Rome can be tons of fun to visit with older children! There’s amazing food and stunning art and architecture. You can find historical and cultural experiences around every corner. If you want some great ideas for fun things to do on your family vacation to Rome with teenagers, keep reading!
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Is Rome good for teenagers?
No matter what your teenager enjoys doing on vacation, we are sure they will find plenty to love about Rome. With everything from historical museums and monuments to fun tours with locals, this ancient city offers endless opportunities for exploration.
Famous Sights to See in Rome Italy with teenagers
You don’t have to leave the city center to find fascinating historical sites, and there are even some attractions that are easy to reach from the city. These are some of our favorite options for the best things to do in Rome with teenagers.
The Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill
In the heart of Rome, you’ll find the Colosseum, one of the most iconic ancient ruins in the world! Across from the Colosseum are the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, where you’ll find many more famous Renaissance-era structures.
You’ll need to purchase tickets with a time slot for the Colosseum in advance. When you do, you’ll also have access to the nearby Roman Forum and Palatine Hill for no extra cost. Plan to spend at least half a day exploring these archaeological treasures.
The Vatican is a fascinating place to visit. It’s a tiny country that’s run by the Catholic Church and the Pope. You can book guided tours of the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Gardens, and the Vatican museums, or buy tickets and just walk around.
Even though they’re part of the Vatican, St Peter’s Basilica and St. Peter’s Square are outside of the Vatican walls. So, if you can just walk up to them for a visit instead of going through the process of entering the Vatican itself if you want. The church is free to visit, but you’ll wait in line to get inside!
Another fun thing teens might enjoy is climbing to the top of the dome in St. Peter’s Basilica. Tickets can be purchased in advanced.
The Castel Sant’Angelo is a breathtaking round structure towering over the River Tiber. It was built as a mausoleum for a Roman Emperor in the 2nd century AD. It’s had many lives, from being a refuge where members of the Vatican hid, to being a prison and execution site, and more.
Today you can walk through halls covered in murals and admire stunning bronze statues. There’s also a museum inside. Spend a day walking the floors or take tours with knowledgeable guides to hear stories from the castle’s different eras.
Rome has many fountains, but the Trevi Fountain is the largest and a must-see if your teen is interested in Roman art or architecture! The over 350-year-old fountain in the heart of the city is one of the most famous fountains in the world.
It’s in the middle of a beautiful, colorful city square and accesses the 400-year-old aqueducts of ancient Rome. Enjoy the sights and throw a coin in the fountain. It’s said that doing so will ensure a return trip to Rome!
Just be prepared for crowds- the Trevi Fountain is a very popular tourist destination. We’d also recommend a quick stop at Piazza Navona to check out the fountains and sculptures there.
Villa Borghese Gardens
This sprawling public park is a lovely way to spend a day while also enjoying all kinds of old Roman landmarks. Until the 16th century, the grounds were the estate of a wealthy family, the Borgheses.
Today the park is filled with walkways, ponds, Roman fountains, lawns, and more.
You can visit centuries-old homes of famous popes and Roman archdukes or check out art museums in old structures.
Inside the Villa Borghese Gardens, you’ll also find the Bioparco, Rome’s zoo, as well as a cinema, and statues of Roman gods and goddesses. Rent row boats, ride bicycles, or grab a bite at one of the restaurants in the park.
An iconic landmark of ancient Rome is the famed Pantheon! It has probably the most recognizable and copied architecture in the world, and it’s a must-see. Walk through the breathtaking columns into the powerful rotunda.
Read plaques and learn about the history of the structure. It’s free to visit during the week, but on weekends and public holidays, you have to reserve a time slot with a guided tour or audio tour.
Americans might recognize the Spanish Steps from Roman Holiday where Audrey Hepburn eats gelato. You can visit the famous steps today, but don’t sit on the steps or try to eat there! Regardless, they’re lovely to experience and are usually full of visitors.
Explore the fountains and piazzas at the top and bottom of the steps. Or if you visit in the spring or at Christmas, you’ll find the steps decorated for the season!
For a fun stop, check out the McDonald’s adjacent to the steps. It’s said to be the one of the largest in Europe and it’s quite unique. If fast food isn’t you’re thing, grab a gelato at one of the nearby shops.
While there were once dozens of catacombs under the city, today there are 5 historic sites that you can visit. Christians and Jews of Ancient Rome once buried their dead in these reclaimed underground tombs because they didn’t believe in burning their dead as the Ancient Romans did.
It’s a bit creepy, but quite unique to walk through the dark passageways full of well-preserved graves and relics.
The most visited catacombs are south of the city center along Via Appia Antica. St. Domitilla has beautiful frescoes and some of the finest examples of early Christian art.
The catacombs of St. Callixtus run for miles under Roman streets and house the remains of 16 Catholic popes and close to 100 Christian martyrs. St. Sebastian catacombs are easy to pair with a visit to Callixtus.
Get out of the city and take a day trip to the coastal city of Ostia. Just 30-minutes south along the Tyrrhenian Sea are the remains of an ancient Roman harbor town!
The archeological site is a very large park where you can walk around, explore ruins, and observe excavation sites. There’s a restaurant and museum as well. Entrance is free up to age 18.
Fun Tours in Rome for families
I think the best way to see Rome Italy with the entire family is to take a tour! You can find excellent guides or take a self-guided tour. They’re a fun addition to any Rome itinerary.
City Walking Tour
A great way to check out Rome with teens is by joining a walking tour of the city with Walks of Italy! You can filter the best tours by ratings. Get descriptions and all the specs before you purchase.
Join a Rome in a Day tour where you’ll see all the big landmarks, like the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, and more. Or experience the Colosseum at night with a fabulous 3-hour VIP tour!
They say that the best way to learn about a culture is through its food. Take a 4-hour tour of the city center to taste the best pizza, mozzarella, wine, gelato, and more!
Or try some good food at 5 different stops while you explore city landmarks on an e-bike after dark!
Street Art Tour
A great way to get away from the crowds and experience contemporary Italian culture is to go on a private street art tour. Spend a few hours exploring the district of Pigneto or the Ostiense district with a local guide.
Learn how art installations and murals by local artists as well as international ones are being used as part of an endeavor to revitalize Rome’s old industrial neighborhoods. The modern and very European neo-realist art will be of interest to the art lover in your family!
A Segway tour is super fun and popular with all ages since you only need to be 16 to use one! Get a quick lesson and a helmet, then head into the city center for a 3-hour, 9-stop tour of the city.
It’s a great way to get the best views of the city in a shorter period of time with lots of great information from a knowledgeable guide.
Take a fun 90-minute walk through Rome at night when you go on a ghost tour. Use a divining rod and hear haunted tales of ancient and modern Rome alike as you stop at 8 different destinations. This is a fun way to see the city when it’s less crowded!
See the famous sights of Rome but from a Vespa! Enjoy the privacy of an audio tour of the city. You can choose to share your Vespa with a partner or go solo. The 3-hour tour will guide you all over the city center as you listen to fascinating information about each site.
For a good time on your family trip to Rome, take a gelato tour of the city! A true Roman will take you to several quality gelaterias across the city.
While you learn about the culinary and historical importance of gelato (Italian ice cream), try a variety of types, as well as sorbet and granita.
Active Things to do in Rome with Teens
Rome has mild Mediterranean weather and is located in central Italy near the Tyrrhenian Sea. Its hilly terrain makes for amazing outdoor experiences that make for a unique way to see the city and surrounding area.
Scroll down for some great ideas that your teen (and the whole family) will love!
Bike ride Appian Way
An excellent way to mix things up and see the historic ancient Roman road is to rent bikes and ride the Appian Way! This stretch of road was built over 2000 years ago by the Romans and was as much of a marvel then as it is today.
The road features original stones so it can be pretty rough and bumpy. Make sure your crew is comfortable on a bike!
I suggest starting just south of the Parco dell’Appia Antica. There’s a cafe near the start of the 4-mile stretch of road and you’ll pass cool old buildings and ride through more residential areas of Rome.
The Appian Way is open every day to cyclists, but if anyone is skittish about riding between cars, stick to Sundays. That’s when the road is closed to automobiles.
Zip line in Rome
About an hour southeast of Rome is Rocca Massima, which boasts the longest one-flight zipline in the world! The rolling hills in central Italy and the stunning countryside make for excellent ziplining.
This isn’t just any old zipline, though! It reaches speeds up to 160-miles-per-hour! Book with Flying in the Sky and you’ll get a safety lesson. There’s a restaurant at the zipline site, and if you wish, you can explore the village of Rocca Massima before you head back to Rome.
Rafting the River Tiber is a different way to see the city. Enjoy an easy rapids trip while you take in views of Rome from the water. Tour guides will give you interesting information about the city and its fascinating history as you ride the strong river current.
Get off the streets of Rome and explore the countryside in a new way. Take a kayaking tour with an educated guide and learn about the surrounding area in fun and creative ways!
A kayak tour of Lake Albano allows you to explore the peaceful lake and its ancient Roman history. Then, relax on the sandy banks of the lake or walk through the village of Albano for a food tasting!
More Places to Explore in Ancient Rome with teens
Have fun at a classic tourist trap or do some high-end or souvenir shopping! You can find all kinds of fun ways to see Rome with your teenagers!
One of the best things to do in Rome with teens is shop! From high-end boutiques and big luxury brands to vintage resale shops and handmade artisan shops, you can find everything near the Spanish Steps.
Head down Via Dei Condotti for leather goods and the biggest names in fashion. Walk down Via Frattina for delicious street cafes in between cafes and jewelry stores.
Or head to the shopping mall, Porta di Roma, for a great deal on all the brands you love, as well as Italian brands!
High tea in Rome
Afternoon tea in Rome is a big deal. You can find it at any cafe, but the best places are specialized tea houses.
I suggest taking a short walk from the Spanish Steps to the famous Babington Tea House. Enjoy a full afternoon English tea service just off the Piazza di Spagna at a 125-year-old tea house.
Take a kid-friendly tour of the Colosseum and then don gladiator clothing and weapons to learn how to fight like a gladiator.
It’s a cool, hands-on way to learn about this historically significant ritual and it’s role in ancient Rome.
Pizza or pasta making class
Rome is a great place to learn about the art of pasta making. Kids and adults alike will love learning how to make 10 different pasta shapes with a real chef while they discover the process that goes into fresh pasta creation.
Then make the sweetheart of Italian food, an Italian Neapolitan pizza! You’ll walk through how to make it yourself in a real wood-fired oven! Finally, you’ll get to eat what you make and top it off with Italian tiramisu.
Vigamus Video Game Museum
Visit Italy’s only video game museum in the heart of Rome. Your family will love walking through exhibits of gaming consoles, computer games, and other gear through the years. Play in gaming rooms of your choice or try out a vintage arcade game!
Play in the VR room or walk through exhibits based on popular games like Witcher or Sonic the Hedgehog. You can also visit the gift shop and bookstore for game-related buys.
Roma or Lazio soccer game
Young adults who love soccer (or football in Europe) will be fascinated by the intense rivalry between Roma and Lazio fans! These two clubs have represented the city for over a century.
Both teams’ fans are very loyal and have strong opinions about one another. So when Roma and Lazio compete at their home base of the Stadio Olimpico, it can be quite the show!
You can attend a game with only one of the teams, but I suggest attending a rival game between the two, which happens often. You can buy tickets at the stadium, or online in advance.
Things You Can Do at Home but Also in Rome
A European holiday with teens can be an amazing opportunity to bond as a family. Take the opportunity to take it easy and do something familiar!
Do something beloved and familiar. Head to a movie. There are about a dozen movie theaters of all kinds just in the city center alone.
Spots like Cine Detour show movies and documentaries in both Italian and English in a cozy vintage setting.
Or head a little north to Cinema Rome, a classic multiplex showing all the latest movies in English.
If your family is a fan of escape rooms, Rome has you covered! There are several highly rated escape room companies in Rome. Do prison breaks and crazy doctor-themed rooms at Adventure Rooms.
Or figure out Magic Escape’s rooms with magical themes like Harry Houdini and witches’ potions. Just keep in mind that some of Rome’s escape rooms are pretty intensely themed, which might be better for older kids.
For a traditional bowling alley experience, check out Bowling Roma Tiam or Bowling Brunswick. Both alleys have 10 lanes, a small fee for a ball and shoes, music, and a bar with food.
Bowling Roma Tiam has a buffet, and Bowling Brunswick also has mini-golf!
If you have some free time, especially during Rome’s hot summers, head to Hydromania. Rome’s only waterpark has over 200 acres of water rides, family-friendly pools and slides, a kids club, and more.
Enjoy restaurants, shops, shows, and even aerobics classes! It’s open May through September and costs a small fee.
How Will You Explore Rome with Your Teens?
There are many ways you can enjoy Rome with teenagers! You can see amazing historical locations or go on a fun guided tour. There are fantastic tourist attractions that will pique the interest of every member of the family. And a Rome vacation is simply a beautiful way to spend time together!