We asked all of you—our wonderful community of Boston area parents—to vote for the best family businesses and resources in 24 categories. You chose from 10 nominees in each category (and four voters were picked at random to enjoy great prizes from our sponsors!), and we've created the Boston Besties Guide to highlight top vote-getters. These are the winners in our first eight categories:
Best Romping Spot/Playspace: Imagine: A Center for Community and the Arts
Imagine's playspaces include an imaginative play town upstairs and an indoor playground and recreation area downstairs, complete with climbing structures, ball pit, swings, a bounce house, and other fun gross-motor skill-building activities. When your little one needs a little down time, visit the quiet play room for babies and toddlers, the library, or the the nursing room. Bring the bigger kids along for table tennis, foosball, building toys and activity clubs. Imagine is open every day of the year for drop-in indoor play.
Best Social Media Mom or Dad in Beantown: Boston Mamas/Christine Koh
We are longtime fans of the local mom of two music and brain neuroscientist turned multimedia creative. She's the founder and editor of Boston Mamas, co-author of Minimalist Parenting, co-host of the Edit Your Life podcast, and creative director at Women Online.
Jeff Jam entertains kids in Franklin Park. Photo courtesy of Jeff Jam.
Best Birthday Party Entertainer: Jeff Jam
Featured in our list of favorite local entertainers for children's birthday parties, children’s musician Jeff Jam regularly performs and hosts classes in the Boston area for kids. You can also hire the enthusiastic and exuberant Jeff Jam for your child’s next birthday party.
Best Kids Museum: Boston Children's Museum
Boston Children's Museum has been our go-to for quality family playtime and hands-on learning since our kids were teeny-tiny. We highly recommend springing for the annual membership if you can swing it. When we were members, we went every weekend to explore the three floors of interactive exhibits, see shows, and learn new art techniques. Enjoying the museum before it gets crowded and being able to visit other children's museums throughout the country for free throughout the year makes a membership well worth the cost.
Best Place to Throw a Party: Sky Zone Boston
When you have twenty highly energetic kids to entertain in Boston, an indoor trampoline park like Sky Zone, where kids bounce across its all-trampoline, walled playing courts, is the perfect solution. Party planning is easy for parents with several party packages to choose from, and they include trampoline time, use of the party room, plates and napkins, pizza and a party host.
Skyslam at Sky Zone. Photo courtesy of Sky Zone Boston.
Favorite Place for Family Dining: Not Your Average Joe's
Not Your Average Joe's has the perfect combination of casual chic ambiance and kid-friendly dining, with an excellent gluten-free menu to boot. With several Boston-area locations to choose from and a reasonably priced menu, NYAJ's is a convenient, smart, and tasty choice for families.
Favorite Local Kindie Band: Karen K and The Jitterbugs
We've been fans since Karen Kalafatas and her band started bugging out all over the Boston area years ago. They play for fun, for good causes, and for community, including at an annual holiday concert and the Kids Really Rock festival, which is organized by Karen K and where the band is in very good company among favorite local kindie bands (and Besties nominees).
Families enjoying play and learning together at Boston Children’s Museum. Photo credit: Robert Benson.
Best Place to Shop for Books and Toys: The Curious George Store
We visit The Curious George Store any time we're in Harvard Square with the kids. In addition to having a nice selection of books, toys, and apparel, the store is a museum of sorts where you can learn all about the creators of the Curious George books, Margret and H.A. Rey, and how they came to Cambridge after fleeing the Nazis in Europe. The store also hosts weekly story times for little ones. Check our Event Calendar for details.
See winners in categories 9-16 l See winners in categories 17-24