We asked all of you—our wonderful community of Boston area parents—to vote for the best family businesses and resources in 24 categories and you chose from 10 nominees in each category (and four voters were picked at random to enjoy great prizes from our sponsors!). The votes are now in, and we've created this Boston Besties Guide to share the love. Here are the details on the winners in categories 17-24:
Best New Business or Family Spot: Boston Public Market
After more than a decade of planning and preparation, the Boston Public Market finally opened in 2015, and it has been a huge hit ever since. Essentially a year-round farmers market where you can also get a great meal from one of the prepared food vendors, the market is a terrific place to take kids for a special treat (think locally made doughnuts or ice cream), an event, a cooking class, or just to explore. Take a look at our tips for visiting the Boston Public Market with kids before you go.
Photo courtesy of the Boston Public Market.
Best Way to Learn How to Swim: YMCA of Greater Boston
Parents from all over the Boston area rave about the YMCA's swim lessons. With 15 branches in Greater Boston, chances are there's a YMCA swim class for your child that's convenient (and affordable) for you.
Best Place to Shop for Kids' Clothes and Baby Gear: Hanna Andersson
Whether you're shopping at Hanna Andersson in Chestnut Hill, Natick, Dedham, Hingham, or Burlington, you can snag a pair of possibly the most coveted pajamas around. There are even holiday card-worthy family matching pajamas and sweater sets. Hanna Andersson is also the perfect place to find a lush gift for a new baby.
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Best Place for Kids' Art Classes: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
We've heard parents recommend the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston's studio art classes for years, so it wasn't a surprise to us when the MFA made its way to the top of the Besties leaderboard. The program for ages 5-11 includes weekly Saturday classes, Sunday classes and workshops, and school vacation classes. Groups of up to 12 children (grouped by age) discover new places and cultures, visit the museum's galleries, and learn to draw, paint, sculpt, collage, and print. Parent-child preschool classes and classes for teens are also offered.
Best Place to See a Family Show: Wheelock Family Theatre
Wheelock Family Theatre isn't just a great place for kids' theater classes; it's also a favorite for taking kids to the theater. Wheelock's family-friendly productions feature diverse, inclusive casts. Both shows reviewed by Mommy Poppins Boston, Shrek: The Musical and Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, achieved WFT's goal of celebrating the diverse range of families in the world and uniting them in the shared experience of live theater.
Photo courtesy of Mass Audubon.
Best Summer Day Camp: Mass Audubon Camps
Mass Audubon has a wide range of day camps for nature-loving kids, but families need to plan ahead to get a spot in one of the very popular summer programs. Campers spend the majority of their time outdoors, connecting with and exploring nature alongside like-minded friends and counselors. Each of the 11 days camps in the Boston area has a unique focus designed to take fullest advantage of its location.
Best Dance Studio for Kids: Boston Ballet School
The Boston Ballet is arguably one of the best ballet companies in the world, so it stands to reason that its school would be of the highest caliber. After your child sees Mikko Nissinen's The Nutcracker for the first time and starts begging to take ballet classes, sign him up for the Children's Program at one of Boston Ballet School's three studios. Maybe he'll be dancing the title role one day.
See winners in categories 1-8 I See winners in categories 9-16