Fun places for young teens around Boston/Burbs

I volunteer with some young people to help them through some tough situations (9 to about 15 yo). They relocate relatively frequently so I’m trying to build a list of places in and around Boston (out to about Framingham).

Here is a typical situation - think of a 13 yo who just had a really really bad day (or week) and you want to take them out for something to eat but you know they have no interest in really talking - but you know getting out and about would be a good thing.

I know - pretty niche question. But I’m thinking something like Chuck E Cheese for teens. The only thing I can think of is Dave and Busters (which is an option). Something with lots of distractions. Could be tons of TVs to watch and distract . . . games . . . crazy environment . . .etc. Since I have to go too, if the food is good that would be awesome, but I’m thinking environment tops food for this. Does Boston have any of those stupid theme restaurants that were so popular in the 90s (at least they were popular in NYC).

Honestly, Craft Food Hall in Waltham that I just posted about comes to mind too (food with ping pong, foosball, etc).

I’ll take any ideas. Thanks :wink:


One place that immediately comes to mind is Tony C’s in Burlington if hypothetical kid is a sports fan (there is one near Fenway and more convenient if taking the T). A crazy number of TVs. You don’t really go for the food, although I’ve a good dish here-and-there.

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Awesome, never been. I’ll put it on the list!

I’m even trying to think of places that have crazy plating . . . . anything that offers distractions or completely random things to talk about for a few seconds now and again.

A hibachi type place comes to mind too - Benihana style . . . . though I haven’t been to one in decades.

Would a performance like open mike appeal at the community theatre in Natick?

I’m not sure but I’ll definitely look into it, not familiar with them! Thanks

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Sounds like a really great way to volunteer your time.

  • Versus (arcade / restaurant) in DTX is all ages until 7pm. It is a bit more mature than Chuck E Cheese. I assume as long as you are in before 7 they won’t kick you out but have never been there past the deadline with my kids.
  • Flatbread in Somerville, bowl while you eat
  • Brazilian churrascos are good interactive meals. If Fogo de Chao is too pricey (7-12 yr is half price for the younger kids), Olivera’s is a good alternative.
  • Kings
  • Fire & Ice?

Great suggestions.

I’ve never heard of Versus, will have to check it out. Because of their ages and life situations it might be too “bar” focused based their description but could work depending on the young person for sure.

And Kings - I’ve never been (not from here) but they are so close to a couple of the kids - bowling and eating (while the sanitary aspects of that make my skin crawl) would be great! Just never thought about that. - Thanks

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Great suggestions so far. I haven’t been, but the newish Adventure Pub in Arlington might be worth checking out. It seems to be board-game focused with some decent food. And Thimes, thank you for doing this!


Is conveyor belt sushi distracting enough?

Actually, yeah I think a conveyor would be enough (the sushi part will depend on the youth). Do we have those here in Boston. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. Where?

I’ve never heard of the Adventure Pub either. That looks awesome too, especially for the times when too much noise of visual stimulation is a negative (sometimes its a positive, sometimes a negative - which is why I’m trying to build up lots of options) - with the added bonus of me not having to eat really bad food too (thinking of you Chuck e Cheese)

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Here’s one - its in a mall, which usually I’d consider a ‘bug’ but maybe a ‘feature’ for teens?

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in a mall is definitely a feature for this situation - these can be some uncomfortable meals and you can only stretch discussions about the weather, school, and what you did for dinner last night for about 5 minutes sometimes (and even after that amount of time they can get irritated talking about “stupid” stuff) - so the rest of the time can be sitting there awkwardly and quietly. So these types of distractions are good for both of us and occasionally can spark brief conversations that have nothing to do with daily life.

Thanks for the suggestions!


There used to be Yo Sushi! in the Seaport. I’d been to one in London in my 20’s and it was fun. The Boston location was not (we went a couple of years ago before a show at the Pavilion). I just checked - it closed up shop and for good reason.

Along those lines, how about do-it-yourself Korean BBQ if the kids are meat eaters? Do we still have them in the Greater Boston area? I know Koreana in Central Sq. used to but I haven’t been in years.

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ah good idea (Korean BBQ), never thought of that. Along the same lines a hot pot place could work too. Hadn’t consider that either. (staring at the hot pot and food cooking is a great distraction)

As far as what the kids eat . . . it depends on the kid, on the day, and sometimes changes mid-meal. So really any ideas are good ideas. I just have to roll with it, there are bigger fish to fry . . . .

What about X1 Boston (located in Braintree)? They have a full-service restaurant in-house situated trackside, and they have a billiard parlor. Problem is, the drivers must be 18+ with a valid driver’s license, so it might not work for the younger kids.


Just thought of another place…how about Nancy’s Airfield Cafe? We’ve been wanting to take spring onion for some time now. This might be too far, though.

Also not in your prescribed area, but I 'm thinking aloud…urban kids who are having a tough time could benefit from time outside the city, near the ocean. I’m speaking rhetorically and not suggesting that you drive all over the MA coast, but imagine if someone could take those kids to Bob Lobster on Plum Island, or something closer, like grabbing sandwiches in Nahant or at Nantasket Beach and eating them on the beach?

ETA: I’m not one to love driving cars, but I know some kids can open up when sitting in a car.


Once spring rolls around, I’ve seen young kids (including my own) at Bleacher Bar. Definitely not about the food, but it’s fun as hell to see Fenway from that center-field perspective. But it does get silly-busy in there, at least when we’ve gone (4 years ago).

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What a great thing to do, thank you!
Don’t forget the food trucks on the greenway, might be getting
a little cool but maybe lunch? Lots of choices and people watching. Salem MA (which is probably a crazy choice right now) has some great food and you can train it or take a boat. Kind of cool and out of the city.
Time Out food hall…too loud to talk but a fun place.