Hit the Best of Boston with Kids with this One Day Itinerary
Boston is by far one of my favorite cities in the world. It has all of the colonial history, brick buildings and roads, cute shops and great restaurants I require in a destination. I’d live there if it wasn’t for one thing—all that cold snow.
No matter. We can still visit!
Summer is hot in Boston with kids, but nowhere near as hot as D.C. or even NYC. A cool breeze blows off Boston Harbor. The city is easy to wonder on foot, which is a good thing. Driving can be miserable and take you longer to get from point A to point B than it’s worth. Take “the T” (Boston metro system) or walk if you can.
On our last visit during our New England road trip, we rolled into town knowing exactly what we wanted to see and do. We had exactly one day to cram in a lot. The New England Aquarium was on one end of town. Our hotel and the Museum of Science (also on our itinerary) were on the other end of town. We headed straight for the aquarium, parked close by and started exploring right away.
New England Aquarium
The New England Aquarium was hopping when we arrived midday. To save time in the lines, grab a Boston CityPASS. It more than pays for itself if you go to two or more spots in the booklet. While the single pass ticket line had a 30-minute wait, we cruised through the CityPASS line in under five minutes. We were inside watching penguins take a bath, saying hello to a very shy octopus and ogling jelly fish before anyone outside had gotten their tickets scanned.
Grab your Boston CityPASS now!
We knew we needed to make this visit quick if we wanted to see as much of Boston as possible, so we headed up, up, up into the aquarium. Lucky for us, this is how the aquarium was designed.
Follow the outer path as you view tanks on the outer edges. The inner loop showcases the massive shark tank that you get to see as you spiral your way back down. The top of the outer loop ends at the top of the shark tank, at which point you simply follow the inner loop back down. This kept us moving and on track, seeing everything in the aquarium, lingering at the exhibits that caught our eye, but moving past the crowds hogging the tanks, without getting bottlenecked along the way.
Museum of Science
As a mom of two very curious little boys, I’ve been to my fair share of science museums. I actually prefer them to children’s museums. Science museums are generally designed with the whole family in mind. This means I can have fun too! The Boston Museum of Science was no exception, and the most beautiful science museum I’ve seen to date.
A wall of windows looking out over the Charles River welcomes you into the museum, along with a living wall of plants and water. Spiral down to the ground floor where you can learn more about the river, engineering, native animals, plants, and more.
Head to the top floor for an indoor playground that seems like it is just for fun, but actually teaches kids about levers and counter weights. This museum must be a local mom’s dream on cold winter days. We could have spent an entire weekend on just one floor of the museum, but there was still more to do.
I didn’t think it was possible, but somehow I got my boys out of the museum. We were hungry, and I might have promised them sushi, but we had to walk there. My secret plan was to see the “Make Way For Ducklings” statue in Boston Common on our way.
Here’s how I did it—follow the Charles River down from the Museum of Science until you get to the Charles Street bridge. Cross over the bridge. Make a right onto Charles Street and walk down until you hit Boston Common. The statue will be on the right-hand path after your enter the park.
Granted, we had to stop for water and smoothies on the way. We also had to stop in a very high-end toy shop, as Charles Street is home to some very old colonial buildings housing some very nice boutique shops.
After seeing the duck statues, saying hello to the real ducks in the pond, and snapping a few photos on one of Boston’s famous bridges, we were finally off to eat. I had sufficiently worn out my kids, so much so that they both sat down at a traffic light to take a rest as we walked to dinner.
What did the kids really think of Boston? Watch and Find out!
Pack it up and head out
Boston with kids in a day is not ideal, but sometimes it is necessary. This great city deserves so much more time. Go to Cambridge to explore the Harvard campus and museums. Get out on the water. Let your kids actually stop and breath for a second instead of sprinting through the city. See all of the colonial historic sites that they have read about in history class.
If you have the time, stay longer. But if you are just passing through on a road trip, know that you can see a whole lot of this glorious metro area in a very short amount of time. Just remember to come back to do it right.
Where to stay in Boston with Kids
Wyndham Boston Beacon Hill, 5 Blossom St, Boston, MA 02114.
The Wyndham Boston Beacon Hill is within walking distance to the Museum of Science, the Charles River, Boston Common and great food. Room sizes are great for a family of four and there is a pool on the second floor. There are plenty of coffee shops to grab breakfast each morning. Valet parking with in and out privileges is available as well. Despite being across from Massachusetts General Hospital, nights are relatively quiet even on the lower floors.