8 Parks for Great (and Cheap!) Outdoor Birthday Parties in Boston

Boston parks and playgrounds where you can host birthday parties

With warm weather making an appearance, it will soon be the best time of year to be outside in Boston. If your child was born in late spring, summer, or early fall, hosting their birthday party at a local park or playground is an easy, fun, and super-affordable option. Fortunately, there are a number of green spaces from Waltham to the water where kids parties' aren't just permitted, but welcomed. The best part of all? Most are free (or nearly free). Just be sure to call or email each park in advance to reserve a spot to spread out (if necessary) and find out what kind of food and extras—like bounce houses or live entertainment—are allowed.


Larz Anderson Park

Larz Anderson is Brookline’s largest park and an ideal place to celebrate your child’s big day. The park offers an enclosed children’s play space, as well as picnic areas and ball fields. Visitors can hang out in one of 12 picnic areas, each of which has a table and a charcoal grill and fits up to eight adults. Looking for a bigger site? Check out the shelter, which can hold up to 85 people with multiple tables and grills. Reservation rates for the picnic sites are $40. 617-879-5650


Beaver Brook Reservation

On the border of Belmont and Waltham, Beaver Brook Reservation’s spray park and adjoining playground are wildly popular in the warmer months, so to get a spot at one of the covered picnic tables you need to stake your claim early. The parking lot is a few minutes walk from the spray deck, so keep that in mind if you have lots of equipment or small kids who don’t like to walk. The 59 acres of fields are a great place to picnic, but only for people who don’t mind dogs—Beaver Brook is a popular place for dog walkers. A permit is required for groups of 20 or more. 617-727-5380


Schoolmaster Hill, Franklin Park

Dorchester’s Franklin Park is 527 acres, and in a park that large, there’s something for everyone. The park has four different options for special events. For youngsters, the Playstead is an excellent spot for a birthday party. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in 1886, it is presently a large field with picnic tables near the zoo entrance. Visitors can also party in the Shattuck Picnic Grove, the Wilderness Picnic Site, or Schoolmaster Hill. Groups of more than 25 require a permit. 617-635-4505

Menotomy Rocks is a quiet park in Arlington that feels miles from the city. With a playground and picnic tables, the park is well-suited for outdoor parties. Kids can hike through the trails in the woods or run through the two fields. The picnic area is available for groups of fewer than 100 people, with required reservations starting at $30 for a three-hour slot781-316-3880

Want to party by the river? Christian A. Herter Park stretches along the Allston side of the Charles from Eliot Bridge past the Artesani playground and paddling pool. In addition to the spray park, the park offers a large open field and a rental kiosk run by Charles River Canoe & Kayak. The park offers a limited number of picnic tables for groups, but get there early to reserve your spot. 617-626-1250 


Danehy Park

Danehy Park is a 50-acre park near Fresh Pond in Cambridge, with a walking path, enormous fields, and a spray park. Danehy is the only park in Cambridge that allows grills, but even without them, there are picnic tables and plenty of room to play. To reserve a spot for a party between May and November, get a $25 permit two weeks before your planned event. 617-349-6200


Arsenal Park

Tucked away behind The Arsenal Project in Watertown, Arsenal Park is a perfect spot to party with little ones. The 13-acre park has a spray park and a tot lot for romping, and playing fields that can be rented with a permit for a fee. There are 19 tables and two grills that can also be reserved starting at $2 an hour for fewer than 10 people. 617-972-6464


Spectacle Island

What could be more exciting than an island birthday party? Boston Harbor Islands have excellent options for birthday parties. Two of the best are Georges Island and Spectacle Island, both of which offer on-site catering if you don’t want to bring your own food. True, the ferry isn’t free ($10/child), but having a birthday picnic on the beach overlooking the city makes up for it. Georges Island has two large group picnic areas with shade shelters and grills—not to mention Fort Warren, a Civil War-era fort complete with ghost. Twenty minutes from Boston, Spectacle Island has sandy beaches, five miles of walking paths and stunning views of the city. In the summer, lifeguards are even on duty for swimmers who want to brave the water. Groups of 25 or more are required to apply for a free group authorization. 617-223-8667 

Top photo courtesy of Sky Noir via Flickr; other photos courtesy of ann-dabney via Flickr, the author, Franklin Park Coalition, Mary Shillue for the city of Cambridge, and Boston Harbor Islands 

 

Category: 
location: 
Larz Anderson Park
Goddard Ave
02445 Brookline , MA 42° 18' 53.568" N, 71° 8' 0.2436" W
Massachusetts
Danehy Park
99 Sherman St
02138 Cambridge , MA 42° 23' 21.3684" N, 71° 7' 57.5004" W
Massachusetts
Christian A Herter Park
1175 Soldiers Field Rd
02134 Boston , MA 42° 21' 53.4132" N, 71° 8' 7.8" W
Massachusetts
Arsenal Park
485 Arsenal St
02472 Watertown , MA 42° 21' 42.642" N, 71° 9' 28.9656" W
Massachusetts
Menotomy Rocks Park
129 Jason St
02476 Arlington , MA 42° 24' 37.1808" N, 71° 9' 49.2948" W
Massachusetts
Beaver Brook Reservation
66 Mill St
02478 Belmont , MA 42° 23' 33.6228" N, 71° 11' 47.6016" W
Massachusetts
Franklin Park
1 Franklin Park Rd
02121 Boston , MA 42° 18' 10.0296" N, 71° 5' 12.516" W
Massachusetts