Kids can visit the Shark and Sting Ray touch tank at the aquarium. // © 2013 The New England Aquarium
Battlefields. The Green Monster. Cobblestone lanes. Boston’s East Coast charm makes it an ideal destination for families who want to have fun and see history come to life, all in one fell swoop.
The Liberty Hotel, a former jail-turned-luxury family destination, is a centrally located property well-suited to families. While the historic architecture of the original building has been preserved (think jail cells in the restaurant and wrought iron bars on the windows), this hotel now offers comfortable rooms with high-end linens, high-definition television and the use of complimentary bicycles.
For those on a budget, the Courtyard by Marriott – Copley Square is in the heart of all the action, and is not as pricey as some other Back Bay properties. Just a short ride from Logan Airport, the Courtyard offers great views of the city and large rooms in a historic building.
When you’re out and about, be sure to walk the 2½-mile, brick-paved Freedom Trail, with stops at the USS Constitution and the Old North Church. A must for sports fans is a Red Sox game at historic Fenway Park. Visitors will get into the spirit of singing “Sweet Caroline” at the seventh-inning stretch, as they “root, root, root for the home team” and chow down on a Fenway Frank.
Don’t miss some of Boston’s charming neighborhoods, such as the Italian North End, where you can grab a cannoli at Mike’s Pastry (President Clinton’s favorite), and Beacon Hill, where you will find antique stores and gourmet grocers aplenty. In the Public Garden, visit the bronze ducklings from “Make Way for Ducklings” and sail around on the vintage swan boats. Little science fans will love the award-winning Museum of Science (don’t be terrified of the life-size T-Rex model) and the New England Aquarium (ditto for the giant Pacific octopi). And when your feet get tired, take a sail on the Charles River or a bus tour out to Lexington and Concord, home to some of the Revolutionary War’s most famous battles.
When visitors get hungry, they will find that Boston is a haven for foodies, young and old. Most kids will like the world-famous clam chowder at Legal Sea Foods (just don’t tell little ones what’s in it), and they will devour the gnocchi at Massimino’s — a tiny, family-owned North End eatery where kids are treated like royalty. Find great pizza at Pizzeria Regina (also in the North End) or Figs (on Charles Street on Beacon Hill). Can’t decide? Wander through the food vendor stalls in Faneuil Hall and grab Greek, Asian and (yes, more) Italian fare.
No trip to Boston is complete without a tour through Harvard Yard. Families can take the T to Harvard Square in Cambridge, wander through the red brick, ivy-covered buildings and reflect on all the Presidents, statespeople, artists and poets who learned there.
Then head back to your hotel and reassure the kids: There’s not really a green monster in Boston.