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Family Travel: Boston, MA

Even those who are too young to own a history book can appreciate the perks: There are walkable city streets, a waterfront bursting with kid-friendly water parks and playgrounds, and a historical children’s book brought to life. Oh, and did we mention the ballpark?

Written By:  Erin Byers Murray

Photographers:  Supplied

Looking for a trip that also involves a history lesson? Before you start stifling those yawns, consider Boston, which boasts some of the best experiences in the country for getting kids engaged in the past. So many pivotal moments in early American history happened in Beantown—from the ride of Paul Revere to the tossing of tea into the Boston Harbor. Around every cobblestoned corner, there seems to be another landmark announcing the city’s role in the founding of our country. Even those who are too young to own a history book can appreciate the perks: There are walkable city streets, a waterfront bursting with kid-friendly water parks and playgrounds, and a historical children’s book brought to life. Oh, and did we mention the ballpark?


Southwest Airlines offers two daily nonstop flights from Nashville to Boston’s Logan Airport.


Stick close to downtown with a room at the InterContinental Boston (from $399 per night), which gets you direct access to both the Rose Kennedy Greenway as well as the waterfront. For a spot that’s central to Back Bay and Fenway Park, Hotel Commonwealth has a number of perks, including children being gifted the hotel’s mascot, a stuffed bear named Terry, upon arrival (from $319 per night).


Boston is a big city made up of small, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods. If you’re looking for a concentration of family fun, spend a day or two exploring downtown and the waterfront. Here, you’ll find easy access to Fort Point Channel, which is home to the Boston Tea Party Ships and Museum—the recently reopened museum includes three historically restored ships that were famously used by the original tea-tossers, who poured crates of tea into the water to protest an imposed tax. Far beyond the typical museum experience, this one gets you in on the action of the events of December 1773: Walk through a hall with an interactive hologram exhibit and help in the reenactment of the Tea Party while also learning about the aftermath.

For the smaller set, the Boston Children’s Museum is over the bridge in the Fort Point neighborhood and offers multiple floors of interactive exhibits. From there, take a stroll down the Rose Kennedy Greenway—once the site of the Big Dig that’s now been opened up and pristinely landscaped—until you hit the New England Aquarium; along the way, you’ll come across water parks, lovely gardens, and several  snack-selling vendors. Inside the aquarium, which sits directly on the harbor, you’ll be greeted by a gaggle of penguins before journeying up through several levels of sea-faring life. There’s also plenty to do nearby, including an IMAX theater and whale watch tours that leave from the adjacent docks.

After getting to know downtown, be sure to head inland toward Back Bay and the Public Garden. Besides the idyllic landscaping, the park is home to the Duck Pond as well as the Make Way for Ducklings sculpture, which honors the classic children’s picture book by re-creating the feathered characters who famously make their home in the pond.

No visit to Boston is complete without experiencing a sporting event, so take advantage of the fact that you’ve arrived in Title Town, USA. With eight World Series wins under their belts in the past 100 or so years, the Boston Red Sox are formidable—and Fenway Park is one of the last remaining classic ballparks in the country. Though the place has been updated over the years (you can now score seats atop the famed left-field wall, the Green Monster), the stairs still creek and the seating is cramped. But that’s exactly what makes Fenway such an icon—not to mention the legendary Fenway franks.

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Lest you think it’s all baked beans and baseball stadium hot dogs, take note that Boston’s food scene has exploded in the past 15 years. From the waterfront to Back Bay and the South End to Cambridge, there are restaurants for every craving. You’re at the cusp of the New England seacoast, so embrace it with a stop at Island Creek Oyster Bar. Set a few blocks from Fenway Park in Kenmore Square, the spacious and stunning room is a tribute to the oyster and other jewels of the sea—it’s the product of a partnership between a chef, a restaurateur, and an oyster farmer, meaning the half-shell selection is as top-notch as the experience. (Full disclosure: I once worked at said oyster farm and have eaten my fair share of bivalves shucked here.) Settle in with a dozen raw oysters from around the region and, for the kiddos, a few crispy oyster sliders. Other standouts include Ethel’s lobster roll and anything from the selection of daily fish specials.

Down on the waterfront, you could fuel up for your museum visits at Sportello, a contemporary Italian diner where the freshly made pastas are perfect for both adults and kids, plus there’s a coffee bar brimming with a selection of espresso drinks. Nearby, Flour Bakery has a more casual vibe as well as a tasty selection of sandwiches and some of the city’s finest baked goods. For a view of the waterfront, head a little further into Fort Point toward Sam’s at Louis, a restaurant that sits atop a high-profile clothing store and offers one of the best outdoor patios in town, along with a rewarding burger and a killer root beer float.

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