Nice is a city that welcomes visitors of all ages. Its ease of accessibility via a very efficient tram system, which runs all the way to Nice airport, makes getting around both cheap and easy. The almost year-round friendly climate means that the chances of bad weather are slim. Even on a rainy day, there are family-friendly activities such as fascinating museums and a world-class oceanography center.
Many of the most popular things to do in Nice with kids are accessible either on foot or using public transport. Add to this a wide range of green spaces and a delicious pebble beach, and already you are well on your way to a family-friendly holiday. Most of the hotels are family hotels so you won't have trouble finding a place that the kids will love.
One of the few problems you might encounter in Nice is an extreme shortage of parking. Luckily this is a city that makes walking easy and you will be able to access many of the family attractions on foot. The one thing that could make that difficult would be having to carry large and heavy bags. To overcome this problem, find a Nice luggage storage location that will provide reliable and well-placed luggage storage services.
Set in seven hectares of greenery, right off the Promenade des Anglais, Parc Phoenix has much to offer both the younger and older members of the family. The heart of the park is the 7000 square meter greenhouse in the shape of a pyramid. It is one of the largest in Europe and houses seven different climatic zones meaning that the range of plants on exhibit is impressive. The fern house and the orchid collection are both breathtaking.
You will also find a small zoo that is home to over 3000 animals including birds, mammals, and reptiles, and the lake located in the park makes for a perfect place in which to enjoy a picnic or just to sit and unwind as the city bustles all around you.
Entry is three Euros for adults and children under twelve are free. Entry times vary throughout the year so be sure to check the park will be open before your visit.
Promenade du Paillon
The Promenade du Paillon is often referred to as the green corridor of Nice. Running right through the heart of the city is a twelve-hectare park that offers a surprising green oasis from the surrounding urban sprawl. This long meandering green space connects the Promenade Anglais with the National Theater and required some architectural wizardry to build because it sits above the Paillon River, from which it derives its name.
This park is filled with fun things for kids and separated so that smaller kids are not overshadowed by older children. The large mirror pond, complete with 128 water jets, frequently converts into a mist-filled paradise and the water is shallow so the kids can have fun dodging the water jets that fire spurts of water at intermittent intervals. They may be a little damp afterward, so you might want to come prepared.
The park is dotted with fun sculptures, many of which were designed with kids in mind. There are some great children's play areas using wooden materials with offerings such as octopus swings and pirate ship climbing frames. These are far more impressive than the usual metal and plastic stuff you find in many parks.
Entry is free but don't expect to picnic on the grass as sitting on the lawns is prohibited. During December, the park hosts Christmas markets and it is decorated in spectacular fashion over the Christmas period.
Promenade des Anglais
No trip to the Mediterranean would be complete without a visit to the beach and the French Riviera is one of the world's most famous coastal strips. It is bordered by the Promenade des Anglais which is a walk that fronts the whole of the city. It gets its name from the fact that English aristocrats used to stroll this walkway during their regular winter breaks from a cold and windy Britain.
The whole promenade totals seven kilometers (5 miles) and on the one side you have a pebble beach while on the other, the pavement teems with hotels, restaurants, and cafes. There are fifteen private beaches and twenty public beaches and you can decide which best suits your family and your budget. The private beaches offer lounge chairs, showers, and a waiter service while the public beaches are more of a do-it-yourself affair.
At many places along the Promenade des Anglais you are very likely to find street performers, local artists, and buskers, as well as food stalls. The whole stretch is very kid-friendly and can be walked comfortably. You might have more fun if you choose to cycle, fly along on roller skates or ride a scooter. All these are available for rent at Roller Station.
Another easy to access site that provides a wonderful spot from which to get a view of the city is the Parc de la Colline du Chateau. This ruined chateau was destroyed in 1706 by Louis XIV but is now a very popular tourist attraction that the whole family will enjoy.
There are three ways to access the park. There is a steep stairway of 500 steps that might help burn off excess energy if the kids are getting a bit wild, but this is not the only way up. There is also a free lift and a little train that takes forty-five minutes, but includes a tour of the town.
At the top is a walk where the kids can run free, and there is a waterfall along with the best panoramic views of the city, the Old Town, and the Bay of Angels.
Best of all is that Castle Hill is free to visit. Check out our guide to the other best free things to do in Nice.
Patinoire Jean Bouine
The Patinoire Jean Bouine is an ice rink covering 1800 square meters. Here there are regular musical evenings and shows. In the same building are a covered Olympic swimming pool, a bowling alley, and a kid-friendly water garden for two to five-year-olds.
For older kids, falling down might be half the fun, but there is a gentler approach for younger members of the family. The Jardin de Glace is an area where young children aged between two and eight can learn the delicate art of ice skating. Here, smaller kids learn to get their balance using specially made plastic penguins to support them as they glide across the ice.
Opening hours vary according to the time of year and the entry costs 2 Euros per person. It is situated on Rue Jean Allegre.
Nice Natural History Museum
Museum d'Histoire Naturelle de Nice is a family-friendly activity that is open every day of the week except Mondays. Close to the tram stop Garibaldi, this museum can also easily be accessed on foot from the old town or the city center.
The museum specializes in exhibits that explain the fascinating wildlife and flora of the Alp Maritime area as well as the sea surrounding Nice. It has been open since 1846 and it contains more than 1,000,000 specimens encompassing everything from mammals to minerals.
The museum has won awards for being very kid-friendly and on arrival they are presented with a bag of games that encourages kids to lead their parents through the museum. To learn more about the top museums in the city, check out our guide to Nice's best museums.
Situated in Antibes, which is just half an hour from Nice, lies Marineland. One easy way to get there is to hop the train from Nice Station to Biot and Marine Land is then within walking distance. This is a great place for kids to discover more about marine life as they explore the educational exhibits.
Covering a whopping twenty-six hectares, the park incorporates a dolphinarium where there are also killer whales, sea lions, and penguins. They host shows several times each day. In the aquarium there are thousands of creatures ranging from sharks to stingrays as well as both tropical and marine fish and visitors who time it right can watch feeding.
You will be able to walk through the shark tunnel and there are opportunities to get up close to some of the residents as well as their handlers.
Adults entry costs thirty-nine Euros and kids cost thirty-two, but there are deals to be had if you book online.
Situated in La Colle sur Loup, just thirty minutes from Nice is Ludipark. As soon as your kids hear all that is available there they are bound to want to add it to their holiday bucket list. The park covers seven hectares and is surrounded by forest.
At the park there is a pool with numerous play areas including features such as octopus swings. There are bouncy castles, zip lines, ping pong tables, and a mini-golf course. For even more fun, there are seven trampolines for older kids as well as smaller versions for the three to six-year-olds.
Adults have not been completely forgotten here. While the kids run free, there is a delightful outdoor restaurant from where older members of the family can keep an eye on them. The park is open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, as well as public and school holidays. Entry is six Euros per person and begins at ten thirty.
Hippodrome de Cote d'Azur
Cannes sur Mer is a town twenty minutes from Nice center. It can easily be accessed by train. With its narrow streets and rocky coastline, this is a pleasant seaside village in which to pass a few fun hours, but it is also home to the second-largest horse racing track in France. The Hippodrome de Cote d'Azur offers an exciting outing for adults, but the organizers have also thought of the kids by offering more than just the usual play area.
On race days, they have a kid-friendly zone where kids can enjoy pony rides, bicycles, and bouncy castles. In addition, the racecourse fronts the sea so it would be easy enough to include a visit to the beach along with the rest of the package.
The race track is open on Saturdays and Sundays and children under sixteen can enter for free while adults pay five euros. With its combination of entertainment options for both adults and kids, this town offers something for the whole family.
With its international airport and superb public transport system, Nice France offers a treasure trove of fun family activities. Whether you are winding your way through the narrow streets of the old town, sampling food markets, or visiting one of the many parks and museums; on a day trip or visiting for a few days, this town is a great place for a family getaway.
With its reputation as a chic coastal town and its close association with events such as the Cannes film festival and the Monaco Grand Prix, it may be easy to overlook Nice when looking for a kid-friendly holiday destination. If you try some of these travel tips, you will soon find that this is a town that kids love.
The one thing that could put a damper on any trip to this town would be finding yourself having to drag your luggage through the narrow streets or take care of it while you enjoy your family vacation. This is where Bounce luggage storage services come into their own. They have conveniently situated storage facilities in Nice and many other cities around the world that will alleviate this problem and make your stay much more enjoyable.