Although we’re New Yorkers and we have Yankee loyalty when it comes to baseball, my family and I have enormous love for the beautiful city of Boston. We’ve made it an annual summer tradition to head to Beantown and visit some of our favorite spots in our favorite neighborhoods. As I’m planning our next trip, I’m so excited to share some of my best Boston tips here with you!
There is just so much to adore about this city… its rich American history, gorgeous scenery, walking-friendly streets, diverse culture, great food, family activities, and incomparable charm. I could go on and on! Instead, I’ll list you some of my favorite things in Boston that I highly recommend for your next adventure!
Favorite Eateries: Reservations recommended!
- Riccardo’s Italian Restaurant – 175 North Street in Boston’s Italian neighborhood known as the North End. Great food and service, casual but classy atmosphere (read: there’s tablecloths and napkins that aren’t made of paper but you can still bring your kids.) Try to get a table by the windows… this place is located right on the Freedom Trail so it overlooks Paul Revere’s house and tons of Boston foot traffic
- Mike’s Pastry – 300 Hanover Street in the North End. Crazy popularity thanks to Food Network and other publicity, so don’t be surprised if the line wraps around outside.
- Ned Divine’s – 1 Faneuil Hall right in the heart of the iconic Quincy Market. A great Irish Pub atmosphere with a modern vibe yet appropriate for families. You can eat outside right in the hustle and bustle of the marketplace or dine inside (my preference) in the cool, dimly lit upstairs bar and grill. Great sandwiches, salads, etc and delicious desserts. Loved the California chicken sandwich, Chicken Sandy, and Chicken Tenders with Honey Mustard (I think we were in a chicken mood! lol)
- Cheers – 84 Beacon Street… where everybody knows your name. Although a small TV-replica Cheers bar is in Faneuil Hall, this original location in Beacon Hill is a must-visit, and the famous staircase and sign outside are the exact ones you’ll see on the show’s opening. This bar and restaurant has two levels, but the downstairs isn’t as good. Try getting a table upstairs… it’s brighter, prettier, and the bar in the center of the room resembles the TV set a bit more than the downstairs (which looks nothing like what you may expect.) Plus the gift shop is upstairs! My family enjoyed the burgers, the salads, the mozzarella sticks, the Grilled Chicken Taco Salad, and the Veggie Panini.
- Paramount Diner – 44 Charles Street in Beacon Hill is a classic, casual diner with more of a bistro flair. Great when you crave a good old-fashioned diner breakfast!
- Trattoria Newbury – 264 Newbury Street. A good variety of sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and pasta. You can eat inside (downstairs) or opt for the bright scenery of famed Newbury Street as you dine al fresco on the street.
- Panera – 200 High Street because you always need a good, reliable chain for a quick bite that reminds you of home! This Downtown Panera is in a great location between a lot of our favorite spots along this main road. It’s walking distance from many attractions and our favorite hotel, and a quick and easy breakfast stop before walking to places like the Children’s Museum or Tea Party Museum.
Favorite Things to Do With Kids… & Fun for Grownups too!
- Boston Children’s Museum – 308 Congress Street. A fantastic, interactive stop for kids of all ages and the home of the Arthur exhibit! Can’t wait to see my PBS Kids-obsessed toddler spending time in Arthur’s house and checking out the Bob the Builder-ish construction exhibit too!
- Boston Tea Party Museum – 306 Congress Street. Dump the tea into the sea! in this awesome interactive history lesson. This museum puts on a show that is Disney-World- worthy, and kids and adults will all learn so much about our American history. The experience is three parts… the community meeting where guides and tourists reenact a meeting, the tea dumping off the ship (see Cindy’s tea-hoisting skills at work in these photos), and an excellent film which ends the tour. Though wonderfully done, the experience is a bit lengthy (and sometimes loud during the reenactments) and I wouldn’t recommend it for babies or toddlers.
- New England Aquarium – 1 Central Wharf. An excellent aquarium on several levels featuring fish, penguins, and a huge sea turtle at the very top of the building.
- Public Gardens Swan Boat Rides – Boston Public Garden provides relaxing boat rides at the bargain price of $1.50 for kids and $3 for adults
- Carousels – Two awesome outdoor carousels, one in the Greenway across from Quincy Market and one in Boston Common
- Greenway Fountains & Rings Fountain – You can’t help but smile when you see tons of squealing kids running through fountain jets that shoot water to and fro and high in the sky! I recommend this stop at the end of the afternoon or on your way back to your hotel so you can dry off!
Favorite Iconic Spots & Must-See Neighborhoods:
- Waterfront / Long Wharf / Christopher Columbus Park – Beautiful area to stroll, look at the harbor, and enjoy outdoor concerts and people-watching with a gorgeous tree-lined archway.
- Faneuil Hall / Quincy Market – a true Boston landmark for shopping and eating.
- North End / Freedom Trail / Old North Church / Paul Revere’s House – Follow the big red line painted on the ground (self-guided tours were never so easy!) for the most famous stops in American Revolutionary history. And this Italian girl thinks it is an added bonus that the Freedom Trail runs right through the Italian Neighborhood so the food and ambience is molto bene! Maybe Paul should have yelled, “The Italians are coming!” 🙂
- Italian Summer Feasts – My family and I love these festivals! They are held practically every weekend in the summer and they combine carnival-style food and fun with the religious traditions of honoring various Catholic saints. They’re classic, old-world Italian and so much fun!
- St. Leonard’s Church & Peace Garden – This is one of our favorite spots for spiritual renewal. It is one of the first churches in the U.S. built by Italian immigrants and you can feel the history as soon as you walk into this peaceful refuge.
- Downtown / Financial District – This part of town is modern and cool, but not too stuffy that it excludes families. It is home to the Children’s Museum, the Tea Party Museum, and the Greenway and fountains.
- Boston Common / Beacon Hill / Cheers – This beautiful area of the city houses America’s oldest city park (Boston Common) as well as the gorgeous Massachusetts State House and cool landmarks such as the TV-famous Cheers!
- Back Bay / Boston Public Garden / Newbury Street – Chic shopping, cool eats, and the most beautiful Public Garden complete with serene Swan Boat rides for the whole family!
I hope you get to this a beautiful city soon and enjoy some of the tips I’ve shared with you here. It is truly one of my favorite places on earth and such a happy place for me and my family to create traditions year after year. Happy traveling!