36 kid-friendly things to do in the Seaport, Brookline, and other Boston areas

From puppet shows to a chocolate buffet.

A previous first day of ice time on the Boston Common Frog Pond. David L Ryan/Globe Staff

Whether you’re among a sea of brownstones in the South End or by the water in the Seaport, Boston is ripe with opportunities to eat and explore with the younger set. Read on to see how the whole family can sink its teeth into doughnuts, scale rock walls, and settle in for story time around six Boston neighborhoods.

Back Bay/South End

The Mary Baker Eddy Library features the Mapparium.

Explore the massive globe in the Mapparium at the Mary Baker Eddy Library
The three-story stained-glass globe is the library’s main attraction, showcasing the world as we knew it in 1935. (200 Massachusetts Ave., Boston)

Eat an ice cream and doughnut sandwich at Blackbird Doughnuts
Choose your favorite doughnut, and they’ll cut it in half and add any flavor of ice cream in the middle for an unparalleled sugar high. (492 Tremont St., Boston; 20 Kilmarnock St., Boston)

Read a book in the secret courtyard at the Boston Public Library
Even longtime residents may not realize the BPL holds an idyllic courtyard behind its towering brick walls. The country’s oldest large, free municipal library also houses murals by John Singer Sargent and a newly renovated children’s library. (700 Boylston St., Boston)


Traverse the Prudential Center’s hub of Italian cuisine at Eataly Boston
With four restaurants, 10 eateries, two cafes, three bars, five fresh production counters, 500-plus employees, and 10,000 products, your best bet in navigating this 45,000-square-foot behemoth may be getting your kids “Eat-Ineraries.” (Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., Boston)

Eat a flower-shaped gelato treat from Amorino
Create your own “rose” with a variety of yummy flavors at this popular spot, then stroll down Newbury Street while admiring the pretty creations. (249 Newbury St., Boston)

Shop and snack at SoWa
The year-round indoor-outdoor bazaar features art, antiques, crafts, and multiple food markets. The winter festival, full of handmade gifts and live holiday music, is just around the corner. (450 Harrison Ave., Boston)


Myrtle the turtle at the New England Aquarium.

Watch Myrtle the sea turtle swim in her giant tank at the New England Aquarium
For a special treat, parents can book a one-hour personalized tour to meet Myrtle, considered the aquarium’s most famous resident. (1 Central Wharf, Boston)

Explore the foodie heaven that is the Boston Public Market
This sprawling indoor market on Hanover Street operates year-round. The stands, which sell produce and meat, baked goods, and specialty products, offer something for everyone. (100 Hanover St., Boston)


Watch a street performance at Faneuil Hall Marketplace
Take a break from shopping, and you might see a death-defying stunt by one of the rotating performers who frequent the area. (4 S. Market St., Boston)

Perfect your figure-eight at the Frog Pond
The ice rink is set to reopen in mid-November. Rent out blue “skating seals” if the kiddos need help keeping their balance. (38 Beacon St., Boston)

Visit the famous “Make Way for Ducklings” statues
The classic 1941 children’s book by Robert McCloskey comes to life in the form of these magical sculptures of Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings. With the seasons changing, you may notice them donning scarves or hats. (Public Garden near Beacon and Charles Streets, Boston)

Make like Willy Wonka with an all-you-can-eat chocolate buffet at the Langham Hotel
Yes, this is a real thing. Try more than 100 chocolate desserts and dip into the chocolate fountain at the sweetest brunch in town. (250 Franklin St., Boston)

Seaport/Fort Point

The Boston Children’s Museum.

Slurp some New England clam chowder at Legal Sea Foods
A small seafood shop in Cambridge blossomed over decades into a massive restaurant chain, its creamy clam chowder even served at presidential inaugurations. (270 Northern Ave., Boston; additional locations)


Go on a Play Date at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
Mix the ICA’s thought-provoking galleries with the museum’s monthly activities and performances for the whole family, called Play Dates, and you’ve got a Saturday sure to please. (25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston)

Relive the revolution at the Boston Tea Party and Ships Museum
Visitors can dump boxes over the edge of a ship docked in the Boston Harbor, just like America’s revolutionary forefathers. (306 Congress St., Boston)

Start the morning off right with a sticky bun at Flour Bakery + Café
James Beard Award winner Joanne Chang’s ever-expanding bakery empire is known for its sticky buns, which bested Bobby Flay’s on TV. (12 Farnsworth St., Boston; additional locations)

Let your toddler climb around the indoor PlaySpace at the Boston Children’s Museum
When it’s too chilly for the playground, frazzled parents can let their little ones burn off some energy inside this colorful, toy-stocked play area. (308 Congress St., Boston)



Eat delicious pastries at Tatte Bakery and Cafe
Break the rules and let the whole family have sugary cinnamon rolls for breakfast. At the Brookline original, be sure to snag an outdoor table if it’s warm enough and let your kids watch the Green Line trains chug past. (1003 Beacon St., Brookline; additional locations)

Find all the books and trinkets your heart desires at the Brookline Booksmith
While the kids settle in for a Sunday morning story time, you can peruse meticulously organized new and used books, then shop at The Giftsmith, which the shop describes as a “beautifully designed room packed with everything from the sublime to the ridiculous.” (279 Harvard St., Brookline)


See a magic show or a children’s classic at the Coolidge Corner Theatre
One of Boston’s only independent movie theaters hosts an array of programs for children of all ages. There are shows for parents with infants and live acts for kids. (290 Harvard St., Brookline)

Taste un peu de France at the Paris Creperie
This cute Coolidge Corner café specializes in the thin French pancakes, stuffed with every savory or sweet filling you could dream up. (278 Harvard St., Brookline)

Attend a magical puppet show at Puppet Showplace Theater
The lovable puppets at this kid-centric theater spin tales about everything from princesses and pirates to butterflies and bunnies. (32 Station St., Brookline)

Go to Zaftigs for the delicatessen-style food, stay for the complimentary bagel chips
Breakfast is served all day, and between the banana-stuffed French toast and pastrami sandwich, you may need to ask your server for a few minutes. (335 Harvard St., Brookline)


The Curious George Store in Harvard Square.

Get into some monkey business at The Curious George Store
Your child can cuddle with a plush toy and flip through a picture book at this store dedicated to the fictional inquisitive monkey. (1 JFK St., Cambridge)

Hone the art of timing a sugar crash with an ice cream from Toscanini’s
Regularly named the city’s best ice cream, this Cambridge icon boasts flavors like the B3, as in: brown sugar, brown butter, and brownies. (899 Main St., Cambridge)

Get the giggles out at the Family Show at ImprovBoston
This weekly Saturday night improv and music extravaganza won the Nickelodeon award for Best Children’s Theater. (40 Prospect St., Cambridge)


Fall in love with the smell of the Zinneken’s Waffles food truck
The secret to Zinneken’s superiority? The real Belgian waffles, made by real Belgians, are also Liège waffles, meaning they’re made with dough, not batter. (1154 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge; streets of Boston)

Take the fam to brunch at Full Moon
With a small play area carved off inside the restaurant, this lively, welcoming spot in Huron Village is bringing brunch back for parents. (344 Huron Ave., Cambridge)

Gawk at the “Glass Flower” collection at the Harvard Museum of Natural History
One of the more famous exhibits at Harvard is made up of more than 4,000 flowers representing more than 830 plant species. Discover other areas of the museum through one of its family programs. (26 Oxford St., Cambridge)

Tear into a T-Rex at Bagelsaurus
The lines at this Porter Square spot can be daunting, but the T-Rex (your choice of bagel with house-made almond butter, honey, banana, and bacon) is worth the wait. (1796 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge)


The apple cider doughnuts at Union Square Donuts.

Become the family hero with a haul from Union Square Donuts
The fluffy pieces of magic regularly put Union Square Donuts on lists of best doughnut shops in the country. The maple-bacon is especially a crowd-pleaser. (409 Harvard St., Brookline; 20 Bow St., Somerville)

Just keep climbing at Brooklyn Boulders
You and your young ones can take a class at the popular indoor facility, which offers 28,000 square feet of climbing space. (12A Tyler St., Somerville)

Tour the Taza Chocolate factory
The local company is beloved for its stone-ground, bean-to-bar chocolate, as well as its dedication to ethical cacao sourcing. Stop in on a weekend with children under 10 for Tazo Cacao Scout Bingo or Chocolate Story Time. (561 Windsor St., Somerville)


Embrace your inner child at Legoland
One of the most impressive Lego displays is Boston-themed, with 1.5 million bricks comprising some of the city’s most famous landmarks. (598 Assembly Row, Somerville)

Try to finish a freak frappe at Boston Burger Company
Whether you call it a frappe or a milkshake, you’ve got to try BBC’s dessert-topped desserts with names like Frappe, Crackle, and Pop and Shamrock Your World. (37 Davis Square, Somerville; additional locations)

Go candlepin bowling and eat pepperoni pizza at Flatbread Company at Sacco’s Bowl Haven
Eat delicious wood-fired pizzas at this industrial-chic Davis Square joint, which conveniently combines two family favorites: candlepin bowling and pizza. (45 Day St., Somerville)

The items above previously appeared in’s “1,000 things to do in New England” package. Check out even more things to do in Boston.