Boston is a fun place to visit in the summertime, even with the kids. Almost everything is accessible by subway, and there are plenty of places to go.
First, pay attention in the subway stations. At Alewife Station (Red Line), you’ll notice little alewife bronzes in the floor, and the fun red rods that hang from the ceiling. Two stops down at Porter Station, there are bronze gloves and mittens at the bottom of the very long escalator. At the Charles MGH stop, there is a collage of pieces made from recycled materials. See if you can find which subway stop allows you to make a hammer hit different objects to make different sounds.
Getting off the subway at Park Street station (Red and Green Lines) affords you a walk in the Boston Common. Commons in Massachusetts were originally designed to give grazing space to cows owned by folk living in town. Take a walk through the gardens, sit on the bench and enjoy a picnic, or wander up to a Duck Tour, where you’ll ride on land and water to see the city: http://www.bostonducktours.com/.
For lunch, go the Faneuil Hall (http://www.faneuilhallmarketplace.com/), which is off of the Government Center stop on the Green Line. Go to the building in the middle for food. The buildings on the sides are small shops. Walk up and down past all the vendors first before choosing who gets to sell you a huge cookie; there are a lot of choices!
Then, to rest, get back on the Green Line and get off at Copley Station. Here, you will tour the Boston Public Library. A library? Well, this building is gorgeous. You can settle down in the children’s section and read to the kids while they rest their feet, and then tour the building. The maps room is really colorful. If you want a formal tour, look here for the tour schedule: http://www.bpl.org/central/tours.htm.
Then, hopping back on and taking the Red Line to Harvard Square, wander among some pretty fabulous shops and very good food. Wander through the Coop (but not long if the kids are with you). Eat at one of the restaurants in the Square. Buy a paper from some very foreign place at Out of Town News and read it to each other over dinner. Try a paper from Africa. And don’t forget the bookstores – Harvard Square has fabulous ones.
When dinner is done, head back down the Green Line to either the Kenmore or Fenway stop to catch a Red Sox game. Tickets will cost you, but Boston baseball is some serious stuff. See the Red Sox website for ticket information: http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/index.jsp?c_id=bos.
On your second day, it’s worth your while to see a museum. The Boston Museum of Science (Science Park on the Green Line) has exhibits about a variety of scientific notions, and a cool show on lightening. Make sure to see at least one Omni Theatre presentation. Here’s their website: http://www.mos.org/.
If the kids are older, take them on the E Line of the Green Line to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston: http://mfa.org/. It has its own subway stop. There are special exhibits all the time, and the Family Art Cart wanders through on Saturdays and Sundays.
End the day at the New England Aquarium to enjoy the cool air and the looks on your kids’ faces when they get a huge fish to look right at them. Here is the website: http://www.neaq.org/index.php. Note that you can arrange a whale watch from the Aquarium. To get there, take the Blue Line to the Aquarium stop.
Boston is a fabulous place to visit with the kids. Be prepared to walk a lot, wear good shoes, and bring water with you. You can buy a Charlie pass for the subway for short periods to save on ride costs, and the ride itself can be an excellent part of the holiday.