This tour of Boston brought to you by Nancy Solomon from Ciao Bambino.
Summer is a great time to explore Boston. Whether you are coming for the rich history, the outstanding food or the fun kids' activities, Boston is sure to both educate and entertain! With its "wicked" funny accents, authentic neighborhoods, beautiful parks, many museums and professional sporting events, Boston appeals to all ages. The compact nature of the city makes walking a breeze, with the majority of the attractions grouped near the Waterfront and Back Bay.
Here are some of my family's favorite places to go, stay and eat in Boston.
Boston Duck Tours: There are many sightseeing excursions in Boston, but nothing beats the Duck Tours for a family-friendly overview of the city. Your kids will be involved from the beginning, hearing funny stories laced with historical details, quacking at people on the street and playing captain while cruising on the Charles River. To avoid a long wait, make a reservation.
Museum of Science: Appealing to both toddlers and teens alike, this museum hosts informative and interactive exhibits like huge dinosaur replicas, chick hatchings, a butterfly garden, a planetarium, an IMAX theatre and more. We love the electricity show and the tamarin monkeys. For younger children, explore in the Discovery Center, a separate section designed specifically for kids up to age eight. This summer look for Lost Egypt, an exciting new exhibit. Waterfront
Boston's Children's Museum: With bubble stations, climbing structures, water tables, car racing station and climbing structures, the Children's Museum is popular with all ages, particularly ages 1 through 10. Babies and toddlers have their own section to crawl around safely. The recent renovations with a new glass façade allow for sweeping views of Boston Harbor. Waterfront
New England Aquarium: Centered around a 200,000-gallon tank, the aquarium allows you to get inches from sharks, turtles, eels and giant fish. There are adorable penguins and seals, plus a new shark and ray touch-tank. This stop is easy and a perfect launching point for either the North End or Faneuil Hall. There are also some more off the beaten path ideas offered at the wharf like whale watching, a ferry trip to the Harbor Islands or a ride on Codzilla. To cool off, cross the street to the pop-up water fountain—just plan to get wet! Waterfront
Faneuil Hall: An open-air market with shops, cafes and entertainment, this is a perfect place to grab an easy meal. My kids always love the street entertainers and live music performances. With more than 35 food stalls and 14 restaurants there is something here for even the pickiest eater. Look for special events from June 28 to July 4 when Harborfest is celebrated! Waterfront
The Freedom Trail: With 16 stops in all, the 2.5-mile Freedom Trail covers many of the city's historical sites, including Charlestown Navy Yard and the Old North Church. For younger children consider Boston By Foot's "Little Feet" tour. Older kids may enjoy the Urban Adventure Bike Tours.
Boston Common: The country's oldest botanical garden is a perfect location to picnic, play, cool off (Frog Pond's splash fountain) and take part in some precious pieces of Bostonian culture. Climb on Mrs. Mallard the duck from the story Make Way for Ducklings. Then, take a peaceful ride on the Swan Boats. Younger kids will enjoy the Tadpole playground and the carousel. For some shopping or lunch, head over to nearby Newbury or Boylston Streets to the many restaurants and boutiques. Older kids may want to check out the nearby Skywalk or the Mapparium topped off by high tea at The Four Seasons Boston or The Taj. Back Bay
Fenway Park: Fenway Park is a highlight for any sports fanatic. To see Fenway without spending money for a premium ticket stop by and get a tour. The tour offers historical insight about the park and a chance to stand on the Green "Monsta" itself. Check the official Red Sox website for details. Back Bay
Arts: Have a budding art aficionado? The Museum of Fine Arts, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and The Institute of Contemporary Art offer a vast selection of art. Boston also has many excellent theatre companies, including some specific to families, like: Boston Children's Theatre and the Wheelock Family Theatre. This summer's highlights include Billy Elliot and Mamma Mia! at Boston Opera House. Mostly Back Bay
Boston Harbor Hotel: Located right on the harbor, this iconic Boston hotel is a perfect family spot. The water taxi comes up to its dock, and during the summer the property offers live music on its terrace overlooking the harbor. The rooms can be pricey, but they are also spacious and the service is superb. Waterfront
Seaport Boston Hotel: By being just a few blocks off the main street, in the hip Four Point Channel area, you are able to save a bit on room charges while getting a very family-friendly hotel. My kids loved the indoor pool with music piped in underwater, and its location just footsteps from the Children's Museum. Waterfront
Intercontinental Boston: This sleek hotel offers a more modern option with a luxurious feel right on the waterfront and Harbor Walk. Filled with light, the indoor pool and gym are beautiful. There's an outdoor terrace and small grassy area overlooking the harbor to enjoy with the kids. Waterfront
Four Seasons Boston: A historic establishment in Boston, this upscale property is situated right on Boston Common with beautiful views and outstanding service. Fun pint-sized amenities like backpacks and ice-cream sundae cart keep kiddos smiling. Back Bay
Hotel Marlowe: Just across the Charles River in Cambridge, and next to the Museum of Science is the welcoming Hotel Marlowe. Complimentary telescopes to look over at the Boston skyline, in-room goldfish and kayaks to cruise the Charles make this a family favorite hotel.
A foodie's haven, Boston has an amazing array of varied restaurants. We bring our kids to all but the most reserved places. Here is a list of some great areas to hit and classic Boston restaurants.
Flour Bakery: Pastry chef and owner Joanne Chang-Myers is one of Boston's best new chefs. This very family-friendly bakery and restaurant with multiple locations has developed a cult following, serving fresh, organic salads, artisan sandwiches and fabulous baked goods. Homemade Oreos, sticky buns, meringues and croissants are artistic and insanely delicious!
North End: This ethnic Italian neighborhood is top on my list every time I am downtown. Lined with restaurants, it's a culinary feast and an authentic atmosphere. Regina Pizzeria is an all-time highlight. For pasta head to Monica's Restaurant and top it off with a cannoli from Mike's Pastry shop. Also, Salumeria and Depasquale's, fabulous Italian markets, are perfect for stocking up on picnic supplies. If you are lucky, you can catch a summer festival in the North End. Waterfront
Durgin-Park: Established in 1826, this historic eatery in Faneuil Hall offers New England food, shared tables and brash servers. Around the corner is Union Oyster House, also a Boston institution. Waterfront
Legal Seafood: With many locations throughout the city, this seafood restaurant consistently delivers outstanding meals with high-quality, fresh ingredients yet it's casual enough to bring the kids.
Stephanie's on Newbury: This has been my daughter's favorite spot since she was three. They have coined their fare "sophisticated comfort food." Don't miss the artichoke dip or the classic lobster roll. The outdoor area is the perfect spot to sit and people watch. Back Bay