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Boston is a ‘big,’ small town. It is big enough that there are lots of options for things to do; however, it is small enough that you can get around town on foot with ease. We spent a few days in Boston when my son was three years old, and we had a great time! We spent one epic day hitting the sites, and in my opinion, it was one of the best days we’ve spent as a family!
I hope you enjoy this one day in Boston, with kids itinerary! Feel free to drop us a note below if you have any places or experiences that you’d add to this list!
One Day in Boston Itinerary
Grab some breakfast at your hotel, or grab some to go muffins, etc… on your way to Boston Commons, which is where you’ll start your day!
1. Boston Commons
First, no one-day-in-Boston-itinerary would be complete without a visit to Boston Commons.
Boston Commons is a 50-acre park located in the middle of Boston. Visit the Boston Commons Visitor’s Center for information on the Freedom Trail, ask questions, and get pamphlets and maps.
The Visitor’s Center is the official starting point for the Freedom Trail (which is where you’ll head next).
Family Tip: Use the bathroom at the Visitor’s Center, which also has changing tables.
If you’ve got time to kill, or if your kids need to get their wiggles out, you have a few options in Boston Commons:
- Tadpole Playground: Cute playground located very close to the Visitor’s Center.
- Frog Pond & Carousel: The Frog Pond is a big pond with a snack bar, carousel, and ice skating in the winter. It is located very near the Visitor’s Center, across the way from the Tadpole Playground.
- Swan Boats & Public Garden: The Swan Boats are located west of Boston Commons, across Charles Street. The Public Garden is a beautiful garden with more walking trails surrounding a picturesque lake. The Swan Boats launch from the lake and are open every day, from May-Labor Day, weather permitting. The Swan Boats are essentially big pontoons boats, made for leisurely ‘sailing.’
- Children under 2 are free, with a discount for children aged 2-15 years old.
- Strollers may be folded and taken on the Swan Boat or left in the patio area.
2. Walk the Freedom Trail
The Freedom Trail is a highlight of any one-day in Boston itinerary. The Freedom Trail is a 2.5-mile trail/path around the City of Boston that takes you by 16 historical sites. Please note that the Freedom Trail is a walking trail, so be sure to bring a child carrier, a stroller, or a wagon, if your kiddos don’t do well walking long distances.
From the Visitor’s Center in Boston Commons, pick up the beginning of the Freedom Trail and head out.
For purposes of this one day in Boston with kids itinerary, we recommend following the freedom trail as far as Faneuil Hall (in which the Ancient & Honorable Artillery Company is located), on Congress St., just past State Street.
From Boston Commons to Faneuil Hall, you’ll pass the following sites:
- Massachusetts Statehouse;
- Park Street Church;
- Granary Burying Ground;
- King’s Chapel & Burying Ground;
- Boston Latin School Site/Benjamin Franklin Statue;
- Old Corner Bookstore;
- Old South Meeting House;
- Massachusetts Old State House;
- Boston Massacre Site;
- Faneuil Hall;
Once you arrive at Faneuil Hall, in this block and the next, you’ll find the New England Holocaust Memorial and Haymarket, which is an open-air fruit and veggie market.
3. Lunch at Quincy Market
Next, grab lunch at Quincy Market, which is opposite Faneuil Fall. Quincy Market is an iconic, warehouse-like food hall with scores of restaurants and shops. There is something for all tastes and budgets at Quincy. Lastly, you can spend 15 minutes up to an hour in Quincy, depending on how fast your party moves.
Family Tip: Use the bathrooms at Quincy Market before heading out to the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Toilets are scarce along the Greenway, and Nature Pee’ing is a no-no, given the heavy lanes of traffic flanking either side of the Greenway.
4. Visit the Rose Kennedy Greenway (abbreviated as ‘The Greenway”)
After lunch, you’ll part ways with the Freedom Trail and cut across the courtyard to the Rose Kennedy Greenway, sandwiched between Atlantic Ave and the John Fitzgerald Surface Rd.
- Walk the Greenway: No one-day Boston itinerary for kids would be complete without a jaunt through the Greenway. From the Armenian Heritage Park, you can cross Atlantic ave and stroll around the Rose Kennedy Rose Garden, along the waterfront. After that, head south along the Greenway, as walking down the greenway is an experience in and of itself. The greenway is littered with parks, gardens, and splash pads. The Greenway is only about a mile long, so take your time strolling along.
- Greenway Carousel: Heading south along the greenway, soon after entering the Greenway from Quincy Market, you’ll come across the Greenway Carousel. The Carousel boats 36 hand-carved animals upon which children can ride. The Greenway Carousel is an excellent introduction to the Greenway for little ones!
- Play: Kids can play all along the Greenway, whether it’s on the swings, Play Cubes, or at the park. Check out the playground at the Rose Kennedy Rose Garden, the Play Cubes at the end of the Greenway, or on the countless swings and monuments along the way.
- Splash Pads: Arguably, the most exciting feature for little kids is the countless splash pads littered throughout and along the Greenway.
- Explore Nature: There are some 16 odd gardens along the Greenway. From Market Street, south kids may enjoy:
- The Greenway Beehives;
- Armenian Heritage Park;
- Pollinator Ribbon Garden;
- Dewey Demonstration Gardens;
- Mary Soo Hoo Park;
Family Tip: Bathrooms are located at the following locations, from north to south, along the Greenway:
- Marriot Long Wharf, just south of the Rose Kennedy Rose Garden & Christopher Colombus Playground;
- New England Aquarium;
- International Place (near Rowes Wharf Plaza);
- Independence Wharf;
- InterContinental Hotel;
- Atlantic Wharf;
- South Station.
5. Walk to South Station (the train station):
The walk from the Carousel to South Station is only about .7 miles; however, if you do it right, it’ll take you a couple of hours. Part ways with the Greenway at South Station, located at the corner of Atlantic Ave and Summer St.
6. Catch a baseball game at Fenway Stadium:
Last, but not least, no one day in Boston- itinerary would be complete without catching a game at Fenway!
What’s more iconic than watching the Red Sox play at Fenway Stadium?
From South Station, you’ll jump on the Framingham/Worchester Commuter Line (the Purple Line) and get off at Lansdowne. Don’t feel bad about asking for assistance once you get into South Station; South Station is chaotic and confusing, especially during rush hour. The ride to Lansdowne is only about 10 minutes. Fenway is about a 2-minute walk from the Lansdowne stop.
We caught a Red Sox-White Sox game at Fenway when our son was three years old, and it was great!
Fenway is a family-friendly stadium and has an entire ‘Kids Concourse.’ They also have family restrooms and nursing rooms.
Additional Things to do in Boston, if you have extra time
- New England Aquarium: Located along the Greenway, this is a convenient pit stop if you need to take a load off, get out of the rain, or just want to dip into a museum. Also, even if you don’t go into the Aquarium, you can see the seals in the seal tank from the outside of the Aquarium, which is neat.
- The Museum of Science: Located approximately 30 minutes (by foot) north of Boston Commons, the museum is in the opposite direction of the Greenway. However, if you’ve got an extra day, it is an excellent addition to a 2-3 day Boston itinerary.
- Duck Boat Tour: This is a great way to see a bit of the city and the water. You can pick up a Duck Boat Tour at one of three locations:
- The New England Aquarium (see above);
- The Museum of Science (see above); OR
- The Prudential Center (approximately 20-minute walk SW of Boston Commons);
- Boston Children’s Museum: It is located south and across the canal from the end of the Greenway. Alternatively, it’s about a 20-minute walk southeast of Boston Commons.
- Visit Harvard: Harvard is just a train ride away from downtown Boston. Its a beautiful campus, with lots of green space for little ones to stretch their legs. They’ve also got splash pads, and neat rock features scattereed throughout the campus. Last but not least, Harvard is around the corner from Milk Bar!!
Ideally, you’ll have a few days in Boston, but if not, you can see and do a lot in one day. This one-day in Boston itinerary hits all of the highlights so that you can get a good feel for the city.
Do you have any other sites that you’d add to a one-day in Boston itinerary? If so, drop them below!
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