The first time I went to Venice I had such high expectations. I thought I’d find a magical city of romance, mystery, and history. I pictured a Venice of masquerade balls, ancient palazzos, and moonlit gondola rides. Instead I found it hard to escape the hordes of t-shirt and sneaker garbed visitors, lousy tourist menus, and overpriced gondoliers. I knew if we went back, we should try to go during the off-season to avoid the crowds, and that we’d need to get advice from experts to find the real Venice. Since the next time we go, it will be as a family, I asked the folks at macacotour, a tour company catering to children ages 6-11, for their suggestions on what to do in Venice with kids.
When to Go to Venice
June through August is peak season in Venice, making it hard to avoid the huge crowds and high temperatures. The ideal time to visit Venice is September through November, when the temperatures are pleasant and the crowds have thinned. However, if you really want a unique and authentic experience, visit during Carnival. Kids enjoy watching all the costumed people parading around, as well as donning a mask of their own and joining in the fun.
What to do in Venice with Kids
Venice may be a romantic city that attracts many couples, but there is still plenty for kids to do. To start, there are a number of museums that offer family and kid-oriented activities such as:
- Peggy Guggenheim Collection — this museum offers kids’ days, family events, and even a special event to celebrate carnival
- Fondazione Querini Stampalia — offers tours and workshops for families, parents and children
- Fondazione Musei Civici including Doge’s Palace — offers interactive tours, workshops and educational stays
When your kids need a break from sightseeing, it is always good to schedule some downtime. Exploring local parks and playgrounds gives your kids a chance to run around and also interact with local children. Two great parks for kids are:
- Parco Groggia — off-the-beaten path in the Sestiere of Cannaregio this park offers an enchanted garden, theater, game room, swimming pool and large area for quiet meditation
- Located right in front of the Giardini vaporetto stop (you can take the line 6), you will find a playground with many play structures for entertaining kids
If your kids tire of the crowds (and pigeons) in St. Mark’s Square, hand over the camera and check out these sites to find the best views in Venice:
- Punta della dogana — from this site you can see where the Grand Canal meets the Canale della Giudecca, with a stunning view of San Marco Square on the left and San Giorgio Island on the right.
- San Giorgio Maggiore’s bell tower — from the top of this “campanile” you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city.
If you really want your kids to have an unforgettable experience and discover the hidden mysteries of Venice, try a tour from macacotour. Macacotour offers tours in a wide variety of languages for families or children ages 6 – 11.
Led by trained educators, macacotour offers private or small group tours from 1.25 – 2.5 hours long, during which young travellers are guided through Venetian alleys and squares to discover the Venice unknown to tourists.
Three unique itineraries introduce children to the history of Venice with the help of stories, games and legends. Along the way, they will stop to look at palaces, architectural points of interest and sculptures. With macacotour, your children will have fun and enjoy the company of other children, while exploring timeless treasures.
If you are taking a day trip to Venice, try these ideas for one day in Venice.
Where to Eat with Kids in Venice
I know from experience that restaurants in the main tourist areas can be expensive and not that good. For a better experience with kids, move away from the tourist areas with these picks for families:
- La Corte (located in Campo San Polo) — a good pizzeria that uses gourmet ingredients and is situated in a square with a wide space for kids to run and play
- Il Muro — a pizzeria / restaurant that offers both simple food for kids and gourmet food for adults
- Old Wild West — an Italian fast food restaurant with a kid-friendly menu and informal setting
- Serra dei giardini — located in a greenhouse built in 1894, this is a good place for a quick open-air lunch
- Alaska — homemade ice-cream
- Da Nico — homemade ice-cream whose specialty is “gianduiotto” (a cube of chocolategianduia ice-cream in a cup of whipped cream).
- Vizio e Virtù — a pastry shop specializing in chocolate
- Tonolo — a pastry shop that offers “frittelle” (fried dough with cream or raisins and pine nuts) during Carnival
- Rosa Salva — a chain pastry shop good for quick lunches
Thank you to macacotour for sponsoring today’s post and providing great suggestions on what to do in Venice with kids.