family with teenagers enjoying arcade games in Boston

It can be so difficult to find fun family activities in Boston when you have teenagers! It’s hard to get the right fit. They’re still children, but they’re way too old for the Children’s Museum. They feel like they’re on the verge of adulthood, but they’re too young for the club scene. Sporting events are fun but aren’t great spur-of-the-moment activities. There are plenty of educational activities in Boston, like historical sites and museums, but sometimes learning isn’t the goal. So, Boston, let’s see what you have for some family fun with teenagers!

For the gamer

Dave and Buster’s is a teenage version of Chuck E. Cheese. There are tons of games and fun to be had at each location (Woburn, Natick, and Braintree). We frequent the one in Woburn, and we love that the bar is available near the games for snacks and drinks. Some venues have age requirements after a certain time — for example, in Woburn, anyone under 21 has to leave by 11 p.m. on the weekends. Even better, for my large family there’s something for everyone, from my 5-year-old up to my 17-year-old and up to my husband and me!

If you are looking for something a little more mature, check out Versus in Boston. It is part restaurant, part nostalgia, part gamer haven. They serve fun pub food and drinks and have a neon explosion atmosphere straight out of the ’80s. After you have eaten, take a turn on some old school game systems, including pinball, “Space Invaders,” and “Crazy Taxi” (my personal favorite). Versus is 21+ plus after 7 p.m., but it’s a great lunch spot with older teens.

For the adventurer

Level 99 in the Natick Mall is a super fun place to bond with your teens. It is part escape room, part interactive problem solving, and part Legends of the Hidden Temple. You and your teens can make a team and try to solve as many challenges as possible. They also offer food and beverages to weary adventurers, including the Night Shift Beer Hall for mom and dad!

Malden is home to another fun adventure venue called Boda Borg. Here, you make a team of 3-5 people and try your luck in various rooms. You have a card that gets stamped each time you make it through one of the rooms. Bring back your card each time to collect all the stamps. The rooms don’t change much but are not easy to get through, requiring a few tries to understand how to conquer the challenge! There are some food options here, but it is more like a cafe than a restaurant.

For the show stoppers

The Museum of Science’s laser light shows in the planetarium are a great way to connect with your teen over music. I hadn’t given it much thought until I heard my 14-year-old listening to a Pink Floyd song! The planetarium has Friday and Saturday night shows that feature music by Pink Floyd, Beyonce, Fleetwood Mac, and Radiohead. Grab a bite to eat at the Cambridgeside Galleria next door and head over to a fun musical experience.

For older teens, check out an improv show! Improv Asylum in Boston is a great time! They recommend their shows for ages 16 and up, but depending on your (and your teens’) level of comfort, it’s a fun time. They do have specific shows for adults only, so be sure to double check before grabbing tickets.

If your teen has a love of the stage, check out some local teen open mic nights. The Arts at the Armory in Somerville offers specific nights for teens to have the floor. They also have so many other great events to check out. If you are musically inclined, check out the open mic nights at Main Idea in Worcester each month!

For the outdoor enthusiast

If your teen is a “by sea” person, consider one of Boston’s many boat-themed attractions.  There are tons of ferrieswhale watches, and sunset cruises that anyone with an interest in the ocean would enjoy. But if you have an ocean lover who is also a thrill seeker? Check out Codzilla. This one-of-a-kind Boston Harbor boat is a must-do for your teen. I guarantee you will belly laugh, sing at the top of your lungs, and NEED the complementary poncho given out as you board. This boat is part tour/part party and is worth every memory-making moment with your teen.
 

If your teen is more the “by land” type, there are tons of hiking options to choose from!  The Middlesex Fells Reservation, for example, has 100 miles of hiking trails with various terrain types, making it a great place to find a hike for any ability level. If you are looking for some waterfalls along your hike, look into the Trustees’ properties with waterfalls. Hike a while and then rest at one of the waterfalls, taking in the ambiance and chatting with your kid. The Trustees properties and the Fells trails have so many opportunities to explore nature — and that lack of Wi-Fi might just force a bonding moment or two.

Michelle Mady
Michelle is a lifelong New Englander who lives in Stoneham and works in Charlestown. She is a preschool teacher and Assistant Director at a small private preschool and holds a master’s degree in early childhood education, which has come in useful at both work and home. She has a supportive stay-at-home-dad for a husband and is a mom of five children. She has three boys born in 2005, 2007 and 2008, plus two girls born in 2012 and 2015. Michelle teaches infant and toddler classes for early education teachers and is an adjunct professor for The School Of Mom. She also runs her own business, The Parenting Survival Expert, offering parenting tips and support. In her spare time, she can be found reading a murder mystery novel, sipping far too much coffee, and dreaming of a home in the mountains.

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