What to do in Boston with kids: Fun things to explore on the Rose Kennedy Greenway

Experience the entire Greenway on foot by starting at either Chinatown Park in the south or at the North End Parks.  In addition to the wide open green spaces, perfect for tossing a ball or playing tag, you can enjoy walking the paths surrounded by beautiful plantings, unique art installations, historic landmarks, attractions; Not to mention the breezes and views of Boston Harbor and the waterfront as you go! 

Fun Things to Explore with Kids on the Rose Kennedy Greenway:

Wondering what to do in Boston with kids? Some of our favorite highlights for kids include:

1. Greenway Carousel

This one-of-a-kind carousel located in the heart of Boston featuring 33 New England native animals.  These unique carousel creatures were inspired by the drawings of Boston schoolchildren and brought to life by a local artist.  Entirely ADA accessible, and fun for all ages, take a spin on a sea turtle, a lobster, an owl, a whale and more!  

Steps from Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Christopher Columbus Park, and the Boston Harbor Walk, (not to mention, the North End!) you’ll enjoy a cool ocean breeze with views of the City in every direction!  

2. Harbor Fog Sculpture

This interactive installation in the Greenway’s Wharf District area, between the New England Aquarium and the Boston Harbor Hotel, is both a cooling fountain and a contemporary art piece. Consisting of three contemporary tiki-like geometric structures, surrounded by large granite blocks, the motion-activated piece releases mist and fog and emits colorful lights when people walk nearby.   Kids love to frolic through it, as they cool off on a hot summer day. 

3. North End Swinging Benches 

These popular benches are a great place to sit and relax, just steps away from the North End.  Picture a bench, that’s a swing. They face Boston’s downtown area and overlook a wide grassy area with gardens along the Greenway, as well as the lower patio of water jets that you can kids of all ages can play around in and cool off in during the summer.

You’ll often see people carrying white boxes tied with string around these parts.   Those are full of cannoli and pastry from either Mike’s Pastry or Modern Pastry. This park is the perfect spot to grab a table to enjoy these delicious desserts, especially as dusk falls. 

4. Rings Fountain

Located in n Wharf Districts Park, across from the New England Aquarium, is a wonderful urban spray park, where you can cool off in the hot Summer days.  Rings Fountain has 64 nozzles that create circles of water, the fountain runs May through October. During the evening hours, colorful lights dance with the water spray for a truly magical summer in the city experience.

Families can come together and enjoy some water play in the rings fountain, toddlers, teens and children of all ages will enjoy getting drenched in water in the Summer.  Food trucks are always on hand from May through September, and there are also many restaurants nearby as well as the food court at Quincy Market and Fanueil Hall. 

5. Codzilla

Codzilla – Looking for a bit of a thrill?  Get ready for Codzilla! Located in the Boston Harbor next to the Aquarium, Codzilla is Boston’s first and only high-speed thrill boat ride featuring a brightly colored hull and two turbo-charged diesel engines generating 2,800 horsepower.   

The ride starts off at a slower pace until they get out of the Harbor.  That’s where you get to hear the legend of Codzilla. Once you make it out to open water, the music gets loud and the boat goes fast!  Lots of speed and fun splashy turns await you. 

If thrill rides aren’t your thing,  Boston Harbor Whale watching tours also depart from this dock, so you really have a lot of fun excursions to choose from. 

6. Rotating Whimsical Art Exhibits:

Everyone looks forward to the rotating art installations that change annually on the Greenway.  The exhibits often include lots of whimsical art, that is great for photo ops, inspires conversation and is just pleasing to the eye.  

Dewey Square, across from South Station, features a giant mural that changes every year.  It’s a mesmerizing process to watch, and once it’s done, the city gets to enjoy it for the entire year.   There is always something new to see and interact with on the Greenway.

You never know what you might come across.  Is this the Wicked Witch of the West’s house?  Or just a yellow meeting house on it’s side? How many different Pig Sculptures can you find on this artists scavenger hunt?  You can even find exhibits that have an element of augmented reality to them. Just download the app and watch as the art transforms.

7. Chinatown Parks

A lovely oasis at the southern end of the Greenway, this one-acre linear park contains design elements drawn from Asian traditions and art work. The area contains a serpentine walkway edged by bamboo within bright red sculptural elements and a unique fountain that suggests a waterfall and shallow riverbed. 

Right outside the historic Chinatown Gate, you’ll find a colorful geometric play structure that is usually being enjoyed by young children, as well as the local Tai Chi club practicing meditation under nearby trees.  You can often find lively board & card games being played by locals in the shaded area by the gate.

Don’t miss your opportunity to grab some dim sum, or a bowl of noodles and dumplings for lunch in one of the many nearby restaurants. 

There are so many more things to do in Boston with kids, and the Greenway provides a nearly 17-acre oasis of green space to enjoy a good number of them.    They say the best things in life are free, and it’s pretty cool to know that can be especially true in Boston.

Stacey Sao is the managing editor at BostonCentral, a website that specializes in helping parents find fun and free things to do with kids in Greater Boston.