Looking for fun things to do in Boston during February vacation week with your kids and teens?
Winter break week begins on President's Day Weekend (President's Day takes place on the 3rd Monday during February) when public schools in Boston and the rest of Massachusetts begins a week-long holiday.
Although some families head north to ski for the week and others seek out warmer temperatures in the Caribbean, there are lots of special family-oriented activities going on in Boston so it's a great time to be here - plus you'll save on low hotel rates.
We've rounded up 26 fun things family-friendly activities and events to keep everyone entertained over winter break.
Boston's weather during February can be tricky - frigid and snowy one day, sunny and 50 degrees (or higher) by the next morning - so our suggestions include a mix of outdoor and indoor attractions plus some fun walking tours.
Top photo: Ice skating on Frog Pond in Boston Common - Beacon Hill mansions in the background
Indoor Fun for February Vacation Week
1. Explore Sea Life at the New England Aquarium
Need the perfect indoor activity? Spend a day at the New England Aquarium touching the Atlantic rays, petting a starfish, and getting up close to a lobster at the tide pool touch tank. Gaze at the circling sharks, meet Myrtle the Green Sea Turtle, and laugh at the antics of over 60 penguins as they frolic next to the Giant Ocean Tank.
Plenty of other exhibits provide enough to do to fill a whole day - especially with the giant IMAX theater next door.
Save time by getting skip-the-line tickets in advance (ticket lines at the Aquarium will be long during school vacation week).
4. Roll the Balls at Boston's Coolest Bowling Alley
Tucked away in a high-rise parking garage on the western edge of Boston's elegant Back Bay neighborhood is Kings bowling alley.
But Kings is not just any bowling alley - it's a premier entertainment center where Boston's sports celebrities stop by to show off their bowling skills and everyone else gathers to see and be seen. Top equipment, cool decor, sports-filled big-screens, and plush seating make it a popular 21+ destination in Boston's nightlife scene.
Before 6pm, though, Kings is the best bowling alley your kids and teens could ever dream of. You'll enjoy the reasonable rates and burgers. Find out more on Kings' website
5. Experience Awe & Laughter at the Harlem Globetrotters
The Harlem Globetrotters always thrill and entertain the whole family. This spectacular blend of basketball and comedy will leave you laughing. Make them part of your family tradition when the perform at Tsongas Center in Lowell on Wednesday, February 19th.
6. Explore America's Famous Fighter Ship
Take the MBTA Ferry from Long Wharf on Boston's Downtown Waterfront over to Charlestown and go on a free tour to explore Old Ironsides - a.k.a. the USS Constitution, a site on Boston's Freedom Trail.
The active duty Navy crew members who serve as guides will entertain your teenagers (and you) with tales about the 200+ year old ship's history fighting Barbary pirates and defending America during the War of 1812. Even though it's school vacation week, your kids will learn some history without realizing it - and also have a great time.
Check the Constitution's Winter Hours: www.navy.mil/local/constitution
7. Build Your Own Ship at the USS Constitution Museum
Join the LEGO Maritime Festival during school vacation week at the USS Constitution Museum across from the famous battleship, and build your own ship with LEGO and DUPLO bricks. Need inspiration? Check the Museum's "Master of Miniature" model ships.
The MIT Museum celebrates National Engineers Week each year during the February winter school vacation week by hosting Feb Fest, 6 days of fun hands-on engineering activities, workshops, and afternoon demonstrations. Most are free with museum admission. Find out more:http://mitmuseum.mit.edu/febfest
9. Enjoy Fun Kids Activities at Faneuil Marketplace during Winter Vacation Week
12. Visit the Museum of African American History for Free
To celebrate Black History Month, the Red Sox Foundation is providing free admission all week (February 14-22) to the Museum of African American History (MAAH) (46 Joy Street in Beacon Hill). Current exhibits focus on great African American jazz musicians, and explore the jazz scene in Boston. More about the Museum of African American History
13. Laugh at the Annual Bugs Bunny Film Festival in Cambridge
Brattle Theatre's annual Bugs Bunny Film Festival brings all your favorite Looney Tunes characters to the big screen - and your kids are sure to love it too. The festival runs from February 15 through February 23, and tickets are affordable, especially if you choose a matinee. Children must be accompanied by an adult. More info: Brattle Theatre website
After the tour, stop by Bleacher Bar overlooking the field for a Fenway Frank, or walk over to Tasty Burger for the best shakes in town (try the "Green Monster").
15. Get the Real Scoop on Harvard & MIT
Find out what student life is really like at two top Boston universities, Harvard and MIT, on a student-led campus tour.
Bonus: You'll also learn a little about the history, architecture, and culture at these famous schools. And if you like the way the campuses look in February, you'll LOVE them during Boston's spectacular spring and fall seasons.
16. See Boston the Fun Way on a Hop On Hop Off Tour Trolley
With 18 stops close to 100+ attractions and other points of interest, the Hop On Hop Off trolley is the best way to see the city's top sites - and get off and explore them whenever you want.
You'll even get a few bonuses with your ticket, such as free admission to Dreamland Wax Museum and to the Old State House (a historic site/museum on the Freedom Trail where you can see actual bits of tea left over from the Boston Tea Party) plus a bunch of other interesting exhibits.
17. Get Your Fill of Pizza on this Tour of the Italian North End
The whole family will enjoy this pizza and walking tour around Boston's charming North End neighborhood. You'll sample pizza at 3 of the neighborhood's famous pizzerias, visit the Old North Church where Paul Revere hung his lanterns to warn about movement of British troops ("one if by land, two if by sea ...") on the night before the American Revolution started, and even visit historic Clough House where you'll get to see how chocolate was made in the old days - and then sample the chocolate!
Save with Discounts, Attraction Passes, & Winter Hotel Rates
18. Get Discount Tickets to Top Events & Attractions
Discount tickets from Groupon can give you big savings. Why pay more if you can save?
19. Save with Boston Discount Cards
Choose from 3 different discount passes to give you big savings on top Boston attractions, cruises, and tours. Once you buy the card, you get free admission to included activities. Choose the pass that fits your needs best:
Go Boston Cards: Save up to 55% with a 1-, 2-, 3-, 5-, or 7-day card good for 40+ activities including Boston Children's Museum, Fenway Park Tour, Blue Man Group (3-, 5-, & 7-day passes), Hop-On Hop-Off Trolley, Museum of Science, New England Aquarium, & more
Boston CityPASS: Save 46% on 4 top Boston attractions: New England Aquarium, Museum of Science, Skywalk Observatory (closes in April - so see it while you can!), and your choice of a Boston Harbor Cruise or Harvard Museum of Natural History. Visit at your own pace - cards are good for 9 consecutive days.
20. Find Cheap Rates on Boston Hotels
Boston hotel rates drop to their lowest points during January and February - so take advantage of these savings. Use this hotel map to find the cheapest rates - just enter your travel dates to see what's available:
22. Have Fun at the Children's Winter Festival on Boston Common
A huge assortment of free fun activities awaits you on Boston Common from 11am - 2pm on Thursday, February 20 when the Children's Winter Festival brings 45 foot long Toboggan Tunnel mountain adventure (like 2 long slides), a 3-car trackless train, and logs of hands-on games to the nation's oldest public park.
Look for other things as well: free giveaways from Disney to celebrate the release of Frozen 2, hot tea from David's Tea, a Zumba class for the whole family, and activities organized by the Girl Scouts, and more fun activities from other local organizations.
23. Go High Fashion on Newbury Street
Let your teen step into the world of glitzy designer fashions on Boston's famed Newbury Street in Back Bay.
Only about 8 blocks long, Newbury Street sports not only famous designers but also a good selection of affordable discount stores - try H&M for the perfect trendy and non-spendy combo.
For more practical options, check out the many sports gear stores on Newbury and nearby Boylston.
And great news: During winter break week in February, you'll find plenty of deeply discounted sale prices on Fall and Winter fashions.
24. Hit the Slopes near Boston for Skiing & Snowboarding
An hour's drive or less brings you to ski areas in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire for an afternoon or day of downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, ski lessons, snowboarding, tubing, and more. A bit farther away, you'll find even more options, including ski resorts in the Berkshires.
25. Make a Snowman or Go Sledding on Boston Common
You need a snowy day (or at least some snow already on the ground) for this one - but if the weather cooperates and we get a fresh snowfall during February vacation week, head over to Boston Common and make a snowman.
Or even better, go sledding down the Common's hills and slopes. You can buy an inexpensive plastic sled at most Boston CVS and Walgreens drugstores, as well as neighborhood hardware stores (try Charles Street Supply at 54 Charles Street in Beacon Hill).
26. Hit the New England Ski Resorts for Even More Winter Sports
Winter break week is when everyone takes advantage of school holidays and heads to ski resorts in Vermont, northern New Hampshire, or Maine, so if this is your plan, book accommodations as far in advance as possible to get your first choice. But if you're making last minute plans, no worries - check out some of the smaller less-famous ski areas. You'll find lots of ideals in our guide to New England ski areas.
More to Do in Boston during School Vacation Week in February