Boston Day Book’s Guide to Cambridge with Kids
Natalie and I write a local blog, The Boston Day Book. While we both live within the boundaries of Boston, we love spending time in Cambridge as well! We feel so lucky to have so many amazing restaurants, museums, and events -- all just across the river. Since we each now have a young child, we have been on the lookout for fun ways to explore Cambridge with a little one in tow. Here are a few of our favorites:
Photo courtesy of Boston Day Book
Laura: On my own, museums have always been a favorite place to spend time. I hadn’t realized how much my daughter would enjoy them as well! While she loves art museums (usually from her stroller, since at her age she wants to touch everything!), the Museum of Science is a great place to let her roam, explore, and get out some energy. There are always new exhibitions on view, and the general galleries cover lots of different topics. For older kids, the Lightening! Show is awe-inspiring, while for little ones (8 and under) the special Discovery Center is a great place to hear stories, view animals, build structures, and more.
Natalie: My son is now eight months old and is becoming increasingly interactive, and it’s been so fulfilling to see him experience the world around him. I’m looking forward to visiting museums with him, especially those that offer an interactive element for kids. Laura and I recently visited the Harvard Art Museums and loved the exhibitions. The building is bright and beautiful, too, and it’s a great excuse to enjoy lunch in Harvard Square after wandering the museum.
Photo courtesy of Full Moon
Laura: Eating out with kids is not always the easiest! Finding a kid-friendly stop to rest and refuel is so important when out for the day. Clover is a casual vegetarian restaurant with lots of kid-friendly menu items. Some locations have paper and crayons available, and the open seating and lack of tablecloths make them easier to navigate with strollers or wiggly toddlers. With locations in Harvard Square, Central Square, Kendall Square, and East Cambridge, it’s an easy and reasonable lunch stop, so you can indulge in a little ice cream at J.P. Licks or Toscanini’s after!
Natalie: I love ice cream, but since Milo has a dairy sensitivity, neither one of us has enjoyed it lately (aside from some delicious coconut milk-based treats). I love Toscanini's and can’t wait to take Milo there for a sorbet, or even better -- an ice cream if he grows out of his allergy (fingers crossed). I’ve heard great things about Full Moon - they even have a play area for kids! I’m excited to check it out in the coming months. It sounds like a great place to meet up with other moms. I love the healthy bowls and smoothies at Life Alive in Central Square, and they have a great downstairs area with big tables and a little children’s nook.
Photo courtesy of Boston Day Book
Laura: In the spring, summer, and fall, Memorial Drive is closed to cars on Sundays. It’s a great opportunity to bring your bicycles, scooters, and running sneakers out for a spin! For little ones who otherwise aren’t ready to ride on the street, this is perfect chance to hit the road. Plus, the view across the river is gorgeous!
Natalie: I love wandering through Harvard Yard in all seasons (but the fall is especially brilliant), as well as walking along Massachusetts Avenue to the Charles River. Cambridge has so many beautiful corners, and it’s great to get out there and explore. In the winter, it is fun to ice skate at the rink in Kendall Square, followed by a hot cocoa and pastry at Tatte.
Photo courtesy of Sheppard Ferguson
Laura: I love the holiday season, and the Christmas Revels is such an enjoyable way to get in the spirit! I haven’t taken my daughter yet, but when she is a bit older I could see it becoming a wonderful tradition. The Revels have many other programs that would be lots of fun for kids since they can sing along and participate. The September RiverSing sounds especially family-friendly, and the outdoor celebrations include puppets and a parade! I’ve also been meaning to check out the River Festival. This free early June event features hundreds of singers and musicians, interactive dance and theater, public art, crafts, and specialty food.
Natalie: Cambridge has so many incredible and fun festivals. I am excited to bring Milo to the annual MayFair celebration and the annual HONK! Parade. When Laura and I were kids, we spent a lot of time in Cambridge, often checking out various festivals or street markets. I can’t wait to continue this tradition with Milo and expose him to different cultures, foods, and the arts. I attended the Taste of Cambridge a few years ago pre-baby, and would love to check it out this summer with Milo in tow. Although he's not eating many solids yet, it's exciting to expose him to different kinds of food. These are the kinds of events that I love - a fun afternoon for the whole family.
Tips for traveling in the city with kids
Laura: I think my biggest tip is to just go for it! There is always a bit of a learning curve, and even as a city dweller I was nervous at first to take my daughter on the T and worried that she might start yelling in a public space. However, I quickly learned where all the elevators are in the train stations and found that most people love to see babies and kids around. Having a pretty loose schedule also seems to increase the chances of an outing being fun -- with only one or two scheduled things in a day, it is ok to stop for an extra snack if someone is hungry or to take a long walk on bumpy bricks to get a baby to sleep.
Natalie: I couldn’t agree more - just do it! Traveling in the city with kids can have its challenges, but it’s so worthwhile. I think it’s important to have realistic expectations and if there’s an outburst, it’s okay. It will pass -- and you can always grab a beer for mom and dad afterward at Meadhall!
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The Boston Day Book is an online collection, written by sisters Laura Chassaigne and Natalie Chassaigne Kurtzman, that features their favorite things to see, eat, and do. They feature a behind-the-scenes look into the people and places that make the Boston-area spin.More by Boston Day Book