Greater Boston

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.

16 Places to Go Apple Picking—and More—Near Boston

Nothing says fall in New England like a family excursion to the apple orchards. With many orchards to choose from, families can head a short distance from Boston for their choice of places to pick their own apples starting in late August through mid-October.

We’ve assembled a list of some of our favorite places to pick apples in greater Boston, but with more than 50 farms in the area offering apple picking, there are many more to choose from. In addition to apple picking, many of the orchards offer petting farms, country stores, hay rides, corn mazes, and other kid-friendly activities, so leave plenty of time to take advantage of all these farms have to offer. You can even plan your child's fall farm birthday party at some of the farms. Take it from us and contact the farms and orchards before heading out to confirm hours and amenities: Many are small, family-run operations, and crop yields and staff schedules fluctuate from week to week. Also, it's a good idea to leave pets at home when heading to any orchard, or you may be asked to leave apple-free.

Finally, we realize you may be looking for some ideas for what to do with all those delicious fall apples, whether you picked them from the tree or from the farm stand. We've put together some of our favorite apple recipes for inspiration!

8 Great Indoor Places to Have a Kid’s Birthday Party in or Near Boston

If you want to have a wonderful party for your child, but you’re overwhelmed by the choices and don't have time to mine for information, I have a gift for you: Recommendations for eight great indoor birthday party places in the Boston area, and everything you need to know about them.

The places featured are different in many ways, but they all have some things in common: They have been recommended by local parents, are indoors (so you don't have to worry about the weather), minimize the amount of work you have to do, and offer parties that kids with a wide range of interests enjoy. So read on, pick a place, and have a party your child will be talking about for a long time to come. Since prices may fluctuate and there's a range of packages at many places, we give you an idea of costs ranging from $ (inexpensive) to $$$ (more pricey).

If your child is a little older and prefers parties with more of a sporty spin, you may want to also consider our picks for indoor parties for active kids in Boston, the North suburbs, South suburbs, and MetroWest.

Six Boston-Area Playgrounds with Shade

Recently, we went on a hunt for special playgrounds that have unique elements that make them worthy of getting in the car and driving to. But in the dog days of summer, we have one more criteria that's essential for a perfect day at the park: shade. Here are six tree-lined parks and playgrounds with an hour of Boston that have natural elements to keep you cool while you're having fun.

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: Concerts, Bubbles, and Goddesses in the Garden; Aug 14-Aug 18

We're kicking it old school this week in Boston, celebrating the 1980s and then moving backward in time later in the week. First: Move over Moana—Mayor Walsh's movie night planners know that what the parents will really come out for is Spielberg.  On Friday, don't miss your chance to experience colonial life—for free!—at Old Sturbridge Village

You can follow the music to other unique events this week. Two popular concert series close out their summer lineups with kindie rockers taking the stage in Back Bay and Medford. In Easton, a local performer combines two of children's very favorite things—bubbles and dancing—at a museum birthday party. There's also some live music, as well as gardening demonstrations, kids' activities, and the unveiling of a special postal stamp at one of the prettiest places in Wellesley.

That's not all there is to enjoy during the heart of August. Check out our Events Calendar for other fun goings-on—summer will be a memory before you know it!

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: Eco-Pop, Tidepools, and Yoga with Goats; Aug 7-Aug 11

Crabs in the library? Yoga with goats? Some of the events we're excited about sound more like a Seuss story than real life, but that's partly what makes this early-August week so much fun around Boston. On Wednesday, the Aquarium folks bring their mobile touch tank to Brighton bookstacks. The next day, you can bring your limber little ones up to Bedford for barnyard yoga and some farm treats. 

Speaking of farm treats, Gore Place is once again hosting its fantastically simple (and delicious) roast corn party, where the kids can let loose some energy on the property while you take care of dinner. (If you have a yen for more peak produce, you can pick-your-own blueberries this week, too).

It's also a good time to help kids think beyond themselves. A workshop in Dorchester bring children's attention to the historic buildings that shape our city, while an event in J.P. teaches environmental awareness through music. Still eager for more activities? Check out our Events Calendar for other exciting events this week and beyond.

Top Spots for Summer Stargazing around Boston

Summer is all about exploring the wonders of the outdoor world, and we have plenty of ideas for filling your days with meaningful family activities to fill your photo albums and memories. However, some of the most brilliant spectacles of summer are visible after the sun goes down. Along with the big show—the Perseid Meteor Shower, lighting up the night sky on August 12th and 13th—there are stars, planets, and moons to behold, if you're in the right place on a clear night. Consider bringing the family to one of these observatories or "star parties" one late-summer or early-fall evening; and if daytime activities are more your family's speed, stay tuned for our upcoming article about watching the partial solar eclipse with kids on August 21st.

Note that most events involving telescopes or other equipment—not to mention late-night hours—are best for kids around age 5 and up. Also, most of the following happenings are canceled or postponed if it's cloudy or foggy, so be sure to call the organization or check its website or social media pages on the day of the event to make sure it's on. Happy viewing!

10 Awesome Boston-Area Playgrounds Worthy of Getting in the Car

Having a playground in your neighborhood is ideal. It’s a nice break from playing in your own yard and a great place to meet up for playdates. But going to the same playground over and over can get tiresome. Luckily there are several really special playgrounds near Boston that are worth packing up the snacks and strollers and driving to. Here are 10 of the best that are ready to host your kids’ summer adventures.

New Moms' Groups for Boston-Area Moms and Babies

As a soon-to-be new mom, one of the things I’m most looking forward to is finding a group of other new moms to bond with. Finding others in a similar stage of parenthood can be a great way to gather support and share advice, especially during those tiring newborn days. Luckily, there are plenty of options to choose from in Boston, no matter what type of group you’re looking for or what neighborhood you live in. And best of all? Most of them are free!

Weekday Picks for Boston Kids: Outdoor Theater, City Splash, and Mobile Red Sox; July 17-21

With kids in tow, it can be hard—not to mention pricey—to make it to the theater, a lake vacation, or a professional baseball game. But a beautiful thing about this week (other than the weather looking up, of course), is that some of these attractions are coming to a regular old neighborhood near you...for free! On Monday, the dynamic theater group Liars and Believers bring their wacky physical comedy to a Cambridge elementary school playground. The next day, families with older kids aren't just allowed—but encouraged—to descend on the Esplanade and splash around the Charles. On Wednesday, baseball fans can have an interactive Red Sox experience in East Boston. 

If you're looking to soak up the sunshine this week, consider a picnic dinner (with singalongs) on the loveliest lawn in J.P., or a stop at a world-class sand sculpture contest (before the weekend crowds descend). There are loads of other ways to stretch your legs and get your sillies out; just check out our Events Calendar, which we update daily.

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