5 Things to Do in Cambridge with a Toddler
Guys, I am excited. Back in my previous life, John and I started a blog about traveling. We fancied ourselves amateur photographers, and took plenty of vacations and went on several adventures and documented it all. We are always trying to explore, experience something new, and live life outside the bubble of our home. Boy did things change when we had a baby born 14 weeks too soon. We were isolated in our home for 6 months out of the year for the first 2 years of her life. Most of John’s vacations days were spent on inpatient hospital stays, surgeries, and our travel days ended abruptly. Last May, we took our first family vacation with our 20 month old to Puerto Rico and that trip has given us the confidence to travel again, even with a very medically complex toddler.
Recently, I did a poll on my IG asking followers if I should blog about travel or if I should stay in my lane since most of what I blog about is medical or early intervention. Over 80% of you said yes!! I am excited to dive back into my old passion, and it gives me a little bit of break from most of what I think about, talk about, read about, advocate for, which is medical and early intervention topics. Believe me, it’s a passion of mine and I love it, but it can be heavy at times. Here goes guys, my first family travel post on She Got Guts.
Cambridge is its own city, but part of the metropolitan city of Boston and I cannot tell you what that means. I took geography twice in college, its embarrassingly true. It’s a college town and is one the nation’s intellectual centers with both Harvard & MIT located there. You can just feel the academia around you and it makes me miss college & graduate school. It’s exciting to be in a place where everyone around you is learning something, studying, growing, creating, inventing. So many incredible people have graduated from these universities and the head of Adeline’s team is a professor of surgery at Harvard’s medical school.
We travel to Boston every 6-8 weeks for medical reasons so we are slowly getting to know the city. Each time we are here for about 5 days and usually its over a weekend which gives us a day or 2 to explore depending on how Addie is feeling. Boston has so amazing things to offer but when it comes to finding things that are appropriate with a toddler who doesn’t each much, (she is fed mostly through her tube), in the winter it can be a bit more challenging. Seventy minute historic walking tour, NOPE! Catch one of the shows in one of the several amazing theaters, NOPE! So what to do?
We spent a freezing and windy winter day in Cambridge with our toddler and had the best time so I thought I would share 5 Things to Do in Cambridge (with a toddler in the winter)!
1. Harvard Yard
It is a beautiful campus and easy to walk through and around. There are free tours led by students but we just did it on our own. It’s a great place to let your toddler run around, climb up and down the steps, while parents just take in the scenery. The architecture is need an adjective and some of my favorites are the Harvard gates, the arched entrances, the Memorial Hall and Austin Hall Building. You also have to go visit the John Harvard statue. Many people rub his shoe for good luck, although I think that is a germ fest just waiting to wreck havoc on your body so we stayed away. I was also just imagining the drunk college kids and what they probably do to that statue after 2 am knowing thousands of tourists are going to touch it the next day, Am I paranoid or just dead on?
2. Shop for Some Toys
Harvard Square is perfect for walking around, window shopping, grabbing a bite and it has individual boutiques, used book stores, comic book and gaming stores, and is gentrified with Urban outfitters, and Anthropology. They had two AMAZING toy stores which are must sees and shop while there. First we went to The Curious George Store which is the only one in the world but it doesn’t have just Curious George stuff. It’s curated with some amazing brands, books, and toys we love. We got Adeline quite a few things for her Easter basket: Jelly Cat stuffed animals, Thomas the Train wooden train whistle, sensory toys, and a board book about empowering women. Practically right across the street was this really cool store called Black Ink that had everything from really over-sized paperclips to Kewpie dolls. We got Addie some weird things from this store because if I’m honest, my kid can be a little weird. I like that about her and it reminds me of her dad. We got her some amazing stuff from these dollar bins they had, rubber feet and hands, monster finger puppets, a rubber goldfish for the bath, and a bird whistle. It was the perfect store to buy a unique gift for someone and had some creative and educational toys.
3. Harvard Natural History Museum
This was a hit! Bonus was that it was affordable, Adeline was free (free under 3 years old) and adults were $12 a pop. We were just in the Natural History Museum in DC and I think I liked this one better. In terms of accessibility, its tough. I do not know how you would go here if you had a wheelchair and you must carry the stroller up at least 1 flight of stairs. We participated in the story time which held at 11am and 2pm on weekends and although it was little ahead for Adeline’s age I thought it was well done. She read a book about woodpecker and owls, we got to explore with some skulls of both of those animals, and they we went to the bird floor to find some of the woodpeckers & owls they had. It was nicely done, and Adeline had a blast. I have never seen so many taxidermy animals in my life and there was class going on teaching people how to taxidermy . There was a wall of humming birds, with like 50 different birds. It’s a small museum which was nice and had some interactive features for kids and to learn more click here.
4. Plaza Winter Fest- Harvard Common Space
Ok, we loved this! I think Adeline would have to, but she slept through this entire thing. Outside of Harvard Campus, there is this awesome area called The Common Spaces which during the winter months they have the Plaza Winter Fest. It's set up with games, fire pits surrounded by Adirondack chairs, and food trucks! Outdoor games include curling, ice bowling, corn hole, ping pong, ice shuffleboard, Foosball, and shuffleboard. Starting at 3pm they light up the fire pits and sell s’more kits and my favorite part was the food trucks and hot chocolate for sale. We grabbed lunch at one of the food trucks and it was affordable and delicious.
5. Where to Eat
There are many amazing places to eat but we chose to grab a bite at the food trucks in the Harvard Commons. This way Adeline could run around, it would be quick, and affordable. We got lunch at Roxy’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese. ( I got the Hot Honey Bacon (vermont cheddar, muenster, fontina, north country bacon, mike's hot honey) , John got the Green Muenster (muenster, bacon, house made guacamole), and we shared the Truffle Tater Tots that were sprinkled with sage. YUUUUUUM! Lunch was also $20 and we ate in front of a fire pit. A few hours later the perfect place to get coffee, tea, or dessert is Crema Café. I got a Ginger Steamer (fresh ginger broth with lemon & honey) and a brownie cookie that I shared with Adeline. One place we did not get to, but everyone in the world (or in my Instagram world) recommended was Friendly Toast. They have 993 reviews and still a 4.3 on google, pretty impressive. This place is on our list for next time.
This was our first time venturing out of the house in 6 days and not going to the doctor or hospital so this day mattered to us. When you have struggles, chronic illness, challenges, hospital admissions, emergency room, early intervention, miss out on events, holidays, fun things regularly it really makes you appreciate just a regular day. Or for us, our regular day. We are so tired, drained, my back hurts, but we try to push through to give Adeline some sense of normalcy, some fun. Thanks Cambridge for helping us feel like a typical family traveling around the city.
Did we miss anything good in Cambridge?? Comment below so we can check it out during our next visit.