With its deep-rooted historical context, an ever-increasing flair for fine gastronomy, and unwavering belief in the good of the republic, Lyon has, for many decades, been upheld as a charming reminder of all that is great about the proud nation of France. There are no shortages of amazing things to see and do within the city either, including a host of fun-filled, family-friendly activities. Keep reading to discover the absolute best things to do in Lyon with kids.
1. Tête d'Or Park
At nearly 120 hectares (297 acres) the magnificent Tête d'Or Park is one of the largest public parks in France where local skaters, bikers, runners, and families go for an unabashed breath of fresh air. Once a wild marsh, the newly refined space is complete with seemingly endless stretches of lush greenery, bike paths, rose gardens, and a medium-sized lake for afternoon paddle-boating. While most kids seem to enjoy riding the antique carousels, real-life animal lovers will be even more fascinated with the zoological area, which includes such exotic wildlife species as flamingos, giraffes, lemurs, and lions.
Rumor also has it that Tête d'Or may be the burial site of an ancient golden bust of Jesus. Thus one creative approach to keeping the little ones entertained is to draw up a colorful explorer’s map and spend the entire day in search of this special hidden treasure, stopping to enjoy many fun activities along the way.
Tête d'Or Park
Address: Place du Général Leclerc, 69006 Lyon, France
Website: Tête d'Or
2. Aventures Fourvière
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Aventures Fourvière is an exciting outdoor jungle gym and play arena located about a ten minute walk from the Nôtre Dame basilica. Aerially-suspended obstacle courses and thrilling acrobatic trails may be responsible for the primary allure of this nearby getaway destination, but the best thing about it is that there are simpler trails designed especially for pee-wee participants so that there is something for everyone to enjoy. It also doesn’t hurt that obstacles are set against the charming backdrop of Fourvière Hill.
Address: Place du 158, Régiment d'Infanterie, 69005, Lyon, France
Website: Aventures Fourvière
3. Théâtre de Guignol
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
A famous French puppet theatre depicting the everyday lives of Lyon’s traditional silk workers, Guignol Theatre is often heralded as one of the sharpest performance venues in town, with easy-going comedic relief for both children and adults. Parents of overactive toddlers will be delighted to find short and sweet showings that really maximize on the often limited attention spans of child spectators. However, French language skills are a definite must have.
Address: 2 Montée du Gourguillon, 69005 Lyon, France
Website: Théâtre Guignol
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4. Aquarium de Lyon
Learning about marine life and being able to interact with exotic sea specimens can evoke a sense of wonder in even the smallest of toddlers, so if museum visits and detailed historical explanations seem a bit too far-fetched, Lyon’s aquarium is an excellent place to spend a few hours with the kids. Plus it is ten times more relatable.
Aquarium de Lyon
Address: 7 Rue Stéphane Déchante, La Mulatière, Lyon 69350, France
Website: Aquarium de Lyon
5. Sève Chocolats
Photo is only for illustrative purposes
To say that a visit to Sève Chocolats is a special treat would be a total understatement. The renowned master chocolatier and pastry shop is known for crafting some of the finest artisanal goodies in the nation and offers many hands-on learning workshops for laypeople. Also, with a delicious panoply of dessert selections, what better way to satisfy your family’s sweet tooth?
Address: 29 Quai Saint Antoine, 69002 Lyon, France
Website: Sève Chocolats
6. Hippodromes de Lyon
Hippodromes is a cool sporting venue in Lyon dedicated to the art of horse-racing. Children who love these majestic animals are sure to get a kick out of choosing favorites and watching them whizz by at top speed. Other family-friendly entertainment to be enjoyed here includes private tours, pony baptisms, and special theme nights.
Hippodromes de Lyon
Address: 4-6 av. Pierre Mendès, 69500 Bron, France
Website: Hippodromes de Lyon
7. Musée des Miniatures et Décors du Cinéma
This quirky little museum showcases tiny artworks and miniature scenes that have been used in the making of real motion pictures. It also provides insight on the cinematographic gem known as special effects, urging visitors of all ages to reimagine the film industry (which has its origins in Lyon).
Musée des Miniatures et Décors du Cinéma
Address: 60 Rue Saint-John, 69005 Lyon, France
8. Musée des Automates
The Automated Museum boasts an adorable collection of colorful animated dolls and moving dollhouse scenes, many of which are inspired by Lyon’s heritage and history, popular fairytales, and classic French fables. Peter Pan and the Hunchback of Nôtre Dame are some top picks, however each and every scene tells its own unique story.
Musée des Automates
Address: 100 Rue Saint-Georges, 69005 Lyon, France
Website: Musée des Automates
9. Go karting
Here’s a chance to rev up even more enthusiasm for a family vacation. Go kart racing is yet another adventure sport where adrenaline junkies go to put the pedal to the metal. This attraction is best suited for teens and pre-teens, but will be exciting for all ages. Located between Lyon and the Saint-Exupéry airport, Actua Kart comes highly recommended and is a favorite among locals.
Address: Chemin de Fournéa, 69720 Saint-Laurent-de-Mure, France
Website: Actua Kart (in French)
10. Visit Fourviere Hill
Fourviere Hill was the original area of Roman settlement. Some ancient ruins from that era still remain. The site provides some beautiful views of the city of Lyon. There is also the Basilica of Lyon nearby and it’s an easy walk down that the family will enjoy. You can get there by using the funicular. You will find an old Roman amphitheater which is fascinating.
If you follow the walkway behind the cathedral it gives a 180-degree view of the city. On a clear day, the view is very pretty and worth getting some photos. Pop into the shop at the cathedral to browse the offers. Taking the kids along is a nice way to spend a few active hours exploring.
Address: Terreaux - Bat D'argent Lyon, France
Website: Fourviere Hill
11. Browse around the Marche de la Croix-Rousse
The Marche de la Croix-Rousse is a nice way to spend two to three hours. Even if you don’t need to self-cater, the sights and sound of the market are stimulating. From bright flowers to mushrooms and preserves, there’s plenty to see. The market sells food and wine, but on the weekends, combines with the flea market.
Pick up some mementos of your visit or buy some fresh bread, cheese, fruit, and other goodies to make a picnic. Let the kids pick out their own choices from the array of vendors. If you walk around you will find a spot overlooking the river Rhone that’s a nice place to relax.
Marche de la Croix-Rousse
Address: Boulevard de la Croix-Rousse, 69004, Lyon, France
Renting electric bikes for the day and hitting the open pavement is a fun and refreshing way for the family to stay active while visiting some of Lyon’s most beloved sites. While an early afternoon picnic overlooking the splendid Tête d'Or Lake is a definite possibility, there are plenty of other cool places scattered all about the city. Take the Place Bellecour, for example. This lovely public square is located in the 2nd arrondissement and features an on-site play area for kids.
For an incredible day time outing everyone can enjoy, opt for a budget-friendly guided bike tour to learn more about Lyon’s famous landmarks, then cap it all off with a well-deserved ice cream cone for good measure!
Lyon Small-Group 2-Hour Electric Bike Tour
Duration: 2 hours
Getting started on your family bucket list is often the most fulfilling part of traveling with youngsters. Luckily France’s second city offers just as many rewarding and wholesome activities for children as it does for adults. These top picks for things to do in Lyon with kids include uniquely-imaginative cultural venues, historic landmark tours, and thrilling outdoor adventures - all of which are every bit worthy of the discovery.
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