Visiting Lyon with kids? Great choice! Think of Lyon as a giant playground with its beautiful parks, cool secret alleyways, and yummy treats. Located between two rivers, this French city is famous for its tasty food, but it’s also packed with fun stuff for kids and families.
If you’re wondering what to do in Lyon with a family, look no further. We’ll take you through the best things to do in Lyon with kids, accommodation recommendations, top tips and even day trips and transport advice. Let’s get started!
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through a link. Please see the full disclosure for further information.
Author: Shannon Mooney
Is Lyon Child-Friendly?
Lyon, often overshadowed by its glitzy Parisian counterpart, is a treasure trove for families seeking an authentic French experience. Here’s why you should visit Lyon with children:
When is the best time to visit Lyon?
Like many destinations in Western Europe, Lyon is excellent year-round, and it can be hard to pick when to go to be sure to experience the top things to do in Lyon. While any time is a good time, our personal favourite months for the best things to do in Lyon with kids are June and September.
Visit Lyon in June
June is a great time to visit France with kids. The weather in June averages about 21°C to 25°C – not melting! The nights are a bit colder, at around 13°C. The sun shines for 9 hours a day, though 10 days of the month will be rainy.
June is filled with festivals such as France’s National Day of Music and the Lyon International Fair!
Visit Lyon in September
In September, the weather is very similar to June – about 20°C to 25°C, dropping to around 12°C at night. It’s just after tourist season, so things are much quieter and less crowded.
There are about 11 days of rain and 8 hours of sun per day, like in June. September is best for boat rides on the Lyon River, Lyon sightseeing, and finding little-known alternative things to do in Lyon.
For those who prefer, there are also plenty of things to do in Lyon in winter, including many festivals. Just be prepared for a bit more rain and cold!
How to Get to Lyon
Travelling to Lyon with kids doesn’t need to be hard! These are the best ways to get there.
Lyon has two main airports – Saint-Exupéry International Airport and the Business Airport of Lyon (Lyon-Bron). The main airport in Lyon for holidaymakers is the former. The following UK airports offer flights straight to Lyon.
- London Gatwick
- London Luton
- London Heathrow
- Belfast International
Driving to Lyon
Getting the Train to Lyon
From London, you can take Eurostar from London to Paris and switch stations to take the TGV to Lyon.
You can also take Eurostar to Brussels and take the TGV from the same station to Lyon.
These journeys take, respectively, 5 and 6 hours.
Where to Stay in Lyon, France with Kids
Lyon as a city is very family-friendly no matter where you go! The three best areas to stay in Lyon with kids are are: Vieux Lyon (the Old Town), La Presqu’île (the city centre), and Croix-Rousse, a village-like area of the city that used to be independent and has a more rustic feel.
These hotels are some of the best to visit near tourist places in Lyon.
Budget: The Warwick Reine Astrid – Lyon
The Reine Astrid is in an ideal spot for Lyon shopping and things to see in Lyon and near the train station for day trips from Lyon by train. It’s rated 8.7/10 on booking.com for families.
The hotel has an onsite coffee house, a fitness centre, spa, and sauna, an outdoor terrace and garden, and 24-hour security.
The staff speak English, French, and Spanish. There’s also accessible parking and a garage for an extra cost. Cots are available free of charge on request, as in an extra bed for a child up to 11 years old. Pets are welcome with a fee.
Mid-Range: Best Western Hotel du Pont Wilson
Hotel du Pont Wilson Is situated right in the heart of Presqu’ile, making it great for your Lyon city to break things to do. It’s also rated 9.1/10 on booking.com for families! Parking and a parking garage are available for an extra fee.
The hotel offers a kid-friendly buffet, a coffeehouse on-site, accessible facilities for disabled travellers, laundry and business services for an extra fee, and the staff speak English, French, Spanish, and Italian. Cots and extra beds are not available, so bring a pack and play or travel cot! Pets are welcome for a fee.
Splashing Out: Raddison Blu Hotel, Lyon
The Raddison Blu is of the most excellent 4* hotels in Lyon, located at the edges of the city centre, the hotel has a tram stop right outside that goes right to the Old Town, and is also close to the train station.
Their high-floor superior rooms with a view of the whole city fit two people. There are some family options available on request.
The hotel offers a view of landmarks and mountains and a living area, currency exchange, a fitness centre and spa, and set kids meals. An extra cot is provided for free on request, as is an extra bed for children up to 6 years old.
They also offer pet supplies when you pay the pet fee, including pet beds and bowls. Staff speak English and French.
Top 10 Things to Do in Lyon with Kids
These are some of the many things to do in Lyon with kids, including Lyon’s main attractions, specific things to do with kids in Lyon, and some of the most excellent free things to do in France! These places to visit in Lyon are sure to be popular with the family!
It’s good to invest in a Lyon City Card when visiting. This card gives:
- Unlimited access to most public transport
- Access to some boat trips
- Free access to several museums
- Discounts on many attractions
- A guided tour
- Huge shopping discounts!
The list below are some of our favourite things to do in Lyon as a family, and the card helps us out with almost all of them.
1. Lungdunum (Gallo-Roman Museum)
This museum is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and combines art, museums, theatre, and archaeology! It focuses on the life of the Gauls in Ancient Roman times, including a mostly-intact outdoor Roman theatre.
They also have an area of the museum specifically dedicated to children. Kids can dress up as Romans, eat what they used to eat, learn about Roman gods and goddesses, and more!
2. Parc de la Tête d’or ( Park of the Golden Head)
This amazing urban park not only offers beautiful natural views, places to walk and hike, and an immersion in nature – there’s also a small zoo with giraffes, deer, monkeys, and many more, completely free of charge.
The large lake in the park is a popular boating site, and there are many sporting areas, including mini-golf. A mini-train can get you around the park, and you can even see the botanic gardens inside!
Why not try this bike tour of the park? Get your tickets here >>>
3. La Basilique Notre-Dame de Fourvière
It’s a different Notre Dame from Paris – no Hunchbacks here! – but it has its own amazing history. It’s an important landmark in Lyon, and there are many tours around it, including free options and fascinating rooftop tours.
There’s a tradition where you tie a ribbon around particular olive trees on the grounds and make a wish, and it should come true! There are also beautiful gardens, a permanent museum, and moving exhibitions and concerts.
4. A River Cruise: One of the Top Lyon Children’s Activities
When pondering what to do with kids in Lyon, consider embarking on a river cruise. Whether it’s a food voyage or a scenic barge journey along the Saône River, these cruises offer a unique perspective of the city’s highlights.
If you’re short on time, a boat trip efficiently showcases Lyon’s top sights, making it an unmissable addition to any family itinerary.
5. Food tours
There are some amazing things to satisfy any taste in Lyon, from amazing gourmet Lyon restaurants to delicious French street food. Several tours allow you to go at your own pace through your smartphone, while others lead you with a professional Lyon food guide.
The best of these tours are in Vieux Lyon, which combines traditional food with a modern twist.
6. Traboules of the Old Town
Lyon is filled with its own secret passageways to explore! Dating back to the 4th century, the covered passageways are dotted around most of the city but are most common in the Old Town. Each is unique in colour, with amazing Renaissance arches and stunning architecture.
The traboules twist through buildings, courtyards, and more, connecting places together. They even served as resistance hideouts during World War 2! While you can get a guided tour, finding them by yourself based only on hints is an exciting whole-day activity you can try as a family.
7. Musée de Confluences
This is a combination of an anthropology museum and an amazing science centre! You and the kids alike can learn about the origins of the universe, of humanity and animals, how we developed over time, and of human societies all around the world!
From the outside, it’s a pretty photogenic ‘floating cloud’ for picture opportunities – but inside is where the fun begins!
8. La Place Bellecour
This huge public square is something that can’t be missed! It’s the third biggest square in France and the biggest pedestrian-only square in Europe!
There are several fascinating historical statues and beautiful architecture. Many events and concerts are held there year-round! In winter, you’ll find an ice rink and a huge Ferris wheel that you can ride to see around the whole of Lyon.
9. Le Théâtre Guignol de Lyon
Guignol is an important part of French puppet theatre, and the performance of this puppet and his fellow marionettes is most associated with the amazing theatre in Lyon.
There are over 300 puppets, countless stories, and many shows. Some are dedicated to kids, some for more general adults, and some even just for adults!
If you’ve got a bit more cash, you can even pay for a private show for you and your family.
10. Urban Escape Games
Escape rooms are so popular with people of all ages these days – but what about an escape city?! One company offers three city-wide escape games that put you and the kids right in a story where Lyon is in your landscape, allowing you to explore uniquely!
You can try The Rise of the Dead zombie game, the Investigation detective game, or the Alchemist, a historical adventure. Who knows what you’ll find?
Lyon with a Toddler
Taking a toddler to Lyon? Prepare for a delightful mix of wonder and exploration. Here are some tips and recommendations to ensure both you and your little one have a fantastic time:
Where to Eat in Lyon for Families
France is well known for its food and gastronomic success, but while most people focus on Paris when they think of the country, Lyon has such a thriving culinary culture that it’s known as the gastronomical culture of the world!
Lyon is famous for its saucisson lyonnais à cuire (sausage with potato gratin), quenelle dumplings, and the sweet marzipan coussins de Lyon. If you’re looking for some classic Lyon tastes with the family, try:
Eggs Aequo – this is a relaxed and friendly little brunch place where you can pop in before a big day or between two activities to make sure your little ones have the energy to keep going! You’ll find tasty French pastries, a few British options for pickier kids, and eggs for days! There are also plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans. View on TripAdvisor Here >>>
Nosch – if you’re looking for something more gastronomic, this restaurant is top-rated for its service and delicious meals. A typical three-course meal might include homemade terrine, beef Bavette, and a chocolate mousse or cheese plate. It’s a busy, fun, upbeat place that’s always buzzing with life. View on TripAdvisor Here >>>
Terre Adelice – ice cream, sorbet, and dessert for your cool Lyon summer days! Sweet treats come in so many flavours your head will spin – 80 to 90 on a given day! You can grab a crepe, a waffle, or simply a cone, and enjoy. Feel free to sample the flavours before you commit, too! View on TripAdvisor Here >>>
2 Days in Lyon Itinerary
My family and I have been to Lyon a few times, and every time is something new! Just 2 days in Lyon, France, is enough to taste the city, while 3 days in Lyon or more will help you find the best parts of the city!
Below, I’ve provided a rough itinerary of the individual days that my husband, myself, and our 12 and 7 year old spent in the city. First is the Lyon 2 day itinerary to get you started!
Day 1: 1 Day in Lyon Itinerary
Morning: When we arrived in Lyon, the first thing the kids wanted to do was go sailing on the river. We booked a sightseeing lunch cruise that took five and a half hours along the water, and our amazing English-speaking guide captured the whole city for us at each site on the winding course. The lunch was amazing too!
Afternoon: We spent the afternoon sightseeing on land, searching for the traboules of the Old Town. Though we’d previously gone on tours of these, my kids wanted to test their ability to find the ‘secret’ seals – it was a really fun couple of hours of wandering the city!
Day 2: 2 Days in Lyon Itinerary
Morning: On the 2nd morning, we headed to the Musée de Confluences. My son (12) is really interested in how people lived back in the prehistoric age versus how they live now, and the museum was really excited for him to bridge the gap. My little one loved the exhibits, too!
Afternoon: We went to see one of the city’s famous puppet shows in the evening. Though my daughter was most excited about it, everyone was fascinated by the skill and laughed at the jokes, including myself and my husband!
3 Day Lyon Itinerary
On the third day, we decided to take a little side trip. We joined the tour early in the morning to the little alpine town of Annecy and the medieval village of Pérouges, two of the most beautiful places in France!
The kids loved the little sightseeing cruise we took alongside it and the special French food that waited on us there. It was like stepping into another world! By the time we returned home, it was already time for dinner.
4 Days in Lyon Itinerary
Day 4 was a little quieter. We spent the morning at the Parc and the accompanying free zoo, much to my kids’ delight – who doesn’t love spending time with animals?
They ran about and played football in the grass to get some of their energy out. Later, the whole family joined an urban escape game and solved the mystery of Josyne, accused of witchcraft in 1555!
5 Days in Lyon for Kids
For our last day, we spent the day in Lungdumnum.
The kids spent the whole day as French Romans, learning about the ancient gods and way of life. My husband and I really enjoyed some of the exhibits, too!
We splashed out for a delicious meal at one of Lyon’s Michelin Star restaurants in the evening. It was the perfect treat to end a fantastic trip!
Places to Visit Near Lyon with Kids
When you’re in Lyon, it’s so easy to explore outside of it that you need to take at least one day trip! These are three of my personal favourites when travelling with kids.
Geneva, Switzerland, is under 2 hours from Lyon by train! The train leaves from Lyon city centre and goes right to the centre of Geneva, and from there it’s easy to book a walking tour or find another way to explore the many sights of the city before returning to France.
Read More: How to Get from Geneva Airport to the Centre
Pérouges & Annecy
As I mentioned above, these two towns are must-see spots for anyone visiting Lyon. The former has a unique atmosphere and is considered one of the most beautiful places in France, and kids love feeling like they’re in a fantasy story.
The latter will show you the Alps and some stunning lakes!
Grottes de Cerdon
These astounding caves have been used for human homes since prehistoric times! They’re spectacular must-see geological formations, and more than that, they’re teeming with a history that will fascinate everyone in the family.
Several of the caves have been used to store mature cheese, while some have been used to serve as houses for leper colonies – and everything in between! There’s also an amazing outcropping that overlooks the entire Cerdon Valley.
FAQs: Things to do in Lyon with Children
How many days do you need in Lyon?
While you can get a taste of Lyon in a day, ideally spend at least 2-3 days to explore its major attractions, dine in local bouchons, and experience its vibrant culture.
Is Lyon worth visiting?
Absolutely! Lyon offers a blend of rich history, world-renowned cuisine, and picturesque landscapes, making it a must-visit destination in France.
What can you do in Lyon when it’s raining?
Lyon boasts several indoor attractions like the Museum of Fine Arts, the Miniature and Cinema Museum, and numerous cozy cafés to enjoy a warm croissant and coffee.
What country is Lyon located in?
Lyon is located in France and is the capital city of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.
What is Lyon famous for?
Lyon is famed for its UNESCO World Heritage sites, its role as a gastronomic capital with delectable cuisine, and its vibrant cultural scene, including the Festival of Lights.
What is Lyon like?
Lyon is a harmonious blend of the old and the new. With its Renaissance-era old town, bustling market squares, cutting-edge architecture, and serene riverbanks, the city offers diverse experiences for every traveler.
Plan Your Trip to Lyon with Kids
Discover the Best of Europe
Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.