The Boston's Children Museum is WELL worth the money ($14). Tons of awesome exhibits, activities and hand-on stuff to keep children of all ages entertained. We've been many times as there's always something new to do and see.
Tip: If you're on a tight budget go on a Friday from 5PM to close and it's only $1 to get in!
The Museum of Science is in Cambridge and is $22 for adults and $19 for kids so again on the pricey side but you get a lot of bang for your buck. Tons of exhibits, a lightning show, some animals and overall it's just an awesome way to spend an afternoon. Check out their site for more details on whats included.
Tip: Walking distance to the Cambridgeside Galleria so when you tire of learning about science you can go shopping up the road.
Every First Friday of the month most of the galleries and museums around Boston have new show openings or special events like live music at the Museum of Fine Arts. My favorite spot is: 450 Harrison Ave in the South End. It's an outdoor plaza with 10+ really great small art galleries and a huge building with 3 floors of artist studios who also open their doors to visitors on First Friday's. My little one has loved it since she could walk, it's 100% free and awesome.
Tip: There are basically no kid-friendly restaurants in this area so bring your own food and have a picnic or eat before you head over. Although there is a small cafe near the galleries that has ample seating, a small shop and good snacks (vegan food too!).
The Common is a huge park in the heart of the city and is home to lots of open space, a playground, a large fountain, frog pond and the swan boats. Added historical bonus: The Boston Common is the oldest park in the country and there used to be public hangings! Yay!
Tip: When you're at the Common be sure to hop next door and check out the Public Garden for some flower sniffing and photo ops.
Walking distance from Faneuil Hall and Haymarket, the CC Park is home to a big park for running around, a great playground with a huge sandbox, a fountain for splashing around in and a merry-go-round. Great way to kill a couple of hours on the cheap! It's also right on the water so you get some nice views and a breeze.
Tip: If you get hungry you are steps away from Boston's famous North End full of delicious italian food. If you are vegan skip the North End and hit Faneuil Hall for some on-the-cheap and half way decent sushi.
Full Moon a kid-friendly restaurant in Cambridge where 1/3 of the restaurant is a play room with a train table, kitchen, tons of dolls, trucks and other toys. You can see your child from your table and they are encouraged to play while waiting for food, after eating, etc so parents relax, eat their meal and have a drink! The food is pretty great, it's not too expensive and its the only place like this in Boston (I know Cambridge isn't technically Boston but it's on the red line so sue me).
Tip: Drink while your kids play. Did I mention this already?
A little on the pricier side ($22 adults / $16 kids) but like the BCM & MOS, it's so worth it. They have seals, rays, octopus, penguins, sea turtles, sharks, jelly fish and tons more. They have touching tanks, shows and exhibits that you can make an entire day out of. It's right on the waterfront too so you can go for a nice walk before or after.
Tip: If the aquarium is out of your price range you can watch the seals for free right outside as part of this outdoor tank they have.
8. Ride the T
For you out of towers the "T" is Boston's public transportation system made up of subway trains, busses and commuter trains. To someone who uses this regularly (aka me aka every single day) the concept of riding it for fun seems asinine but to a child it's basically a big (smelly) amusement park. I brought Sierra on a "Lets ride the T" excursion a few months ago and she had a ball. It's $2.50 a ride so this adventure is in everyone's budget.
Tip: I suggest riding the red line because the view between Kendall and Charles is amazing. Oh and bring hand sanitizer.
If you have a few hours to kill George's Island is really fun. You ride a ferry from the Long-Wharf in downtown over to a small Island nestled inside Boston harbor. You get some amazing views of the city on the way over and once you're on the island there is plenty to do. The island is home to Fort Warren, a Civil War-era fort known for its granite archways and reputed ghost, the Lady in Black. In addition to the historic significance of the island there is tons of green space for the kids to run around and play.
Tip: There are some free grills to cook up some lunch but its BYOB&C (bring your own burgers & charcoal).
The Skywalk is sort of a tourist trap but the views are unparalleled so it's worth it even as someone who lives here. You pay $15/adults or $12/kids 10 and under to go up to the 50th floor of one of Boston's tallest buildings. There are windows on all four sides so you can see the city and surrounding suburbs in all directions and the views are truly breathtaking.
Tip: o right around sunset because you'll get to see the city during the day and night for the price of one trip and sunsets are badass. Plus the Skywalk is in the same building as the Prudential Mall so you can head downstairs for some shopping and dinner afterwards.
11. Castle Island
This is an awesome day trip. This 22-acre urban park is connected to the mainland by both pedestrian and vehicular causeways. Pleasure Bay, the M Street Beach and Carson Beach form a three mile segment of parkland and beach along the South Boston shoreline of Dorchester Bay and is home to Fort Independence, greenspace to run around, some playgrounds, a rad bike path and of course every Bostonian's favorite ice cream / burger & fries joint: Sullivan's
Tip: hey have free parking so if you're driving and don't want to deal with meters, overpriced lots and most likely a parking ticket this is a good spot.
This place is awesome. They have lions, giraffes, zebras, gorillas, hippos, and tons of other animals. It's $17 for adults and $11 for kids. In addition to the animals there are a bunch of places to eat, a carousel, train rides and a playground. They also have rotating exhibits as well (last time we went they had a dinosaur exhibit that scared the bejeezus out of Sierra).
Tip: On Saturdays from 10AM til Noon it's "Kids Price Saturdays" where everyone gets in for the $11 kids rate.
Improv Boston is a small comedy club located in Central Square in Cambridge, MA. Once a week, Saturdays at 6PM, they run a family show for children of all ages. It's an affordable night out at $14 for adults and $8 for children under 12 and nestled in a busy area full of bars, restaurants and shops so you can really make a night of it.
Tip: We did a full review of the event on our blog and you can read it here.