In this post, we will provide a selection of great activities you can safely enjoy in Rome with your kids. In addition to our top 10 ideas, we will also include several free things to do and fun nighttime attractions. Below that, we will provide a list of great family-friendly restaurants and museums that your children might enjoy.
- Top 10
- Free Things to Do
- Nighttime Activities
- Restaurants and Food
- Museums and Attractions
- Monthly Things to Do with Kids
This section will cover our top 10 activities to enjoy with your kids in Rome. Whenever possible, we will make a note if any of these attractions or events are either free or fun after dark.
There are a lot of very popular attractions in Rome that your kids might enjoy. One of the best examples is the Colosseum, and admission to this famous landmark includes access to both the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill.
Alternatively, you may also want to consider a trip to the Vatican Museums, which include a plethora of historic artifacts, artwork, and sites such as the Sistine Chapel.
If you’re looking to save money on some of the most kid-friendly attractions in this ancient city, you might want to think about getting a Rome tourist pass.
1) Go on a Sightseeing Tour
There are several sightseeing tours in Rome that are great for kids. Some tours are actually aimed specifically at younger audiences, and others are easy for children to use.
Family tours of Rome typically cover the most notable sites in the city, including landmarks such as the Pantheon, the Colosseum, Piazza Navona and more. Some services include food and others will give your children a scavenger hunt to perform.
Alternatively, you can also take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour. These services will take you to each of the major historic sites in Rome, and they include an audio tour in English and several other languages.
If all else fails, there are also pay-what-you-want walking tours of the city centre. These may not be specifically focused on younger audiences, but they are quite affordable.
2) Visit a Museum
There are a lot of great museums that kids can enjoy in Rome. One of the best examples is the Explora Children’s Museum, which has a lot of great hands-on exhibits for children. Due to its location right down the street from Villa Borghese, there are several additional attractions for kids in the area.
Children might also enjoy a trip to the Wax Museum, which features a lot of notable figures from pop culture and history.
Alternatively, VIGAMUS is a museum all about video games, a subject that most kids will love to learn about.
If your young ones are the creative type, you might also want to take them to the Leonardo da Vinci museum which features dozens of his most famous inventions.
For even more great locations to visit, make sure to read our list full of family-friendly museums.
3) Take Your Kids to a Musical/Opera
There are quite a few great theatres in Rome that offer performances aimed at younger audiences throughout the year. One of the most notable examples is Teatro dell’Opera, which often has classic shows such as Pinocchio and Swan Lake throughout the year.
If you want to introduce your children to some of the most beloved tales of all time, this is definitely one of the best venues in the city.
In addition to this theatre, you may also want to take a look at the musicals provided at Il Sistina, which often include titles such as School of Rock, Peter Pan, Mamma Mia and more.
Alternatively, you might also want to check out Teatro Manzoni, a venue which focuses primarily on comedies and shows aimed at kids such as the Wizard of Oz and The Little Mermaid.
If you’ve got younger kids, you might want to consider visiting the San Carlino Puppet Theatre. This location provides a variety of great puppet shows throughout the year. They’re located on the Southern end of Villa Borghese and just a few blocks away from the Explora Children’s Museum.
If you want to see what’s playing when you visit, make sure to check our monthly things to do posts.
4) Go to Rainbow MagicLand
Located just outside of the city, this popular amusement park is one of the best places near Rome for kids and their families. They have a variety of amusement rides to enjoy including roller coasters, carousels, bumper cars, Ferris wheels, a log ride, a haunted house and more. With so many things to see and do, it would be easy to spend an entire day here.
The best part about Rainbow MagicLand is that you can actually get a discount on tickets with the Rome Turbo Pass. If you’re already planning to use their service, this is a great way to save money on admission to the amusement park.
Rainbow MagicLand is about 45 – 60 minutes outside of Rome. There are several ways to get here from the ancient city, but one of the easiest methods is either to take a train or a shuttle bus from Termini Station. For more information about this option, make sure to read our post about Rome metro and bus services.
5) Attend a Sporting Event
Rome is home to a few different teams, and there are usually at least a few sporting events to attend no matter when you choose to visit. Their most popular clubs are the football teams AS Roma and SS Lazio, both performing at Olympic Stadium. If your kids are soccer fans, this could be a great activity for them.
Alternatively, there is also an arena designed specifically for Tennis events which hosts at least a few tournaments every year. There is also a venue in Villa Borghese called Piazza di Siena where they host equestrian contests. Children who love horses will probably be interested in seeing these events!
For more details about what’s going on in the world of Roman sports, make sure to check our monthly things to do posts.
6) Grab Some Kid-Friendly Grub
It probably won’t surprise you that one of the biggest cities in Italy is known for their pizza. This may be one of the most popular food options for kids in all of Rome. As a matter of fact, you can actually take a cooking class at Eataly (near Appian Way) where your family can learn how to make a traditional Italian pizza!
After you’ve had something to eat, head to a gelato shop for one of the best desserts in all of Rome. There are a lot of different businesses in this city that sell this delicious treat, and most of them have a variety of different flavors. As a matter of fact, chances are you’ll discover something new and interesting to try at every gelato shop you visit.
If you’re wondering where to get the best food in this ancient city, make sure to read our list of great kid-friendly restaurants below.
7) Take Your Kids to the Zoo
As we mentioned before, this is one of the best places to visit in Villa Borghese. Located at the Northeastern end of the park, there is plenty to see and do at Bioparco di Roma. Your family can expect to see a variety of animals including parrots, alligators, camels, kangaroos, monkeys, elephants, emus, gazelles, and even a komodo dragon.
In addition to all of the wildlife on display, admission to the zoo includes access to the MACRI museum of environmental crimes. While the focus of this location may be a bit too sad for younger children, older kids and teens might want to check it out.
As if that weren’t enough, this zoo includes a conservation center dedicated to reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. Most of the animals they have in this building were confiscated by the police and donated to Bioparco di Roma.
Finally, although it’s not directly tied to the zoo, there is a Museum of Zoology nearby which may be of interest to visitors both young and old. There are a lot of exhibits on display which cover a plethora of different animals.
8) Free Family-Friendly Activities
There are a lot of great things to do with your children in Rome, and some of them are entirely free. Here are a few of the most popular activities your family can enjoy together in this historic city without worrying about your budget:
- Domenica al Museo
- Roman Cat Sanctuary
- Rome Rose Garden
- Pinocchio Toy Store
You can learn more about each of these attractions/activities by reading our section focusing on free things to do with your kids. You can also find out about free events during your trip by reading our monthly things to do posts.
9) Fun Nighttime Activities With Your Family
Just because the sun is going down doesn’t mean you have to wind things down for the day. There are a lot of great attractions and things to do with your kids in Rome after dark. Here are a few of the most interesting activities your family can enjoy at night in this ancient city:
- Dinner at Cat Bistrot
- Some Museums
- Gladiator School
- Cinema dei Piccoli
- Stargazing (Planetarium)
For more information about these activities/attractions, read our section covering things to do with your kids at night. Don’t forget to check our monthly things to do posts for nighttime events (concerts, musicals, operas) taking place during the time you choose to visit Rome.
10) Consider Getting a Tourist Pass
If you’re planning to see a lot of popular attractions in Rome, a tourist pass can help you save a lot of money on admission prices. These services include some of the most family-friendly activities throughout the city. Here are some of the more notable things you can do with your kids using a Roman discount pass:
- Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour | On most passes
- The Colosseum | On most passes
- VIGAMUS Video Game Museum | Rome Turbo Pass
- Museum of Zoology | Roma Pass, Rome Turbo Pass
- Waxworks Museum | Rome Turbo Pass
- Museum of Musical Instruments | Roma Pass
- MAXXI Museum | Rome Turbo Pass
- Hop-on-Hop-off Cruise | Rome Tourist Card
- Leonardo da Vinci Museum | Rome Turbo Pass
- Via Appia Bike Tour | Rome Tourist Card
- Rainbow Magicland | Rome Turbo Pass
- Bioparco di Roma | Rome Turbo Pass
Needless to say, there are a lot of fun attractions you can visit either for free or at a discount with one of the many passes available in Rome. For more information on each of these services, make sure to read our full post about choosing the right Rome tourist pass.
Free Things to Do With the Family
In the following section, we will cover a variety of fun activities you can enjoy for free with your kids in Rome. If you’re looking for even more great things to do that won’t cost you anything, make sure to check our other sections for ideas such as stargazing, sightseeing tours and more.
Visitors who are working with a budget may want to consider getting a Rome tourist pass, which will allow you to save a lot of money while enjoying some of the most popular attractions in the city.
Go on an Art Walk
There are a lot of wonderful pieces of historic art located throughout the city of Rome. While much of this artwork can be found in museums and palaces throughout the city, tickets are typically required to enter and see the various exhibits.
Thankfully, there are also a lot of great examples of notable art that you can see for free, either in churches or out in the public. Here are a few of the best artistic sites that you can visit without paying for entrance:
- Campidoglio (Public Square) | Designed by Michelangelo
- Trevi Fountain | Largest Baroque fountain in Rome
- Altar of the Fatherland | Monument to Victor Emmanuel II
- Statue of Moses | Designed by Michelangelo
- St. Peter’s Square | Designed by Bernini
- The Conversion of St. Paul | Painted by Caravaggio
- The Pieta | Designed by Michelangelo
- The Crucifixion of St. Peter | Painted by Caravaggio
- Ecstasy of St. Theresa | Designed by Bernini
- Fountain of the Four Rivers | Designed by Bernini
These are just a few of the more notable examples of artwork that you can see for free in Rome. If your kids have an interest in the art world, this is an excellent opportunity to introduce them to work from some of the most important artists in human history.
Visit the Cavalieri di Malta Keyhole
There is a church standing atop Aventine Hill with an excellent view of St. Peter’s Basilica. Unfortunately, this area is actually closed off to the public with a gate on one side of the basilica. That said, there is still one way to see the dome of St. Peter’s from this location, and that is by looking through the keyhole of the gate.
The view from this keyhole lines up almost perfectly with St. Peter’s Basilica, and on a clear day, it can actually be one of the most interesting and beautiful ways to see the church from afar. This keyhole is at the perfect height for kids, and it’s a free activity that you can enjoy while you’re in the area.
Aventine Hill is also the site of the Roman Rose Garden and the Orange Tree Park. At the bottom of the hill, you’ll find the famous Circus Maximus, which is yet another historic location you can visit for free!
NOTE: If you’re looking for another great view of St. Peter’s Basilica, consider making a trip to Castel Sant’Angelo. The roof of this building is open to visitors and they offer free admission on Domenica al Museo. Alternatively, you can also save money on tickets with a Rome tourist pass.
Go to the Roman Cat Sanctuary
If your kids love cats, chances are they’ll jump at the opportunity to visit this historic sanctuary for the feline kind. Located at Largo di Torre Argentina, a site near the location where Julius Caesar was killed, these ruins have since become home to a colony of cats. Visitors are welcome to come and see these kitties for themselves and perhaps even spend some time with them.
There is an adoption center nearby which provides an invaluable service to these cats. While they do request a donation, you don’t have to pay anything to visit the Roman cat sanctuary and enjoy the company of a few feline friends.
TIP: The Roman cat sanctuary is just down the street from Piazza Venezia, which means it’s pretty easy to access. This plaza is also close to the Altar of the Fatherland and Campidoglio, two of the more notable sites on our art walk.
Take Part in Domenica al Museo
On the first Sunday of every month, several museums and historic landmarks open their doors to the public, providing free admission to all visitors. While this can be an especially busy day to visit these locations, this is definitely one of the best ways to save money on some of the more popular attractions in Rome. Here are a few of the more notable sites included on Domenica al Museo:
- The Colosseum
- The Roman Forum
- Palatine Hill
- Castel Sant’Angelo
- Borghese Gallery
- Baths of Caracalla
- Palazzo Venezia
- MAXXI Museum
- Museum of Musical Instruments
- And more!
While there have been talks of ending this program, chances are that many museums will continue to offer free admission on Sundays simply because it has become such a popular activity in Rome. That said, it is important to keep in mind that some of these locations may change their approach to Domenica al Museo in the future.
TIP: Many of these historic sites and museums are included either for free or at a deep discount with a Rome tourist pass. If you don’t manage to visit the city during the first Sunday of the month, this is one of the best ways to save money on admission.
See the Fountains of Rome
There are a lot of great fountains to see in Rome, and some of them are actually popular places for parents to take their children. While we’ve mentioned a few of these sites in our art walk suggestions, there are many more locations you may want to consider.
The Turtle Fountain – Located about a 5-minute walk from Piazza Venezia, this fountain features several turtles atop the water basin with a few additional sculptures beneath them. If your kids like amphibians, this is definitely one site they will want to see.
Barcaccia Fountain – Designed by Pietro and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, this fountain has the appearance of a small boat which has all but flooded. Although the vessel appears to float above the water of the main basin, there is a second basin inside of the boat which creates an interesting visual effect. You’ll find this kid-friendly fountain near the Spanish Steps.
Fountain of Neptune – Found at the Northern end of Piazza Navona, this famous fountain includes a sculpture of the mythological god Neptune fighting with an octopus. He is surrounded by cupids, sea nymphs, and horses who seem to jump out of the water basin. Kids will love all the animals and mythical creatures on display.
There are many more examples like this, but these are just a few of the more noteworthy examples of fountains that children may enjoy. If you’re looking for even more great locations to visit, make sure to read our list of fountains that are lit up after dark.
Visit the Rome Rose Garden
If you plan to see Rome in the spring or summer, a stop at the rose garden is an absolute must. Not only is it free to come and smell the flowers, but the garden is actually located on Aventine Hill, so you can combine your trip here with a visit to the Cavalieri di Malta Keyhole and Circus Maximus.
While it might not be a popular activity for some kids, others will jump at the opportunity to not only see these beautiful roses, but also enjoy the scent of them as it wafts through the garden. If your children are interested in flowers and gardening, this could be an excellent attraction for them to visit.
NOTE: If you are visiting in spring and your kids love flowers, you may also want to make a stop at the Spanish Steps. During this time of year, the steps are lined with colorful azaleas that have just begun to blossom. This is also where you’ll find the Barcaccia Fountain which is a popular spot for children.
Go to Villa Borghese
There are a lot of great things to see in this wonderful park, including popular destinations such as Bioparco di Roma and the Borghese Gallery. Unfortunately, many of these sites are not free to visit, but there are still several fun activities you can enjoy at Villa Borghese without worrying about your budget. Here are a few great ideas you might want to consider:
Tempio di Esculapio – The ruins of this beautiful temple are located right in the heart of Villa Borghese and they are surrounded by a beautiful little lake. While you can take a boat across the water for a very low price, you don’t actually have to pay anything to enjoy the sight of this magical structure.
Playground – Located just a few steps from the temple, this fun little playground is a great place to take your kids so that they can play in the park and have some fun. Needless to say, it won’t cost you anything to stop here and let your children run around.
La Casina di Raffaello – This historic building has been transformed into a municipal playroom for children. They have a library of books, storytelling events, and other fun activities that your kids can enjoy for free. You’ll find this great hidden gem just north of Cinema dei Piccoli, an affordable theatre which focuses primarily on family-friendly films.
There are many other family-friendly activities you can enjoy in Villa Borghese without paying much of anything. If you plan to stay in the park for most of the day, you might even want to consider having a picnic. We also provide a self-guided tour which is entirely free to use as you please.
TIP: Most of the attractions that require admission in Villa Borghese are actually included with one or more of the Rome tourist passes. This is a great way to save money on tickets for some of the more popular sites in the area.
Visit the Pinocchio Store
Not to be confused with traditional toy stores, the Bartolucci store is one of the most unique and interesting shops in all of Rome. Rather than focusing on the typical plastic toys we’re all familiar with seeing nowadays, this business still produces all their products by hand with wood. They sell a variety of different sizes of toys, and they even have a few incredible display pieces such as a wooden motorcycle.
That all said, the most popular item they sell is traditional wooden Pinocchio dolls. They even have a section of the store called “Geppetto’s Workshop” where your kids can see how these toys are made.
Although they obviously don’t offer any free toys, it won’t necessarily cost you anything to enter the store and take a look around. You might want to bring some money along to get something small for your kids, but this doesn’t have to be an expensive trip.
If your kids love the story of Pinocchio or they want to see how toys used to be made, this is a great location to take them while you’re visiting Rome.
Take the Kids to a Playground
There are a lot of great playgrounds in Rome, and many of them are actually very close to some of the most notable landmarks in the city. If you’re going to be doing some sightseeing, these locations are great spots to take your kids so that they can have some fun and run around. Here are some of the best playground areas you can visit:
- Adrian Park
- Swings, climbing area
- Next to Castel Sant’Angelo
- Soccer field
- Villa Borghese
- Near Tempio di Esculapio
- Swings, slide
- Villa Doria Pamphilj
- Swings, slides
- Close to Vatican City
- Auditorium Parco della Musica
- Jungle Gyms, slides and more
- Bioparco di Roma
- Inside the zoo
- Shaped like Noah’s Ark
- Rope bridges, slides, tunnels, more
- September’s Resistance Park
- Swings, slide, more
- At the bottom of Aventine Hill
- Close to Circus Maximus, Rose Garden
- Villa Celimontana
- Slide, swings, rope climb and more
- Close to Colosseum
- Near Baths of Caracalla
These are just a handful of the playgrounds available in Rome. Most of these locations are free and open to the public.
Nighttime Family Activities
This section will cover a variety of fun activities you can enjoy after dark with your family in Rome. For even more things to do, make sure to check our other sections for ideas such as going to a musical or opera, visiting a museum, or even making a trip to Rainbow MagicLand!
If you want to learn about attractions and events that will be happening after dark during your visit, make sure to check our monthly things to do posts.
Some of the following activities are included either free or at a steep discount with Rome tourist passes.
See the Fountains of Rome
As we mentioned before, this is a free activity. That said, it’s also something that you can enjoy with your kids after the sun goes down, as several of the most notable fountains in Rome are well lit at night. Here are a few of the best fountains to see after dark in this ancient city:
Trevi Fountain – This is probably the most beautiful fountain to see after the sun goes down in Rome. In addition to being the largest baroque fountain in the city, it’s also one of the best lit structures.
Fountain of Neptune – Found at the Northern end of Piazza Navona, the lighting for this structure is a bit less impressive. Thankfully, there are a lot of street lamps in the area that keep everything pretty well lit.
Fountain of the Four Rivers – Also in Piazza Navona, this fountain is absolutely beautiful after dark. Lights from the bottom of the basin keep all of the sculptures above bright and easy to see throughout the night.
There are several other wonderful fountains that you can enjoy after the sun goes down, but these are the spots you should definitely visit at night. These sites are pretty close to some of the most popular theatres in the city, so you might want to think about visiting a fountain or two after going to see a family-friendly musical with the kids.
Take the Kids to Gladiator School
If you want your kids to learn all about the days of gladiatorial combat in Rome, Gruppo Storico Romano is one of the best places to visit. This arena is designed to look like an ancient Roman stadium, and they actually provide traditional gladiator shows on a regular basis.
In addition to the performances, this group also provides a class for children which gives them an idea of what it was like to be an actual gladiator. During this course, your kids will adorn period accurate armor and learn how to fight with swords.
- Tickets: £50 per person
- Availability: Daily
- Hours: Classes at 5 pm and 7 pm
- Purchase tickets or learn more
TIP: This stadium is close to the ancient Appian Way, which has a lot of interesting landmarks to see. Your family might want to consider taking a walk down this historic road while you’re in the area.
Have Dinner at the Cat Bistrot
There are a lot of great restaurants where you can grab a bite with your kids in Rome, but this might be one of the best places in the city. The Romeow Cat Bistrot welcomes kitties to join you for a wonderful meal. Their menu includes a variety of foods such as pasta, soup, and even tofu for vegetarians.
In addition to their meals, this restaurant also provides some great treats for kids. There is also a tasting menu which allows you to try either 4 or 6 courses with desserts, giving you a great sample of everything they have to offer.
If your kids love cats, this is one location you should definitely consider visiting while you’re in Rome. Alternatively, you can also go to the Roman Cat Sanctuary for free!
Go to a Museum
While most museums in Rome close up before nightfall, there are some locations that are great for kids which have later hours. If you’re looking for a great way to end the day, these locations could be an excellent choice. Here are a few of the best family-friendly museums that stay open after dark:
The Waxworks Museum – This museum is open until 9 pm and it contains a lot of interesting wax statues of both historical figures and pop culture phenomenons. Chances are that you and your family will find at least a few people you recognize while you’re here!
MAXXI Museum – With a variety of different exhibits that appeal to guests of all ages, this is a great place to take your kids after dark. This museum is open until 10 pm on Saturday nights, and they also participate in Domenica al Museo.
VIGAMUS – What kid wouldn’t want to visit a video game museum? This location includes a lot of great exhibits focusing on the history of video games. They are open until 10 pm and you can save on tickets with the Rome Turbo Pass.
Vatican Museums – If your kids are interested in history, you may want to consider a nighttime visit to the Vatican Museums. With a variety of historic artifacts and artwork on display, there’s plenty for visitors of all ages to enjoy here.
These are just a few examples, but there are several other museums your kids might love that are open until at least 7 pm – 8 pm. Make sure to check our list of family-friendly museums for even more great places to visit.
See a Movie at Cinema dei Piccoli
Located in Villa Borghese, this wonderful little theatre focuses specifically on movies that are family-friendly. Locals used to call it the “Mickey Mouse” theatre because there was once a statue of the famous cartoon atop the building. Sadly, due to copyright issues, the statue had to be removed, but they still show a lot of great films for kids.
Tickets are about average for a movie theatre in Rome, so this activity shouldn’t cost too much. If you’re looking for an alternative, there’s actually another theatre just about a 5 minute walk from here which shows a greater variety of films. This could be a better option for older children in your family.
Go Stargazing With the Family
If your kids are interested in learning more about space, you might want to think about doing some stargazing while visiting Rome. There are a lot of great parks where you should be able to get a good view of the night sky, but there are also planetariums in the city which provide an even better look at the stars.
Tickets to the Planetarium and Astronomical Museum are included with more than one Rome tourist pass, so you should be able to save money on this activity. In addition to the actual planetarium which is capable of projecting over 4,500 stars, there is also a museum which covers a plethora of useful information about the universe. You’ll find this site just South of Villa Borghese.
Should this location be closed, there is another location known as Roma Planetario just South of Termini Station. This is an excellent alternative if you’re looking for a place to see the stars with your kids.
There are a lot of great places in Rome where you can take your family for breakfast, lunch or dinner throughout the day. Even if you’re just looking for a snack, there are plenty of wonderful options to choose from. Here are some of the most family-friendly restaurants in the city:
- Ice Dream Factory
- Romeow Cat Bistrot
- Mizio’s Street Food
- Tommi’s Burger Joint
- T&C Burger Lab
- Burger Bistro
- Pico Gelato
- Lost Food Factory
- Sweet Life
- Old Bear
- Pizza City 2
- Pizzeria Loffredo
- Picnic Store
- Pizza e Mozzarella
In addition to these options, it’s worth noting that the Eataly cooking school provides classes for kids throughout the year. Some of these courses focus on the fundamentals of working in a kitchen, while others will teach your kids how to make some of their favorite treats. You can also take classes covering the best Italian recipes for pizza!
As we’ve mentioned at various points throughout the post, there are a lot of great museums in Rome that your kids might enjoy visiting. While most of them aren’t aimed at children, some offer exhibits and focus on subject matters that younger audiences would be interested in learning about. Here are some of the best examples in the city:
- Explora Children’s Museum
- Leonardo da Vinci Museum
- Wax Museum
- Said Vintage Chocolate Factory
- Castel Sant’Angelo
- The Colosseum
- MACRI Museum
- Egyptian Academy of Fine Arts
- MAXXI Museum
- National Pasta Museum
- Museum of Musical Instruments
- Fire Brigade Museum
Most of these museums close before the sun goes down, but there are a few that have later hours. If you’re interested in visiting after dark, make sure to check our suggestions for museums you can visit at night.
Monthly Things to Do With Your Kids
If you’re looking for specific events that are taking place during your trip to Rome, we offer a monthly look at various fun activities that you can enjoy with your family. Simply click on the link for the month in question to find more information about what will be going on when you visit.
While most of the events we cover in these posts are held annually, some of them may not be available every year. We will make sure to keep these posts updated so that they contain useful and accurate information.