North Suburbs

10 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 10 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.

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.

50 Fun Things To Do This Winter With Boston Kids

Winters in Boston can sometimes feel dark and dreary, but there are so many fun things to look forward to in the wintertime. Here’s a list of our favorite things to do in and near the city with kids during the coldest months of the year—activities to brighten even the grayest of days. Most are free or are inexpensive, because we know how empty wallets can feel after the holidays. 

Santa Breakfasts for Kids and Families Around Boston

One of the quintessential holiday activities for kids is meeting Santa and telling him their Christmas wishes. Make this tradition even better this year when you and your family attend a breakfast or brunch with the big guy in red. At these events, you’ll get to enjoy a delicious holiday meal, spend some extra time with Mr. or Mrs. Claus, and participate in other seasonal activities. Bring your camera to capture all of the festive fun and make your reservation early—spots at some of these events go quick!

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. 

8 Polar Express and other Christmas Train Rides Near Boston

What is it about trains and Christmas? The two have become inextricably linked—especially since The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg's glorious picture book about the magic of Christmas, captured the hearts and imaginations of kids and adults alike. During the holiday season, train rides complete with hot chocolate and visits from Santa bring Christmas stories like The Polar Express to life..for all who believe, of course.

Lucky for us, we have plenty of delightful train ride options close to Boston, from cozy, seaside New England journeys to 4-D movie experiences that feel like a real locomotive ride, right down to the sounds, sights, and even smells. The seats on all these trains fill up quickly, though, so we recommend getting your golden tickets now.

12 Boston-Area Doughnut Shops We Love to Visit with Kids

New Englanders big and small love their doughnuts. And while we’ve got nothing against Dunkin’, we really enjoy visiting local shops, which serve up everything from classic apple cider doughnuts to maple-bacon-flavored beignets. We can hardly think of a more kid-friendly food—especially when sprinkles and frosting are involved—so bring the whole family when you go sample of some of the tastiest treats in the city at a dozen of our favorite doughnut shops.

Patriots, Pirates, Castles: Theme Playgrounds Spark Imaginative Play around Boston

Do you have a child who dreams about being a pro sports star, a pirate, or a princess? A handful of forward-thinking playgrounds in Massachusetts really take imaginative play to the next level. From a pair of Patriots-themed parks sure to thrill G.O.A.T. and Gronk fans to a castle-shaped playground fit for wannabe royals, these outdoor play areas—all within an hour of Boston and free and open to the public year-round—are perfect for kids who love to play pretend. For more parks that justify a trip beyond your own 'hood, check out our recent roundups of our favorite destination playgrounds and brain-boosting playgrounds.

Jack O’Lantern Journey at Franklin Park Zoo: 5 Tips for a Fun Family Evening

Eager to experience some Halloween night magic before October 31? This fall season, Boston’s Franklin Park Zoo is just the place to do it. Through November 4, the zoo is home to the Jack O’Lantern Journey, a spectacular jack-o’-lantern display filled with thousands of intricately carved pumpkins over a half-mile trail. I headed to the event with my two children to find out everything you need to know before visiting. Here are my insider tips to make sure your visit with children is a real treat (with no tricks).

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.

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