While plenty of cities are home to famous museums and attractions, Boston’s walkable neighborhoods and historic sites make it more unique and easy to explore for families.

And then there are the things you can only find in Boston: historic swan boats, a stroll through one of Harvard’s museums, or the Frog Pond at the Boston Common, to name a few. Read on to discover our top picks for fun things to do as a family in Boston.

photo: skeeze via Pixabay

Harvard Museum of Natural History

26 Oxford St Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 495-3045
hmnh.harvard.edu

Located on Harvard’s campus, this museum is a favorite of local families and tourists alike. Families love the glass flowers, and there is a great collection of rocks, minerals, and meteorites. It’s easy to spend a good 2-3 hours here, and kids of all ages will be entertained by the museum, which is jam-packed with exhibits. Tip: The museum can be a little hard to find if you’re just looking around the campus, so find Oxford Street.

Rose Kennedy Greenway

High Street &, Atlantic Ave Boston, MA 02110
(617) 292-0020
rosekennedygreenway.org

Built on top of the “Big Dig” and stretching a mile and a half, this park is a great outdoor destination for families. The Greenway features seven water features, public art and play structures, walking paths perfect for biking, and an incredible carousel. There are also a variety of organized activities on the Greenway; check their website for details.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston

598 Assembly Row Somerville, MA 02145
(617) 702-5593
legolanddiscoverycenter.com/boston/

If your kids love LEGO (and really, who doesn’t?!) visiting LEGOLAND is a no-brainer. Kids will be in their element, building structures from the plethora of LEGO blocks all throughout the building. If your kids are looking for inspiration, don’t miss the Master Builder, who you can see building drool-worthy structures, or the super-detailed, interactive miniature village. In addition to ample opportunities for creative play, there are two rides (a seated medieval knight ride, and a flying “Merlin’s Apprentice” ride), and a separate Star Wars experience. Tip: bring your own mini figure to trade with the staff!

Swan Boats at Boston’s Public Garden

4 Charles St S Boston, MA 02116
(617) 522-1966
swanboats.com/

Uniquely Boston, the Swan Boats at Boston’s Public Garden are an unforgettable adventure your family will get a kick out of. Inexpensive ($4 for adults and $2.50 for kids), the 10-15 minute ride around the pond is beautiful and peaceful. The paddle boats are original from the 1800s and are completely human-powered.

The Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library

200 Massachusetts Ave Boston, MA 02115
(617) 450-7000
mbelibrary.org

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This gorgeous, three-story globe is one of the main attractions at The Mary Baker Eddy Library. Featuring brilliant colors, LED lights, inspiring quotes and music, the Mapparium shows how ideas have changed the world.

New England Aquarium

1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110
(617) 973-5200
neaq.org

The unique New England Aquarium is Boston’s most-visited attraction, which is no surprise. The aquarium’s main feature is a huge, vertical coral reef teeming with sea life. Kids will be fascinated by the aquarium, which can be viewed from a spiral walkway which stretches from the bottom to the top of the building. At the top, you can see the staff feeding sharks and turtles. Kids will also love the seals and penguins.

Arnold Arboretum

125 Arborway, Boston, MA 02130
(617) 524-1718
arboretum.harvard.edu

If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure, look no further than the Arnold Arboretum. One of Boston’s most beautiful green spaces, the Arboretum is perfect for a quiet stroll, a scavenger hunt, kite-flying and duck-feeding.

Castle Island Park & Fort Independence

2010 Day Blvd, Boston, MA 02127
(857) 250-7755
boston.gov/calendar/castle-island-and-fort-independence-tours

Another great outdoor space for young kids, Castle Island Park is the spot for little airplane-lovers ,as many airplanes land and take off above the beach. Kids will love the playground, “castle”, boats, and beach. Make it a lunch date with a tour of the Castle and a visit the hot dog stand.

Boston Common Frog Pond

38 Beacon St, Boston, MA 02108
(617) 635-2120
bostonfrogpond.com

No matter the time of year, your kids will find something fun at the Boston Common Frog Pond. In the Summer the pond is a splash pad with a wading pool and giant 70 foot spray plume, open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. from July through Labor Day. In the winter, it’s converted to an ice skating rink with skate rentals, lockers, and a warm kiosk with a snack bar.

Minuteman Bikeway

minutemanbikeway.org

Chock full of history and gorgeous views, the Minuteman Bikeway passes through the historic area where the American Revolution began. The paved path is built on a former rail line and extends 11 miles, running through Cambridge, Arlington, Lexington, and Bedford. The path passes playing fields, ponds, neighborhoods, bakeries, bike shops, and more.

—Sara Olsher

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