Navigating Venice with kids needn’t be tricky, even if it’s wet weather! Of course, this historic city has a great range of museums and galleries, but which ones are suitable for children? And where can you paint your own Venetian Mask for carnival?
Don’t be daunted by visiting this famously romantic city with the kids – it can be a wonderful destination for families. Soak up the beauty of your surroundings as the kids spot boats in the canals, follow the maze of ancient cobbled streets and play in the fountains that decorate pretty squares (campi) all over the city.
Our list of the best things to do in Venice with kids will help you plan your days with ease. Of course you will want to wander around the Piazza San Marco, and see the Rialto Bridge, but we also have some suggestions away from the crowds, which the kids will love.
Make sure to read all the way to the end where I reveal 3 things that you shouldn’t do in Venice with your children!
Babybreaks is here to help! We have listed the best activities for families, so you won’t be stuck for ideas when you’re in Venice with kids. Andiamo! (let’s go)
1. Book a Water Taxi from Marco Polo Airport to your Hotel
Every time we visit Venice, there is no better way to start your stay by taking a water taxi from Marco Polo airport. This experience is very unique and your entry to the island is majestic. Children will love it too, especially when you will approach the lagoon and the canals.
You can book a private water taxi for an intimate family transfer to your hotel or simply book below a shared water taxi boat and save money for other excursions.
2. Natural History Museum
Most kids favourite type of museum is about animals, so they’re bound to love this one! Delve into the past as you admire varied exhibits from the natural world, from dinosaur bones to insects and marine life. It’s also rarely as busy as other Venice museums, so you can hopefully avoid the queues and crowds. This museum is very family focused, so there are often children’s workshops and tours. Check the website before you visit to see what’s on.
3. Mask Making Workshop
Make and paint your own Venetian mask at this unique workshop for the whole family. Firstly you will learn about ancient techniques, then put your new skills to the test and produce a stunning mask for yourself. The kids will love the gold and silver metallic paints, and adding finishing touches with feathers, ribbons, and sequins.
4. Rialto Market
Visiting this covered market is a fantastic idea for a rainy day in Venice. Its main focus is seafood from the lagoon, but there are also fruits, cheeses and meats from all around the Veneto region. A riot of sights, smells and tastes, and a fab place to pick up some fresh ingredients for your dinner.
Why not make a checklist of things to spot (squid, langoustines, mushrooms!) as a fun game for the little ones? The market is open daily from 07:30 – 13:00.
5. Querini Stampalia Foundation
This Venetian cultural institute is something of a hidden gem, but it’s a fantastic place for all ages that we’re sure you’ll love. Part museum, part art gallery and part library, this beautiful historic house is like a snapshop of Venice’s past. There are Renaissance paintings, stunning furnishings and unique architecture to admire, as well as a library full of treasures. In addition, the amazing modern garden designed by Carlo Scarpa in the 1960’s is a serene space where those in the know come to escape the city hubub.
If you’re visiting the museum you can leave your kids at the Casa Macchietta. This is a new space for children (ages 3-6) where multilingual staff will entertain them with games, activities and workshops.
6. Peggy Guggenheim Collection
A great modern art museum that’s very child friendly, this tops the list of many families visiting Venice with kids. As well as the excellent exhibitions, there are weekly Kids Days each Sunday. Aimed at children between 4 and 10 years, these free workshops introduce children to modern art in an engaging way.
They will love having the chance to experiment with different techniques, whilst parents have some time alone to enjoy a coffee!
7. Venice Lido Beach
The beach is not the first thing which springs to mind when you think of Venice, but it’s a ‘must do’ for young families. This 12km stretch of sand is perfect for paddling and playing. So it makes for a welcome respite from the crowded narrow streets of the city centre. Most of the beach is lined with upmarket restaurants and beach clubs offering swish cabanas to hire. However, there is also a free section near the vaporetto stop on Gran Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta.
8. Take a Water Taxi
Of course one of the most famous things to do in Venice is a gondola ride, but at 80 Euros for 30 minutes, it can be far too pricey for many families. So, an alternative is to take a vaporetto (water taxi), which will be equally as thrilling for the kids. Line 1 takes you down the Grand Canal, past some of the city’s most famous sights such as the Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco. In addition, little ones will love spotting all the different kinds of boats, from gliding gondolas to busy cargo ships delivering goods.
9. Family Sightseeing Tour
Sometimes the best way to see a city is with a knowledgeable guide, especially when you have young kids who don’t have the stamina to walk around all day. This 2.5-hour tour takes you to many of the city’s highlights, and is firmly focused on families. This means it includes plenty of fun, interactive activities for kids which help them learn all about Venetian history and culture. If you have little ones, this exciting morning will be tiring for them, so plan a relaxed afternoon back at your hotel or in a quiet park.
10. Parco Savorgnan
Head to the Cannaregio district to find one of Venice’s largest public parks – a great place to escape the crowds. Just behind the 17th century Palazzo Savorgnan, these botanical gardens occupy 10,000 sqm, creating a green oasis where you can take some time out from sightseeing. Parco Savorgnan is popular with local families thanks to the excellent playground with swings, slides and climbing frames.
11. Giardini Pubblici
Venice’s most famous public park, which is home to the Film Festival each year. Located right by the water, this is a lovely place to have a picnic as you watch boats come and go. Designed by Napolean in the 18th century, these elegant waterside gardens now include a children’s playground and numerous shady spots to sit and relax.
Address: 30100 Venezia
12. Giardini Papadopoli
This little park near Grand Canal is a perfect green area to relax and take your kids to a playground. During the summer, you would probably appreciate a bit of shade thanks to its trees. The garden has also several benches where you can have a lunch break or why not reading a few pages on your favourite book.
Parks and greens are limited in Venice, so this place must be on your wish list if your kids are dying for a playground in Venice!
13. Music Museum
Hosted at the deconsecrated church of San Maurizio, the Music Museum or Museo della Musica is dedicated to strings instruments such as violins, cellos and many more. The museum exhibits different instruments that were mainly used in the Baroque music era with composers like Bach, Vivaldi or Monteverdi.
So if you have children studying an instrument and are particularly fond of classical music, this little museum cannot be missed.
14. Parco di San Giuliano
This large park is located in mainland Mestre Venice and one that offers the most options for walkers, runners and bike riders. The green area also has great views over the islands and the lagoon, so perfect to take incredible pictures of Venice early in the morning or by sunset.
In the summer, you might find families having a picnic in the park and relax. Parco di San Giuliano is a perfect place to have a break from the busy and touristy areas of Venice.
Address: Via Orlanda, 30173 Venezia VE, Italy
15. Visit Burano and Murano
If you visit Venice for the first time, you have to dedicate a day to visit the small islands of Murano and Burano and ask your kids which one do they prefer the most. Of course, the only way to visit these islands is take the public vaporetto which can be taken in different areas of the main island.
Make sure to check and book below the boat tour that includes the glass factory tour in Murano.
Murano is famous for its glass-making objects like ceiling chandeliers. Therefore, you can visit the Museo del Vitro if you want to learn more about this technique and what do they do with it. Otherwise, you can walk the streets and discover great buildings and churches such as Basilica di San Maria e San Donato or Palazzo da Mula.
Burano is a much smaller island where you can explore every corner in probably 30 min or so. You might have seen the famous canal with bright colourful houses before. It is one of the most Instagramable locations in Venice of course.
BONUS: 3 Things you shouldn’t do in Venice with kids
- Don’t feed the pigeons in the city including the crowded St Mark’s Square or Piazza San Marco. You can be fined by the city authorities if you do.
- It might be tempting but don’t contemplate the idea of swimming in the canals. It can be very dangerous and also could alert the local police. Instead go the Lido beach.
- Finally, be mindful of the old buildings and statues that are making Venice such a special place. Therefore, no climbing for the kids or any crazy ideas that could damage the historical remains of old Venezia
So here is the end of our suggested guide on what to do in Venice with your kids. Venice is a fairly small city with sometimes too much crowd nearby the touristic areas such as St Marks Square. So of course, we have given some priority on less known activities with also some lessons we have learnt when we visited Venice with our toddler years ago. Buon viaggio!
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