Party ships and tossing “tea crates” into the water.

The visit ends with a museum tour and snacks in a period-appropriate tea room.

20. Boston Children's Museum

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308 Congress St
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 426-6500
Visit Website

Look for the giant milk bottle statue in front and you’re guaranteed to find the hands-on Boston Children’s Museum, one of the oldest children’s museums in the U.S. From exhibits that let little kids build a construction site to a three-story climbing structure made of flowing curved platforms, this is a must-visit for the younger crowd.

The interior of the Boston Children’s Museum. Shutterstock

21. New England Aquarium

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1 Central Wharf
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 973-5200
Visit Website

Watching sea turtles, fish, and sharks swim in the 200,000-gallon Caribbean coral reef tank is impressive enough, but there’s plenty more to be seen at the region’s preeminent aquarium. Children will get a kick out of touching a sea urchin in the tide-pool exhibit, watching penguins swim, or catching the latest IMAX movie. Pro tip: The aquarium can be especially cozy and warm during the wintertime, so check your coats and hats at the door.

22. Boston Fire Museum

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344 Congress St
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 338-9700
Visit Website

This museum is open every Saturday, and includes pieces, touchable and otherwise, from the long history of Boston’s bravest. Donations are welcome, and the museum is amid one of the region’s more pedestrian-friendly areas. 

23. Devine Rink

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995 Morrissey Blvd
Dorchester, MA 02122
(617) 436-4356
Visit Website

There are seven ice-skating rinks in the City of Boston the the state Department of Conservation and Recreation maintain. This is the schedule for them this winter. We’re highlighting the one in Dorchester that opens on November 29. All locations have skate rentals available.

1. Sky Zone Trampoline Park

91-B Sprague St, Boston, MA 02136

There’s plenty of padded, bouncy fun to be found in this indoor trampoline park. The prices are pretty reasonable, and walk-ins are welcome. There is also a Sky Zone location in Everett, which is just north of Boston. 

91-B Sprague St
Boston, MA 02136

2. Jump On In

100 Holton St, Boston, MA 02135
A row of kids making funny faces against an inflatable backdrop. Jump On In

The oldest indoor inflatable and jumping facility in New England is full of just that: inflatable structures that can endure the frantic bouncing of several kids at once. Pro tip: Bring or wear socks. No shoes or sneakers allowed. 

100 Holton St
Boston, MA 02135

3. Harvard Museum of Natural History

26 Oxford St, Cambridge, MA 02138

If your future archaeologist loves dinosaurs, rocks, and taxidermied animals, this is the spot.

Pick the galleries that interest your kiddos the most (the Great Mammal Hall and the Vertebrate Paleontology exhibits are always a good place to start), and be on the lookout for storytimes and family-oriented classes.

26 Oxford St
Cambridge, MA 02138

4. Cambridge Public Library

449 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02138
A long rectangular glass building in the middle of a wide field. Wikipedia

The main branch of the Cambridge Public Library has an entire third floor just for kids and adolescents. 

The state-of-the-art building also has a playground and an expansive green space just outside, and it’s down the street from Harvard’s main campus. 

449 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02138

5. Museum of Fine Arts

465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115

Parents will love the Museum of Fine Art’s extensive 500,000-piece collection, including an impressive Egyptian exhibit and a stunning number of Impressionist works. But kids can also have a blast here. Grab the MFA Guide: Kids’ Tour, sign your kiddo up for a weekend art class, and be on the lookout for self-guided activities for everyone from toddlers to teens.

465 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115

6. Franklin Park Zoo

1 Franklin Park Rd, Boston, MA 02121
A girl looking through glass at a gorilla at a zoo. Boston Globe via Getty Images

We like the Franklin Park Zoo at any time of year, thanks to an interactive children’s zoo, well-maintained grounds, and exhibits that cover all the major animals. Still need to run out some energy? Hit the 10,000-square-foot playground.

1 Franklin Park Rd
Boston, MA 02121

7. Franklin Park

1 Franklin Park Rd, Boston, MA 02121
Young people traipsing up a snow-covered hill with sleds and toboggans in hand. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Come for the natural beauty of this 485-acre Frederick Law Olmsted-designed park, stay for a plethora of playground options sure to please any crowd, even during the colder months. Older kids should head to El Parquecito de Hermandad for rock climbing and a zip line, while younger kids will like the Tiffany Moore playground area. Also: Sledding.

1 Franklin Park Rd
Boston, MA 02121

8. The Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library

200 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115
A large colorful glass globe. There are people standing at a desk area within the globe. Photo by John Nordell/The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

Set inside the Mary Baker Eddy Library, the Mapparium is a three-story, stained-glass globe that offers a three-dimensional perspective of the world. Designed by architect Chester Lindsay Churchill and opened in 1935, the map’s historic nature is supplemented by a modern music and light show. Not as interesting for young kids, but a good choice for young teenagers or budding map lovers.

200 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA 02115

9. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston

598 Assembly Row, Somerville, MA 02145
A group of people reaching out and up in the stands of a show at Legoland Discovery Center in Boston. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Budding builders shouldn’t miss a stop at Legoland Discovery Center, set in Somerville’s Assembly Row complex. It’s a good choice whenever the weather is too hot or too cold, and kids can marvel at a miniature Lego Boston or play in the climbing-wall area.

598 Assembly Row
Somerville, MA 02145

10. Boston Public Library

700 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116
A colorful children’s library entrance with people coming in and out. Boston Globe via Getty Images

Both the Boston Public Library system and the surrounding Minuteman library system for Cambridge, Somerville, et al, offer a ton of storytimes and activities for families. But, if you have to pick just one, head to the Children’s Library at the central library in Boston’s Copley Square. Whimsical decor and brightly colored walls—including a very cool sensory wall—complement an extensive collection of books for grades 8 and under.

700 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02116

11. Boston Duck Tours

4 Copley Pl #4155, Boston, MA 02116
A large blue combination boat and truck rides along a street in Boston.
 A ‘Duck Tour’ amphibian boat/truck lumbers up Boylston Street.
Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

Don’t be deterred by the touristy nature of the duck boats or the colder weather; they are still a great way to see the city. Guests board the World War II-era amphibious landing vehicles and head out on a 90-minute tour that’s part terrestrial and part aquatic via the Charles River. Bonus: Many captains will even let kids take a turn in the cockpit.

4 Copley Pl #4155
Boston, MA 02116

12. Museum of Science

1 Museum Of Science Driveway, Boston, MA 02114

Parents and children alike will marvel at the exhibits at the Museum of Science, although it’s nearly impossible to see all 130,000 square feet in the same visit. Preschoolers should head to the hands-on Discovery Center, while older children can challenge their parents at Math Moves or learn about human health in the Hall of Human Life. Don’t miss the musical staircase called Soundstair.

1 Museum Of Science Driveway
Boston, MA 02114

13. Boston Children’s Theatre

539 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02116

One of the oldest children’s theatrical organizations in the country, Boston Children’s Theatre presents classic and contemporary productions through classes, workshops, and live performances.

You can check out the shows here, and note that venue locations may differ (although many performances are at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA).

539 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02116

14. Boston Public Garden

4 Charles St, Boston, MA 02116
Several small bronze statues depicting a mother mallard and her chicks. Shutterstock

Got a budding arborist? Right next to Boston Common is the lusher 24 acres of the Public Garden, America’s oldest public botanical garden. It, too, is full of attractions, including statuary—the Make Way for Ducklings and the George Washington statues are probably the most famous—as well as (of course) plenty of foliage that looks particularly quaint in the wintertime. 

4 Charles St
Boston, MA 02116

15. Boston Common

139 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02111
A kid ice-skating on an open-air rink with more people in the background. Shutterstock

The oldest public park in the United States offers something for everyone, no matter the season.

In the winter, the Common’s famous Frog Pond becomes one giant ice-skating rink, complete with skate rentals. There is also a large year-round playground right next to it.

139 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02111

16. Bunker Hill Monument

Monument Sq, Charlestown, MA 02129

The 221-foot obelisk was dedicated and opened in 1843 to commemorate the June 1775 battle of the same name, the first major fight of the Revolutionary War. Visitors can climb all the way to the tip-top for some nice Charlestown views and then recover on the sloping law afterward—perfect for wearing the little ones out. There is also a museum about the battle and the surrounding area across the street.

Monument Sq
Charlestown, MA 02129

17. Freedom Trail

Freedom Trail, Boston, MA
A wide park with a red-brick line running through a white concrete path. Shutterstock

Start the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail at the Visitor Information Center on Boston Common and then follow the red line on the sidewalk past many of the region’s most popular Revolutionary-era historical sites.

Bundle up, though! Adolescents will probably make it through the complete trail just fine in the winter, but the wee-er ones might wilt.

Freedom Trail
Boston, MA

18. U.S.S. Constitution Museum

Building 22, Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown, MA 02129

Hop aboard “Old Ironsides” and you’ll be walking on the oldest commissioned warship still afloat in the world. Kids can tour the warship as well as interactive museum exhibits that examine life at sea and maritime history.

Building 22, Charlestown Navy Yard
Charlestown, MA 02129

19. Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum

306 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

Created as an immersive experience to help kids and adults understand the beginnings of the American Revolution, this hands-on museum brings history to life. Interact with costumed live actors before boarding a historically accurate replica of the Tea Party ships and tossing “tea crates” into the water.

The visit ends with a museum tour and snacks in a period-appropriate tea room.

306 Congress St
Boston, MA 02210

20. Boston Children's Museum

308 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210
The interior of the Boston Children’s Museum. Shutterstock

Look for the giant milk bottle statue in front and you’re guaranteed to find the hands-on Boston Children’s Museum, one of the oldest children’s museums in the U.S. From exhibits that let little kids build a construction site to a three-story climbing structure made of flowing curved platforms, this is a must-visit for the younger crowd.

308 Congress St
Boston, MA 02210

21. New England Aquarium

1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110

Watching sea turtles, fish, and sharks swim in the 200,000-gallon Caribbean coral reef tank is impressive enough, but there’s plenty more to be seen at the region’s preeminent aquarium. Children will get a kick out of touching a sea urchin in the tide-pool exhibit, watching penguins swim, or catching the latest IMAX movie. Pro tip: The aquarium can be especially cozy and warm during the wintertime, so check your coats and hats at the door.

1 Central Wharf
Boston, MA 02110

22. Boston Fire Museum

344 Congress St, Boston, MA 02210

This museum is open every Saturday, and includes pieces, touchable and otherwise, from the long history of Boston’s bravest. Donations are welcome, and the museum is amid one of the region’s more pedestrian-friendly areas. 

344 Congress St
Boston, MA 02210

23. Devine Rink

995 Morrissey Blvd, Dorchester, MA 02122

There are seven ice-skating rinks in the City of Boston the the state Department of Conservation and Recreation maintain. This is the schedule for them this winter. We’re highlighting the one in Dorchester that opens on November 29. All locations have skate rentals available.

995 Morrissey Blvd
Dorchester, MA 02122