Fun places for young teens around Boston/Burbs

Thanks again for all the suggestions. I tried to keep the geographic area to the Boston and Burbs radius more just to help keep the topic focused. I’ve met up with teens all over the state (down by RI, closer to the cape, all over Boston . . . but I thought if I said “anywhere in the state” it would be harder for me to track and take notes. Sometimes a teen needs a break from their current environment so ends up somewhere else for a while before returning home or finding a different residence. . . . so having all these ideas is super helpful. Thanks!

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Oh, good suggestion. Sura in Medford Center could be fun.

I get it. I have sort of given up on trying to dump hand sanitizer on the kids between strings and bites. I guess it’s building their immune system.

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I have no idea of it has food or what food options are nearby but would Boda Borg work?

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Something at Assembly Row? I think I’m understanding the situation, or at least I’m trying to. However, I adopted a 7 year old from foster care and he had a lot of sensory overload stuff going on and was a very picky eater. Sometimes the overload/distractions worked, and sometimes they made things harder for him, the over stimulation went too far. He’s 20 now but he did used to love the bowling and pizza at Flatbread in Davis Square. I get that talking a lot especially about current situations isn’t welcome, and also that distractions are welcome. The places at Revere Beach might work, especially if you can eat outside, and also the Tides in Nahant might work…our son when younger used to love to walk on the beach and them come inside for a hot dog, pizza, or burger. There are also a few restaurants in Charlestown around the Navy Yard, and the round trip T boat ride between the Navy Yard and the Aquarium in Boston gives fresh air, ocean views, and lots of temporary distraction, very little $$$. You can watch airplanes and boats of all kinds.

I haven’t been to Bow Market Somerville yet, but it’s an indoor hipster mall of sorts apparently in a distinctly urban environment with a large outdoor patio that many of the shops/food outlets open out to. Which also makes me think of the much older Garage in Harvard Square…lots of shops, ice cream, fast food kind of places, used to have head shop kind of places so maybe not great, but the street musicians in Harvard Square while far from what it was decades can seem like a fun, quasi alternative urban environment and walking along the river also offers nature in urban setting.

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I learned from my son, as well as the other sibling groups I met while volunteering as a CASA/GAL for children in foster care, that sometimes just being present, projecting emotional availability, after saying a few words, can really help. If not the first time, maybe the second or fifth. That awkwardness can be very…awkward…and certainly left me not knowing what to do. But sometimes just being there and not talking after a few attempts is the best thing to do. There’s a lot of noise in their heads and a lot of stimuli…my son still finds it stressful to be asked what he wants to do. Because having anybody care about what he wanted was so unusual, something he really wanted, but it was such a risk for him to say. What worked for us was to offer two choices and let the kid decide, what you offer being your best guess at what the kid in question might respond well to. My son is still a very picky eater but if you know kid in question goes for pizza or hot dogs, no harm at all in repeating the venue. Change can be helpful and tried and true can also work especially for an insecure kid. This is difficult but rewarding work, and I wish you luck and send support for what you are trying to do.

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We used to bowl and eat unsanitary hot dogs after school all the time 40 years ago, still kicking.

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Madrid you are absolutely right, it all depends on the youth, the day, how long we’ve had a relationship going, etc/etc. It gets complicated quickly - which is also why I kept the topic broad because not every day is a bad day . . . so some days being quiet and doing familiar things might be best, but other days doing something new and little more lively is good too. I figured people with kids (or had kids) might know of places I would never find on my own. So far, for me, it has been super helpful. Thanks for your perspective too.

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yeah, we were all happily surprised that the walk on the beach at Nahant and the food at the Tides worked out from time to time over the years. The Charlestown Navy Yard and doing the Harbor Walk worked out too…some Sundays, not all. Good luck to you…the kids know at some level you are there for them and that’s what matters most, especially when they can’t express it. They are trying to figure it out, too, and I know you know that. Best wishes to you all! Trying even when it doesn’t seem to turn out well matters. A lot. It’s hard work that really matters and that creates a positive spin in the universe. My son just recently told me, I always remembered you (years before we started the adoption process) because you were the only person who always looked happy to see me. These kids see so much rejection and negativity. And food they like really matters! I saw one young adult years later; she immediately said, did you bring me a big cookie with m&m’s?

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Another bowling option:
Flatbread Company Brighton
76 Guest St
Brighton, MA 02135

A large upstairs space at Flatbread in Brighton has movable tables and plenty of space for kids to run around in between bites of pizza. Plus, there’s a good beer selection for parents and several varieties of pizza and salads. Stay for some bowling after dinner

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We just got invited to a kids’ birthday party there (in combination with ice skating at Warrior nearby). It’s not until Nov 30 but I’m sure it’ll be a fun venue (just like Flatbread / Sacco which @uni had already suggested.

Thank you for sharing this very thoughtful reply.

Yeah, I was going to say Koreana. Still there.

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I’m late to this one and haven’t actually been to this place, but I’m wondering if A4cade inside Roxy’s in Central Sq might be good for this list. Seems like the place has at least decent kid food (burgers and grilled cheese etc) and has stuff like skeeball, pinball machines, and old 80’s/90’s videogames for distraction.

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I thought of that, too. In a brief search, I found a couple of mentions of 21+. I’m not sure if that’s all the time, though. I once tried to buy a gift certificate for friends but they didn’t open until 5 p.m. on weekdays. According to the website, they open at 12 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, so it might be worth checking to see if they are all ages then.

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Yes, A4cade is 21+ all the time. The staff there seemed insulted that I’d even ask the question the one time I was in there.

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Oh, that’s kind of annoying. You’d think at least they’d be all ages until 5 PM or something.

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Yes, I didn’t appreciate the attitude.

As mentioned above, Versus in DTX is a similar concept in DTX run by nice people and underage are welcome prior to 7p.

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