Boat rides, playgrounds, and public squares

Aqua alta in the Piazza San Marco

Venice is often viewed as a destination for adults, but it's more child-friendly than most cities. Consider:

  • Central Venice has no cars, motorcycles, or bicycles.
  • With its medieval street layout, canals, and 400+ bridges, the centro storico is a delight for kids to explore.
  • For many children, vaporetti and other water buses are like amusement-park rides.
  • Acqua alta or "high water" tides can be an annoyance for Venetians, but children (like the boy in the picture above) are fascinated by the phenomenon.

What do do:

  • Get lost, and let your kids lead you back to civilization. (Venice is compact, so you won't get too lost.)
  • Ride up the Grand Canal (preferably after dark) on the No. 1 vaporetto.
  • Take an elevator to the top of the Campanile di San Marco or the Campanile di San Giorgio Maggiore, which offer spectacular views of the city and the Venetian Lagoon.
  • In summer, ride an ACTV public water bus to the Lido di Venezia, where it's only a short walk to the Adriatic beaches.
  • Hire a gondola, or--if you're on a budget--take a traghetto across the Grand Canal.
  • Let your kids wander freely in a neighborhood square such as the Campo Santa Margherita or the Campo San Polo.
  • Take younger children to a playground (see below).

Playgrounds:

Venice has a number of playgrounds, usually with park benches for parents.

Here are some of the easiest playgrounds to find with your street map:

  • Giardino Papadopoli, a park just east (and across a small canal) of the Piazzale Roma.
  • Parco Savorgnan, near the Santa Lucia train station (just to the left of the Campo San Geremia, which is a few blocks east of the station).
  • Santa Marta, a residential quarter between the Marittima and San Basilio cruise terminals (west of the San Nicolò dei Mendicoli Church).
  • Giardini Pubblici, a large park along the waterfront east of the Piazza San Marco.
  • Parco Rimembranzo, another large park on the waterfront in the residential neighborhood of Sant'Elena, at the tip of Venice's historic center.
  • If you're staying on the Lido, walk up the Gran Viale Santa Maria Elisabetta toward the beach. Just before you reach the waterfront, you'll see a park on your left with a playground.
  • Mestre also has a number of playgrounds and attractions for children (including a mini-train downtown for preschoolers). Ask your hotel receptionist for directions.

Eating:

Most Venice restaurants are child-friendly, and the city is filled with pizzerie, snack bars, food vendors, and gelato shops.

There's also a McDonald's in the Strada Nova, the busy shopping street between the Canareggio Canal and the Rialto Bridge.

For low-cost picnicking, buy food in a supermarket or bakery and look for a bench in the nearest park or campo (square).

  • Tip: Don't picnic in the Piazza San Marco (it's illegal), and don't block pedestrian traffic by sitting on bridges.

Toilets:

 See our Public Toilets page. (Most municipal WCs have changing tables.)

A tip about strollers:

  • Don't bring a jumbo-size stroller, pushchair, or baby carriage to Venice. If you do, you'll get in other people's way, and you'll regret your decision every time you haul your child up and down the steps of a bridge.