A Day in Chelsea With Kids
An interesting, eclectic community parents might not immediately think about swinging through is Chelsea, a 1.8-square-mile location abounding with people from many cultures. Located northeast of Boston, just over the Tobin Bridge, Chelsea offers several spots for family fun and good food.
A good place to start a kid's tour of Chelsea is at Mary O'Malley Park, on the southern edge of the city, which gives visitors a clear view of the towering Tobin Bridge as it crosses the Mystic River into Boston. The Bunker Hill Monument lies right across the water. The park has an enormous field on which to throw a ball (pictured above), run around or walk through, and it's possible to stroll right up to the river's edge. A playground near the center of the park caters to younger kids boasts a particularly tall slide.
A short drive away from the park, near the police station in downtown Chelsea, is the Apollinaire Theatre Company, which hosts live performances on a small stage with area actors. Older kids with interests in the performing arts should absolutely check out this intimate setting. Apollinaire, located at 189 Winnisimmet St., also holds a series of annual summer performances outside in a city park in both English and Spanish.
Chelsea is like Chinatown in the sense there are a lot of hidden ethnic treasures in the local restaurant scene. A popular choice is Tijuana at 164 Broadway, which is a short walk away from Apollinaire. This spot is home to an authentic, friendly Mexican restaurant at which you can get traditional fare, including delicious flautas.
At the top of Powderhorn Hill is the Chelsea Soldiers' Home, run by the state and home to many veterans. Summit Avenue is the best road to drive up the hill, which you can pick out from a distance by the red-and-white-checkered water tower at the peak. Within the Soldier's Home campus, kids will get a kick out of seeing the fish in the outdoor water tanks. Next door is Malone Park, which offers a nice walking loop, plenty of places for young legs to run, and spectacular views of the Boston skyline.
Creekside Common is a fun, modern playground at the end of Cabot Street (between the Home Depot plaza and Walgreens). Features include a small spray park, a unique “rocky river” area for children to climb on, and a fun, noisy instrument area. Parents will have hard time not reading the short immigrant stories etched into the stones at one of the end the playground. Down a dirt trail from the Creekside Common, heading towards Chili's, is a wetlands along Mill Creek that can be a nice respite from the rush of the city.
Along Eastern Avenue is the Chelsea Street Bridge, which looks decidedly different than any other bridge in this area. Opened in 2012, the span replaced an old drawbridge and instead uses a vertical lift to raise the entire road deck up. The bridge rises to aid the passage of huge tankers that anchor along Chelsea Creek.
Finally, a trip to Chelsea would not be complete with a stop at Katz Bagels at 139 Park St. A throwback to local bakeries, the store welcomes a loyal clientele that comes for the warm bagels and fun, busy atmosphere at the counter. When available, the freshly made pizza bagels are sure to keep kids happy.