15+ Things to do in Rome With Kids (That Parents will Love too)
Kick of your Italian family holiday with a visit to Rome, the Italian capital. With so many things to do in Rome with kids, this city is the perfect destination for your first stop if you are travelling to Italy with the family.
This family guide to Rome will give you all the information you need to travel to Rome with kids including: Rome family friendly attractions, Rome museums for kids, and other things to do in Rome for kids that parents will love too. This way you can get the most out of your trip.
Rome with Kids, Is it possible?
Visiting Rome with kids is different than visiting the city as a couple or with friends. I had lived in Rome many years before my kids were born, (and after) so I know from personal experience. It doesn’t mean you can’t, it just means you need to explore differently.
While it may seem like a huge city, Rome isn’t really that big when you compare it to those like New York and London so don’t be intimidated. It is actually really easy to get around. In fact, I was hopping on and off the metro and trams with my son from just a few months old.
Whether you travel to Rome with kids during the Summer or Winter, there is so much to experience that you will want a good few days to explore the highlights.
To really get the most out of the city, I recommend a week if you have the time, so that you can experience all of the main things to do in Rome, visit the Rome attractions, and even take a few day trips to see the surrounds.
If not, at a minimum 2-3 days to see the basics.
When to travel to Rome with Kids
May – September is the peak time to visit Rome where the city is swarmed with tourists from all over the world. July and August are the hottest months in Italy, and because of the humidity in Rome during those months, it’s probably not the best months to travel to Rome with kids. Many people head off to the coast during this time to one of the best beaches in Italy.
December – February is Italy’s Winter, and the coldest months with snow falling occasionally in February. If you don’t mind the cold, around Christmas is a magical time in Italy where you can find Christmas markets and decorated Christmas trees in the main piazzas.
Spring time (March – May) or Autumn (September – November) is when you can experience nice comfortable weather. It is also during these times that accommodation prices are lower and a great time for an Italy family holiday.
Getting around Rome with Kids
The Roma Metro is super easy to use and quite cheap too compared to other capitals in Europe. You can buy tickets at the machines within the stations where you can select the English language. There are only 3 lines so not as confusing as big cities such as Paris and London.
Rome is easy to walk around though and getting lost in the city is part of the beauty of visiting this historical city. If you have a baby carrier, or small city stroller for your little ones, walking around the centre is definitely the better option. Take a map and explore! The whole family will enjoy it.
Things to do in Rome with Kids
I lived and worked in Rome on and off for almost a decade, and my first son was born here. I also worked as a tour leader around Italy and I was lucky enough to experience a lot of what this beautiful ancient city has to offer both as a solo traveller, and as a family in Rome with our kids.
Below you can find my top things to see and do if you are planning your Italy family holiday and the best things to do in Rome with kids.
1. Visit the Colosseum, Most popular Rome Attraction
The number one Rome tourist attraction, and the best thing to do in Rome with kids, is to take them to visit the Colloseum.
Teach your children some of Rome’s history and travel back to the days of the Roman Empire, by visiting the biggest amphitheater in the world. Built by the first Flavian Emeror, Vespasian, it could hold around eighty thousand spectators.
The Colosseum is a definite must see in Rome for kids of all ages, so don’t miss it. Even if you prefer not to go inside, at least go for a walk around the outside and check it out. You will all be amazed.
If you do decide to visit, you will need a good few hours. Book ahead if you can, especially during peak times as it can get busy.
Check out our full guide on Visiting the Colosseum with Kids which includes everything you need to know about visiting the Colosseum, and also lots of easy facts to learn for kids.
2. Put your hand in the La Bocca Della Verita “The Mouth of Truth”
Test your children and have them put their hand in the Mouth of Truth. Made famous by the Audry Hepburn Movie “Roman Holiday”, the legend has it that it was used during the Middle Ages as a lie detector whereby the accused would place their hand inside and the mouth would close if they were lying. See if your kids will dare take the test!
3. Take a Bike Ride around Villa Borghese
One of my favourite places in Rome with kids is the stunning Villa Borghese. You can walk around the park, but it is much more fun to hire a bike or a riscio (a family bike that holds up to 6 people) and ride around as it is quite big.
You can stop for a picnic on the beautiful grassed areas or have a bite to eat at one of the many cafes. Enjoy the view of Rome from the lookout point.
To get there, simply ride the metro to Flaminia Station, or walk up to Piazza Del Popolo which is in the North of the centre. There is a stair case leading you up to Villa Borghese where you can start at the lookout with a view of the piazza and the city. Close by on your right is where you can rent a bike.
It is such a great thing to do in Rome with kids for the afternoon after sightseeing.
4. Throw a Coin in the Trevi Fountain
One of the most popular things to do in Rome with kids or without is to visit the Trevi Fountain. Take your children to the most famous fountain in Rome where they can do the famous coin toss. We do this every time we are in Rome.
Throw a coin in the fountain and make a wish. You never know, it may just come true. Don’t forget the photo for memories! There are plenty of gelato and pizza shops near by to grab a snack on the go too.
5. Explore the Catacombs
One of the best things to do in Rome with kids who love spooky stories is to take an underground tour of the Catacombs where you can learn all about Rome’s dark and creepy past. It will feel like a time machine, as you step back in time through centuries and discover what lies beneath Rome.
The largest is the Catacomb of St Callixtus, which dates back to the 2nd Century AD. actually the burial site of many of the pope’s.
6. Run around Piazza Navona
If you’re looking for a place in Rome for kids to run around, then head to one of Rome’s famous piazzas. There are statues to awe at and fountains to drink from, not to mention lots of space. You will often find street performers and markets selling all types of goodies depending on the time of year.
The Christmas season is particularly busy when they hold the most famous Christmas Market where you can find lots of local delights.
7. Climb Spanish Steps at Piazza Spagna
This is an easy thing to do in Rome with kids as it is more of a viewing point and “people watching” place. The famous Spanish steps in the centre of Rome connect Piazza Spagna with the Trinita de Moni Church up top. Take your time climbing the 138 steps to the top with your kids and just enjoy the views.
The Spanish Steps are right in the middle of the centre and on your way to Villa Borghese if you are coming from the Trevi Fountain and Colloseum so very easy to find. A must see when visiting Italy’s capital city.
8. Look through the roof of the Pantheon
The Pantheon, is a church still in use today and one of Ancient Rome’s best preserved monuments and popular tourist attraction for any traveller. While many children may not be impressed on the outside, what is on the inside may surprise them. There is a massive hole in the roof!
This hole is the only source of light, since there are no windows and it actually acts like a ventilation system in the Summer since the hot air rises. It is quite impressive to look at!
The Pantheon is free and is not far from the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain so you should definitely pass by for a quick visit. Outside there are often horse and carriages which are always popular with the kids in Rome.
9. Explore the Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill
The Roman Forum and the Palatine hill are actually just beside the Colosseum and are a wonderful place to explore with kids of all ages. When our little ones were younger we would just walk through and explore, they thought it was just like a huge park. On our most recent trip we took them on a tour with Walks of Italy. A tour is a great idea if possible for older kids so you can learn all about the history with a guide. Many of the tours also go inside the Colosseum too so you get to see both.
10. Check out Castel Sant’Angelo
Definitely one of the best things to do in Rome for kids is visit a castle! Castel Sant’Angelo is one of the best Rome attractions for kids and families and should definitely be on your bucket list.
The tomb of Emperor Hadrian, Castel Sant’ Angelo is also known serving as a fortress and prison to the Papal residence. Lots to see and learn about Roman history. No need for a tour, you can go in yourself to explore. There are some great views too!
11. Walk around Trastevere
One of the most beautiful areas of Rome is Trastevere which is on the west bank of the Tiber River. It is an area you must visit and walk around with your family in Rome. It is also a great place to stay too!
Trastevere has a maze of tiny narrow cobblestone streets, colourful buildings, lively piazzas, and numerous little cafes, restaurants and bars.
While quiet in the day time, it really comes to night in the evening, so it is a great spot to grab a pizza or gelato and get lost in the streets, or just sit on the steps in the piazza and let the kids run around.
12. Take a Ride in a Time Elevator
An exciting thing to do in Rome with children is the Time Elevator where kids can travel back in time to Rome’s early days in a three-dimensional ride. The journey involves all the senses and allows you to see how life was in ancient Rome through the medieval, Renaissance, and 20th-century Rome.
It is a great educational experience where you can learn about all of the major historical moments of the city.
13. Explorer Museum
While it isn’t one of Rome’s main attractions, the Explorer Museum is a great rainy day activity if you have younger kids, or somewhere to take the kids in the midst of all the sight seeing.
Located near Flaminia Metro, north of the centre is the Explorer Museum, it has everything you can think of to keep their little minds stimulated.
There are numerous science exhibits and water play. There is mini bank where children can take out fake money, a garden where they can plant and pick vegetables, and supermarket where they can grab a trolley, pick up their items and pay at the counter.
You will even find a creative crafts area where children can cut, paste, and create out of recycled items. A cow they can milk and learn how milk is produced and lots more.
Take the time out to enjoy an espresso or cappuccino at the café and let the kids explore.
14. Hop On Hop Off Bus
The Hop on Hop off Bus is a great option to explore Rome with kids if they are younger or when you don’t have much time.
You can easily walk around the centre of Rome visiting the attractions, and if you can walk around, I highly recommend it. But if you don’t have much time, or you have small children who with little legs that tire easily, this is an easy option.
Your kids will love sitting up on the top level with the roof off looking out to the city. Hop on and off as you please and visit everything quickly and calmly. You can get the bus from Termini, the main train station in Rome.
15. Eat Gelato
Who doesn’t like gelato! When in Rome… Take a pit stop every now and again at one of the many gelatarias in Rome where the kids won’t know where to start with the huge selection of flavours.
With one on almost every corner, you won’t have to walk far to find one. You cannot travel to Rome with kids without trying at least a few of the delicious flavours of the famous Italian gelato. If you are in the centre one check out Gelateria Della Palma which has over 150 flavours of gelato!
16. Take a Day Trip
There is so much to do in Rome with kids that you can easily fill your days. However once you have seen the main sites of Rome, there are also plenty of places to see on the outskirts of the city that are definitely worth a visit.
See famous ruins in Ostia Antica or Hadrians Villa in Tivoli, check out the beautiful villas and gardens, seaside villages and towns, and other nearby cities such as Viterbo, Lago Bracciano, Florence or Naples which are now quicker to get to thanks to the fast trains.
Check out our full guide on Day Trips From Rome where you have plenty to choose on depending on your timeline!
How long to stay in Rome with Kids?
You can definitely see most of our list within 2-3 days, but it would be quite rushed and you wouldn’t really get to take it all in. Also, when you travel with your little ones you do need to slow down a little and compromise.
I usually recommend at least 3-4 full days in Rome with kids (5-6 if you have the time). Break the attractions up so that you are seeing a few things each day, but then you also get some time to just chill out in one of the villas or parks too.
Rome for Kids
I may be bias because I still consider it my second home, but Rome is one of the easiest cities to travel with kids.
I guarantee though, that your trip to to Italy’s capital will take your breathe away. With plenty of things to do in Rome with kids this city is an unforgettable destination and I am sure it will be a highlight of your Italy family holiday.
Let us know how you go when you travel and about your favourite things to do in Rome with kids! And make sure you check out our full guide: Family Travel in Italy – What to see and do.
Travelling around Italy? Why not check out our other city and region guides:
- Florence with Kids
- Venice with Kids
- Naples with Kids
- Calabria with Kids
- Puglia with Kids
- Sicily with Kids