Going Back to Boston Massachusetts – A Family Delight

Genie Davis September 14, 2011 No Comments


It’s been awhile since I took my kids to Boston. They’re older now, but the city looks younger than ever, with tourism a tremendous industry for the city, it has reason to stay spic and span.  Some things have changed, some have not, in this still beautiful brownstone city perched between the sea and the Charles River.

While the John Hancock Center no longer lets you take in the city view from their observation deck, just walk a few more blocks from Copley Square to Prudential Center. The Pru offers free audio head set tours explaining the landmarks of the city you are viewing, which older kids will find fascinating. Young children will love the view, and the small museum that explores immigrant history into the city in the center of the viewing deck. The area is entirely glass enclosed, allowing small children freedom to take in the view on their own. Very small children will need to be lifted above the adult-waist-high window level. We loved the great view of Fenway Park, the Citgo sign, and the Charles River on one side, the reflection of beautiful Trinity Church in the blue glass of the John Hancock tower in the other.

View from Pru Center Observation deck

We loved the enjoyable free audio tour at the Pru Center Observation deck, and the views, of course.

Two levels up you’ll find the Top of the Hub, which offers a partial look at the same awesome view; it’s a great choice in the later evening as the observation deck closes early, at 8 pm. Coming from the west coast we appreciated this alternative, especially as it included dining. Now dining can be a bit problematic in Boston if you’re looking for late night fare, late night fare suitable for children, or late night fare suitable to a variety of diets, all of which our party included this trip.

Top of the Hub’s dining room menu is expensive but accommodating, however after 11 pm you have the bar menu to contend with. We were still able to find salads, a good, if small salmon sandwich, steamed vegetables, and fries on the menu, but service was slow and special requests were handled with some confusion. Did the live jazz band, the ability for the little ones to get up and dance, and the eventual ability of the restaurant to handle dietary specifics make it worthwhile – yes, particularly with the fine view added in.

We tended to keep our late night dining – and there was plenty of it, as my daughter was performing throughout Boston as a musician and gigs tended to run late – near the Copley area, as we were staying at the Hotel Lenox. This is a great hotel for children, with a friendly staff offering to provide – and best of all, following through on providing – “anything you need.” This means chocolate chip trail mix at 9 am and candy bars at midnight. The room included a refrigerator, which is something we’ve come to depend on. If you can’t have a kitchen, a fridge, and a nearby grocery store are the next best thing, and allow us to save money on breakfast and start the morning without cranky, hungry children looking to devour whatever food items are available at the first restaurant they happen upon. We found the space good if not huge, the room clean, the television up to date and offering pay per view.

Along with the fridge, our favorite “amenity” was the large, walk in closet – great for suitcase storing, but also fun for little ones to play “house” inside, and serving for older offspring, as a kind of defacto private dressing room. Most rooms feature this size closet, but do ask if that’s important to you. We had a view, albeit unexceptional, of Exeter Street below us. The hotel has an elegant lobby and an old world charm; there’s nothing old school about the nicely modern bathroom however, the hotel has a family friendly feeling among the staff. Restaurants in the hotel however, as with much of Boston, close early, and while the pub and main restaurant bar offer food items late, they don’t offer them to children. Room service has a limited but quite serviceable menu – thumbs up on the cheese pizza, though small for the price – that goes all night. We loved and appreciated free guest-loaner umbrellas and the always ready door staff who summoned us cabs at all hours.

The location itself is great for sightseeing – a two minute walk brings you to the always awesome Boston Public Library, Trinity Church, and Copley Square, where the green line of the “T” – Boston’s subway system, waits to ferry you cross town or across the river to Cambridge and Somerville.

It’s also great for families like ours who fully make use of that in-room fridge – Shaw Markets has an excellent selection of breakfast items and a deli with snacks ranging from sushi to pudding – just around the corner behind Prudential Center. It’s open 24 hours, too. A little further away, but a delightful walk through the grounds of the beautiful Christian Science Center, is a Whole Foods near Symphony Hall.

Christian Science Center Plaza Boston

Kids love to explore - and dance around - the Christian Science Center Plaza. Fountains are lit up in multi-colors after dark.

One of our favorite family outings was an early evening stroll through Christian Science Plaza – fountains have colored lights that change frequently, the plaza has a vast reflecting pool that shimmers when the sun goes down, the old church building and the modern structures weave in a beautiful architectural symmetry that made for many photographs. With a street performer for a sound track, the small children in our party loved dancing around the slate plaza. Of course going inside the center is awesome too. Kids of all ages and adults alike are thrilled with the stained glass Mapparium – a world globe large enough to walk through.

No matter how many times you’ve been to Boston, coming back and exploring the city at all hours is a delight children and parents will find easy to enjoy.

avatarAbout the Author:

Genie Davis is a multi-published fiction author, screen and TV writer, and travel writer. If it was possible, she'd like to spend every day traveling. www.geniedavis.com

Tags: Reviews, Travel Excursions

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