50 Free Things to Do in Boston with Kids This Summer
June 20, 2014


by Tara D.

AMC's Kids Outdoors Boston and Mommy Poppins Boston are pleased to collaborate on a series of guest blog posts about things to do for families visiting Boston. Mommy Poppins Boston is the ultimate guide to what and where to do, see, read, splash, play, eat, learn, and enjoy in Boston.

You don't have to go broke to have fun with kids in and around Boston this summer. There are lots of free things to do, whether you want to be indoors or outside. Read on for a summer of free events, festivals, crafts, music, games, movies, and more.

  1. Pack a lunch and enjoy it in the magnificent courtyard at the Boston Public Library.
  2. Hike the Middlesex Fells, Habitat, or the Blue Hills. 
  3. Visit Henry Bear’s Park in Brookline for stories, crafts, songs, and games, and in Arlington for family music nights.
  4. Walk on water (or appear to, anyway) at the Christian Science Plaza reflecting pool, and splash in the fountain while you’re there.
  5. Sign your child up for Tenacity or another summer reading incentive program for freebies and lots of encouragement to keep reading.
  6. Watch the people-watchers on Newbury Street.
  7. Take a family bike ride on a kid-friendly biking trail.
  8. Meet a frog and a make a new friend at the TADpole Playground.
  9. Stroll through a local farmers market, with live music and a festive atmosphere.
  10. Relax and let the kids play for a while at a local park with shade.
  11. Go for a stroll, search for wildlife, and climb the tower for a spectacular view at the Mount Auburn Cemetery. You can also download the mobile tour app to your phone for a self-guided tour.
  12. Get active with free games, athletic activities and yoga during the Sunday Parkland Games, 3:30-6pm Sunday afternoons from late June through September.
  13. Explore local museums and attractions with Highland Street Foundation’s Free Fun Fridays.
  14. Celebrate all things Boston during Harborfest, the first week of July.
  15. Enjoy Boston’s Independence Day fireworks, laugh during an animation festival, groove to jazz music, spend an evening with the Bard of Avon, or have family movie night at Skyline Park in Arlington.
  16. Get moving with Circle the City on September 28, 2014.
  17. Fly a kite in Larz Anderson Park in Brookline.
  18. Dance your way to Holyoke Street in Harvard Square for a “Stormin” French Street Festival to celebrate Bastille Day, featuring French food, music, dance, and children’s events (July 13, 2014).
  19. Express yourself at Artbeat, a festival of music, performance art, crafts, dance, theater, and food in Somerville July 18-19, 2014.
  20. Wake up super early and watch the sunrise from the Weeks Footbridge.
  21. Step back in time on the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile brick-lined route leading to several historic sites. 
  22. From July 18-20, be wowed at the Revere Beach Sand Sculpting Festival, which closes with a concert and fireworks display over Revere Bay.
  23. Experience a sailor’s life circa 1812 at the USS Constitution Museum in Charlestown, where admission is by donation.
  24. Dig into your local library for summer library program events – musical performances, puppet shows, book clubs, movies, workshops, and more.
  25. Play games and enjoy great music from July 25-27 at the Lowell Folk Festival.
  26. Learn about and explore the earth’s natural treasures at the Harvard Museum of Natural History every Sunday morning from 9 am to noon (when MA residents get free admission).
  27. Bring a copy of Make Way for Ducklings to the Boston Public Garden and read it on a bench facing the pond. Then go visit the Mama and Ducklings statues.
  28. Get your literary fix and outdoor time during a visit from the ReadBoston Storymobile at a local park. 
  29. Be crafty at the Lakeshore Learning Store in Newton every Saturday, 11am – 3pm.
  30. Spend some time volunteering together as a family to make a difference in your community.
  31. Splash around and cool off in a spray deck or wading pool.
  32. Check out a Discovery Pack and go exploring in Arnold Arboretum
  33. Meet new furry and feathery friends on a farm tour for kids and parents at Wilson Farm (June 26, July 10 & 24, August 7 & 21). 
  34. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a free family movie at one of the area’s outdoor summer movie series.
  35. Be entertained every week at a free summer concert
  36. Dig your toes into the sand without leaving the city on Castle Island.
  37. Go for a swim at the Veterans Memorial Swimming and Wading Pool on Magazine Beach in Cambridge (June 28 - August 24).
  38. Take a walk around Fresh Pond and explore nature on your own or on a guided walk.
  39. Ride your bike to the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln for free admission. Or, if you must drive, visit on the first Wednesday of the month.
  40. Stand on the foundation built by our forefathers (literally) during a tour of the State House.
  41. Dance, play, and celebrate at the West End Children’s Festival on August 16, 2014.
  42. Pack a picnic and bring a wiffle ball set to Jamaica Pond.
  43. Get crafty and meet Rosalita's Puppets at a ParkArts event.
  44. Rock out with local kindie bands at the Payson Park Music Series Kiddie Concerts in Belmont (noon on Fridays, mid-July to early August). 
  45. Soak in the sights and sounds of football with thousands of other fans during a Patriots Training Camp session at Gillette Stadium, beginning late July. 
  46. Be inspired by great art at the Shipyard Gallery in East Boston (3pm to sunset weekdays, sunrise to sunset weekends). 
  47. Read the plaques on the walls of the World's Only Curious George Store to learn all about Margret and H.A. Rey and stop in for story time on a Friday morning. 
  48. Admire the large model ships in the Hart Nautical Gallery at MIT. 
  49. Grab a frisbee and a blanket and head to the Esplanade for some R&R.
  50. Bid summer farewell and welcome fall with the revels RiverSing, along the banks of the Charles River, September 21.

This article originally appeared on Mommy Poppins Boston in June 2014.


October 28, 2012 (3)
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May 11, 2013 (2)
Philadelphia is a glorious place to be a kid outdoors, as anyone who has explored the city’s Fairmount Park can tell you.
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