Where to Stay in Rome with Kids: The Best Neighborhoods for Families
Whether you are planning your trip to Rome with a baby, with a toddler, or by yourself, the first thing you need to do is to find accommodation. And even before that, to decide in which neighborhood of Rome you would like to wake up in the morning and go back to at night. Your travel needs and holiday preferences will decide for you. So, if you want to enjoy lively nightlife after sightseeing, you can probably book a hotel in Trastevere, while if you are traveling with your family, you definitely need to consider where is best to stay in Rome with kids and what are the top family-friendly hotels in Rome.
Rome is a huge city, and while we do have a capillary public transport system, if you have small children or babies, you might prefer to use a bus as little as possible. I have been living in Rome on and off for some 20 years, exploring thoroughly its many things to see and do by myself and with my family, and this is how I made my own ideas of where are the best areas to stay in Rome with children for safety and convenience of sightseeing. I explain where and why I think are some family-friendly Rome neighborhoods to help you decide where to stay on your next trip.
Best areas to stay in Rome with kids
Centro Storico, Rome’s City Center With Kids or Babies
This is pretty self-defining and straightforward. The very city center turns around Rome’s main landmarks, from the Pantheon to Piazza Navona, from Piazza del Popolo to the Spanish Steps. This is a very large area that can be divided into many smaller neighborhoods, such as Campo de’ Fiori and the huge maze of alleys on one side of Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Piazza Navona and its many surrounding little streets on the other side.
From Piazza Navona, if you cross Corso Rinascimento where Palazzo Madama, the seat of the Senate, is, you will end up in Piazza della Rotonda where the Pantheon is. This area, too, counts so many winding backstreets that can be considered a micro-neighborhood on its own. Walk along these historical alleys, enjoy the architecture of the noble class buildings and reach Piazza Monte Citorio where the Chamber of Deputies is located and Piazza Colonna, where Palazzo Chigi, seat of the Prime Minister and government, is.
After all the political stuff is done and seen, carry on towards Via del Corso and enjoy some quality shopping. If you are a fan of denim and casual, trendy clothing, heading towards Piazza del Popolo you will find the lovely Pepe Jeans, recently one of my favorites. Via del Corso offers some pretty beautiful backstreets with interesting shops, restaurants and gelaterias, and from here you can reach the Spanish Steps or the Trevi Fountain, also major landmarks in the historic center and also partially pedestrian.
Apart from being close and easy to walk to most historical sights, what’s cool about this area is that there are several places reserved for pedestrians, making it one of the best neighborhoods in Rome for families with kids, toddlers and even smaller babies. Think Piazza Navona, Piazza della Rotonda facing the Pantheon, the huge Piazza del Popolo which is also close to Villa Borghese, a city park your kids will love. Without leaving out Via del Corso, not fully pedestrian, but a big part of it from the edge near Piazza del Popolo. However, you always need to be careful that in all these areas you might find bikes, Police cars and sometimes taxis, so your children can’t really go unattended. Last but not least, a mere five-minute walk from Piazza del Popolo is Explora, the museum for children divided into different sections depending on the age. We took our baby there once and he was super excited, he played in the section for 0 to 3 year-olds with specific toys meant for his age and other babies.
This is not the only reason why we love to go to Rome city center with our baby. It’s full of great restaurants to eat traditional Roman food that can also make dishes for a baby or a toddler, fantastic gelaterias, and obviously plenty of places for cultural sightseeing. Booking a hotel in Rome’s centro storico is perfect for sightseeing, if you want to join a private Rome tour that starts early morning, and also reaching other areas is easy either walking, briefly using the public transport or with a quick taxi ride.
What to see and do
- Visit Campo de’ Fiori
- Enjoy the street artists of Piazza Navona
- Treat yourself to a luxury breakfast at Coromandel
- Duck into the Pantheon
- Shop in Via del Corso
- Climb the Spanish Steps
- Run around Piazza del Popolo
- Enjoy the green and the view from Pincio Terrace and Villa Borghese
- Take your best picture in Trevi Fountain
- Join a cooking class
- Meet the cats of Largo Argentina archaeological site
Vatican Area – Prati and Trionfale In Rome With Children
This is also a pretty big area of Rome close to the Centro Storico as it includes the two neighborhoods surrounding the Vatican City, Trionfale and Prati. You can consider this area sprawling from Via Gregorio VII behind Stazione San Pietro train station all the way to Castel Sant’Angelo (the Hadrian Mausoleum) and Lungotevere Prati. After crossing the river on one of the three bridges Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II, Ponte Sant’Angelo, or Ponte Umberto I, you are in the Centro Storico.
The neighborhood that is known by the name of Trionfale is mainly residential and very big. In fact, it borders with districts such as Primavalle, Ottavia, Tomba di Nerone along the Via Cassia in the very north of Rome. The Trionfale neighborhood I’m referring to is mainly the area from around Stazione San Pietro and St. Peter’s Square because going up north, you won’t really find much to see, except the astronomical observatory in Monte Mario, to walk along the ancient Via Francigena that goes all the way to France through Liguria and the Cinque Terre, and Monte Mario Natural Reserve and Parco Mellini. Nearby, at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, you can also stop for a meal at La Pergola, if you feel you want to spoil yourself and fork out some good cash, being one of the most expensive restaurants in Rome.
This being said, if from St. Peter’s Square you go to Via della Conciliazione, Piazza Risorgimento, and Via Cola di Rienzo, you will end up in the cool Prati neighborhood. Once you reach either Piazza Cavour or Castel Sant’Angelo, you will just need to cross the bridge to reach the historic center.
I’ll be honest, my favorite area is the Prati neighborhood because it’s very lively, packed with shops (I’m thinking Via Cola di Rienzo and Via Ottaviano) and counts some great restaurants, gelato places, pizza places, cafes and also landmarks to visit, such as the Vatican Museums and Piazza Cavour.
I’m guessing kids will love to visit St. Peter’s Square and stand on the small tile close to the obelisk and see that the four rows of pillars will magically become one. They will also love visiting the beautiful and huge St. Peter’s Basilica as well as admiring the Vatican Gardens and the Vatican Museums. You can either choose to visit the Vatican at your own pace, taking your time even if this might mean sacrificing some of the landmarks, or book a Vatican tour to skip the lines and get straight to the point and most important places to visit.
If it’s your time in Rome with your family and want to devote some time to visiting the Vatican’s landmarks, booking a hotel in Prati or around the Vatican itself is a good idea. With a pleasant walk, you can reach everything, from St. Peter’s Square to the Vatican Museums, and if you need to save some time and skip the lines, you can join a private Vatican tour.
What to see and do
- Pay a visit to St. Peter’s Square and Basilica (with Dome)
- Walk along Via della Conciliazione
- Duck into Castel Sant’Angelo (Hadrian Mausoleum)
- Visit Vatican Museums and Gardens
- Enjoy a great pizza at Bonci’s Pizzarium for lunch or La Pratolina for dinner
- Window shop along Via Ottaviano shopping street
- Buy your grocery at Mercato Trionfale local market
- Shop in Via Cola di Rienzo
- Visit Piazza Cavour
- See Gothic-style Sacro Cuore del Suffragio Church
Trastevere Neighborhood With Kids Or Toddlers
“Trastevere” means “beyond the Tiber”, translating from the Latin “trans Tiberim”, which was the neighborhood’s name already in Roman ancient times since the city of Rome was founded on the other bank of the river, where is now the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. You can reach Trastevere from many different areas and neighborhoods.
From Campo de’ Fiori by crossing Ponte Sisto bridge or from the Jewish Quarter by crossing Ponte Garibaldi bridge or Ponte Fabricio, Rome’s oldest existing bridge in its original form. If you get off at Trastevere train station, you can take tram 8 and get off at Belli stop. You can also reach Trastevere by walking along the river from Castel Sant’Angelo (the Hadrian Mausoleum), which is on the same side.
Trastevere neighborhood is divided by the main road Viale Trastevere, on one side of which you enter the historical quarter that develops the larger part around Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere and towards the city center close to the river, the Janiculum Hill and the Orto Botanico garden. On the other side, you move towards Portuense and Testaccio areas, as well as the Tiber island when you get close to the river. To reach the Tiber island from Trastevere, you just need to walk across Ponte Garibaldi bridge or the smaller Ponte Cestio bridge that brings you to the heart of the island.
Trastevere is one of those picturesque and secluded neighborhoods of Rome that seems coming out of a painting. Around every corner, the atmosphere exudes ancient and traditional. There are several clashes in Trastevere for the tourists to enjoy. A strong sense of local identity symbolized by gentrified buildings, Catholic churches and traditional restaurants sits side by side with foreign restaurants and crowds of tourists. A historically poor, working-class district has become a trendy neighborhood for the well-heeled.
Just like the city center, also Trastevere has several pedestrian corners, especially Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere and Piazza San Cosimato, so very pleasant to wander with kids. However, you should pay attention to police cars and working vehicles such as the ones for cleaning and collecting the trash. What everybody, tourists, as well as locals, love about Trastevere is its narrow and Instagrammable alleys. Don’t be fooled by their size, Italians drive everywhere so cars always come and go, so pay attention when walking with your kids.
There are also plenty of great restaurants in Trastevere that are baby and kids-friendly, including the green and healthy bistro Aromaticus, the Korean iGio, Enzo al 29 for traditional Roman dishes, the local deli La Norcineria, and a few great gelaterias your children will love.
What to see and do
- See the mosaics of Santa Maria in Trastevere Basilica
- Duck into Santa Cecilia in Trastevere Basilica
- See Raphael’s frescoes in Villa Farnesina
- Visit Museum of Roman traditions
- Walk around the quaint streets and alleys
- Duck into Santa Maria della Scala ancient pharmacy
- Shop at the local San Cosimato market
- Climb to the Gianicolo hill
- Enjoy a great gelato at Otaleg, Fatamorgana or Fiordiluna
- Take a Trastevere food tour
Rome’s Rione Monti and Celio with Kids
Rione Monti and the Celio form the area that goes from the Colosseum to Via Nazionale, Scuderie del Quirinale and Santa Maria Maggiore in the Esquilino neighborhood. Being close to Termini train station, Monti and Celio quarters are very well served by public transport with several buses, metro, and trams. Moving around by taxi is also easy and not too expensive.
Mostly walkable, Monti features also some steep staircases such as the one to reach San Pietro in Vincoli church. Also, if you are using the metro from Cavour station, pay attention to the direction you need to take as you need to cross a large road for the different entrances.
Let’s face it, it’s pretty hard to find a child who doesn’t like feeling a bit like a gladiator, and this is the perfect neighborhood for visiting the Colosseum and get there first thing in the morning. Being also very central, you will also find all types of restaurants, pizza places, gelaterias and different shops, from clothing to groceries. Next to each other, Monti and Celio quarters offer a great wealth of things to do both day and night with so many landmarks to tick off your list and restaurants to try.
Is Rome’s Monti safe? Absolutely. Just because it borders with Termini station and the Esquilino on one side, it doesn’t mean that it’s unsafe to walk around also in the evening. Plus, the same streets around Stazione Termini are not dangerous either. Probably I wouldn’t venture there at night, especially on the side of Via Giolitti, but during the day there is no problem, also because the same station offers several shops, restaurants and Mercato Centrale market.
What to see and do
- Visit the Colosseum and the Roman Forum
- Walk along the Imperial Fora
- Enjoy a local meal
- Shop in Via Nazionale
- Go underground in San Clemente Basilica
- Discover Rome’s history at Museo Nazionale Romano
- Take a stroll in the Colle Oppio Park
- Try the raw-vegan cakes of Grezzo
Ostiense District With Kids or Toddlers
Easily one of my favorite neighborhoods in Rome, Ostiense lies between Testaccio and Garbatella, both historical working-class districts built around the main industrial hub of the capital. If you decide to book your hotel in Ostiense, you can easily reach the district by train and then either walk or take a bus or taxi, or you can drive since it’s out of the ZTL.
Located in South Rome, Ostiense is quite large and borders also with Portuense, the modern EUR district, San Saba in its northern edge, close to the Baths of Caracalla. It’s also not too far from the ancient Appian Way and the Catacombs of St. Calixtus, definitely a place to visit where your child will love to discover the mystery behind these thousand-year-old constructions. If you are interested in discovering the mysteries underneath the surface, you can also join one of the Rome underground tours with your kids.
Why is Ostiense a great neighborhood to stay in Rome with kids? Because you can find many things your child will like to explore such as wandering around to discover the colourful murals that form the Ostiense street art around every corner depicting giant marine creatures, birds, monsters, machines and shapes of all kinds.
Older kids will also like to see the relics of industrial archaeology, especially the old Gasometer and the former main power plant Centrale Montemartini museum where you can also see the ancient train Pope Pius IX used for traveling in the old Papal Kingdom.
On top of that, you can have some family fun enjoying a vegan meal at Romeow Cat Bistrot with the company of six sweet feline friends, one of the best restaurants in Ostiense, and of course, eating a great gelato at La Romana Gelateria.
What to see and do
- Discover the local street art
- See the giant Gasometer
- See the old buildings of former General Markets and General Warehouse
- Visit Centrale Montemartini Museum
- Shop for Italian regional delicacies at Eataly
- Visit San Paolo Fuori Le Mura Basilica
- Try one of the best maritozzo pastries at Andreotti’s
- Visit the Catacombs in the Ancient Appian Way