Hotel for First Night Boston with Children???

by Georgeann

We are traveling from Connecticut and have never been to the First Night Boston event. Our children are 6 and 4. What hotel would you recommend that is next to the most children activities? Also which of the children activities do you recommend?

Thank you,

Boston Discovery Guide's reply:

Hi Georgeann,

Most of the child-oriented activities take place in or near Prudential Center and the Hynes Auditorium, which connect to each other through an interior passage, and are located in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood.

For convenience, my recommendation would be to stay at the Boston Sheraton (which offers First Night packages - see First Night hotel info or another nearby hotel such as the Back Bay Hilton. Here's a link to other Back Bay hotels. The Mandarin Oriental also connects to Pru Center, and the Charlesmark and Lenox are also convenient. The Boston Marriott and Boston Westin aren't quite as close, but they do connect to Copley Place shopping area which connects by tunnel to Pru Center, if that makes sense. If the weather is more frigid than predicted (currently doesn't look too bad - just over freezing), you'll be glad about the connecting tunnels.

All of these hotels are quite nice, but the Sheraton and Marriott have especially nice pools - that was always one of my family's criteria when our daughters were the age of yours.

Here's my suggested itinerary for a great First Night day and early evening with a 4 and 6 year old:

10-12 Boston Children's Museum - free to Button holders during this time period - your kids are a perfect age for it, and the museum will have some special activities going on. I would take the T (Red Line) to South Station, and then walk over to the bridge to the museum, or if the temperature is cold or windy, take a cab and preserve everyone's energy for the museum.

12-1 - Lunch - Flour Bakery (12 Farnsworth St, very close to the museum) has great sandwiches, salads, and pastries - great for kids and adults, and Chef Joanne Chang is famous in Boston for her amazing sticky buns - which unfortunately, I would not recommend for a 4 and 6 year old unless you want to spend a lot of time getting them unsticky after they eat them.

After lunch, head back to the Prudential Center/Hynes Auditorium area, where most of the fun activities for young children are scheduled:

Rosalita's Puppets
Magic Lantern Puppet Show
Beehive Art Children's Art Studio and Gallery
Gerwin Puppets
Dreamtale Puppets (lots of puppets this year!)
Simply Circus
Plus lots more!

I would schedule in some down time at some point in the afternoon, and also grab a bite to eat (Pru Center has a decent food court, and there's also a Legal Seafood there - great clam chowder, and they have a good children's menu).

At 5:30, the Grand Procession starts from the Hynes and marches down Boylston Street to Boston Common. This is a huge parade, and tons of fun. At this point, walk along with the parade to the Common, where a terrific ice show takes place on the Frog Pond ice rink between 6 and 7 (one of my friends skates in it!). It's a short walk - should be fine for a 4 and 6 year old.

At 7pm, there's a gorgeous fireworks show on the Common - lasts 12 minutes, and marks the end of the child-oriented part of the programming. Concerts, performances, music, art, comedy, etc. continue until the final set of fireworks at midnight, but they're focused on adult tastes, and young kids will find them boring.

At this point, you could walk back to your hotel - if you're staying somewhere near Prudential Center/Hynes, it's only about a 10 minute walk. Or you could take the T (subway) - there are a couple of stations (Park, Boylston) at Boston Common.

Have a wonderful time, and Happy New Year!

Boston Discovery Guide

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