Snow Day? Snow Problem! Finding Family-Friendly Fun in Downtown Boston

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Posted February 3, 2014 by Cheryl Fenton in Downtown Boston
Try out your skating skills at the famous Frog Pond Skating Rink.

Not to sound like an old curmudgeon, but when I was young, two things were true: Number one, we had snow. Number two, we went to school. Sometimes, the two truths overlapped, and we went to school—gasp—actually in the snow. I won’t bore you with stories of how I walked 10 miles to school uphill both ways without shoes in a blizzard. What I will say is that it took a monumental storm to keep us home.

With a bunch of cancellations already in the books, here are a few ideas for family fun in downtown Boston. Now, you can avoid giving those same blank stares our parents gave us whenever school was canceled, as they thought, “What do we do with you all day?”

Have Some Tea

There are two ways to do this. You can grab a mug at your favorite local cafe, or take your kids to a museum that celebrates these tasty tea leaves and their place in our revolutionary history. The Boston Tea Party Museum gives them a glimpse into this famed event. This floating museum boasts live performers acting as colonists from yesteryear, opportunities for you to toss tea into the harbor, and futuristic holographic exhibits that explain the past. Who knows? After this visit, our city’s history just might become your child’s cup of tea.

Discover Local Art

The Artist Crossing is a cooperative gallery that features unique art handmade by 20 Boston artists. The gallery is located right across from the Downtown Crossing T station. Would I bring a 3-year-old here? No. But older kids might enjoy walking around and seeing everything from sculptures to sketches, oil paintings to pottery within the revolving collections.

Hit the Hills

Nothing translates to family fun in downtown Boston more than a quick trip down Flagstaff Hill on the Boston Common. Located right near the baseball diamond on Tremont Street and running parallel to Charles Street, this is a popular family destination right after snowstorms. Grab your sled, hang on, then slide down with lightning speed.

Skate Around the Issue

Over on The Boston Common, gliding on the idyllic Frog Pond Skating Rink is a fun and active way to spend a sparkling winter day—that is, after they blow the snow off of it. Rent skates or bring your own, take a few turns, and then dive straight into a steaming mug of hot chocolate at a café.

Visit Oscar

Hit the AMC Loews Boston Common movie theater for an afternoon showing of the aptly named movie “Frozen,” which is up for several Oscar nominations this year. Or, maybe take in “The Nut Job.” You’ll never look at the Common’s gray, puffy squirrels the same.

The Brattle Bookshop offers antique treasures

You never know what vintage kids treasure you’ll find at Brattle Street Bookshop. Photo courtesy of Brattle Bookshop

Get Reading

Engage your kids in a little “when I was your age…” with a vintage copy of your favorite children’s book from the Brattle Street Bookshop, one of America’s oldest and largest antiquarian bookshops, which was established in 1825. Or, stroll through the rare and historic books and fine art on the first floor of the members-only Boston Athenaeum, one of America’s oldest libraries. There’s something to be said about how a good book can warm the soul, even when it’s a real feel of 4 degrees.

Feed Their Sweet Tooth

Your kids have been so sweet and only hogtied each other twice since 10:00 a.m. (their own new take on family fun in downtown Boston). So treat them to cupcakes at Sweet.The specialty bakery has 4 locations, including one downtown on School Street. Besides, with all that sugar fueled energy, they just might melt any snow left on the walk home.

Yes, there are plenty of things to do in Boston when the schools are closed for snow. No walking up hills required . . . unless it’s to sled back down.

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