Somerville

10 Places to Take Kids Ice Skating for Free in Boston

We're huge fans of the many outdoor ice rinks that open every winter around Boston, but these popular (and touristy) spots can get pretty crowded and just a bit pricey. What’s a Boston mom or dad to do? Don't worry: Boston happens to have lots of public skating options that are totally free! Here’s what you need to know to have a fun, no-cost time as a family at these 10 free skating rinks around town.

Where To See Holiday Lights In and Around Boston

Sure, not everyone goes in for all the traditions and tchotchkes that are associated with the holiday season. But we don't know anyone—young or old—who isn't delighted by winter wonderlands filled with lighted displays, twinkling trees, and sparkling scenes. We've rounded up some of the best light displays in or around Boston, from newer sensations like Blink!, downtown, to the storied La Salette Shrine, south of the city. Whether you venture out to a dazzling display or just drive around to these spectacularly decorated neighborhood homes, set aside an evening, bring a thermos of cocoa, and experience some magic as a family.

6 Places for Boston Families to Indulge in the Perfect Cup of Hot Chocolate

Whether you're looking to warm up after swooshing down the local sledding hill or just hoping to satisfy your seasonal sweet tooth, nothing takes the chill off a winter afternoon like a really good cup of hot chocolate. 

A steaming cup of cocoa not only helps you face winter's frosty air, but wrapping your hands around a warm cup of melted chocolate, steam rising before your eyes, can also bring you back to you own childhood memories of snowmen, Santa and rosy cheeks. 

So, gather the family, pull off those mittens and sip on some sweetness at one of these places -- from Boston to the North Shore -- serving up the season's most delectable drink. 

Free Public Art Around Boston that Will Blow Your Kids' Minds

Boston has long been home to some of the best museums in the world, showcasing art from around the world. Recently, the city has acquired an extensive collection of free public art where families can get up close and personal with installations of all kinds. Some of these exhibits are permanent, while others are on view during the fall. Either way, crisp autumn weather provides the perfect backdrop for exploring public art throughout the city.

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.

9 Makerspaces Where Boston Kids Can Be Creative

Looking for ways to reboot kids' brains as the school year approaches? Consider a makerspace visit. For parents not familiar with makerspaces (also known as hackerspaces), think of them as similar to art classes—with an engineering twist. People go to create something through free expression with tools they otherwise don't have, but instead of oil-based paints and canvases, makerspaces provide 3D printers, computer-aided design software, and other technology.

Although folks of all ages can participate in makerspaces, the best ones for kids have an emphasis on youth-based STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) learning. Here is a rundown of fun and kid-centric makerspace options in the Boston area.

7 Mind-Blowing Ice Cream Treats to Try with Kids in Boston: Fluff Cones, Snowdaes, and More

Sometimes you go to an ice cream parlor because it's the neighborhood fave; or maybe you heard it's one of the best in Boston. But on an empty summer's day, it's extra special to go to an ice cream store simply because it has one fantabulous, unique treat that will knock everyone's Crocs off. These are the seven treats we're drooling over this summer. 

10 Summer Festivals For Boston Families

Summer is just about here and there’s no better time to get outside with the kids than right now. Whether you’re headed to the beach or going on a hike, outdoor fun abounds during this season. And one of the best ways to soak it up is at Boston’s many summertime festivals. The 10 listed here are all super kid-friendly and will make for a memorable summer day.

10 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!

11 Outside-the-Box, Brain-Boosting Boston Playgrounds Where Kids Learn as They Play

Playgrounds just aren’t what they used to be, and that's a good thing. As more attention is being paid to playground design concepts, the scorching metal slides and concrete jungle gyms of our childhood are giving way to nature-inspired layouts, brain-boosting equipment, and wheelchair-accessible structures that promote—and model for kids—inclusivity. These new-school playgrounds—two of which are also on our "destination playgrounds" list—are beautiful, safe spaces for kids of all ages and abilities to entertain and challenge themselves, so parents can watch from a distance as kids do what they were born to do: play.

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