One of the oldest cities in the United States, Boston has many important historical and cultural places to explore, creating a wide variety of things to do in Boston with teens! Beantown has a top-notch food scene, and its passionate sports fans will make anyone appreciate a good game.
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Where to Stay in Boston
- Langham – located in the Financial District, walking distance to New England Aquarium, Faneuil Hall, close to restaurants.
- The Newbury Boston – excellent choice steps away from Boston Common and Newbury Street shopping.
- Hotel Commonwealth – if you have a baseball fan, don’t miss an opportunity to stay in one of the hotel’s rooms overlooking Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. Even if you can’t get one of these rooms, you’ll be walking distance to a game. Also close to Boston University.
*If you want to save money on Boston attractions, consider using a Go City Pass.
What to Do in Boston with Teenagers
Boston is a great place to learn about the earliest days of American history, and the shopping is excellent. This Coastal New England town has stunning public spaces and great opportunities to get out on the water. So, if you’re looking for things to do in Boston teens, I have some fun ideas for you!
1. Freedom Trail
One of the most popular things to do in Boston is taking a walking tour of The Freedom Trail. This is a red brick path that runs about 2.5 miles through the North End and features 16 different historical sites from the 17th- to 19th-century.
It’s a great way to see the most famous historical buildings in the city, like the Old South Meeting House, where the Boston Tea Party gained traction. And I think one of the coolest places you’ll see is the Paul Revere House which was built in 1680.
2. Boston Common
Whether or not you take a Freedom Trail tour, you’ll want to visit one of its sites, Boston Common. Besides being the oldest public park in America, Boston Common has an interesting history, and it’s just a nice way to spend an afternoon! It was once the town common of the village that became Boston, and also hosted occupying British troops in 1775.
Today, you can walk or cycle along paved paths in the park and see several different historical monuments. There are manicured lawns, ball fields, and a carousel. If you’re hungry there are food stalls with outdoor seating.
See why Boston is one of the best places for a staycation in the US.
3. Boston Public Gardens
Next to Boston Common is The Public Garden, the oldest botanical garden in the country that dates back to the 1830s. It’s an iconic botanical garden created during the Victorian Era with swans on the lagoon and flowering trees all around.
As a public park, it’s free to visit during the day. A big draw to the Public Gardens is all the beautiful bronze statues throughout the space. You can have a picnic under a shade tree or ride a Swan Boat on the lagoon for a small fee. Throughout the year the park hosts special events like fireworks on New Year’s Eve.
4. Ice skating on Frog Pond
Inside Boston Common is the Frog Pond. Some form of the pond has existed for decades, but it’s been a winter skating rink since 1996.
While you can enjoy it as a splash pad during the summer months, Frog Pond shines in the winter, when it opens as an outdoor ice rink! Entrance fees are based on height, and the rink opens every day at 10 AM for skaters to enjoy. What better way to enjoy Boston in the winter with the family than with a great time on the ice?
5. Cambridge and Harvard Square
North of downtown Boston, on the northern side of the Charles River, is the city of Cambridge. It’s home to the infamous Harvard University, which deserves a visit on its own.
While you’re there, make sure to visit Harvard Square. “The Square” as it’s known locally, is a historic city square that today houses retail shops, performance art venues, and tons of different restaurants.
There’s a mall with names you’ll know, like The Gap, as well as comic book and novelty shops. Choose from seafood restaurants and hamburger shops, as well as a Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.
6. Ghost Tours
A fun way to experience a historic city like Boston with teens on your family vacation is to take a ghost tour! You can find a variety of walking ghost tours, where a tour guide will lead you to the most haunted sites in the city.
Enjoy a walk after dark to the likes of the Granary Burying Ground and Boston Common. You’ll hear dramatic and spooky stories of betrayal, political tension, and mysterious death that plagued early America. While most tours are perfect for all ages, make sure your tour accepts minors. Some Boston ghost tours are adults-only, or they double as pub crawls!
7. Trolley Tour
Trolley tours are a fun way to experience Boston at any time of day. Especially if you’ve never been to a city, it’s one of my favorite things to suggest to first-time visitors.
Go with a hop-on-hop-off tour, so you can decide if you want to explore any of the stops further. Then just grab the next trolley 30 minutes later!
With Old Town Trolley, you can do some sightseeing, get a feel for the city, and learn about the history of the area as your guide narrates. If you ride the entire loop all at once, it’s a little less than 2-hours long and covers the most popular sites downtown.
8. Whale Watching Cruise
For more guided experiences, enjoy an iconic Boston whale-watching cruise. Boston enjoys a pretty long whale season when several different sea mammals enjoy warm waters from Rockport down into Cape Cod Bay.
Several companies offer a tour of the Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary. Spend 3 to 4 hours on a catamaran getting an up-close look at humpbacks, right whales, and dolphins.
There’s a small snack shop on the boat, as well as an open bar. The entire experience is very comfortable as you listen to your guides provide interesting information about the sea life to be found off the coast of Massachusetts.
9. Tall Ship Sailing Cruise
There’s nothing quite like sailing a genuine tall ship in Boston Harbor! Reserve a special tour on these historic schooners where you can enjoy a 2-hour hands-on tour in the harbor where these same ships once launched.
There are both day tours and sunset tours that allow you the see the shining skyline of downtown Boston from the water. With your professional guide, you won’t need any other guided tour than a tall ship sailing cruise! Just keep in mind that this is a summer season activity in Boston.
One of the most exciting things to do in Boston with teens is going on a Codzilla cruise! This high-speed muscle boat and its crazy crew offer a different way to enjoy Boston Harbor!
You’ll take turns at 40 miles per hour, you’ll get wet, and you’ll listen to cheesy 80s music at top volume the entire way. A ride on Codzilla is a fun way to go on a city sightseeing cruise, and you’ll have a blast if you’re up for a thrill!
11. Attend a Game at Fenway Park or Take a Tour
If your teen is into baseball, why not get tickets to a major league baseball game and watch the Boston Red Sox play?
Since its opening in 1912, Fenway Park is one of the most famous baseball stadiums in the United States. You can plan on seeing a Red Sox home game or find out about tours of the stadium. They’re available daily but stop a few hours earlier on game days.
Tours include a walk through the Fenway Park Living Museum collection which has historic artifacts and memorabilia from famous players like Babe Ruth.
12. Catch a Show
In the Boston Theater District, you can choose from an impressive number of performance art venues. See a premier Broadway show, watch a movie premier, or enjoy some of the top comedians in the country!
One of my family’s favorite shows to see are Blue Man Group. The unique performance group puts on regular weekend shows throughout the year at the Charles Playhouse.
13. Take a Food Tour in the North End
In addition to its history and Fenway Park, Boston is possibly most famous for its iconic foods! At the ballpark, a Fenway Frank is a necessity.
Sample Boston pizza at different locations in Little Italy or try the original Boston cream pie where it was invented, at the Omni Parker House Hotel.
And perhaps there’s nothing more classically Boston than molasses-y Boston baked beans, which you can find on menus in most restaurants in the city.
Of course, you’ll find lobster rolls and oyster houses along the water and throughout the North end.
And don’t forget about all the amazing pizza there is to find downtown! Choose your own destinations or leave the planning up to the locals (read: experts) when you book a guided food tour of the North End.
14. Eat at Boston’s Time Out Market
The Time Out Market in Boston is a classic food market but on another level! Enjoy good food at 15 restaurants curated for their high-quality dishes and award-winning chefs.
You’ve never had this many top-rated options available at your fingertips picked by one of the top media groups on food and culture in America.
But it’s not just food. There are dessert places, cafes, and a full open bar at the market. Time Out Market also hosts regular events in its food hall. These events include everything from live DJs and holiday shows to children’s hands-on activities.
15. Shopping in Boston
Bond with your natural-born shoppers with a visit to one of Boston’s shopping districts. Newbury Street is the place to be for luxury shopping with 10 blocks of high-end brands like Van Cleef & Arpels, Chanel, and Cartier.
There are also restaurants and fast-food joints, as well as mid-range stores like Nordstrom Rack, Bluemercury, and more.
For charming vintage shops and unique clothing boutiques, go to Charles Street. When you get thirsty, there are cafes with artisan iced coffee drinks or you can sit down in a restaurant.
If you love the classic shopping mall experience The Prudential Center has all your luxury brands, mall eateries, and more.
16. Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall
Since Faneuil Hall Marketplace broke ground in 1742, it’s been an important establishment in Boston. Besides being a massive marketplace full of historic sites, restaurants, stores, and performance art venues, it’s seen some big moments in US history. When Boston’s Marketplace outgrew the hall, the massive Quincy Market was built in 1825.
Today, the beautiful Quincy Market is the centerpiece of a promenade that includes retail shops, pubs, and restaurants. Choose from fifty indoor different outdoor eateries, including food trucks and pushcarts. The market is well-known for its spectacular street performers. Or explore the walkways of Quincy Hall and see the newly restored historic rotunda.
Take your older kids to Boston’s only arcade bar and restaurant, Versus. Enjoy a welcoming atmosphere with great food at family-style tables and cushioned booths.
When you walk in, the walls have been painted black to allow the 80s pop art on the walls to pop! And you’ll love all the fun things to do, from air hockey and Pac-Man to pinball machines and classic board games.
Versus has a full bar, and after 7 PM it’s a 21-only space, but during the day it’s open to all ages. You can order classic arcade food, like pizza, hamburgers, and milkshakes.
18. Boston Tea Party Experience
If you’re looking for more classically entertaining things to do in Boston with teens, don’t miss out on a visit to the Boston Tea Party Museum. This is a really fun, interactive tour called The Boston Tea Party Experience. You’ll be guided through different kinds of exciting exhibits in the museum and even board a Boston Tea Party ship and help through tea into Boston Harbor!
The hour-long tour will keep even the hardest-to-please teen entertained, with virtual exhibits, 3D holographic characters, historic actors in period costumes, a 4D documentary film, and actual artifacts from that historic day. After your tour, you can visit a fun cafe called Abigail’s Tea Room or peruse a gift shop.
19. Boston Museum of Science
Take an entire rainy day and visit the Boston Museum of Science. You really need an entire day here if you want to see everything! The museum has 3 different levels of interactive exhibits that will keep visitors of all ages entertained. There are color-coded themes that show how nature, art, and science intersect with science.
Visit the planetarium where you can watch a variety of breathtaking shows or enjoy a fun 4D IMAX experience. You can see live native animals at the Animal Care Center or get up close with an ancient triceratops skeleton!
20. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Art lovers will want to visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Gardner was a wealthy art collector and philanthropist with unique taste. In 1903 she had Fenway Place built to house her extensive art collection.
On the outside, Fenway Place looks like a relatively typical Bostonian mansion from the era. But inside, she had it designed to replicate the dramatic, moody interiors of a 15th-century Venetian Palace!
This art museum houses Gardner’s massive collection of 19th-century art from Asia, America, and Europe. You can also see pieces by contemporary artists, walk through statue gardens, and explore dozens of stunning rooms in the mansion.
21. Museum of Fine Arts
The Museum of Fine Arts is a must-see during your trip to Boston. The MFA itself is simply stunning with grand, sweeping archways, modern greenhouse enclosures, breathtaking rotundas, and vast halls that spotlight different types of art across eras.
This beautiful museum contains works of art from cultures of the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania. If you have the time, there are over 100 galleries with exhibits spanning centuries, from ancient Egypt to today. Learn about the cultures of native people groups and see the largest collection of Monet paintings outside of France.
22. MIT Museum
You can tour the world-renown Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge when you visit the MIT Museum. See exhibits that highlight the work done at the historic research institute and are presented in a fun way that the whole family will enjoy.
There are a lot of arts-based exhibits, but also engineer-based ones as well. However, everything at the museum centers around science, with extensive amounts of information to educate you on the research behind each exhibit.
See how different machines function, walk through exhibits of fun handmade robots and interact with kinetic models. There are collections on photography, architecture, and even the history of MIT.
23. Boston Aquarium
Another wonderful place to visit in Boston with teens is the New England Aquarium on the Central Wharf Dock. Even if you’ve been to other aquariums, you want to visit this one! As soon as you enter the main lobby, you’re presented with a turquoise 200,000-gallon ocean tank with a 4-story spiral staircase around it!
Everywhere you look at the New England Aquarium, there is something for your eyes to feast on. You can see rare coral, sea horses, a serene sea jellies exhibit, and entire schools of tropical fish. Interact with penguins, walk through an entire marine mammal center, or touch sharks and rays. Teens can even learn about sharks and the Amazon Rainforest.
Plus, the aquarium works with Boston Harbor City Cruises to provide educational whale-watching tours out to the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. And when you get hungry, you can eat at a museum cafe or The Reef. This is a restaurant and bar that serves great New England clam chowder and has a menu of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
24. Six Flags New England
For the family who loves a good thrill ride, take the opportunity to visit Six Flags New England in nearby Springfield. In a little over an hour, you can be riding roller coasters, playing arcade games, and cooling off in the water park!
Six Flags New England is a classic theme park experience with a variety of dining opportunities and entertaining shows. The park also regularly hosts live music concerts and seasonally themed events.
25. Boston Duck Tour
This is such a fun and unique way to see the city! Explore on land and by water in an amphibious vehicle while enjoying a tour of Boston. This is one experience that doesn’t disappoint!
Find Cool Things to do in Boston with Teens
You might be in Boston to explore one of the many amazing educational institutions, or perhaps you’ve just always wanted to soak up this beautiful city that’s full of historic sites and passionate ideas.
Boston is anything but boring, with an intense sense of community pride, an interesting food scene, and amazing art. It’s a special experience to walk among the old and the new as you explore this larger-than-life city!