Enjoy Family-Friendly Activities in Beantown After the Sun Goes Down
The swan boats in the Public Garden are put away at nightfall, and the Boston Tea Party reenactments stop way before dusk. But don’t let the loss of these two iconic attractions fool you–Boston still offers plenty of fun and educational attractions once the sun goes down. Soak up the twinkling city skyline from a variety of unique vantage points and embrace an evening of high culture at late-night museums. Beantown after dark satisfies a dizzying array of interests for the whole family.
A View From Above
Make your way up 50 stories to the Skywalk Observatory at Prudential Center (Prudential Center, 800 Boylston St., 50th Floor, Boston, MA). Towering 700 feet above the city, the enclosed observation deck stays open long after the sun sets and provides a 360-degree view of the region. Enjoy elevated views of such landmarks as Harvard Square and Fenway Park or toss some quarters into the view finders for an even more detailed look at the city. Audio guides, including those designed specifically for kids, and a multi-media theater delve into Boston’s rich and storied history.
Eating, Shopping and Entertainment Hubs
Not much has changed since Faneuil Hall Marketplace (4 S. Market St., Boston, MA) opened in 1742 as a place for merchants to peddle their goods and orators to speak to the masses. Today, the space still serves as a gathering place for Bostonians, even into the evening hours, as an array of shops and eateries fill the historic buildings, and entertainers, like jugglers and puppeteers, perform along the cobblestone promenade. In summer, the marketplace’s lively carousel runs into the evening, and kids are invited to borrow art supplies and board games completely free of charge.
Culture for Kids
Forget any pre-conceived notions that the Museum of Fine Arts (465 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA) is too stuffy for kids. While the museum features an expansive, high-brow collection from Egyptian antiquities to Herb Ritts’ photographs, special programs are designed specifically to educate and entertain kids. Geared toward children ages 6 to 10, rentable electronic audio-visual guides feature animated characters that provide detailed information about the works on display. The museum stays open until 10 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and, on select evenings, complimentary drawing materials, live models and instructors are on hand for kids to enjoy a night of sketching.
Adventure on the High Seas
Set sail for a 90-minute narrated harbor boat ride aboard Boston Harbor Cruises’ (One Long Wharf, Boston, MA) sunset tour. The adventure begins as you sail beneath roaring jets flying out of Logan International Airport and past little harbor islands dotted with lighthouses. The cruise pauses alongside the USS Constitution, the historic Civil War vessel, as she lowers her flag and fires the final cannon for the day. Before long, the sun sets over the city as the skyline transforms into a glistening display of twinkling lights. The sunset cruise operates daily from May through September and children under age 3 sail for free.
A Night at the Museum
Every Friday night the Museum of Science (1 Science Park, Boston, MA) extends its hours, staying open until 9 p.m. Explore the museum’s immersive exhibits, where kids have the chance to touch real fossils, walk through a butterfly garden, tour a virtual version of Acadia National Park and climb into full-size models of the Apollo and Mercury space capsules. On nights with longer museum hours, the on-site IMAX theater and planetarium offer evening film screenings and shows. On select summer evenings, the planetarium also screens family-friendly sci-fi movies.
A travel writer since 2002, Leah Rendon has written countless articles for online pop-culture magazines and various travel-related websites, including Eurobooking and World66. Gosford also has experience in copywriting, having developed a series of articles related to network marketing. She graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in theater arts.