Letting a restaurant take care of family dinner is the dream—until the kids find "nothing good" on the menu, everyone is antsy before drinks are even served, and a fat check arrives anyway. Luckily, Boston and the surrounding 'burbs are home to some fantastic, family-oriented restaurants. Some feature play areas where children can get their energy out while you linger over your meal. Others, listed here, allow kids to eat for free. At these local eateries, children dine gratis on certain days or times, allowing you to enjoy family time without stressing about the bill. We know what you'll be making for dinner tonight: reservations.
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We're blessed with a bevy of spectacular indoor play zones here in Boston, but sometimes what kids (and exhausted parents) really need is the indoor equivalent of your neighborhood playground—a place where they can pop in and monkey around, no reservation or hefty admission required. Like these public libraries with extra-fun children's areas, these indoor play spots allow kids to play or tinker—and you can take a load off—for free.
When you have active little ones and live in Massachusetts, you better have some ideas up your puffer coat sleeve for indoor fun. Good news is, Boston and surrounding Massachusetts towns meet the needs of stir-crazy kids (and their parents) with plenty of options for things to do inside on cold or rainy days. From mega indoor play zones to award-winning libraries to world-class museums, we've assembled a list of our favorite indoor activities that are unique to our chilly city.
Don't miss our Indoor Fun Guide—we have the scoop on the best places for Boston kids to get their energy out when it's cold or wet.
What's easier than skiing, more thrilling than sledding, and a wicked big deal here in the Boston area? We're talking about tubing, in which kids (and adventurous parents) can launch down a well groomed trail in a soft-sided innertube, maximizing both comfort and pure, giggle-inducing speed at once. What we love most about tubing is how pretty much everyone, from little kids to grown-ups, enjoy it. For a low-stress, relatively low-cost family day that will earn you major points with the kiddos, check out one of these tubing parks, all within about a two-hour drive of Boston.
Family ski trips are tough to beat: Skiing is one of the few sports where kids can quickly learn to meet—or in our family, surpass—parents' ability, and conquering a tough slope or cruising together down an easy one are the stuff of great memories. That said, not all ski resorts make it easy for families to deal with real parenting needs while on the slopes, but we found some gems that do. These resorts in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine cater to families with plenty of beginner trails, daycare, lots of food options, condo-style lodging, and more.
Ah, winter—the season of cozy togetherness, indoor fun, and, yes, the need to escape the house (at any cost). While a trip to a local museum or play place often fits the bill, sometimes, we all feel the need to stretch our horizons beyond the I-495 corridor. There's plenty of nearby skiing and indoor water park action to be had, of course, but in the event you're looking for something mellower (and, let's face it, cheaper), we have some ideas for you. Here are five day trips that allow you to wake up and fall asleep in your own beds, while packing in lots of beyond-Boston fun in between.
For some of us, it's a struggle to string our own little Christmas trees without losing a bulb (or our tempers). Others—including some of our Boston neighbors—are veritable pros at decking out their homes for the holidays. All over Boston and the 'burbs, there are spectacular public holiday light displays, but also families who've made a tradition of creating special sparkle on their own properties. So next time you have a free evening, pack some hot chocolate in a thermos, buckle up the kids, and take a road trip to see some of these joyful dwellings. It's sure to inspire holiday spirit (and maybe some ideas for your own abode). For more ideas for making merry, see our Boston Holiday Fun Guide.
Many kids get excited to dress up and head out to a special place during the holidays—especially when delicious treats are involved. These restaurants and hotels are rolling out the red carpet (and some pretty fantastic pastries) for kids and their parents this month with festive holiday and Christmas teas. From the Four Season's celebrity-studded Teddy Bear Tea downtown to a Victorian-inspired Santa Tea in Waltham, these events are sure to get kids in the seasonal spirit (and provide some photo ops, too!)