When we were planning on traveling to Italy with kids, so many people told us to skip Venice. Riding on a gondola was on my bucket list so I wasn’t going to listen to them, and I am so pleased I didn’t.
Venice was one of our highlights of our Italy with kids itinerary.
There may not be many places to visit in Venice that are specifically aimed at kids, but Venice with children can still be so much fun. My kids loved the fact that we had to get everywhere by boat and that most restaurants served pizza AND gelato, and we found plenty of Venice attractions that held their interest.
We were in the city for 3 nights, which gave us two full days on our Venice family holiday. So if you are looking for things to do in Venice with kids, here are our Venice travel tips and some ideas of what to do in Venice in 2 days. We also have some great recommendations for family friendly hotels in Venice.
2 Days in Venice with Kids
Day 1 – Morning
Venice is such a beautiful and unique city that one of the top things to do in Venice is just taking a wander around and admiring the sights.
Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) is one of the top sights in Venice for tourists to visit. This beautiful square is a must do in Venice, even if you just walk through it to admire the surroundings or stop for a drink in one of the al-fresco restaurants.
The crowning glory of Piazza San Marco is the Basilica di San Marco, an exquisite church with an impressive detailed façade. Although entrance is free, if you plan to visit the church, I would recommend booking ahead and purchasing a skip the line ticket.
You can purchase these at www.venetoinside.com and they only cost €3.00 per person, so well worth it. Children under 5 are free. (These can only be booked from April to October and you will need to choose a timeslot ahead of time.)
Alternatively, click here to book a skip the line with guided tour ticket
Another Venice top attraction in San Marco Square is St Mark’s Bell Tower. You can climb this 99-metre tower to admire far-reaching views over Venice. Going up the tower is done exclusively by lift, so you don’t need to worry about having to climb all those stairs. Again, queues for the Bell Tower can be long but you can book skip-the-line tickets from www.venetoinside.com
Another option (which is what we chose to do) is to enjoy a leisurely stroll through the square to take in the atmosphere, before wandering the back streets towards Rialto.
It is an easy walk from Piazza San Marco and there are plenty of souvenir shops to browse through and of course places to stop for gelato.
The Rialto Markets are fun to explore, especially the fish market if you are there early enough. We enjoyed admiring the catch of the day and browsing the food stalls for elaborate pasta shapes.
The Rialto Bridge is another of the most popular things to see in Venice. We walked across it to watch the boats on the canal, and then stopped for lunch by the Grand Canal, where we could eat with a view of the Rialto Bridge.
There are plenty of restaurants to choose from alongside the canal next to the Rialto Bridge. Sure, they might be tourist traps, but it’s fun to watch the gondolas go by while you tuck into your pasta dish!
One of the highlights of holidays in Venice is getting around everywhere by boat. Luckily it doesn’t have to cost very much either and one of the best things to do in Venice is to take a vaporetto (water bus) along the canals and take in the sights.
Vaporetto no.1 is a good option for tourists as it stops at every stop along the Grand Canal, making it easy to jump off and explore when you want to. We opted to jump off and check out an art gallery.
The Accademia is one of Venice’s top attractions, but we felt the vast collection of 14th – 18th century Italian art would be a bit over the heads of our young children, so we instead chose to visit the Collezione Peggy Guggenheim.
This collection of modern art was small enough to keep the kids engaged, and had some good views to admire out over the canals as well. While I can never tell how well art museums are going to go down with my kids, my daughter now drops Jackson Pollack’s name into conversation whenever she can, so she obviously got something out of it.
From the art museums it is a short walk to Fondamenta delle Zattere, where you will find a range of restaurants with pleasant views over the water. We chose to eat at Ristorante Terrazza dei Nobili, with gelato afterwards at Gelateria Nico, known for dishing up some of the best gelato in Venice.
You can take the vaporetto directly back to Piazza San Marco from here.
Day 2 – Morning
Murano Island is famous for its glass blowing tradition and it is one of the most fun places to go in Venice with kids. You can wander along and visit the glass factories here, and watch the master glass artists at work.
It’s fascinating to watch the masters at work and admire their impressive skills. Some factories have paid demonstrations, while others will allow you to go in and watch the masters at work in the hope that you will then spend money in their shop.
Many glass factories will offer you a free water taxi to Murano, and we arranged one through our hotel. Traveling by water taxi is definitely the way to arrive in style! We took the water taxi there and then the vaporetto back to Piazza San Marco.
Murano itself is pretty and you can wander the canal to browse the shops and enjoy a gelato in relative serenity.
The Vaporetto from Murano stops back at Piazza San Marco, so you can alight here and grab lunch in the square, where you will have a great view of the Basilica di San Marco and some great people watching opportunities.
Of course you can’t come to Venice and not take a gondola ride. It is one of the top things in Venice for tourists to do. At 80 Euros for a 40-minute ride, a gondola ride is not cheap but it is definitely one of the most fun things to do in Venice with family.
You can pick up a gondola at many places around Venice. Gondola prices are regulated so it doesn’t matter where you pick one up, it will cost you the same.
We took ours from near the Rialto Bridge so that we could ride underneath it and we also got to explore some of the smaller canals behind Rialto. Other people choose to take off from near Piazza San Marco and ask to go under the Bridge of Sighs.
To save money, click here to book ahead for a shorter gondola ride (30 minutes)
We celebrated our first gondola ride with another item on our what to do in Venice bucket list: Bellinis at Harry’s Bar. The Bellini was invented at Harry’s Bar, making this one of the top places to visit in Venice for drinks.
The Bellinis here were indeed delicious (and hugely expensive) but Harry’s Bar is really not much to look at, so we had one drink and moved next door to the The Terrace at Hotel Monaco & Grand Canal, where we enjoyed a bite to eat with a fabulous view.
Best Family Hotels in Venice
There are plenty of wonderful hotels in Venice, but I found many of them to be on the small, romantic side rather than good for families. We stayed at the JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa while we were in Venice with kids, which is a short boat ride from St Marks’ Square.
I was initially worried we would be too far away from the action, but it was actually nice to have a retreat away from the crowds at the end of the day. The shuttle boat meant we could head into town easily when we wanted to.
This selection of family friendly Venice hotels includes those a boat ride away, and ones in the middle of the action.
JW Marriott Venice Resort & Spa
This is a great family-friendly Venice hotel option. They have a wide range of rooms and suites suitable for families, and even suites and villas with private pools.
We stayed in a Junior Suite, which was large enough to accommodate two rollaway beds comfortably and had a large balcony.
There are plenty of family friendly facilities at this luxury Venice hotel, including an outdoor swimming pool, an adventure playground and a kids club. We also loved the rooftop restaurant, which had a kids menu.
This family hotel in Venice is a 15-minute boat ride from Piazza San Marco, with a free shuttle going every 30 minutes. They also had a free shuttle boat to the train station a few times a day.
Other Family Friendly Hotels in Venice:
Palazzo del Giglio
This beautiful 4-star boutique hotel in Venice is just a short walk from San Marco square, putting you right in the action. A vaporetto stop is just a minute walk away for easy sightseeing.
Some rooms offer a kitchenette and dining area, and there is free WiFi and breakfast.
Hotel Giorgione Venice
Just a short walk from the Rialto Bridge and Piazza San Marco, this gorgeous 4-star Venice boutique hotel, features a beautiful courtyard with a small swimming pool.
The split-level Prestige rooms can accommodate two single beds in the living area, with a double bed on the mezzanine, making this a good option for family accommodation in Venice.
Hilton Molino Stucky Venice
We didn’t stay at this family hotel in Venice but we did enjoy bellinis at its fabulous rooftop bar with views over Venice.
There is plenty to keep a family happy at this luxury hotel in Venice, including 7 restaurants and bars, a beautiful rooftop swimming pool with city views, spacious bedrooms, babysitting and kids menus.
Starhotels Splendid Venice
There are loads of kids’ amenities on offer at this family friendly hotel in Venice, from bottle warmers to Nintendo Wii consoles, puzzles and games.
Handily located between the Rialto Bridge and San Marco Square, this boutique Venice hotel has its own boat dock, meaning you can take water taxis right to the front door. We love that all visitors are loaned a smartphone uploaded with Google maps and free local calls throughout their stay.
If you’re looking for other ideas of things to do in Italy with kids, check out our article about visiting Rome with kids.
Pin it for Later!
This post contains affiliate links. If you make a booking or purchase using one of these links, we may receive a small commission – at absolutely no extra cost to you.