Parents rely on word-of-mouth recommendation for so many of the decisions we make – whether it’s picking a preschool, a pediatrician or a place for a pedicure. We trust the advice of family and friends to guide us before making an investment of valuable time and money.

We like to think of our annual Family Favorite Awards as this same word-of-mouth wisdom captured in printed form. Think of this article as a trusted confidant that you can turn to all year long. Thanks to your input, each year we’re able to share area parents’ collective picks for the best places for families to shop, eat and visit all over Eastern Massachusetts.

Each spring, the Boston Parents Paper publishes a ballot to collect votes in close to 30 categories, seeking input on family favorites in categories as diverse as cupcakes, shoes, maternity clothes, day trips and birthday party destinations.

Some of the winners may be familiar names from previous years, but there are plenty of new favorites to check out. We’re grateful to everyone who took the time to fill out a ballot and share their views with us. We’re all wiser with a little help from our friends! Click on the main category groupings below to see this year’s winners:

Favorite Attractions & Adventures

Favorite Places to Shop

Favorite Places to Eat

Favorite Birthday Party Destinations, Cakes & Favors

Favorite Spots for Grown-Ups