BackBay/ Beacon Hill

Best Spray Parks and Water Fountains for Preschoolers in Boston

Boston has a lot of big, splashy, exciting spray parks and fountains that can be great fun for families in summer. But I've learned the hard way that not every water playground is suited for preschoolers. 

A few years back, when one of my sons was 4, I took him and his brothers to the Christian Science Plaza fountain along Huntington Avenue. To me as a parent, it was a wise selection: awesome fountain, I didn't have to walk far from the parking spot, and bathrooms were nearby in the Prudential Center. But my 4-year-old kid was horrified by the fountain and how big it was. It took him a half hour to even wander up to the where the water shot out of the ground, and soon after he got soaked and was freezing. It was not the best choice for a young child. 

With that thinking in mind, we've rounded up some gentler, preschooler-friendly local fountains and splash pads. Be sure to check out these outdoor pools with fun slide and spray features for more ways to cool off this summer, or if a climate-controlled environment is more your family's speed, consider a visit to a preschooler-friendly indoor water park. There are plenty of ways to get wet around Boston—without tears!

12 Boston-Area Restaurants Where Kids Can Play While You Eat (and Relax)

It’s one thing to go to a kid-friendly restaurant, where you know you won’t get any dirty looks from the proprietors or other patrons. But family dining heaven might just be a place that also allows kids to play—the idea being that you can actually enjoy your meal after they wolf down theirs. We decided to round up a list of such restaurants, focusing on ones that serve up truly good food along with some sort of entertainment. We call that a win-win!

10 Family-Friendly Boston Hotels that Make Stays Special for Kids

Whether you're planning a little staycation or are visiting Boston on a trip, the right hotel can make a getaway feel all the more special. There are plenty of places to stay in Boston, but some hotels are better than others at making families feel comfortable and catered to. From spectacular pools to scavenger hunts, check-in goodies to cooking classes, these 10 hotels pull out all the stops to make sure tiny travelers have an unforgettable stay. And while you may be tempted to hang out in your room all day, Boston has so much to offer families, so get out and explore! Hit some museums, walk the Freedom Trail, take a spin on a carousel, or head to one of the city's awesome parks. You'll take heart knowing that a comfy bed awaits you at the end of a fun-packed day.

25 Ways to Spend a Morning with Your Toddler in Boston

Once you've gotten through breakfast and downed your second (or third) cup of coffee, have you ever looked at your toddler and thought, "what the heck am I going to do with you today?" Too young for many full-time schools or camps, too old to just tag along on errands all day, toddlers are suited for fun, interactive activities that don't require a long attention span and will tucker them out for their afternoon nap. Fortunately for parents and caregivers, there are a plenty of great local activities that will get you both out of the house; and many attractions are 100% free for toddlers.

Boston-Area Spring Festivals and Fairs for Kids and Families

As March winds down and the city blossoms into springtime, there are few better ways to celebrate than by getting outside at one of Boston’s fun, family-friendly festivals. With so many to choose from, it seems like the whole city is cheering the warmer, sunnier days with music, art, flowers, and food. And the best part? Many of these special events are free. Mark your calendars now and enjoy the anticipation of balmier, more festive days ahead!

7 Public Libraries With Great Play Spaces Around Boston

There are all sorts of local spots to play indoors when the weather gets frightful. And some of the best spots are absolutely free—including some very special local libraries, which feature unique play spaces along with shelves of books. Whether you’ve got a preschooler or a pre-teen, a trip to at least one of these libraries will be a fun, brain-boosting escape on a cold or wet day.

8 Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks for Kids and Families in and Around Boston

Whether your family is hitting the rink for the very first time or your kids have already taken several ice skating lessons, gliding on one of the outdoor ice skating rinks around Boston can be a fun, affordable way for families to get outside and stay active in the wintertime. Read on for some of our favorite rinks in the Boston area, with offerings like gorgeous city views and snack bars where you can warm up with a cup of hot cocoa.

Boston Restaurants for Thanksgiving: Hosting All That Family Without Messing Up Your House

Thanksgiving is all about food and family, two of our favorite things. And while we love cooking a big meal, we also love when someone else does it for us … especially the clean-up! Going out to eat on Thanksgiving isn’t exactly traditional, but with a little help from some of Boston’s best restaurants, you can have a holiday that’s delicious, relaxing, and memorable. We rounded up 11 local spots that are serving a traditional Thanksgiving meal fit for the whole family so you can have a fun and festive holiday without all the mess and stress.

10 Fall Festivals in Boston You Don't Want to Miss

It’s not officially autumn yet, but it will be soon and that means it’s time for fall festivals. There are so many in the Boston area that it can be hard to know which ones are good for families. We took the guesswork out of it by narrowing the field down to our favorites. You’ll find good food, fun activities, music, performances, and much more at these 10 fall festivities in Boston that are perfect for both parents and kids.

12 Playgrounds with Tot Lots Designed Especially for Boston Babies and Toddlers

One of the things I’ve been looking forward to doing with my little boy is taking him to a playground. A stable sitter, he’s just about ready for a bucket swing...just in time for spring! But not all playgrounds cater to the sub-preschool set. Luckily, there are several in and around Boston that do have sandboxes, swings, and smaller play structures built specifically with the littlest kids in mind. Here are some of our favorite local "tot lots" with special features that are perfect for older babies and toddlers.

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