After the Winter break, there is March break and then the summer. But what about everything in between? Sometimes it’s nice to getaway for a quick family break to help reset everyone’s energy and break up the monotony of the everyday. There is nothing wrong with adding a bit of fun and spontaneity into the mix!
If you’re looking for some great options for a quick family getaway, look no further than Boston and Philadelphia. Beyond the rich history of each city, there is so much to do – rain, snow, or shine – you can plan an exciting trip, even if it’s just for the weekend!
Boston is a super walkable city. In fact, it’s one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities in the United States. That means accessibility to more activities!
Vacation during the colder months doesn’t mean you have to stay inside. And there is no shortage of things to do in Boston during the winter. One of the best activities is ice skating at any of the multiple rinks available in the city. Boston Common Frog Pond is popular among skaters of all ages and abilities and it just happens to be in the oldest public park in the United States! Two of the newest skating rink additions to the city are the Rink at 401 Park and Seaport’s new Winter Village rink. They have 6,000 and 3,000 square feet of ice respectively. While both have events and programming, Seaport’s “Snowport Winter Village” is a 7,000 square foot winter carnival that runs through the end of February.
Prefer something to do that is indoors? CoCo Key Water Park at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Boston North Shore is the largest indoor water park in New England. A short distance from the hustle and bustle of downtown Boston, take advantage of the special water park hotel packages for a unique experience for the whole family.
The city is full of historical and educational activities, and many of them are kid-friendly to ignite that sense of wonder. The Franklin Park Zoo and the Stone Zoo offer around 100 acres of animal experiences. From carousel rides to a ride on the little red train, sea lions to giraffes, a Gorilla Encounter, an aviary, and a butterfly experience, a zoo visit is endless fun. Another educational but fun activity is the Boston Children’s Museum. Founded in 1913, it is the second oldest children’s museum in the world and, as one of the largest, it has three floors of hands-on exhibits like a bubble room, a giant 3-level play structure, a construction (and destruction!) zone, and countless other walk-through and interactive activities.
If you are traveling with older kids, they will likely enjoy Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Founded in 1742 as a centre for commerce, Faneuil Hall remains a bustling hub with great shopping and restaurants.
To get a better picture of the city you are exploring with your family, check out the Skywalk Observatory. 700 feet above the ground, you can sometimes see up to 100 miles with a 360-degree view. Make a game out your visit and see how many landmarks you can pick out from your bird’s eye view.
From sitting back and enjoying a show to high energy games, there are a variety of different entertainment options. You have the opportunity to catch Disney on Ice presents Road Trip Adventures. Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Aladdin, Woody, and more – the gang will all be there as you take a trip around the world – all from your seat in TD Garden.
While you can sit back and enjoy Disney on Ice, King’s Dining & Entertainment has a lot more action for the whole family. From bowling to award-winning foods, there is even an impressive collection of retro arcade games like Pac-Man, Mario Bros., Pop-a-Shot Hoops, SKEE BALL, and more. Visit either the downtown Boston or the Boston-Seaport locations.
Everyone’s got to eat, and it’s important to find a couple of places that the whole family will love. A few Boston restaurants that are known to be family-friendly are:
- Boston Chowda Co., which has been open for over 25 years and serves award-winning clam chowder along with other favourites.
- Regina Pizza has been serving “Boston’s Best Pizza” since 1926.
- Summer Shack is open all year and specializes in all things seafood – but they do have great burgers and award-winning fried chicken.
If you prefer to keep things low key (and at a lower price point), dual-branded hotel Hampton Inn Boston Woburn and Homewood Suites Boston Woburn is brand new and each of the suites has a full kitchen – perfect for a quiet family meal!
Like Boston, the “City of Brotherly Love” has a lot of history embedded throughout its streets. It is also home to over 2,000 outdoor murals that give the city a more modern feel.
Philadelphia has some great outdoor skating rinks of its own that take advantage of the colder temperatures. The Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest is more than just an ice skating rink, it’s an entire winter festival with fire pits, a sweets place, and cozy warming cabins. To keep the kids busy, there is even a special kids’ area. If you’re in town during March, you can enjoy the fun of Winterfest!
Also in March, be sure to visit Franklin Square. While it dates back to the city’s very beginnings as one of the five original squares, Franklin Square is like a big playground. With a spectacular fountain show with lights and music, an 18-hole mini golf course, a carousel, and fun, on-the-go foods, you could spend the whole day there and not get bored.
If you are traveling with little kids, the Please Touch Museum is a must, offering 157,000 square feet of fun for kids ages 1 and up. With special programming running throughout winter and early spring, there is so much to do on top of the regular interactive exhibits on space, weather, gardening and more. . LEGOLAND Philadelphia is another great place to visit with young kids. With a ride and a 4D cinema, there are 10 different play areas, even a DUPLO Park for the youngest LEGO enthusiast.
If your kids are a bit older, The Franklin Institute is one of the most well-known science museums in the country. There is an IMAX theater, a planetarium, and a city block’s worth of interactive exhibits. You could walk through a giant heart at one moment and then stop in at the Train Factory in the next. There is something for everyone, even a SportsZone. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is another great stop for families with older kids, as it is also where the famed “Rocky steps” are located. Have a peek at the Rocky statue at the base of the stairs (and explain to your kids why this is such a cool spot) and then challenge them to get to the top to recreate your own Rocky moment.
Traveling to Philadelphia during March? The Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been running in the city since 1771 – well that is the first documented parade – and it’s a pretty big deal. Every year, around 200 groups participate, so check the parade route and grab a spot early to get the best views.
If you eat nothing else that is local, you need to try a cheesesteak. A little insider tip? The locals don’t call it a “Philly” cheesesteak. It’s just lovingly called a cheesesteak. There are so many places to grab great cheesesteak in Philadelphia, but here is a great article that lists the top 10 spots! And don’t worry about the kids because it’s OK to get a little messy when you are chowing down on this local favourite.
It’s hard not to have a piece of history attached to everything in Philadelphia – even great food. Bourse Food Hall is great for the family because there are so many different options in one location that everyone can get exactly what they like. And it’s located in Philadelphia’s iconic Bourse building. Another place that is great for its history and its food options is Reading Terminal Market. It has been offering a wide variety of local foods and goods since 1893.