Boston: 9 Awesome Things To Do With Kids

1.The Freedom Trail

freedom trail

We visited Boston for two days last October (it was part of our two week East Coast Road Trip- read more about that here). There were so many fun and historical things to see in this amazing city. Following The Freedom Trail throughout Boston was one of our kids favorite and most memorable activities our entire trip.

freedom trail in boston freedom trail in boston

I’m not even sure they realized how far they walked because of how much fun they had.

2. The Old North Church

old north church

One of the 16 official sites along the Freedom Trail is the historic Old North Church. On April 18, 1775 Paul Revere met up with the sexton Robert Newman to tell him how to signal the advancement of British troops towards Lexington and Concord. Newman then met fellow Sons of Liberty Captain Pulling and Thomas Bernard. Leaving Bernard to keep watch outside, Newman opened the church and he and Pulling climbed the stairs and ladders up eight stories to hang two lanterns for a few moments. It was long enough for patriots in Charlestown to learn what has been immortalized by the phrase “one if by land, two if by sea” in Longfellow’s poem. The British advanced by boat across the Charles River.

signal lanterns of paul revere  Old North Church

Be sure to take a peak inside this gorgeous church. Note: The lanterns are on display at the Concord Museum.

old north church captain jackson's chocolate



Behind the back of the Old North Church is this little shop, Captain Jackson’s Historic Chocolate Shop. Be sure to stop by and sample some of this unique chocolate.





And if you’re lucky, you just might run into a filming of Wheel of Fortune.

3. Paul Revere House

 paul revere house

We were so glad we made time to tour Paul Revere’s home. Children are $1, Seniors and Students $3 and Adults $3.50. Hours vary, depending on the season, but it opens at 9:30 am daily and closes by 4 or 5 pm daily. It only took an hour to tour and we learned so much about the life of Paul Revere. Paul Revere purchased it in 1770, when he was 35 years old. He and his second wife (his first died after giving birth to their 8th child) lived here when Revere made his famous messenger ride to Lexington on the night of April 18-19, 1775.    Note: They don’t allow photography inside.

freedom trail paul revere stop 

4. Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market

fanuil hall fanuil hall

Faneuil Hall played a vital role in revolutionary politics. Built by wealthy merchant Peter Faneuil as a center of commerce in 1741, this is where the Sons of Liberty proclaimed their dissent against Royal oppression.  It has served as an open forum meeting hall and marketplace for more than 270 years and has continued to provide a forum for debate on the most consequential issues of the day. You can go inside and tour this historic building. It is open daily from 9am-6pm. There are little souvenir shops and free historic talks every 3o minutes.

quincy market in boston

Adjacent from Faneuil Hall is Quincy Market. Filled with just about every eating option ever (breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snacks, sweets etc) there is something for everyone and if you leave hungry, well- it’s just not possible!

quincy market food in boston

quincy market in boston quincy market food in boston

Boston Bakery Boston Creme Pies

Of course we had to try a Boston Creme Pie whilst in Boston!

cheers in boston quincy market boston

The iconic Cheers is also located here.

5. Lobster!!

durgin park

We always try to eat authentic and local on vacation. Living in a desert, seafood isn’t really a Utah standard.  Fry sauce, however… Whole other story.

durgin park lobster at durgin park

Located in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, we decided to eat at Durgin Park. We had the BEST waitress. Such great customer service. We ordered the Surf N Turf and man. Everything was seriously SO good. Our waitress taught us how locals eat ‘Lobstah’ and our kids (especially our oldest) loved it! AND it was a kid friendly environment.

durgin park dining room

We ate an early dinner at 4 and completely beat the rush. When we left an hour later, it was jam packed.

6. Bunker Hill Monument

bunker hill at night bunker hill at night

We had plans to climb the 294 steps to the top of this historic Monument, but our Whale Watching Tour (more on that below) left most of us feeling a little sea sick so it didn’t quite work out as planned. We still walked around the grounds of the first major battle of the Revolutionary War (on June 17, 1775), which looked beautiful lit up at night. The last climb in the Fall is at 4:30pm. The monument and museum are free to tour and hours vary, so be sure to check here and plan accordingly.

7. Boston Common

boston common Boston commons boston common gardens

Oh wow- this park was so beautiful and is another stop along the Freedom Trail. It is America’s oldest park and was training ground for the Redcoats in 1775.  We were sad the famous Swan Boats were closed for the season, but loved seeing the gorgeous Fall leaves as we walked along the trails.

8. Whale Watching Cruise

Boston Harbor Whale Watch Cruise

This was a huge bucket list item for us. To see whales, in their natural environment. It almost didn’t happen though. The cruise had been cancelled for several days due to a hurricane hitting the Florida coast earlier in the week.  Red level 4 meant nothing to us. In hind sight, we should have loaded up on the motion sickness medicine!  haha!

Boston Harbor Boats whale watch boat rideboston view from boat

We went with the only Whale Watching Cruise out of Boston, Boston Harbor Cruises which partners with the New England Aquarium.  The boat has three levels. We suggest trying to snag a seat outside or on the bottom level, near the back (especially if you are prone to motion sickness). It did get pretty cold (we went in October) while the boat was cruising out to the Stellwagon Bank Marine Sanctuary. The sanctuary is basically a spot in the middle of the ocean that is a rich feeding ground for several different species including whales, fish, birds etc.

humpback whales boston cruise humpback whales in boston

When the boat arrived after an hour’s ride, we immediately saw a big spiral bubble net formed by 6-7 Humpback Whales. It more than made up for the rough ride. It was incredible! For the next hour we watched over 20 whales swim, blow bubbles, flip and feed. Something we won’t soon forget! Read about our unique trip here on BHC Blog.  There are several ticket options available, but first check with Groupon or similar websites for discount passes. We’ve seen these BHC on there before! Otherwise, you can purchase tickets directly from BHC for $53 for adults and $33 for children. They do tend to sale out, so if this is high on your list, be sure to buy tickets at least a few days in advance. Also plan to arrive early if you want to snag a good seat, as it is general seating.

humpback whales boston boston harbor cruises whales

9. Skywalk Observatory at Prudential Center

And our final destination was taking in the Boston views from the top of the Skywalk Observatory at the Prudential Center.

prudential tower views 

We suggest timing it so you can see the city at both day and night- arriving 30 minutes before sunset was perfect.


Hours vary, depending on the season and it is open 7 days a week (although it does periodically close for private functions.) Tickets cost $18 for adults and $13 for kids. It is also part of the cityPASS, which includes the Skywalk plus 3 more Boston attractions: New England Aquarium, Museum of Science and Museum of Fine Arts OR Boston Harbor Cruises. Valid for 9 days. Cost: Adult $55 (value $96.25); Child (ages 3-11) $42.

skywalk observatory in boston

Boston at night


Of course we ran into another taping of Wheel of Fortune. Vanna was SO sweet, she came over and said hi and took a picture with our kids.

Boston skyline  downtown boston

harvard statue




























We made a quick stop at Harvard on our way into Boston. Very cool to see this historic University.


We loved our time here and can’t wait to go back.

What do you like to do in Boston?  What are your favorite places to eat??

staten island ferry

A Weekend in New York City with Kids

There is so much to see and do in New York City, and with only a weekend here (NYC was one of our stops on our two-week East Coast trip), it was so hard to narrow down all the things we wanted to do that would be the most meaningful and fun for our kids. But first: Where to stay? We chose to stay in Jersey City. There are pros and cons for staying outside the city just like there are for staying in the city. The main reason we stayed outside the city was because we were using points and there weren’t any free nights available in the city. Also, family and friends both recommended this area as it is their preferred place to stay when visiting NYC. The rates are usually significantly less, it’s a safe area, and is a very quick train ride to the World Trade Center (only 4 minutes from the Exchange Place, right by our hotel). Other options to get into the city: Staten Island Ferry (more on that below), driving into the city yourself (we also tried this and would suggest picking a parking lot out ahead of time and/or plan to get to the city early to take advantage of early bird pricing), taking other forms of public transportation (bus), or a taxi, which often can be pricey.

world trade center word trade center

From the WTC, we headed to Midtown. Thank goodness for Google Maps (our favorite map app) for helping us find which train routes we needed and where to go. Oh, and our kids did great on the subway.

staten island ferry

staten island ferry

Another way into the city is the Staten Island Ferry, which is a very fun and unique experience! Parking was a breeze (we got there early though, like 7 a.m.) and easily snagged a spot in the secure lot. For less than $10 for the entire day, parking was significantly cheaper than driving into the city! The Ferry runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is a FREE 25-minute ride from the St. George Terminal on Staten Island to the Whitehall Terminal in Manhattan. PLUS the views were great! We didn’t have time to visit the Statue of Liberty this trip, but had great views of Lady Liberty from the ferry. Note: if you plan to leisurely ride the ferry, avoid rush hour when it’s super crowded. The ferry is a great option if you plan to visit New York for only a day. There are bathrooms and food options, as well as indoor and outdoor seating.  Once we arrived, we caught the train to Midtown.

staten island ferry

nyc bakery


First stop! To try a Cronut. Just Kidding. They were already sold out 🙁 (Cue the tears. Hangry is a real thing.)








top of the rock top of the rock NYC

top of the rock

We also wanted to take in the great views of the Big Apple. We decided to go with Top of the Rock. And let me tell you, they had the BEST customer service. We had such a great time! We were able to go during the day and again at night. It was awesome to see the city at both times. They have both an indoor and an outdoor viewing area (and boy was I praying the engineers used the right kind of glass to secure us in…for a girl scared of heights, I seem to find myself above ground a lot 🙂 )  At the bottom is a mini-mall with several dining options and of course there were plenty of restroom options throughout the building as well–we should know!

top of the rock top of the rock

rockerfeller plaza with kids

lego store times square times square disney store

We visited the Lego Store right on Rockefeller Plaza. We also visited The Disney Store at Times Square.

patzeria pizza nyc pizza nyc

And lunch. DROOOL. Our favorite pizza place. And not just in New York. So good. It’s by the slice, so everyone gets exactly what they want (and they are large slices!). Add a few garlic knots and this ended up being one of the cheapest meals for our fam of five the entire trip! Only bummer is there aren’t tables, so plan to get cozy on the ground outside.

patzeria pizza nyc patzeria pizza nyc

serendipity 3  

We also had the chance to see Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theatre and it was AMAZING. We had seats in the rear mezzanine and were a little worried we wouldn’t be able to see, but the seats were just fine! The music and acoustics were even more wonderful than we expected. We finished up with a Frozen Caramel Hot Cocoa from Serendipity. We also ordered some food, which was pretty good. Next time I’d probably go for one of the ice cream sundaes, though. Something I can sink my teeth in. Important to note that Serendipity does have a minimum food order requirement, like so many other restaurants in New York.

central park pedicab

Central Park was another fun stop for us. We took a pedicab ride around the park and somehow our driver managed to cart all 5 of us around! This park is huge, so plan to rent bikes, take a carriage ride, or any of the other options to see this beautiful park. If you do go with a pedicab, check the pricing. They are NOT all priced the same (trust us–ouch!!).

central park central park

bow bridge

central park carousel central park carousel

And of course we had to ride the Central Park Carousel. From the statues, to the bridges, to the mini-sail boats, there are so many fun things to see and do here.

Bethesda NYC central Park

 lindor chocolates nyc

Our kids happen to be excellent walkers–seriously their endurance and stamina on these long days of walking was impressive. The bribery truffles from Lindor didn’t hurt, either!

 nyc view from top the rock 

American Girl Cafe NYC

But the highlight for our girls was dinner at the American Girl Cafe. It was darling! We made reservations ahead of time (it was very crowded, so we are glad we did!). They seated us promptly and the service throughout the evening was excellent! Dinner is about $26 per person and includes appetizers and dessert. They promptly brought out each course, which was much appreciated as we had worked up quite the appetite from all that walking. Dinner includes a ‘warm welcome’–mini cinnamon buns followed by the first course which included hummus and veggies, bruschetta and pigs in a blanket (pictured below). Each person in our group picked our own main course followed by AG’s signature dessert–chocolate mouse in a flower pot and a vanilla cupcake. Beverages are also included (hot cocoa, lemonade, juice etc.) There are additional beverage options available for an additional fee.

American Girl Cafe NYC American Girl Cafe NYC

Big brother had a great time too, playing host and asking us the cute questions they had at each table.

American Girl Cafe NYC American Girl Cafe NYC

American Girl Cafe NYC American Girl Cafe NYC American Girl Cafe NYC

Although we brought our girls’ dolls from home, the Cafe also had several dolls you can borrow for the meal if you didn’t bring one. And the little pink plate and cup (pictured above on the right), as well as the pink bow in the doll’s hair, are a cute little souvenir you get to keep.

American Girl NYC doll options American Girl Cafe NYC

American Girl Cafe NYC American Girl Cafe NYC


We had so much fun and can’t wait to go back!

Our list of ‘gotta do’ next time includes:

American Museum of Natural History

Brooklyn Bridge

Statue of Liberty

Empire State Building

Highline Park

Matilda on Broadway

Black Tap (MILKSHAKES!!!)


and just maybe we’ll get to try that darn elusive Cronut!!


What are your favorite things to do in New York City?? Where are your can’t miss places to eat?

Moon at the Air and Space

Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C.

The Smithsonian Institute is made up of 19 museums and galleries as well as the Zoo. Most of them are free and open nearly every day of the year. We were able to visit a few of them and had a great time!

Touching a piece of the moon Air and Space in DC

The Air an Space Museum ended up being one our kids favorite museum (except for the Zoo). We could have stayed here all day! Hours are 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. daily, with extended hours in the summer. There really isn’t parking, so we suggest taking public transportation. Otherwise plan to circle the block a few times until a spot opens up 🙂 Just don’t forget to pay for it. There are hundreds of aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, rockets and pretty much anything related to air and space.

Moon at the Air and Space

Touching a real piece of the Moon was the highlight for sure!

Having fun at the Air and Space in DC Air and Space

There are many hands-on exhibits, including aircraft for kids to sit in.

Air and Space Air and Space

Kids at the air and space in Washington DC

Block out at least two hours for a trip here, although you certainly could stay more or less depending on your time schedule. This gift shop was also quite fun as they had lots of little space items, like a pen that can write upside down and space ‘ice cream.’



panda bears at national zoo

Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Located in the heart of D.C. and spanning over 163 acres, the National Zoo is a must when visiting the nation’s capital. Admission is free and it’s open every day of the year except December 25th. Hours vary, depending on the season–but the grounds are open from at least 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. We blocked out nearly a full day for this and were there nearly six hours. We LOVED going off peak: the grounds were nearly empty and the animals were very active. Maps of the zoo do cost money, so consider printing yours at home in advance or download the app.

panda bears at national zoo in dc

The pandas were at the top of our list. They were so fun to watch!

lions at national zoo

We also loved visiting the lions.

national zoo carousel

And a ride on the Conservation Carousel brought lots of smiles.

elephants at national zoo

The elephants, like the pandas, have both an outdoor and indoor viewing area.

kids at national zoo  family at national zoo

national zoo DC


The zoo has a variety of dining options. We chose to eat lunch at Mane Grill and found lots of healthy options (like quinoa bowls, grilled protein items, wraps, fruit bowls, string cheese, etc.) in addition to the standard kid meal options. You can also bring your own food into the zoo.

We used public transportation (the Circulator) to get to the zoo–it dropped us off  just a few blocks away at the Woodley Park stop, an easy but uphill walk . You can also take the Cleveland Park stop, which is the same distance as Woodley Park but without the uphill walk. Public parking is available but is extremely limited and is a flat rate of $22 for the day.

The Circulator ended up being our favorite way to get around during the day–it’s only $1 per person and kids 5 and under are free.  The drivers were super helpful in getting us where we needed to go, and there was a stop right by our hotel. We found in the evening, when traffic increased, it was a bit slower, but still offered many convenient stops that we didn’t mind the slightly longer ride, plus our tired feet needed the rest! Check out the Circulator’s website for all the stops, hours, and more.