Boston

25 Boston-Area Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free

Letting a restaurant take care of family dinner is the dream—until the kids find "nothing good" on the menu, everyone is antsy before drinks are even served, and a fat check arrives anyway. Luckily, Boston and the surrounding 'burbs are home to some fantastic, family-oriented restaurants. Some feature play areas where children can get their energy out while you linger over your meal. Others, listed here, allow kids to eat for free. At these local eateries, children dine gratis on certain days or times, allowing you to enjoy family time without stressing about the bill. We know what you'll be making for dinner tonight: reservations.

35 Best Winter Activities for Kids (and Their Grown-ups)

It's finally winter, and you know what that means as a parent, right? Get ready for soggy snow pants, slurping cocoa, building snowmen, taking the kids sledding, and all things cozy for the family.

But if the thought of another long winter spent hibernating indoors with the kids swinging from rafters, leaves you shivering in fear, we want to help. Whether you're planning fun indoor activities for a school snow day at home, or just looking to entertain the kids on another winter weekend, we've rounded up nearly three dozen fun things to do.

These super simple ideas (many of them FREE) will come in handy when cabin fever strikes and make it easy to avoid the indoor entertainment pitfalls of more screen time and complaints about boredom of which we're all so familiar. Get ready to turn the long, dark days of winter into a season the whole family can enjoy.

10 Places to Take Kids Ice Skating for Free in Boston

We're huge fans of the many outdoor ice rinks that open every winter around Boston, but these popular (and touristy) spots can get pretty crowded and just a bit pricey. What’s a Boston mom or dad to do? Don't worry: Boston happens to have lots of public skating options that are totally free! Here’s what you need to know to have a fun, no-cost time as a family at these 10 free skating rinks around town.

100 Things To Do in Chicago with Kids Before They Grow Up

Chicago is home to so many incredible parks, playgrounds, museums, and things to do with kids that one childhood doesn't seem like enough time to fit them all in—though who could blame you for trying? That's why we rounded up this list of great things to do with kids in Chi-town. Whether it's racing with your toddler through the sprinklers at Mary Bartelme Park, wowing your preschooler at the Field Museum, gliding with your grade-schooler on the skating ribbon at Maggie Daley Park, or taking in engineering marvels with your tween at the Chicago Architecture Center, take advantage of everything this beautiful city has to offer kids of all ages. We're also big fans of FREE fun, so we included as much of that as possible.

Whether you're a local or a visitor to the Windy City, we hope you can use this list to make some great new memories with your kids. Now I'm off to scarf some Chicago-style hot dogs at Portillo's.

7 Indoor Water Parks in New England

Dreaming of warm waters and balmy temperatures? A tropical vacation may be out of the question, but an indoor water park venture is just as thrilling for kids (and a lot less debilitating to the budget). We've reviewed seven water parks—some big and splashy, others small and convenient— that are within a one- to five-hour drive of Boston. Whether you’re looking for a quick day trip or a weekend escape, there are plenty of options for sneaking in some water fun before swimming season officially begins. No matter where you go, be sure to call ahead and check about special rates; and consider planning a trip for a weekday or weeknight outside of school vacation to steer clear of crowds.

The Best and Worst States for Raising a Family

Everyone wants to raise their family in a healthy, safe, and yes, fun community. But, how do you go about finding the right corner of this country for your family? Trial and error perhaps, but WalletHub is also throwing a little data our way on just this subject. The credit report and personal finance site just released its ranking of the best and worst 50 states in which to raise kids.

It weighed a number of factors to determine the top family-friendly states, looking at schools, housing, crime, childcare costs and quality, parental leave options, salaries, and of course, the amount of family fun per capita, including access to parks and playgrounds.

Read on to find out how your state stacks up—and where you might want to consider relocating to with the kids!

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Weekend Fun for Boston Kids: Jan 19-21

This weekend is all about service, songs, and fun while we honor the memory of MLK. There are many service opportunities on our calendar, including a family-friendly days of service at both the Gardner Museum and this annual Cambridge event. This weekend is also full of concerts and songs of all kinds, like a Joyful NoiseAfrican drumming and dancing, the Boston Children's Chorus, and even an eco-concert. There are also several opportunities to learn about other cultures like this annual Japanese New Year festival, a "musifiesta," and Celtic Dayfest

American Girl Live: Your Favorite Dolls Take the Stage in First-Ever National Tour

With two five-year-old girls in the family, the American Girl Doll phenomenon has overtaken our home—quite literally. We have dolls, furniture, books, and an extensive wardrobe I find myself slightly envious of. "Julie" and "Maryellen" have hobbies we talk about, preferences on activities, and are with us so often that I sometimes forget that they're not real-life pals of my daughters. So, as you can imagine, when I announced we would be going to the all-new, first-ever American Girl Live show, I was met with shrieks of excitement—followed by weeks of planning outfits, accessories, and hair-dos, for both them and their 18-inch sidekicks.

American Girl Live, featuring six of the iconic dolls and an all-girl cast (not to mention an all-female crew and creative team behind the scenes) will be touring the country in 2019, with stops that include New Jersey, ConnecticutPhiladelphia, Boston, New York City, Long Island, and Maryland. In keeping with the American Girl mission, the show is all about "girl power," a message that came through to my girls loud and clear when I took them (and Julie and Maryellen, of course) to the Capitol Center of the Arts in Concord, New Hampshire, one of the show's first tour stops.

10 Free Places to Play Indoors Around Boston

For families with energetic kids, perhaps the biggest bummer of colder weather is losing the ability to while away entire afternoons at a local playground. Sure, we're blessed with a bevy of spectacular indoor play zones here in Boston, but many charge $10 or more per child for an hour or two of fun. Sometimes, what kids (and exhausted parents) really need is the indoor equivalent of your neighborhood playground—an open, public space where they can pop in, monkey around, and socialize for an hour or two, no reservation or hefty admission required. We've tracked down a few spots in and around town where your kids can play—and you can take a load off—for free. (Note that none of these places allow you to drop kids off, unsupervised; but having some new toys and playmates to entertain them will definitely feel like a break.)

25 Fun Things to Do with Kids in the Phoenix Area

At first glance, Phoenix might seem like just cactus and desert as far as the eye can see. Yet, there is so much more to this western city than scorching heat and golf. Families will find fantastic museums, unique attractions, such as a stunning desert botanical garden and a Butterfly Wonderland, as well as a fascinating history that makes this capital city come to life.

A trip to the Valley of the Sun makes a perfect winter getaway or spring break for sun seekers. There are water parks, pools, hiking, spas for the grown-ups and plenty of resorts from which to choose. We've already explored neighboring Scottsdale, Arizona, and now we want to take you on a tour of the 25 top things to do in Phoenix for families with kids. Whether you stay at a five-star resort or spend your vacation with family and friends, this gem of the Grand Canyon State has a little something for everyone.

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