How to Spend a Weekend in Venice
Before we dive into how to spend a weekend in Venice, Italy, we want to preface that we spent our long weekend in Venice pre-pandemic and pre-babe. You’ll find that all of these tips and places are kid-friendly, but we added a few more spots and tips to consider (based on stellar reviews).
Keep on scrolling to a detailed guide on how to spend a weekend in Venice, Italy.
- Getting to Venice
- Where to Stay
- Hotel San Gallo (Family Friendly)
- Ai Mori d’Oriente Hotel
- Palazzo Veneziano – Venice Collection
- Palazzo Schiavoni (Family Friendly)
- How to Spend a Weekend in Venice: Day 1
- Doge’s Palace
- Torre dell ‘Orologio
- Dinner at Trattoria alla Rivetta
- Catch a Sunset
- Piazza San Marco at Night
- Late Coffee and Dessert at the Florian
- How to Spend a Weekend in Venice: Day 2
- Rialto Bridge
- Basilica S.Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
- Stop for Some Gelato
- Roam the Canals
- Quick Bite at Dal Moro’s
- Other Things to See and Do
- Trek over to Murano to Watch Glassblowers
- Visit the Lido
- Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Venezia
- Take a Ride on a Gondola
- Travel with Kids Tips
- Enjoy Venice
Getting to Venice
Once we landed, we grabbed our carryons (oh the days of carryon only travel) and followed the signs for the Darsena Aeroporto di Venezia Marco Polo (docks from the airport into Venice). Taking a public water bus, aka a Vaporetto, was the most cost-effective route to get to our hotel. There are other options that will lessen the time you spend on this route and would be easier for traveling with family.
Check out this helpful post from Untold Morsels, which sheds light on your best bet for getting into Venice with kids.
Most of your transportation will be on foot while you explore this indulgent destination. There are water options too, which will add to your experience overall.
Expect there to be lots of people finding their own way through the canals and ports. Observing others hauling their rolling luggage was commonplace, among the many vendors selling souvenirs and take-home trinkets.
Where to Stay
From our dock stop, navigating the crowds and unfamiliar territory was relatively easy. Without much effort, we were able to locate our hotel and check-in. We would not recommend the hotel that we stayed at. Although it was excellently situated near Piazza San Marco, it was the only highlight overall.
Here are some highly-rated options, including family-friendly spots. To make things even easier, here is the link to the map above!
Hotel San Gallo (Family Friendly)
Situated near Piazza San Marco, Hotel San Gallo has achieved a rating of 4.3/5 stars on Google. Some of the highlights of this accommodation range from excellent customer service, location, and breakfast.
Ai Mori d’Oriente Hotel
You will find this fine example of Venetian Gothic architecture in the Cannaregio neighborhood. Out of 641 reviews, this place has earned 4.7 stars! Ai Mori d’Oriente Hotel boasts great rooms, fantastic breakfast, and excellent proximity to public transit.
Palazzo Veneziano – Venice Collection
Locate in the Dorsoduro neighborhood Palazzo Veneziano hotel is highly rated for its spa, luxurious vibes, and high-performing staff. If you are looking to stay in this area of Venice, this hotel might make it to the top of your list.
Palazzo Schiavoni (Family Friendly)
Lastly, Palazzo Schiavoni is located in the Castello part of Venice. Situated near some of the most popular attractions, such as Doge’s Palance and the Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Venezia. This hotel is known for its wonderful breakfast, superb customer service, and its location near public transit.
How to Spend a Weekend in Venice: Day 1
Doge’s Palace is one of the popular tourist spots in Venice. Surround yourself with gothic architecture and history! There are a variety of tours that are hosted here. Tours include walking through the armory and prison.
Torre dell ‘Orologio
From the Renaissance era, this clock tower is nothing short of decadent detail from times past. Be sure to check out the view from this vantage point!
Dinner at Trattoria alla Rivetta
Italy in general is a safe haven for delicious food. Trattoria alla Rivetta is right on the canal and will meet your Italian meal needs/wants/dreams. Indulge in some fresh seafood as well!
Catch a Sunset
Watching the sunset with a Venetian skyline amongst it is just something special. In contrast to the sun setting while on a tropical vacation, a Venetian sunset is filled with life, versus a wind-down feeling. This is a must-see while in Venice.
Piazza San Marco at Night
After the sun sets, and the night creeps in, head over to St. Mark’s Square. It’s a lively area, with music, people, and sites. St. Mark’s Basilica is nothing short of gorgeous overtaking the night in the square. Last we were visiting, there were live bands playing classical music, serenading everyone within earshot.
Late Coffee and Dessert at the Florian
Before heading “home” for the evening, slide into the Caffe Florian for late coffee and dessert. The Caffee Florian is a luxurious 18th-century cafe, filled with the decadence that you would expect. We recommend affogato-style espresso or one of their rich ice cream treats.
How to Spend a Weekend in Venice: Day 2
Make your way to this iconic bridge in Venice. The Rialto Bridge originates all the way back to the 16th century. Marvel in the local architecture and cross this footbridge to explore the other side. This area of Venice is busting with shops and restaurants.
Basilica S.Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
For those that love basilicas (Hi there, that’s us ALL day), this is one not to be missed. One of the largest in the area, Basilica S.Maria Gloriosa dei Frari was finished in the 14th century. It is also the home to Titian’s tomb. There are many catholic churches to stop in a visit or tour within Venice. We found that many of them did not allow pictures inside and we respect that. Photos of the exterior are okay though!
Stop for Some Gelato
No particular place in general, but how could you not stop for gelato while in Italy? It’s a quick treat and there are many out cafes that have tables to sit at. Or take your creamy delicious cup of gelato and park yourself at a fountain or along the canal.
Roam the Canals
This is the best to find unique spots for a photo op. Tucked in all over the city are local shops and restaurants. Most times this is the best way to experience the culture of the city.
Quick Bite at Dal Moro’s
There is a reason this place is highly rated! Fresh pasta and to-go? Sign us up! This had to be one of our best pasta experiences, and we’ve had a lot of it over the years! We had to wait in a line before we could get into the shop to order (it’s a pretty tiny pasta shop), but it was well worth it. Enjoy your fresh pasta and sauce, straight from a to-go box and continue on your way.
Other Things to See and Do
Trek over to Murano to Watch Glassblowers
Murano Island is across from the main parts of Venice and is home to famous artisanal glassblowing and jewelry. Consider making a trip out that way to watch works of art in the making!
Visit the Lido
More of a summertime spot, the Lido is where you will find sandy beaches and plenty of relaxing vibes. Hit the beach, rent a chair and enjoy the scenery. The perfect place for the kids to splash around!
Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Venezia
Soak in the history encased within the National Archeological Museum of Venice. Here you will explore artifacts from Babylonian, Greece, and Roman times. This is a great stop for the kiddos as well!
Take a Ride on a Gondola
We couldn’t leave this one off the list! Enjoy roaming the canals from this vantage point. Although spendy, this may be on your Venice bucket list. And if that’s the case, this is the time to do it!
Travel with Kids Tips
If you’ve made it this far into this post, then you must realize that much of Venice is traveled by foot. So what does this mean for you as parents? Here are some tips to consider while exploring this well-sought-after destination.
Bring a Quality Stroller
I’m afraid that a cheap umbrella stroller may not hold up with all of the uneven walkways along the canals. You can opt for a baby carrier as well, in lieu of a stroller as well. For toddlers, a hiking pack is a great option, or look into a quality stroller to handle the terrain.
Wear Safe Shoes
Make sure the whole family has comfortable, sturdy shoes to wear. Braving the canals and bridges in flip-flops is not recommended. Keep in mind the walkways are uneven and aged with time.
Boat Travel for Little Ones
This is especially for the young ones that suffer from motion or seasickness. Wearing a SeaBand has been a go-to for years, so it makes sense for little ones to wear them too! A huge selling point is that it focuses on pressure points, versus having to take medication.
Enjoy Venice to the fullest! Clearly, a weekend is not enough to see all places and experiences Venice has to offer, but hopefully, this weekend guide gives you enough mind to return for more, with the kids.
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