Boston is a great city to visit with kids and there are lots of interesting and fun activities that both parents and kids will enjoy! It is an affordable family city and many attractions are free or low-cost.
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If you are staying for a few days, a Go Boston Card is a great idea as it provides discounts to Boston’s top attractions and allows card-holders fast-track admission, so you avoid the long queues. Here are our pick of Free Things to do in Boston with Kids and please let us know if there is something we should add!
10 Free Things To Do In Boston With Kids
#1. The Boston Children’s Museum
It’s not quite free but near as so I had to include it! The Boston Children’s Museum only costs $1 on Fridays and kids go free with the GoBoston discount card.
It is packed with lots of spaces and activities where children from 3 to 10 years can explore the world around them!
“Everything is built at child height and the kids are encouraged to climb, play with and even touch the exhibits!” Andrea L.
The grassy Boston Common is gorgeous anytime of the year. It has ice-skating in winter, but it truly comes alive in spring. It is the country’s first public park and a traditional carousel operates here in the warmer months.
Visit the neighbouring Public Garden and get a photo of the iconic Make Way for Ducklings sculpture, child-size bronze statues by sculptor Nancy Schön. Inspired by Robert McCloskey’s classic book, we picked up a copy of this classic tale as a lovely reminder of our Boston trip!
#3. Tour the State House
Perhaps more for older children, tours of the State House last approximately 30-45 minutes and include an overview of the history and architecture of the State Capitol.
A stunning building with a beautiful gold dome, it is open to the public on weekdays and admission is free.
#4. Street Theatre at Faneuil Hall Marketplace
More than just a great shopping area, Faneuil Hall Marketplace is like a festival venue with jugglers, magicians, clowns and musicians.
There are plenty of free family seasonal events all year round, such as a collection of interactive ice-sculptures in December and summer concerts.
Looking for more things to do? See 10 Best Things to do in Boston with Kids.
#5. Free Discovery Packs at Arnold Arboretum
Borrow a fun Discovery Pack at the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University and go exploring the 281 acres of plant life and trees as a Living Museum or Science Lab.
Activities range in ability for children over 3 years of age and you can customise the packs to suit your child’s age.
You can also join a family walk or a family drop-in to experience the sights and sounds of the Arnold Arboretum on tours and activities geared toward children ages three to eight and above. Walks are free and led by Arboretum staff or volunteers. Meet at the Visitor Center or on the Hunnewell Building lawn. Adults may bring a maximum of three children. Free but registration requested for the hikes.
Visiting New York too? Check out our 10 Free Things to do with Kids in New York here!
#6. Take in the View at the Bunker Hill Monument
For the best views in Boston, and a little history, head to the Bunker Hill Monument. Ideal for all ages, but especially older kids/teens who may be studying the American Revolution.
You won’t mind climbing the 294 steps to the top that lead to the pinnacle when you see the spectacular vista from the monument.
“The Battle of Bunker Hill Museum is free! It’s very interesting for history buffs and features a large diorama.” Teresa R.
#7. The Freedom Trail
Follow Boston’s 2.5 mile historic Freedom Trail and really get a sense of the city’s landmarks and history. There’s lots to see and do on the way.
If you are with young children it is easy to just pick a short section that includes a site your children might like such as the USS Constitution (see below, No. 8).
Then follow it up with tea and a treat at Quincy Market or in a North End bakery.
The USS Constitution aka “Old Ironsides” is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. Located inside Boston National Historical Park as part of the Charlestown Navy Yard in Charlestown, Massachusetts and part of Boston’s Freedom Trail, USS Constitution is open for public visitation, free of charge throughout the year.
Visitors can ask questions and speak with active duty U.S. Navy Sailors assigned as members of USS Constitution’s crew, who are stationed at the ship as interpretative historians to help bring stories of the ship to life.
NB All people aged 18 or older must present photo ID or passport to board the ship.
#9. Take Your Picture With Paul Revere
The statue of Paul Revere is one of the most photographed sculptures in Boston. Not surprisingly the sculptor portrayed Revere during the famous Midnight Ride, but unlike many illustrations where he is shown galloping full speed, the motion of the bronze Revere seems to more dignified.
You’ll find the statue in Boston’s Paul Revere Mall near the Old North Church, along the Freedom Trail.
#10. Stargaze at the Coit Observatory at Boston University
Enjoy free observations of the night’s sky at Coit Observatory on Wednesday evenings starting at 7:30pm in autumn and winter and 8:30pm in spring and summer, weather permitting. Look at the starry sky through telescopes and binoculars while learning a little astronomy. The program is an hour long and perfect for the whole family!
Tickets are free, limited to 5 per person, and made available online on Thursday mornings.
“My son loves the astronomy nights at the Observatory! Wrap up warm in the winter though!” Mike H.
What did I miss? I’m sure you can recommend some more free things to do in Boston with kids! We’d love to hear them, so please let us know in the comments below!