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15 Best Cities for Families to Visit

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Why cities are great for vacations with kids

Chances are you’re reading this because you know a thing or two about why cities make for such great getaways and vacations.

Cities are fantastic for families — whether it’s for a long weekend or spring break week or your summer vacation. Cities are easy hubs for direct flights, offer diverse possibilities for accommodations, and super delish restaurants for any kind of budget. Plus, throw in historic and unique attractions and events for all ages, and you’re sure to please everyone in your group.

Which cities are the best for kids and parents? I’ve rounded up the best cities to visit in America and Europe from fellow family travel bloggers.

Best Cities in the USA

San Diego

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by Amanda Patsey

Why go?

If you are looking for the sort of place that will have sunny skies and warm weather year round, you should most definitely consider San Diego, California. And if you have kids, this place is an added bonus because it is jam-packed with amazing things to do with them.

Where to go and what to do?

San Diego has some of the best beaches in the country, and one of our favorites is in La Jolla. This seaside town not only boasts amazing beaches for swimming, but also some world class surfing. The town itself also has some of the best restaurants in the San Diego area.

Another amazing beach town is Pacific Beach, which offers you the classic beach and boardwalk scene. And right in the city limits of San Diego you will find a giant man-made body of water called Mission Bay. This is the ultimate playground for water sports. We spent an entire day renting a boat and jet skis for hanging out in the bay!

Not only is San Diego known for its beaches, but countless other activities in the area. Some of our favorites include:

I must also mention the food. I will just say this: San Diego is the best place to find amazing fish tacos in the entire country. There are endless options too, so wherever you are in the city, just google best fish tacos and you will not be disappointed. The city’s food scene doesn’t end with tacos though, they also have an amazing Italian Food Scene in their Little Italy area near the Gaslamp Quarter.

Where to stay?

There are a few great areas to stay in in San Diego and it all depends on what you plan to focus your time on. We love to stay in La Jolla because it has a great restaurant scene and beach. Pacific Beach is also great because you can get an affordable hotel, or an Airbnb and walk to the beach and endless restaurants. You can’t go wrong in downtown San Diego either, because it is an incredibly easy city to get around by car or public transportation.

Learn more from Patsey Family Travels.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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by Preethi Harbuck

Why go?

Philadelphia is in many ways the seat of modern democracy, and the educational and cultural opportunities there reflect this rich history. It's a perfect city to visit for those interested in the early development of the US, and sites such as Independence Hall, the Constitution Center, and Elfreth's Alley take you back in time to get a sense for that progression.

What to do?
For those looking to experience the arts, Philly has one of the best museum scenes of any city in the world, offering everything from large-scale exhibits to intimate arts experiences to science and discovery opportunities. In between all the museums, Philly offers a superior food scene - everything from world-class restaurants to the most basic (but delicious) street food.

While you're there, consider staying in the historic district if you'd like easy access to educational sites. Rittenhouse Square is one of the nicest (and most expensive) areas of the city, but offers easy walking access to the best restaurants and museums. Finally, South Philly allows connections to music and arts, sports events, local and casual markets and eateries.

Where to stay:

Wherever you stay, be sure to allow for a local and immersive experience in the City of Brotherly Love!

Consider staying at the Club Quarters Hotel, located just 550 feet from Liberty Place.

Learn more from Local Passport Family.

Dallas, Texas

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by Priya Vin

Why go?

There is more to Dallas than Cowboys and BBQ – we have world class museums, an urban park build over a highway, an amazing restaurant scene, superb shopping and wholesome fun for the whole family.  We have lived here the past 20 years and have loved seeing the city grow to what it is today.  

Where to go and what to do?

We love going to the Dallas Arboretum in Spring when the hundreds of blooming rainbow of tulips make you wonder if you have been transported to the Tulips gardens of Netherlands. During Spring the gardens are bursting with colorful spring blooms and come Fall the garden is filled with pumpkins and fun festivals. Dallas Museum of Arts is another must visit collection is made of more than 24,000 objects, dating from the third millennium BC to the present day... with works from Rodin, Cezanne, Monet,  Picasso to name a few.  Perot Museum and Dallas World Aquarium are fun for kids to visit. You can see some cool murals at Deep Ellum and go up the Reunion tower for a 360 degree view of Dallas.

Where to stay:

If you want to stay right downtown near all the action, consider the Omni Dallas Hotel.

Learn more from Outside Suburbia.

Washington D.C.

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by Margie DQ

Why Go?

Washington DC is the perfect city for a family vacation. One main reason is that it is very budget friendly. 

Where to go and what to do?

A visit to the 11 Smithsonian museums and memorials around the National Mall are all free! The museums and memorials provide plenty to do for kids of all ages and contribute to their knowledge about the history of the United States. Families can also tour the Capitol Building, Supreme Court, National Archives, see the White House, and witness the Changing of the Guard at Arlington Cematery. Definitely eat in Chinatown.

Where to Stay?

I highly recommend staying at the Grand Hyatt in Washington D.C., as there is a metro stop adjacent to the lobby. Staying anywhere near a Metro stop is highly beneficial, as their transportation system is very convenient with stops around all the cities sights. Have a larger family? The Embassy Suites Washington D.C. - Convention Center is perfect, with a full breakfast buffet each morning - think made-to-order-omelettes!

Learn more from DQ Travel.

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Miami, Florida

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by Monet Hambrick

Why go?

Miami is often seen as a party destination but there are so many great things to do with kids in Miami. From the great weather, beaches, wildlife and food you’ll be happy you decided to explore Miami with kids.

Get off the beaten path and visit the Everglades where your kids can learn about alligators and other animals native to Miami at Everglades Safari Park. You can also pick your own fruit at Knaus Berry Farm, and after your hard work finish the day eating fresh baked goodies and drinking milkshakes on site. Kids will love visiting Miami’s “castle” and running through it’s beautiful garden.

Where to stay?

When visiting Miami with kids you might want to avoid the crowded and loud South Beach area. Instead stay in near Bal Harbour Beach or in Hollywood at family friendly hotels such as Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort or Villa Paradiso which offers rooms with full kitchens.

Learn more from The Traveling Child.

More great cities to visit in the USA:

click on the image below to go there

Family Vacation Critic also lists their 10 best cities for family vacations here.

Best Cities to visit in Europe

Copenhagen, Denmark

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by Preethi Harbuck

Why go?

For anyone who's ever been starstruck by the Scandinavian ideal of bright colors and cool breezes, there's no better city than Copenhagen. A perfect mix of big city perks such as terrific museums and food, and smaller-town walkability and temperament, Copenhagen has it all.

Where to go and what to do?

While there, don't miss checking out a few museums to get a feel for Scandinavian culture. The National Museum of Denmark provides some excellent background on everything from Vikings to old-fashioned children's toys! The Royal Library Gardens are a haven within the city and perfect for a picnic in nice weather, and the stunning Nyhavn is a must for a boat tour of the city.

Several palaces within the city demonstrate royal culture through the ages, and don't miss visiting a church or two - some favorites are climbing the exterior of Church of Our Savior or seeing the famous Carrera marble sculptures of Jesus Christ and the Twelve Apostles at Church of Our Lady.

Finally, no trip to Copenhagen would be complete without a trip to Tivoli Gardens - get ready to either ride or simply wander, but be sure to see the amusement park that inspired Disney!

Where to stay?

Scandi homes are famous around the world for their minimalist style and classic functionality, so this is a perfect place to try out a home stay instead of a traditional hotel. Consider staying just outside the downtown area for a more residential feel, and make use of the efficient and convenient public transit system to visit the sites. Wherever you stay, be sure to take some time to observe the chic and peaceful lifestyle of this incredible city on the water.

Learn more here from Local Passport Family

Budapest, Hungary

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By Tavia Carlson

Why go? 

Budapest is not only rich in history, but it is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.  This city is often overlooked and underrated by mass tourism, but it should not be missed.  The Hungarian people are welcoming and friendly.  You will find a piece of history at every turn in Budapest; from underground ancient ruins to left over bistros from the Soviet Era.

Where to go and what to do? 

Do not miss Budapest’s Easter or Christmas Markets; they are rich in Hungarian culture and food.  While visiting the city, you can’t miss a dip in of the famous thermal baths.  Also if you’re looking for some epic photos, head up to Fisherman’s Bastion for views of Parliament across the river. If you’re looking for a drink, head to the Old District and sip on cocktails inside the city’s famous Ruin Bars.  If you’re on a budget, jump in on one of Budapest’s FREE walking tours!

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Where to stay? 

We chose to stay in an Airbnb right outside the doors of St. Stephen’s Basilica.  We were able to snag a 3 bedroom, 2 bath apartment for less than $100 per night.  However, some excellent hotel choices are: D8Hotel, Hotel Victoria Budapest, or Carlton Hotel Budapest.

Learn more from Big Brave Nomad. 

Paris, France

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By Vanessa Raine Hunt

Why go?

If you ask my kids what their favorite city is, they’ll most likely tell you Paris. While we can always find something amazing to do with kids in every city, Paris makes it so easy for us to have a good time.

What I love most about Paris with kids is the fact that anything kid-friendly seems so magical. Maybe it’s just because it’s in Paris, but it really does feel that way. You can find a good mix of fun and whimsy alongside culture and class.

Where to go and what to do?

One of the most delightful things about Paris for kids is the fact that there are beautiful carousels all around the city. It makes each sightseeing stop a delight for kids. Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, ride a carousel, tour the Louvre, ride a carousel! What could be more fun? There are old fashioned carousels and also some fun ones with interesting things to ride, like bicycles and motorcycles, which my boys love.

Another thing that makes Paris an amazing city for kids is all the public parks and gardens that are accessible and free to the public. But not only do they have enclosed playgrounds, but also trampoline parks, pony rides, puppet shows, giant swings, oh and of course, more carousels!

If that all sounds like way too much fun for you, there are also many educational things to do in Paris with kids! Many museums are free for kids, and attractions always have discounted children’s fares.

Learn more from Wanderlust Crew.

Rome, Italy

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by Marta Correale

Why go?

A wonderful city to visit with kids is beautiful Rome. The Eternal City is special for all visitors and particularly impressive for little ones and their parents: here they find endless opportunities for sightseeing, beautiful inner city parks and copious amounts of pizza and gelato – it is the perfect mix!

Where to go and what to do?

Rome is generous of sightseeing opportunities. The most famous attraction in the city is the Colosseum, always a hit with kids thanks to its immense size and gladiator stories. Nearby, you have the equally impressive forum and the famous Trevi fountain, into which you must throw a coin to be guarantee a return trip to Rome.

Curious travelers will love the Pantheon, dating back to Roman times and with a peculiar ‘hole’ in its roof and kids who keep count of the countries they visited will love to tick off one more as they cross the international border into the Vatican, a city within the city. If rain hits, kids and adults can stay dry in Explora, Rome’s children museums with attractions suitable from babies to teenagers.

Where to stay?

The best area to stay in Rome is the area around the Pantheon, in the city centre. This location is great for sightseeing as it puts you in close proximity to all attractions and allows you to walk around, rather than rely on Rome’s busy public transport system. A great and reasonable priced hotel for families is Hotel Le Clarisse al Pantheon, which has great family rooms and even apartments to suit most needs.

Learn more from Mama Loves Rome.

London, England

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by Leona Wandermust

Why go?

London to me is the best city in the world for a city break, especially if you are travelling with kids! London has everything to offer: great museums and cultural attractions, fantastic theatre and lots of history to immerse yourself in. It really has something for every type of traveller!

Where to go and what to do?

Their museums are a great option for those travelling on a budget as most are free and have some of the best exhibits in the world! Other cultural lists include the Tower of London, the changing of the guard at Buckingham palace and the London eye at the top of the iceberg! 

Where to stay?

It is a city that is easy to get around with the underground and the easy to use bus system! Saying this, I recommend staying centrally to make the most out of your trip! There are some great luxury options such as One Aldwych, as well as more budget accommodations like Premier Inn!

Learn more from the Wandermust Family.

Sevilla, Spain

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by Tanya Raedeke

Why go?

Maybe this city is more for big kids like me, but we loved Sevilla because it was so easy to get around by foot. Eating itself is an experience, especially in the old neighborhoods. Lots of cool history here, plus flamenco dancing!

Steep yourself in culture, and take fantastic road trips to smaller towns like Nerja on the coast for some caving or snorkeling.

Where to go and what to do?

Immerse yourself in the Royal Alcazar, the royal palace and the gardens. Find Christoper Columbus’s tomb in the world’s largest Gothic church. Stumble upon a free flamenco show, plus beautiful fountains and sculptures on the Plaza de Espana. Get lost in the Barrio Santa Cruz neighborhood and pause for an afternoon coffee. Live like a local and stroll the paseo after hopping between tapas bars, and so much more!

Consider using Sevilla as your hub to visit more of Andalucia - the south of Spain.

Where to stay?

We loved staying in a 5 bedroom city flat just minutes walk from city centro. Check out our cool vacation home rental here.

Learn more about visiting Sevilla here:

Which of these US, European, or Asia cities have you already visited and which ones would you add to the list?

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