Budget-Friendly Holiday Adventures in the Greater Boston Area

I don’t know about you, but the thought of coughing up half of my savings for the Polar Express isn’t something I want to do with my children each holiday season! Now granted, we *are* finally doing it this year, but I plan to check that one off the bucket list and say “never again!” as soon as it’s over. Low-budget (and small crowds) is much more my speed, and if you find yourself in this camp, too, read on! Here are my favorite places to take my kids in the greater Boston area each holiday season.

Coletti-Magni Park, Newton/Watertown

I happened upon this while driving a few years back, and I’ve taken the kids once each holiday season since. This tiny little park is on Watertown St in West Newton and is just perfect for a quick , magical holiday excursion that will cost you nothing but the metered parking fee! It’s filled with holiday lights and giant inflatables. Think Macy’s Day Parade vibes without the chaos! There’s also an adorable little sleigh that kids love climbing in, and because it’s not exactly well-known, you won’t even have to wait long for your kids to get a turn in it;).

Pakeen Farm, Canton, MA

I admittedly haven’t been to Pakeen in years, but I just have to say, they have the best damn cider donuts I’ve EVER HAD. They’re piping hot and technically donut holes, which I like even more ;). What’s better than Christmas tree shopping and stuffing your face with cider donuts and hot chocolate?! Mmmm, nothing!

Gore Estate

The Gore Estate in Waltham has a variety of holiday-themed events to offer, from Tea with Santa to Holiday Wagon rides. This is actually the first year we’ve reserved tickets, so I’ll report back on specifics, but I *can* confirm that it’s very reasonably priced and parking is easy peasy at the Gore! Our family is very much looking forward to it :).

Zoo Lights

While this one certainly isn’t free, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than the Polar Express (and closer, if you live in the vicinity of Boston). With options for booking at both Franklin Park and Stone Zoos, it works well for families both north and south of the city, and if you go on a weeknight, the crowds are lighter.

If you find yourself at any of the lesser-known spots on this list, make sure to snap a picture or video and give me a shout-out on the ‘Gram! I’d love to see how your family enjoyed them!


Oh hey! I’m Melissa, a Boston family & newborn photographer, but I like to refer to myself as a toddler-whispering, child-taming, photographic ninja.