In this post, we will provide a selection of great activities you can safely enjoy in Rome with your kids, including free things to do and fun nighttime activities.
- Top 10
- Free Things to Do
- Nighttime Activities
- Restaurants and Food
- Museums and Attractions
- Monthly Things to Do with Kids
Disclosure: We think you should consider our free tours, but we have also provided other options. While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.
TOP 10 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.
TIP: VIGAMUS, the Wax Museum, and the Leonardo da Vinci Museum are all included for free with the Rome Turbo Pass.
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.
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.
In addition to this location, the following theme parks are also within driving distance of Rome:
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.
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 its 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!
Alternatively, you can also enjoy authentic Italian pizza, pasta, fried risotto balls, cannoli and gelato on the Rome Secret Food Tour.
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 that 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
- Waxworks Museum | Rome Turbo Pass
- Museum of Musical Instruments | Roma Pass
- Hop-on-Hop-off Cruise | Rome Tourist Card
- Leonardo da Vinci Museum | Rome Turbo Pass
- Via Appia Bike Tour | Rome Tourist Card
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.
BONUS – Enjoy an Exploration Game
If you're looking for a fun way to discover the city with your kids, there are two self-guided exploration games you might want to consider.
These games essentially give you the task of solving a mystery, providing a variety of clues to help you find the answer while exploring Rome.
The first game puts you in the role of a person who never believed in ghosts, but has since become one and is trying to find out how they died.
If that sounds a bit too spooky for your children, the next game allows you to imagine you are Robert Langdon from the book/film series Angels & Demons, solving a mystery involving the Vatican.
While we don't recommend these for younger kids, this could be a perfect activity for young adults and teenagers.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Enjoy a Free Museum Day
In the past, Rome celebrated its historic sites and museums by offering free admission on the first Sunday of every month.
Although this event was postponed during the pandemic, they have since brought it back as of October 2022.
Here are a few of the more notable sites included in this program:
- 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!
If you're wondering which days will be free, please check the I Go to the Museum website for more information.
TIP: Many of these historic sites and museums are included either for free or at a deep discount everyday with a Roman tourist pass.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Fountain of Neptune – Found at the Northern end of Piazza Navona.
- Fountain of the Four Rivers – Also in Piazza Navona.
Learn How to Make Authentic Italian Pizza
There are a lot of different kinds of restaurants in Rome, so it can be daunting to find one that your kids will enjoy.
Thankfully, there is a tour you can take which will introduce your family to the best-loved cuisine in the city, including stops at stores, delis and other eateries in the area.
In addition to learning about the food in Rome, you and your children will have the opportunity to actually make one of the most popular dishes – an authentic Italian pizza!
To finish things off, everyone taking the tour will receive a free gelato.
- Tickets: €89/Adults | €84/Children
- Availability: Mon - Sat
- Hours: 4:45 pm - 7:45 pm
- Purchase tickets or learn more. (affiliate disclosure)
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: €95 per person
- Availability: Daily
- Hours: Classes at 5 pm and 7 pm
- Purchase tickets or learn more. (affiliate disclosure)
TIP: This stadium is close to the ancient Appian Way, which has a lot of interesting landmarks to see.
Take a Twilight Walking Tour
The Take Walks tour company has a great Rome walking tour that takes place in the early evening hours.
This outing includes stops at many notable locations – and an opportunity to try authentic Italian gelato!
- Tickets: €34/Adults | €31/Students | €29/Kids
- Availability: Tue, Thur - Sun
- Hours: 5 pm - 7:30 pm
- Gelato included with the tour.
- Purchase tickets or learn more. (affiliate disclosure)
This is a very general and family-friendly tour, and kids are sure to love the free gelato.
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 that allows you to try either 4 or 6 courses with desserts, giving you a great sample of everything they have to offer.
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.
Family-Friendly Restaurants in Rome
There are a lot of great places in Rome where you can take your family for breakfast, lunch or dinner throughout the day. Ciao Bambino is a good resource.
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.