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5 Family-Friendly Evening Activities for Vacations

Drinking and dancing the night away are perfectly fine evening activities for when you’re out with adults. But when you’re on a family vacation, you’ll need to find stuff to do in the evening that your kids can also participate in and enjoy. Tourist destinations are usually brimming with daytime attractions and activities, but in the nighttime, your choices can seem pretty limited to bars, pubs, and clubs. If you’re with your family—or if bars and clubs just aren’t your scene—you may find yourself struggling to fill the evenings on your vacation. However, don’t throw in the towel yet. Although the options aren’t as advertised as the daytime activities, in most cities there are several things to do in the evening that don’t involve drink or dance. If you get a little creative, you’ll discover there are lots of evening activities that will keep your whole family amused! Here are 5 family-friendly evening activities for your next vacation that you can do in pretty much any city.

  1. Enjoy Museums Even in the Evening

    [caption id="attachment_3813" align="alignright" width="300"] Image of Lighting, Adult, Male, Man, Person, Photography, Shoe, ...just don't get locked in over night.[/caption] This one may require a little research, but if you check out the hours for the museums and galleries in the city you’re visiting, you’ll likely discover that many of them stay open later on certain evenings. For example, many art museums extend their hours well into the evening on one or two nights every week. Other museums might have special events going on at night, like film screenings or temporary exhibitions. Even if there’s nothing out of the ordinary happening at the museum, you’ll be able to take your time appreciating the exhibits in a significantly less crowded environment (the bar-hopping tourists have long ago left). Viewing a museum under the moonlight can be a whole different experience, and your kids will enjoy the mystique of your “after-hours” visit.
  2. Kick Back at Your Hotel Pool

    [caption id="attachment_3814" align="alignright" width="300"] Image of Pool, Water, Swimming Pool, Plant, Lamp, Don't you just want to jump right in?[/caption] Maybe heading down to your hotel pool doesn’t sound like the most exciting vacation evening. But think about it—when else can you enjoy full access to an indoor pool at 8 p.m.? Swimming is still a highly exciting activity for most kids, so you’ll definitely please the younger ones in your family. Most importantly, everyone will appreciate getting off their feet for a few hours after a long day of sightseeing and walking. Spending some time in the water, or just lounging by the water, is the perfect way to wind down after a long day and recharge so that you can make the best of your family vacation each day.
  3. See the Lights – Tour the City by Night

    [caption id="attachment_3815" align="alignright" width="300"] Image of City, Metropolis, Urban, Water, Waterfront, Cityscape, Arch, Nature, Outdoors, Scenery, Downtown, The best time to see the city.[/caption] Depending on your destination, night time can be the best time to tour the city—when all of the lights are on. You’ll find that most companies offer after-dark tours especially for this purpose. You’ll still get all the benefits of a daytime tour (knowledgeable tour guides and a feel for the city), but you’ll get the added bonus of enjoying the city in all of its glowing splendor. This can be a good way to feel like you’re part of the “nightlife” action without actually taking part in it. An evening tour can be taken instead of a daytime tour, but you may want to do both to get the ultimate city experience. In cities that aren’t as bright at night, night tours are still possible. For example, the Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tour in Boston is popular among tourists.
  4. Catch a Show or Comedy Act

    [caption id="attachment_3816" align="alignright" width="300"] Image of Flag, Adult, Female, Person, Woman, Stage, Male, Man, Chair, Furniture, Hat, Shoe, Well, this looks fun.[/caption] Most tourist-heavy destinations have no shortage of evening shows and performances for folks like yourself to enjoy. Whatever your family’s preferred form of entertainment, there’s probably something for you. Funny families may enjoy comedy shows and improv sketches (there is family- friendly comedy out there). Theater-lovers check out what plays or musicals are in town. Some other ideas for family entertainment are dance performances, laser light shows, IMAX movies, “whodunit” mystery theaters, live music concerts, and the list goes on an on!
  5. Do Dessert

    [caption id="attachment_3817" align="alignright" width="300"] Image of Cream, Dessert, Food, Ice Cream, This is one of those cases where a picture is worth a thousand words.[/caption] You’re on vacation, go all out. With a little research (or just by asking the locals), you can find the best late night sweet tooth snack stops. There are several options for dessert of course. You could stick with a classic favorite or try something specific to a particular area. In Chinatown? Get everyone in your family a boba tea (pearl milk tea). If you’re in Little Italy, you can’t leave without getting a cannoli or gelato. New York City? Cheesecake. You get the idea. If there are so many options that you don’t know what to do, try a little bit of everything! Food tours are a growing trend and there’s no reason why you can’t create your own dessert tour.
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