One Day in Boston with Kids

We live only about 1 hour from Boston, so head in often. Recently my best friend, Laurie, came into town and wanted to give her kids a taste of this capital of Massachusetts. Read on for how to spend one day in Boston, Massachusetts with kids, so that you can plan how to see Boston in a day.

things to do with children in Boston
Lead your ducklings through Boston Public Gardens to see Make Way for Ducklings when you visit Boston with kids.

The day we visited was hot and my friends arrived on an overnight flight, so we ended up not hitting everything on this schedule. I decided to still give it all to you, although it may be best for a weekend in Boston with kids, so you can really enjoy each thing that you do.

Founded in 1630, this waterfront capital city is one of the oldest in the country. It played a key role in the American Revolution and there are many historical spots to visit. It is pretty small and well served by the MBTA or “T”, its Metro system.

Things To Do in Boston with Kids

Start Your Day with a Hearty Irish Breakfast

what to see in Boston in one day
The view from Boston’s Black Rose.

Since a lot of exploring a city for me is understanding its history and residents, an Irish breakfast is a perfect way to start a Bostonian day. The Irish make up the single largest ethnic group in Boston. They were among the first immigrants to arrive in mass in the 1800s, especially following the Great Irish Famine.

One of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the US takes place in “Southie”, or the neighborhood of South Boston. It is pretty crazy, with a lot of drinking. I took my kids, but wouldn’t take them back.

If you have been to Dublin, you will appreciate the authenticity of Black Rose.  The food is good and you will be transported to the green isle. You can read about my time in Dublin with kids here. The Black Rose is perfectly located as well, right near the famous Faneuil Hall and Quincy Marketplace.

If you aren’t going to start your day with breakfast here, it makes more sense geographically to start at Boston Common and come to the Duck Tour right before lunch, as Fanuiel Hall is a stop in the middle of the Freedom Trail.

Take a Boston Duck Tour

Boston is right on the water and its history is connected to both the land and sea, so a Duck Boat Tour has long been on my family’s Boston wish list.

A Boston DUCK boat headed out from the waterfront.

What is a Duck Boat?

A “DUCK” is a vehicle that was used by the military in WWII. They are very cool because they travel on land and into the water! They also provide a great view, unlike a bus window.

I contacted Boston Duck Tours and they were gracious enough to let my family try out their tour. They have a couple of places that you can start your tour, but we left from the Boston Aquarium stop. We chose this stop because it was around all the other things we wanted to do. The tour lasts just under 1 1/2 hours. Although I have explored Boston extensively, even I learned things as the conDUCKtor wittily narrated our journey alongside many of Boston’s most famous attractions and eventually into the Charles River. I had never seen the skyline from the river and the tour was a favorite of everyone.

Lunch at Fanuiel Hall Marketplace

what to see in Boston in one day
Faneuil Hall is always very busy, but you can always sit out on the courtyard.

Just like European cities, historic Boston had a market for trading. Faneuil Hall Marketplace, consisting of Fanuiel Hall, Quincy Market, North and South Halls was opened in 1742. It has changed over the years and been expanded, but this is the same spot where Samuel Adams ignited a rebellion against the English and colonists protested the Sugar Act! But now you can see street performers and get pretty much any food you can imagine– from something Bostonian like lobster and clam chowder to sushi or Indian food. Take that food onto the cobble-stoned promenade and watch multitudes street performers vying for your attention.

Take the Green Line to Arlington Station or walk the 1.7 miles to the

Boston Public Gardens

Read more about the gardens in Boston in Bloom.

From Boston Public Gardens, you can walk to the upscale Beacon Hill with its boutiques and historic brick homes complete with gas lamps. If you are doing Boston in two days or a weekend Beacon Hill is a perfect spot to have dinner.

one day in Boston with kids
Gaslamps of Beacon Street

See Make Way for Ducklings

While you are in the gardens, don’t miss this cute bronze statue of a momma Mallard and her babies. You can even see them dressed up to support the Red Sox! It is right near the corner of Beacon Street and Charles Street.

And Take a Ride on the Swan Boats

The Paget family has been running swan boats in the park since 1870! In Boston, even a boat ride is being part of history. The boats run April through Labor Day. The rides are inexpensive and no reservations are needed.

Head Over to the Boston Common

Spend some time in America’s oldest park founded in 1634. Since then the land has been used for grazing, hanging Quakers, a camp of the Redcoats, even a civil-rights rally lead by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Walk the Freedom Trail

The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile walk past 16 of Boston’s most historic places, including the sight of the Boston Massacre and the Massachusetts State House. It ends at the Bunker Hill Monument.

You can start your walk on the Freedom Trail at the Boston Common. Here is a map of the Freedom Trail.

Then take the Metro or Uber into the North End’s Little Italy for some great Italian food.

One day in Boston, Massachusetts with kids
Hanover Street, Boston

Dinner in Little Italy

Our favorite restaurant in Little Italy is the upscale Strega. Their bolognese is my son’s favorite anywhere.

Be sure to go to the famous Mike’s Pastry for dessert cannoli. Expect lines, but the unique flavors of these quality cannoli make it worth it.

Additional Things to Do with Kids in Boston if you are Staying for the Weekend

  • Boston Tea Party Boat and Museum

  • Boston Children’s Museum– Right near the Tea Party Boat and Museum.

  • Boston Science Museum– Our favorite part is the lightening room where you can see a real lightning show.

  • Mapparium– I wouldn’t have expected it, but this huge, correctly-scaled glass globe is one of the coolest things to see in Boston, for kids and adults.

  • Take in a Red Sox game at Fenway Park- There is nothing more Boston than this.

Best Places to Stay in Boston, Massachusetts with Kids



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2 thoughts on “One Day in Boston with Kids”

  1. I loved reading about your day in Boston because I was just there myself earlier this summer for a conference. The ducks were dressed similarly when I was there except they all had red/white/blue ribbons tied on for the upcoming 4th of July celebration. I didn’t do a duck tour though. I had more time so I walked everywhere, but I would like to do this on a return trip to Boston (which I am already dying to do, I fell in love with Boston) as well as a few other things. We should meet up and hang out there!


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