Out-of-town friends often ask me if Boston is a kid-friendly city. I love this question, because I love answering it with all of the wonderful things that make this city a great place for kids to thrive. I know I'm not alone; Bostonians love their town and aren't afraid to tell you why. This passion gets passed down to each generation with gusto, and makes the top of my list of 25 reasons Boston is the perfect place to raise children.
1. City Pride (Boston Strong) - Kids learn the importance of what it means to have "roots" at a very young age.
2. Schools - Our elementary, secondary, and institutions of higher education are among the best in the country.
3. Healthcare - Mass General, Mass Eye & Ear, Boston Children's Hospital, Brigham & Women's, Beth Israel: Our children have easy access to the world's best doctors, technology, and hospitals.
4. Food - Kids can be spoiled at a young age by having access to great restaurants and the best lobsters, clams, cranberries, apples, blueberries, baked beans... (Okay, now I'm hungry!)
5. Farm to Table - There are countless farms within a close proximity to Boston. Kids can pick strawberries and apples and visit the cows that provide the milk they drink!
6. Parks & Recreation - Our children can enjoy 2,100 acres* of clean, green, safe, and accessible parkland throughout the city, including the famous Boston Common and Public Garden.
7. Free Outdoor Youth Programs - Boston boasts free athletic programs including clinics and camps for kids like Tenacity, All Girls Sports Festival, and Sox Talks with Boston Red Sox players, to name a few.
8. Hands-on Museums - World-class institutions like the Boston Children's Museum and the Museum of Science can keep kids entertained for days!
9. The Sports Teams - Patriots, Red Sox, Revolution, Celtics and Bruins: Our kids can watch some of the best athletes in the world compete.
10. Title Town - And with 9 championships in 13 years, 'The Curse' won't even be in our kids lexicon.
11. The History - Not everyone can truly re-live the birth of our country, but with The Freedom Trail and landmarks like Bunker Hill and the U.S.S. Constitution, our children can get a first-hand account!
12. Ski - In less than thirty minutes, you can be slope side for some wonderful kid-friendly ski programs.
13. Sun - Right here in Boston our kids can enjoy access to beaches like Castle Island (pictured) and Spectacle Island in the warmer months.
14. The Inner 'Burbs - Our city houses 600,000 people and our metro area consists of almost 5 million. There is a dizzying array of options to raise a family outside the city line while still having access to everything the city has to offer.
15. The Outer 'Burbs - Affordable, safe and charming towns to raise a family in surround our city, with excellent school systems to boot.
16. The Art - Places like the Museum of Fine Arts, The Institute of Contemporary Art, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum allow our youth to witness some of the word's most prized artistic pieces, often with free admission.
17. Theater - The Boston Children's Theatre (BCT) and Wheelock Family Theatre in Boston and many theater companies outside the city offer family-friendly shows, classes, and theater summer camps for children starting at a young age.
18. Dance - There are endless opportunities for Boston kids to see and learn a variety of dance styles. The Urban Nutcracker is a tribute to the city's diversity and has become a holiday tradition in Boston, along with other local productions of The Nutcracker. The Boston Ballet Children's Program is considered by many to be one of the best in the country.
19. Fitness - With the Boston Marathon, Head of The Charles, walks, foot races and countless hiking and biking trails, we have the ability to infuse a passion for fitness in our kids at a very young age.
20. Zoos & Aquarium - Kids can immerse themselves in learning about fish, mammals, and other animals at the New England Aquarium and several excellent zoos in the Boston area.
21. The Big Dig - Although this project plagued our city for years, our children will only know the benefits: An easier city to navigate and the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
22. The Esplanade/Hatch Shell - This outdoor park offers a concert venue with free programs for kids in the summer months and a wonderful place to play and explore. (Not to mention, one of the best 4th of July celebrations in the country.)
23. Connection To Nature - Even though it's a city, Boston still has access to beautiful nature hikes in the Fellsway, botanical gardens at the Arnold Arboretum, and waterways of the Emerald Necklace.
24. Children's Bookstores - There is one thing you can say about Bostonians: We love our books. And independent bookstores like The World's Only Curious George Bookstore in Harvard Square, The Children's Bookshop in Brookline, Make Way for Ducklings in Faneuil Hall, and Barefoot Books in Concord help to instill that love in our kids, too.
25. Fun - We know how to have fun. (Just ask us!)
Hey Boston...you're my home!
Photography Credit: Cole + Kiera Photography