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15 Free Things to Do in Boston with your Family

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Posted by Stacey Sao, guest blogger of Boston Central

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy quite a bit of what Boston has to offer. Some of the best things in Boston really are free.

The Seaport has enjoyed significant development in recent years.  One of the gems of this area is The Lawn on D (Street), a park and playground oasis for children and adults near the Boston convention center.

Photo Courtesy of The Lawn on D

Well known for its giant circular swings (and yes, they DO glow at night!), visitors are welcome to come play popular backyard games like cornhole, ping pong, bocce, Jenga and more, while listening to live music and enjoying the outdoors.

Situated along the Fort Point Channel, next to Boston Children’s Museum, Martin’s Park is a  beautiful new play area featuring wide winding paths, along which families can find unique climbing structures, covered slides, a giant wooden ship to board, expertly landscaped with lots of trees and shrubs, and inviting views and breezes from the waterfront.

                                                     Photo copyright BostonCentral

We always recommend a walk along the Rose Kennedy Greenway. This 17-acre green ribbon of open green space is a true treasure to the city of Boston.  There’s always something to see and do, including rotating art exhibits, splash fountains, artisans’ markets, well-manicured gardens, giant murals, open green spaces, inviting red Adirondack chairs, food trucks, & the Greenway Carousel.

                                                     Photo copyright BostonCentral

Right across the street you can explore Quincy Market, a great destination for shopping, grabbing a drink or a snack in an impressively comprehensive food court, people watching, and of course enjoying an entertaining street performance.

Don’t forget Faneuil Hall — Boston’s 275 year old meeting hall.  Take a step back into history within the Great Hall as you sit and imagine the lively debates that took place here.  Hidden upstairs is The Ancient & Honorable Artillery Museum another historical venue worth checking out.

Boston Public Market is an indoor showcase of fresh local fare.  Niche grocery items, locally grown produce, gourmet treats, and beverages abound here.   It’s like a high end farmer’s market with lots of table & chair space to sit and enjoy a snack.

For kids with lots of energy – you can head over to Bunker Hill Monument, and then take the challenge of climbing the 294 steps to the top.  It’s not that far – just over the bridge in fact (1 easy mile from TD garden) and quite an accomplishment. The real reward are the views.

On your way back make your way over to the Charlestown Navy Yard where you can visit the USS Constitution Museum and take a tour of historic “Old Ironsides”, America’s oldest warship still afloat.  Round out a terrific day and treat yourself to a water taxi ride back from Charlestown pier.

                                               Photo copyright BostonCentral

You can also explore the Commonwealth Museum which shares the rich history and treasures of Massachusetts.

Boston Common features 50 acres of open park space with sports fields, Frog Pond spray fountain/ice rink, and the wonderful tadpole playground for kids of all ages to enjoy.

Turn around and look toward Beacon Street, and you’ll see the famous Golden Dome of the Massachusetts State House.   Public tours are available weekdays year-round from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm. The building is closed on weekends and holidays.

The Boston Public Garden is a lush, meticulously maintained botanical garden space of nearly 4 acres, with enormous trees that are hundreds of years old shading wonderful walking paths.

                                                     Photo copyright BostonCentral

Historic statues and fountains adorn the greenery and the famous Swan Boats float peacefully by on the middle lagoon. The park also contains a delightful photo-op for the young at heart; the Make Way for Ducklings sculptures by Nancy Schön.  These spirited statues are a tribute to the 1941 classic children’s story by Robert McCloskey.

Take a self-guided tour of The Freedom Trail. There are 16 official stops along this 2.5 mile red brick trail that leads you through historic Boston.  Guided tours are also available, but a self-guided tour allows you to take your time, and/or start and finish wherever you want.  We think it’s fun to reverse the tour and start from Bunker Hill Monument.

The newer ICA Watershed in East Boston is a great place to spend the day or enjoy a day at Piers Park, which is right next door.  Piers Park features wide-open waterfront walkways, beautiful views of downtown Boston, a large playground, as well as benches and a pavilion.

We hope that this list has given you inspiration for some of the many things you can experience free in Boston.  For more great ideas, visit our ultimate guide to free things to do in Boston.

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