15 Things To Do In Venice With Kids on Your Italy Family Holiday
Venice is one of those bucket list cities that you need to visit at least once in your life and there are plenty of things to do in Venice with kids if you are visiting on a family holiday. In fact it’s our kids’ favourite place in Italy! (And we spend a lot of time here)
Venice with Kids
Just like many other places in Italy, visiting Venice with kids can be such an amazing experience.
I have been to Venice many times myself, but seeing this gorgeous city through my kids little eyes just makes me appreciate it even more.
Find below everything you need to know about visiting Venice with children, from when to go, how to get around, and a list of the best things to see and do in this amazing city.
When to Travel to Venice with Kids
May – September is the peak time to visit Venice, like most parts of Italy. During this time Venice is filled with tourists from all over the world. July and August are the hottest months in Italy, and can get very humid, so take this into consideration if you travel to Venice with kids.
December – February is Italy’s Winter, and the coldest months with snow falling occasionally in February. During this time, Venice gets a lot of rain and can be subject to flooding. However, it is still a busy time, especially during Christmas, and the festival of Carnavale, which is what Venice is most famous for. It can be an amazing time to visit this gorgeous city, however can be a little chaotic to stay in Venice with kids during Carnavale so be prepared.
Spring time (March – May) or Autumn (September – November) is a comfortable time to visit Venice with kids because there is generally less rain and humidity. It is also during these times in Venice that accommodation prices are lower, the crowds are few, so it is a great time for an Italy family holiday.
Getting around Venice with Kids
Venice is a city built on water so the easiest way to get around Venice is either by boat or on foot. Cars are banned in the historical center of Venice or the “Centro Storico”. This makes it the largest pedestrian-only urban space in the whole of Europe.
It also means that you can let your kids roam wild on the streets of Central Venice without having to worry about them. Walking through and getting lost in the little streets is part of the fun and is a great way to see the city, but we know in reality kids get tired so I recommend a Venice travel pass.
There are plenty of water taxis however you pay for each one way trip no matter how long your ride is, which can be really expensive! (As of September 2022 €9 per ride per person).
You can buy a travel pass for 24hrs, 48hrs, 72hrs or 7 days depending on how long you are there. Work out your plans and purchase accordingly. It works out great if you include a day trip to Burano or/and Murano because they are long trips.
If you have a baby carrier, or small city stroller for your little ones, walking around the center is definitely the better option. Take a map and explore! The whole family will enjoy it.
Make sure you also experience a gondola ride at least once, they aren’t cheap but are worth the ride.
15 Family Friendly Things to do in Venice with Kids
Living in Italy for more than a decade, and working as a tour leader around the country, I was lucky enough to explore this city over and over. Here are my top things to do in Venice with kids if you are planning your Italy family holiday.
1. Enjoy a gondola ride
A Venetian Gondola is probably the most common picture that comes to your mind when you think of Venice. A traditional, flat-bottomed rowing boat, the gondola was earlier used to carry noble families. It was a means to show off their wealth and power.
Today, the gondola is the ubiquitous symbol of Venice ferrying tourists in and around pretty Venetian canals. A gondola ride is just the perfect way to show your kids how the city functions with waterways instead of normal roads. Also gives you an opportunity to click some great pictures.
Typical gondola rides last about 30 minutes and will cost you around €80, not cheap but an absolute must-do when you are visiting Venice with kids.
2. Do a family-friend tour of Palazzo Ducale
Palazzo Ducale or the Doge’s Palace is actually quite child-friendly contrary to what you might expect. Palazzo Ducale was the former residence of Venice’s Doge and the seat of government. Now, it is one of the 11 museums run by Fondazione Musei Civici Venezia.
Doge’s Palace organizes several fun tours and activities for kids of all ages. “The Palace with a Tale to Tell” is a popular one for kids between 7-14. There is also a Lion Hunt that appeals to the younger ones. You have to spot images and sculptures of lions throughout the palace and win prizes at the end of it. Reserve your spots for family-friendly tours here.
3. Make your own carnival mask
Buying a Venetian carnival mask is often on the bucket list of many families that visit Venice. How cool would it be if you could make one instead?
Venice offers you several opportunities to do so. You can easily register for mask-making classes and learn the age old technique of making papier-mâché masks from scratch. You can then decorate your own mask using paints, wax, and metallic colors and then take one home just in time for carnival!
4. Take a vaporetto tour of the Grand Canal
After enjoying a gondola ride, you have to try out a vaporetto tour on the Grand Canal. A vaporetto is a small ferry that carries passengers on water. Kind of like a bus on the water.
Kids will thoroughly enjoy the ride and be intrigued at the same time. Since Venice is a water city and functions a whole lot through its canals, kids will love watching boats picking up, dropping off people, and making deliveries.
If you get the Venice Travel Pass this is the perfect way to take advantage of it.
5. Visit the glassmakers of Murano
An interesting thing to do in Venice with kids is to take a short trip to Murano and watch glassblowers at work. Venetian glassblowing is more than a thousand years old and there are many kinds and types that you could experience in Murano.
Children will enjoy watching a glass master sculpt a beautiful vase at his furnace. While adults will love exploring the history of glassmaking at the Glass Museum.
6. See all the colorful houses of Burano
Burano is a pretty little island in the Venetian lagoon filled with bright and colorful houses. These are fishermen cottages that have been painted with bright colors to prevent their owners from getting lost in the thick fog of the lagoon.
There are so many colors in Burano that you can easily find homes to match the clothes of your family. Ask your kids to find their matches and notice their happiness as they pose for pictures. I am sure you will come back with a ton of Instagram stories.
7. Discover the secrets of lacemaking at the Lace Museum in Burano
If your kids are interested in learning more about the art of lace-making, you can take a trip to Burano’s Lace Museum or Museo del Merletto.
The lace museum is one of its kind and offers deep insights into a traditional Venetian handicraft. There are more than 200 pieces of lace on display at the museum. Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia offers some really interesting, family-friendly tours here.
8. Enroll for an art workshop at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Peggy Guggenheim Collection is one of the most impressive collections of modern art in the whole of Europe. The museum is located on the banks of the Grand Canal in a picturesque setting.
Peggy Guggenheim has a whole set of activities dedicated to kids and families. For example, Kids Day is a special program for kids between 4-10 years of age that happens every Sunday. It introduces kids to modern art in a tactile and interactive manner. Family days, carnivals, and interesting workshops such as treasure hunts, cooking classes, and story times are pretty common too. Remember to check out their updated schedules and book your tickets on the official website of Peggy Guggenheim.
9. Head to the Lido beach
Venice has some really good beaches facing the Adriatic Sea. The beaches in Lido are particularly wonderful with golden sand and lots of play areas for kids to jump around.
There are nice beach clubs in Lido that let you rent deckchairs and umbrellas. You can also have lunch/dinner at the beach. A few public beaches such as the Blue Moon and the Murazzi are nice and clean too.
It is easy to get to Lido from Venice on a vaporetto. Takes only 20 minutes and makes for a wonderful day for the little ones.
10. Have fun at one of Venice’s many playgrounds
There is no shortage of playgrounds in Venice and hence, no shortage of fun and running around in Venice. Some of the more popular playgrounds are Giardini Pubblici, Parco Savorgnan, and Giardino Papadopoli – all easy to get to from Central Venice.
Best part is they are equipped with park benches for parents so that you can sit down, relax, and still be with your kids.
11. Get to the top of a campanile for stunning views of the city
Enjoy spectacular views of the Venetian lagoon from the top of Campanile di San Marco or Campanile di San Giorgio Maggiore.
St. Mark’s Campanile or Bell Tower is more than 300 feet tall and is one of the most iconic monuments of Venice. From the top, you can get some amazing views of the city, the lagoon, and even a bit of Alps in the distance.
Another excellent but less crowded option is the Campanile of San Giorgio Maggiore. It is a tad bit shorter than San Marco but the views are absolutely divine.
12. Say Hi to the lions at Piazza San Marco
Winged lion is the symbol of Venice. That is why, you can find lion figures all over the city – in churches, on bridges, at cafes and public squares.
One of the most famous lions is the one standing on a tall granite column at Piazza San Marco. You can find more on the clock tower and at St. Mark’s basilica. So, while you relax at the piazza let your kids get busy counting their lions.
13. Visit the Natural History Museum
Inquisitive kids, exhausted parents, and a natural history museum with interactive displays make for a perfectly happy combination. Don’t you agree?
Well, Venice’s Natural History Museum is a little gem tucked away in a lavish palazzo on the Grand Canal. It has a unique Cetacean Gallery complete with the skeleton of a whale, an interesting aquarium, and an entire section dedicated to fossils and the world of dinosaurs.
A kid-friendly tour takes you on a fascinating ride through the origins of earth, the rise and fall of dinosaurs, and the continuous evolution and maintenance of life. Kids can touch, see, and hear inside every unit of the museum.
14. Take a rowing lesson with Row Venice
What fun if you could ride a gondola on the Venetian waters other than just sitting on one! Row Venice is a non-profit organization that holds regular rowing classes for kids and adults. They are dedicated towards preserving the age-old tradition of Venetian Voga or the Venetian style of rowing.
If you are up for some calorie burning in the middle of less touristy, picturesque canals of Venice, then sign up for a rowing lesson with Row Venice.
15. Enjoy a meal of cicchetti
When in Venice, enjoy a meal of cicchetti with your family. Cicchetti are small snacks much like the Spanish tapas. You can traditionally find them at small, local bars in the city. But if you wish to avoid bars, then try the local canteens and cicchetterias.
Cicchetti can include a number of things including fried meatballs, open-faced sandwiches, sauced seafood, fresh cheese, and pickled vegetables. The bite-sized portions are just perfect for kids. Plus, they can pick and choose what they want to have making a cicchetteria crawl enormously exciting for the little ones.
Devour Tours have a great food tour where you can try a range of different chicchetti (and spritz), we took this one on our last trip.
Day Trips from Venice
Once you have spent some time in this spectacular city, why not venture out to explore it’s surroundings. Check out our list of the Best Day Trips From Venice.
Family Friendly Things to do in Italy with Kids
There are so many family friendly things to do in Venice with kids. Once you have explored this city on water, why not take a day trip for the day to a nearby town or attraction.
If you want to explore more of Italy, we have more city guides in our main post Italy with Kids – Your Family Travel Guide. Make sure to check out our most popular posts on: Rome with Kids, Florence with Kids, Naples with Kids, with more to come!