View Full Version : Visiting Boston in May -- what are the "must do's" with kids?

01-20-2012, 01:21 PM
My kids will be 13, 11 and 8 when we go. We are staying downtown in Cambridge on the water while the hubs is at a conference -- apparently right across from the science museum. We have family there and will undoubtably do things with them, the more artsy off-the-beaten-path stuff. But, for the two or three days the kids and I will be on our own. What should we see/do???

01-20-2012, 01:46 PM
The Museum of Science is fantastic! You could easily spend a whole day or more there--Planetarium, IMAX, live demonstrations, and three floors of exhibits.

If your kids are history buffs, you could walk the Freedom Trail and hit lots of spots like Paul Revere's house, The U.S.S. Constitution, and the Bunker Hill Monument. If you want to go out of town a bit, you could go to Concord and see the homes of the Alcotts, Emerson, Thoreau, and Walden Pond.

Harvard Square is a fun place to walk around (and pick up Harvard swag) with lots of shops, bookstores, and restaurants. The Museums at Harvard are free a couple mornings each week (Wednesday and Sunday, I think?). My kids like the Museum of Natural History there--every animal you can think of stuffed and on display, glass flowers, and a huge room full of rocks and minerals.

Let me know if your kids have any particular interests and I can think up more!

P.S. I highly recommend having breakfast at The Friendly Toast (http://www.thefriendlytoast.net/) in East Cambridge. Super yum!

01-21-2012, 07:42 AM
Thanks for the ideas -- since you say the Science Museum is worth it, and it happens to be right across the street :-), we will do that for sure. My kids are not good museum-goers. They don't like to stop and read things. They just like to see them. So science is a good bet for holding their interest. Maybe there will be an IMAX show they would dig too. When you do the Freedom Trail is like a guided tour or you just walk through an area? Do you pay a fee to get into the historical area, like Williamsburg, and then you can just see whatever you want? I love history stuff. My middle child is studying Thoreau later this month. A trip to his house would be cool. Maybe I will look into that too. Museum of Natural History is always a hit here with the Smithsonian. Personally I'd love to just eat my way through Boston and bring on any and all eateries worth stopping at! Thanks for the breakfast recommendation; we happen to LOVE breakfast food! My SIL teaches/works/studies at Harvard and they live within walking distance of the campus, so we will definitely go there and let them be our guides; I'm sure my nephews will want to show us their favorite places too.

01-21-2012, 09:04 AM
The Freedom Trail is just a red line painted on the sidewalks of Downtown Boston and across the river to Charlestown (where Bunker Hill and the Constitution are). You can pick up a map and just walk it yourself or pay to join a guided tour. Here's the info on the city's website: http://www.cityofboston.gov/freedomtrail/

If your SIL works at Harvard, she can probably get lots of discounted tickets through their "Innings and Outings" program. My MIL worked there and could tickets for lots of museums. The Aquarium, for example, is a cool place but the tickets are almost $20 each. I think my MIL got them for less than half price.

Oh, and stop in the North End for some cannoli at Mike's Pastry if you want to throw in a few more calories!

Have fun! Boston is a homeschooler's paradise. :)

01-21-2012, 09:33 AM
Thanks MonkeyMama. With all that walking fuel in the form of cannolis sounds totally justified ;-) My family is originally from NJ and we were used to italian bakeries. No such thing here in the DC area, at least not like up north. I'll go in as many as I happen to come upon! I will ask my SIL about tickets to things too. Thanks for all the hints! I'm really looking forward to the trip. The kids and I are taking the train up.

01-21-2012, 12:25 PM
Sometimes local museums have reciprocal programs, so if you belong to any museums (probably not, since you live in the land of free awesome museums!) you might check to see if they offer discounted tickets for others around the country. Also, some libraries offer discounts; our local library offers free and discounted tickets for all sorts of museums, gardens and so forth all over Maine and even in Boston. Granted, we live fairly close, but you never know what's available. A lot of museums will offer discounts if you mention you homeschool, too.