September GoList: Top Things to Do with Kids in Boston

family activities boston september

September is so bittersweet. All the excitement the new school year brings is tinged with feelings of nostalgia for the carefree days of summer. However, we still have the weekends and glorious days that are perfect for spending outdoors at a festival, getting out on the water, watching giant kinetic sculptures in action, and "honking" in farewell to summer. 

Add these top picks for September to your calendar now, because won't want to miss any of this month's spectacular lineup of events for Boston families.  

Campfire Festival - Cambridge
Friday 8/31/2018 - Mon 9/3/2018
$10/Person each day, $25/Person all weekend
Club Passim's Campfire Festival combines the idea of musicians sitting around the campfire playing music with a commitment to developing new talent in the Boston area. The Festival is as much about the community as it is about the music, as the line between audience and performer gets blurred as musicians sit down to watch and audience members are called on stage.

King Richard's Faire - Carver
Weekends, 9/1/2018 through 10/21/2018
Adults $32; Children (ages 4-12) $16        
A visit to King Richard’s Faire, New England’s largest and longest-running Renaissance festival, offers a full day of live, interactive entertainment. Visitors can watch the King’s daring knights joust on horseback, listen to live musical acts, see theatrical performances, and mingle with mischievous and talented strolling performers all day long.

The Cambridge Carnival features music, crafts, and colors that instantly appeal to kids. Photo by Paul Bryan

Cambridge Carnival International - Kendall Square, Cambridge
Sun 9/9/2018
Free admission
Cambridge Carnival International is a celebration rooted in African traditions, featuring live music, ethnic foods, and crafts from around the world. The highlight of the festival is a grand costume parade during which revelers dance through the streets of Cambridge in handmade costumes. The parade starts at 12:30pm near the Charles River at River Street and ends in Kendall Square. Carnival KidsFest is a hands-on interactive activity zone on Ames Street where kids can join in on stilt walking demos, story telling, face painting, balloon art, and arts and crafts activities. Most of the activities are free.

Trails & Sails - Essex County
Weekends, 9/21/2018-9/30/2018
Most programs free
Trails & Sails is two weekends of “walks and water” – a variety of walks, guided hikes, sails, historical tours, and boating and cycling adventures. Visit the Trail & Sails website to create your own itinerary and customized passport of stargazing, caterpillar shows, open houses, and other kid-friendly events. 

Swan Boats - Final Weekend - Boston Public Garden
Sat 9/1/2018-Sun 9/3/2018
Adults $4, Children (2-15) $2.50        
If you haven't yet taken a Swan Boat ride around the waters of the Boston Public Garden this season, this weekend is your last chance before the birds are brought in for the winter. (Please note that the boats do not operate on rainy, windy or extremely hot days.) Make it a whole day of family fun with more Green Line stops

Hub on Wheels - Boston
Sun 9/16/2018
Adults $55; 10-17 free (Downtown course only); tandem kids under 10 ride for free; festival is free
Hub On Wheels is a citywide bike ride on a car-free Storrow Drive, through hidden pathways and historic neighborhoods. The ride starts and finishes on City Hall Plaza in downtown Boston, with two different routes to choose from: 12 or 40+ miles. Children under 10 may participate only if riding with an adult on a tandem, trail-a-bike, bike seat or trailer. There is also an all-day festival with food, music, and an expo.

Revels RiverSing- Cambridge
Sun 9/23/2018
The annual outdoor gathering to mark the transition from summer to fall features nearly 100 area chorus members plus many other guest performers who gather by the Weeks Footbridge to join together in song. The evening closes with an improvisational sunset serenade from an illuminated Sun/Moon boat floating along the river, providing a magical ending to the end of summer and a striking herald to the onset of fall. Family festivities begin at 5pm in Harvard Square and include face painting, a "honk" band, hula-hoopers and a colorful puppet-filled parade to the river.

Jamaica Plain Open Studios celebrates the arts. Photo by Lucie Wicker, courtesy of the Eliot School.

Jamaica Plain Open Studios - Jamaica Plain
Sat 9/22/2018 - Sun 9/23/2018 
This event is perfect for art lovers of all ages. Families can enjoy the fresh fall air of New England while exploring studios, talking to artists, and viewing unique pieces and crafts. 

Get up close and strum a new instrument at the instrument petting zoo. Photo courtesy of Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival.

Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival - South End, Boston
Sat 9/29/2018
Stretching across six blocks in Boston’s historic South End, this annual block party features jazz, Latin, blues, funk, and groove performances on three stages. Please note: Due to construction, there is no family park at the festival this year.