Boston

25 Must-Do Christmas Events and Activities in New England with Kids

Is there a part of the country that offers a more quintessential holiday experience than New England? From snowy vistas to historic town squares, it's tough to match our region's identity as a place where kids can feel storybook Christmas magic come alive. We can (and do) fill our site with plenty of options for seasonal fun, but here are 25 activities and attractions that should be on your family's holiday bucket list.

Top 10 Christmas Towns and Villages That Absolutely Sparkle

When it comes to the best places to visit for Christmas as a family, there are plenty of holiday travel options. You can head to Rome and Vatican City to soak in the religion of it all. Vienna, beautifully drenched in festive lights, boasts first-rate Christmas markets and concerts. Head north to Lapland, Finland, to visit Santa’s official hometown. Or, if you want to lie beneath Christmas-lit palm trees, a Caribbean vacation might do the trick.

Yet, some of the best Christmas towns and bedecked Christmas villages are actually right here in the US, offering those traveling with small kids a way to save on money and time. These local destinations go all out for Christmas with unique holiday light shows, special performances, and plenty of opportunities to meet with Santa Claus.

Read on for some of our favorite Christmas vacation ideas for those looking to get into the holiday spirit in a big way, from New York City to Williamsburg, Virginia, to Newport Beach, California. Find even more ideas in our Family Travel Guide.

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.

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.

Sweet Ways to Donate Halloween Candy

Got a Halloween candy hangover? Come November 1, parents across the country are wondering how they're going to get rid of all the candy their kids brought home. Some of it will be eaten, sure, but just one look at the amount of calories in an average Halloween haul and you'll want to make sure the bulk of it goes anywhere besides your family's stomachs.

There are a number of creative ways to get rid of Halloween candy, like using it for crafts or science experiments, having the Switch Witch take it in exchange for a small toy, or, you know, saving it until Easter and throwing it in the basket. (Hey, it's only six months away—how stale can that candy get?) But perhaps the best thing to do with Halloween candy is donate it. That way your kids can enjoy a truly special treat: The feeling of helping others. Here are seven charitable organizations who accept donations of unopened candy.

Weekend Fun: Dia de los Muertos, History, and Puppet Shows, Nov 4-5

The first weekend in November is a more relaxing time (for parents): just after the chaos of Halloween but just before the flurry of holiday activities begin. Families can celebrate the heartwarming if less-known holiday of Dia de los Muertos and catch a not-so-spooky puppet show or two (even three!). Young scientists can see a special screening at the Coolidge, enjoy hands-on history about WWI, and do-gooders can get charitable and create the change

November GoList: Best Things to Do with Kids in Boston

November in Boston is packed with kid-friendly films, live performances, and museum programs. It's also the start of holiday season excitement. As we update our Holiday Fun Guide throughout the month with the scoop on tree lightings, Santa sightings, winter skiing, outdoor ice skating rinks, and other seasonal fun, there are many great events to add to your calendar right now. Many require advance registration or tickets, so go ahead and claim your seats!

6 Hot Holiday Show, Train, and Tea Tickets in Boston to Book Right Now

Yes, leaves remain on the trees and pumpkins still dot our doorsteps, but smart parents know that now is the time to snatch up the city's hottest holiday tickets. While November and December are full of options for family fun, prime seats at some events are worth booking very early—since, due to tradition, trends, or a limited engagement, they promise to sell fast. Whatever suits your family's fancy, you're sure to be the envy of your friends with these holiday tix in hand well before Thanksgiving. And be sure to check our holiday guide as we move into November for even more trains, shows, and special kids' meals: We're constantly updating our lineup of Christmas and Hanukkah events. 'Tis—almost—the season!

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.

Weekend Fun: Happy (Almost!) Halloween; Oct 27-28

It's everyone's favorite fall weekend and Boston has so many Halloween happenings we hardly know where to begin. Young scientists are invited to a Halloween science carnival, and kids can boogie down at this dress-up dance bash. Even animals can get in on the fun at this doggy costume parade, animal mask-making, and trick or treating with the animals of Franklin Park Zoo.

Feel like Halloweening for a good cause? Check out the annual PRU BOO charity event and Pumpkinfest at Volante Farms, both benefitting local causes. 

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