7 Fun Things do in Boston in the Winter with Kids

Last year Boston, Massachusetts was covered in nine feet of snow, so it was hard to imagine wanting to anything in Boston in the winter except stay home. This year, (knock wood) we are having a milder winter so far, making it fun to get out and explore Boston, or visit for a winter weekend in Boston. To help with your planning, I’ve put together a list of some things to do in Boston in the winter with kids, along with ideas on where to eat and where to stay in Boston.

Things to do in Boston in Winter

  1. Ice Skating at Winter on the Wharf — The Boston Harbor Hotel hosts Winter on the Wharf, featuring ice skating under its famous archway. From November 27, 2015 – February 21, 2016, visitors can enjoy skating on the 2,500 square foot Rotunda Rink. The Rink is open Monday-Friday from 3-8pm and weekends from 10am-8pm. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for children and rentals are $10 for adults and $8 for children. Season passes are also available. You can also ice skate at the Frog Pond in the Boston Common.

    What to do in Boston in the Winter -- Winter on the Wharf at the Boston Harbor Hotel, image courtesy of the Boston Harbor Hotel

    Photo courtesy of the Boston Harbor Hotel

  2. Boston Children’s Museum — for toddlers through elementary school-age kids, the Boston Children’s Museum is always a favorite. The indoor three-story climbing structure is a great place to burn off some energy but kids will enjoy exploring all the hands on exhibits from the popular Bubbles exhibit to the Construction Zone and more. Don’t miss a walk through the authentic Japanese House. The Boston Children’s Museum is located at 308 Congress Street, an easy walk from the Boston Harbor Hotel, New England Aquarium or Quincy Marketplace. Tickets are $16 for adults and children over one year.
  3. New England Aquarium — Even better since its renovation, the New England Aquarium features 27,000 animals in 70 exhibits including harbor seals, penguins, and my favorite, sea turtles. The have a 200,000 gallon Caribbean reef exhibit and a shark and ray touch tank. If you buy timed tickets online, you can avoid standing outside in line and get in to where it is warm. Tickets are $26.95 for adults and $17.95 for kids ages 3-11.

    What to do in Boston in the winter with kids -- New England Aquarium

    Photo courtesy of the New England Aquarium

  4. Boston Museum of Science — The Boston Museum of Science has always been one of our favorite winter destinations. Unlike the Children’s museum, the Museum of Science is good for younger kids and tweens alike. Even if the standard exhibits start to get routine, we really enjoy the special exhibits as well, like Pompeii, Mayan culture, and the Science Behind Pixar. Located at 1 Science Park in Boston, tickets are $23 for adults and $20 for kids ages 3-11.Museums in New England -- the Boston Museum of Science
  5. LegoLand Discovery Center Boston — LEGO fans, especially those in preschool through elementary school-age will love the Legoland Discovery Center Boston, in the new Assembly Row shopping and eating complex in Somerville. You’ll start out with a “tour” of the LEGO factory and design your own virtual mini figures. One of my favorite parts was the Miniland exhibit, featuring Boston landmarks made out of Legos. Kids will also enjoy the two simple rides, the Kingdom’s Quest laser ride and Merlin’s Apprentice Ride, the Play Zone, LegoFriend’s Olivia’s house, and building and testing race cars. Online tickets start at $14.95. LegoLand Discovery Center Boston is located at 598 Assembly Row in Somerville, MA.What to do in Boston in winter -- LegoLand Discovery Center
  6. Museum of Fine Arts — The Museum of Fine Arts has been one of our daughter’s favorite stops since she was a toddler. You can easily spend a day exploring all the galleries or participating in some of the museum’s family friendly programs. The Art of Asia exhibit, especially the Buddhist Temple, is always a big hit, as are the Art of the Ancient World exhibits. If your kids are really art lovers, or just like a good mystery, walk over to the nearby Isabella Stewart Gardiner Museum for a peak at some amazing architecture and the empty spaces on walls due to the art heist that took place there in in 1990. The Museum of Fine Arts is located at 465 Huntington Avenue in Boston. To get there from downtown you will probably want to take the T (public train system.) Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for youth ages 7-17 (except on weekdays after 3pm, weekends and public school holidays when they are free.)
  7. JFK Library — The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is located on the waterfront in Columbia Point, just south of the city. Tweens and teens will enjoy learning about one of the country’s most beloved presidents through the interactive displays and exhibits. The self-guided tour kicks off with a 20 minute film, using clips of Kennedy’s voice to tell the his story from growing up as part of a political family to his first presidential campaign. The tour then continues through exhibits that walk through the campaign, the election, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Space Race, and other pivotal moments in office, through to his assasination. It is very well done and quite moving so plan to spend two hours exploring. The Library is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Entrance is $14 for adults and $10 for youth 13-17, under 12 and under are free.Things to do in Boston in Winter -- Visit the JFK Library and museum

If you plan on visiting Boston for the weekend, I’d recommend getting the Boston CityPass, which offers 47 percent off of Boston’s leading attractions including the Museum of Science, New England Aquarium, Museum of Fine Arts and either the Skywalk Observatory or the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Where to Eat in Boston

If you are looking for a place to warm your bellies and your toes, here are some suggestions on where to eat in Boston with kids. First of all, ignore the advice to go to Faneuil Hall Marketplace. This a really a food court with very little room to sit, alongside a collection of touristy restaurants. And DON’T believe the hype that Durgin Park is great New England fare, there is so much better to be found. I’d also skip the Union Oyster House. It may be the oldest restaurant in the country, but you are paying a premium for the ambience and they don’t make up for it in service or quality of the food.

Langham Hotel Chocolate Bar — Skip lunch and head to the Langham Hotel for one of their four mid-day seatings at the all-you-can-eat Chocolate Bar buffet in Café Fleuri. The Chocolate Bar is only open Saturdays from September through June. Adults are $42 per person and children ages 5-12 are $32. The Langham is located at 250 Franklin Street Boston, MA.

Boston Public Market — Located at 100 Hanover Street at Haymarket Station, the Boston Public Market is right across from the North End and a fun place to get inside to browse the 38+ food and produce vendors. You will also find tables and chairs, making it a perfect lunch stop. As soon as you enter, you will be immediately tempted by the aroma of freshly-made apple cider donuts from Red Apple Farm (the same delicious bake shop as found on Wachusett Mountain.)Boston Public Market -- Where to eat in Boston

Earls Kitchen and Bar — If you head up to Somerville to the LegoLand Discovery Center, Earls Kitchen and Bar is a great place for lunch or dinner after. They offer a kids menu but bigger kids will enjoy many of the adult options as well. I had an amazing chicken Caesar salad and we also sampled the clam chowder, truffle fries, and the Jeera chicken curry. We warmed up with the seasonal sampling of gingerbread cake, broiled apples and vanilla bean gelato. Earls is located at 698 Assembly Row Unit 102 in Somerville, MA.Where to eat in Boston in winter -- Earls Kitchen in Somerville

And, if you are strolling through the North End and can handle standing in line in the cold, it may be worth it to pick up some cannolis from Mike’s Pastry.

Where to Stay in Boston

Taj Hotel

I was recently invited to check out the Fireplace Suites at the Taj Hotel in Boston. The Taj offers classic five-star luxury, but is also very family and pet friendly. They offer many family suites, as well as adjoining rooms, along with family-friendly packages that include a special butler-drawn “Make Way for Ducklings” bath. What really blew me away were the 42 suites with wood-burning fireplaces. In the past, I’ve booked rooms with fireplaces because I just love to curl up in front of a fire on a chilly day. However, I’ve been disappointed to find that the fireplace was either gas-burning, or we were only permitted to burn a Duraflame log. Neither of which give you that wonderful aroma and crackling fire that makes winter a bit more bearable.

At the Taj, the room service menu includes an option of four wood types — birch, cherry, oak or maple. While someone needs to be in the room or on their way up to have a fire, the Taj staff will come and lay out the fire and start it for you. In addition to wood choices, you can also order up specialties like chocolate cake, warm caramel chocolate bread pudding, homemade toasted s’mores and a delicious hot chocolate service.

Taj Boston Luxury Park View Fireplace Suite

Photo courtesy of Taj Boston

If you get a park-facing suite, the view of the Boston Common and Public Gardens is simply stunning.

Taj view Public Garden

View of the Public Garden from a park-facing Taj fireplace suite

Boston Harbor Hotel

Another great option for families visiting Boston is the Boston Harbor Hotel. Always a favorite of mine for its location and classic style, the Boston Harbor Hotel also offers family getaway packages with milk and cookies each night, family ice skating, splashing in the indoor pool, and afternoon tea.

Seaport Boston Hotel

The recently renovated Seaport Hotel also offers family-friendly packages for February vacation break, including its First Mate’s Club with amenities and surprises for younger guests including a welcome gift from the Seaport’s Treasure Chest, the indoor heated pool, ice cream delivery to the room, pizza packages, breakfast packages, a lending library and kid-size necessities including stools, changing pads, and cribs.

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What to do in Boston with Kids in the Winter -- including suggestions on where to eat and where to stay

Do you have suggestions on what to do in Boston in the winter?

Note: We were provided with complimentary tickets to LegoLand Discovery Center Boston. I was also hosted for dessert and drinks at the Taj Boston. All opinions are my own.

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2 Comments on “7 Fun Things do in Boston in the Winter with Kids

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  1. THE DATES FOR ICE SKATING ARE FOR 2015/16 SO THIS POST IS WAY OUT OF DATE.

      Yes, please check with the locations for current dates/times/prices as posts aren’t always kept up to date (publish date is listed at the bottom.)

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