When you have active little ones, and live in a region that requires a winter jacket almost half the year, you've gotta have some ideas up your puffer coat sleeve for indoor fun. Good news is, Boston and its 'burbs 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 play zones to award-winning libraries to some of the best museums in the area, we'ved assembled a bucket list of can't-miss inside activities that are unique to our chilly city.
Latest posts by Kelley Heyworth
Picking the" best" sledding hills is dicey business. Like sports teams and pizza places, most people are partial to the ones they grew up living near, and going to; proposing that someone crosses town lines to sled seems ludicrous, even treasonous, to some. Yes, a big part of the fun of sledding is running into (sometimes literally) the neighbors you haven't seen since the end of Daylight Saving Time. And yet, we still think it's a blast to throw the saucer or tube in the back of the car and scout out some fresh terrain—sledding tourism, if you will. Luckily, because we live in a manageable-sized city, it's reasonable to hill-hop when sled-worthy days are plentiful. Here are sledding spots we think are worth driving to; and if you haven't missed our rundown of places to go tubing, check that out, too.
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, relative low-cost family day that will earn you major points with the kiddos, check out one of these tubing parks, all within (or in two cases, around) a two-hour drive of Boston.
Despite the expense, the cold, and the gauntlet of gearing up kids, 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 and lasting 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. A few weeks ago, we covered great nearby spots for first-time skiers within an hour of Boston, and this week we venture northward to find resorts in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Maine that cater to families with plenty of green slopes, daycare, lots of food options, condo-style lodging, and more. Here are our picks.
For parents, New Year's Day is a time to focus on the 3 Rs: rest, resolutions, and—finally!— routines, which we can all finally get back to now that holiday "break" has passed. But even for those of us who couldn't be more eager for the rhythms of school and work to start again, it's a treat to take one last day to close out the holiday season and officially welcome winter. Here's what's happening—or simply open—on January 1.
What holiday show is blissfully brief, requires no reservations, allows spectators to jump around, and—best of all—free? Tailor-made for revelers with limited attention spans and a penchant for eye candy, Blink! is a growing Boston tradition that's splashier than ever this year with more colors and songs, and special events for kids. Centered around the 85-foot fir tree (the Northeast's largest) in the middle of the Faneuil Hall marketplace, Blink! is a light show incorporating some 350,000 LED bulbs set to flash in time to piped-in holiday music, from Mariah Carey to the Pops.
Teaching a child to ski is no easy feat. Between the gear, ticketing costs, and the awkwardness of little ones, it can often be a better bet to sign a child up for ski lessons. Luckily, within an 80-minute drive of Boston, there are a handful of simple ski facilities—four downhill mountains, and one cross country course—with gentle, wide-open slopes that are perfect for learning this great winter activity. All offer rentals and lessons, courtesy of experienced instructors who are accustomed to working with new (and sometimes overwhelmed) skiers, and a family-friendly atmosphere where a slopes-confident parent can, alternatively, have plenty of space to teach a child by herself. While a good snowstorm can happen at any time, the mountains are making as much snow as they possibly can. Call or register online ahead as far in advance as possible remember—just like a potty training and two wheeling, they will get the hang of it eventually!