Massachusetts is a large state with a lot of beautiful places to explore. This time, my trip focused on Boston, a bustling city with some lovely architecture and a great selection of little shops for foodies in its massive marketplaces. We had a lot of plans for exploring the city, but, although we were here in mid-April, there was a late winter storm during our stay, so we didn’t get to visit the Freedom Trail or do a number of other things we were thinking to do. If you are there in nicer weather and plan on exploring all the historic spots on the trail and you have kids with you, make sure you check out the Junior Ranger activities. They can earn their certificate while learning about early U.S. history.
Museum of Science – What to Do Indoors in Boston With Your Kids
Since we couldn’t walk around very easily during the storm, we decided to look for a kid friendly indoor option. We found the Museum of Science. It is an older museum and grownups who’ve been to science centers as kids will probably be pretty familiar with at least some of the exhibits. However, we managed to have an entire day of fun, the exhibits were all new to the kids and they learned a ton about science. If we could visit again, the only thing we’d change is the movie. It was slightly out of focus and an older film. We’d do the planetarium instead. The butterfly garden was so much more fun! There were a ton of these beautiful insects fluttering around and butterflies actually landed on us a number of times. Our favorite exhibits that didn’t need additional tickets were the bed of nails, the entire playground area, which explored a number of force, gravity and motion concepts, and the electricity show. The kids were enthralled by the Faraday cage and the scientist giving the talk about electricity was really entertaining.
Tips for visiting the Museum of Science:
- There were a number of schools having field trips to the museum while we were there. You may want to consider asking the museum about the best times to visit, as it was a bit crowded at times.
- If you are local to the New England area or visiting family, find out if the local library has passes. They allow you to visit the museum at a reduced rate.
- If you aren’t local and are booking a stay at a Boston area hotel, check to see if museum tickets are included in your stay when you make your reservations. A number of local hotels offer tickets, cookies and milk for the first night and more for younger guests.
Food, Food, Food – Visiting Boston’s Marketplaces
Okay, first off, I am not a huge television person, but even I’ve seen a few re-runs of Cheers episodes. The bar in Faneuil Hall is a reproduction of the set of Cheers and has several pieces of memorabilia. As I’m not a super fan or anything, a look at the reproduction of the bar was enough for me, but for die hard Cheers fans, a trip to nearby Beacon Hill to see the bar that Cheers was based on may be in order. (The exterior of this bar is the one filmed for the show.) Not a Cheers fan? No problem. There are a ton of eating options in this massive hall. We tried a number of stalls and enjoyed everything we ate. The space is almost constantly packed, but we still found spots to eat every time we came. Seated table space is definitely limited, but there are a lot of spaces at the counter height tables for standing diners. If you prefer to dine in a restaurant, there are several anchor restaurants in the hall, as well.
If you are more of a slow food/organic fan, you’ll want to head to another of the local bustling marketplaces, Boston Public Market. This is also a distribution point of the second best donut shop we’ve tried so far – Union Square. Again, there are almost too many stalls to choose from. We ended up getting drinks and snacks from several shops.
Where to Stay
We stayed at The Bostonian, which is a lovely upscale hotel with nicely decorated rooms. The board games available in the lobby are a very nice perk for families needing a little entertainment on a snowy evening. Every staff member we met was helpful and friendly and the hotel has a vehicle on hand to get people to destinations in the local business district. As we were heading a bit further away, they hailed a taxi for us.
If you are traveling with kids and they bring their gaming system, be prepared for a bit of disappointment, though. We couldn’t get the kids’ game system to work on the hotel television and their tech troubleshooter told us it wasn’t possible to do so. This is the first hotel we’ve come across in several years of travel with kids that didn’t make it possible for them to hook up their system. (They get to play for a half hour or so when we come back to the room at night.) Luckily, we had craft supplies and iPads with us, so all was not lost.
The Bostonian is perfectly located for families wanting to explore the area on foot. The marketplaces were very close and the Freedom Trail and Boston Harbor are also nearby. I’ve noticed a lot of reviews for the hotel mentioning noise from the street being a drawback. Boston is a major city. The streets are noisy because they are filled with life. Impromptu snowball fights between adults celebrating an unexpected snowstorm, trucks pulling up to the meat market to unload, businessmen exiting a limo while the chauffeur holds the umbrella, buses pulling away as the crowd of people exiting begin walking down the street…This is Boston. Embrace it.
Planning your trip to Boston? Don’t forget to Pin: