Looking for the best things to do in Nice?
Well, you’ve come to the right place. I live in Nice and during my time here, I have had the chance of exploring the city quite well.
From festivals, cultural activities, hikes, and many day trip possibilities, there’s always a lot going on in and around here.
In this guide, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive list of activities and attractions to explore during your stay in the beautiful city of Nice.
Summary: Top 5 experiences to have in Nice
Short on time? These are the top 5 experiences to have in Nice:
Keep reading for a more detailed list of things to do and places to visit.
35 Best things to do in Nice, France
1- Walk along Promenade des Anglais
The Promenade des Anglais is the most iconic street in Nice and it’s a must-see for any visitor.
This famous promenade is located along the Mediterranean Sea, offering spectacular views of the beach, the mountains, and the city.
Visitors can walk, bike, rollerblade, or jog along its length, or simply relax and enjoy a stroll.
Tip: The beach at the Promenade is rocky so make sure to have water shoes or sandals with you.
2- Enjoy some delicious Niçoise food
Niçoise cuisine is one of the most famous regional cuisines in France, and it’s a must-try when visiting Nice. From socca, ratatouille, pissaladiere, and other specialties, you can find some of the best dishes here.
For an authentic experience, head to one of the city’s many traditional restaurants like Chez Pipo, La Merenda, and Le Bistrot.
You can also visit the local markets to sample some of the freshest ingredients used in Niçoise cooking or go on a food walking tour (which we highly recommend!).
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3- Contemplate art and enjoy the garden at Musée Chagall
Although the Musée Chagal is undoubtedly incredible (it contains an impressive collection of works of art by famous artist Marc Chagall), it’s not just the permanent collection that makes this museum worth a visit.
The grounds themselves are quite beautiful, with a tranquil garden space and a wonderful cafe (which is one of our absolute favorites in Nice!).
Even if you don’t have the time to take in the entire museum, it’s worth a quick stroll through its stunning gardens.
Cost: From 8 à 10 €
Hours: 10:00 am – 5 pm (closed on Tuesdays)
Website: Musée Marc Chagall
4- Visit Castle Hill for panoramic views of Nice
For one of the best views over Nice and its surroundings, head up to Castle Hill (Colline du Château).
This hilltop landmark offers breathtaking views of the city port, Vieux Nice, and the Mediterranean Sea. It’s also a great place to exercise or have a scenic picnic.
Hours: From 8:30 am to 6:00 pm in winter and from 8:30 am to 8 pm in summer. The park is open seven days a week.
Guided tour: Walking Tour of Old Nice and Castle Hill
5- Visit Place Massena, the city’s main square
Place Massena is the main square of Nice, located in the center of town. It’s a popular meeting point for locals and tourists alike, with Fountain du Soleil at its center.
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Surrounding the square are some of the most famous landmarks in Nice, including the Palais de la Prefecture, the Opera de Nice, and the Cathédrale Sainte-Réparate.
The square is also full of restaurants, cafés, bars, and shops for visitors to explore.
Learn more: Place Massena – A Guide to Nice’s Main Square
Hours: Open 24 hours a day
7- See Cathedrale Orthodoxe Russe St Nicolas
The Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Nicholas is an impressive example of religious architecture in Nice.
This stunning church, located in the neighborhood of Cimiez, was built in 1903.
9- Have lunch on the beach
One of our favorite things to do in Nice on a sunny day is to have lunch on the beach.
On the Promenade des Anglais, you’ll find a variety of restaurants and cafes offering traditional Niçoise cuisine and other specialties.
Blue Beach, La Baieta, and Le Temps d’un Été are just some of the restaurants with delicious dishes and tables literally on the beach.
Grab some fresh seafood or a sandwich at one of these spots, then sit back and enjoy your meal while admiring the views of the Mediterranean Sea.
10- Go shopping in Jean-Medecin
Jean Medicin is Nice’s main shopping street, located in the city center.
It features a variety of stores and boutiques selling everything from clothes to books to souvenirs.
The pedestrian-only shopping area is bustling with locals and tourists alike, making it an ideal spot for some retail therapy.
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11 – Make your own perfume at Molinard
Molinard is one of Nice’s oldest and most famous perfume makers.
The Molinard store offers visitors the chance to create their own unique fragrance with the help of a professional perfumer.
During the experience, guests learn about the history of perfumes and how they are made. In the end, they can take home a bottle of their personalized scent!
Website: Molinard’s website
12 – Explore the Cote d’Azur on a day trip
The French Riviera (also known as the Cote d’Azur) is one of the most beautiful regions in France. and thankfully the city of Nice is heaven when it comes to day trips.
13- Take a cooking class
Discover the flavors of Nice with a cooking class.
These classes are perfect for foodies and aspiring chefs alike, as they offer an in-depth look at local cuisine.
During the class, participants learn how to make traditional Niçoise and Mediterranean dishes such as ratatouille or Socca (a chickpea flatbread).
The experience wraps up with a delicious meal that you can enjoy with your chef and classmates.
14 – Explore one of the region’s wineries
Nice is surrounded by some of France’s best wineries. Take a day trip to explore one of the vineyards and learn about the local wine-making process.
Many of the wineries offer tours and tastings, as well as onsite restaurants where you can enjoy a traditional Provencal meal. There are also many opportunities to purchase bottles of your favorite wines to take home with you.
15 – Try your luck at The Casino Ruhl
Located near the beach, Casino Ruhl offers guests an exciting night out filled with gaming, entertainment, and dining.
At the casino, visitors can play a variety of games such as roulette, blackjack, and slots. There are also regular shows and events to enjoy throughout the night.
16 – Buy fresh produce from Marché aux Fleurs in Cours Saleya
Cours Saleya is a large open-air market in Nice’s Old Town. Every morning, vendors set up stalls selling fresh produce, flowers, and other local goods.
Wander through the market to take in the vibrant sights and smells of fresh fruits and vegetables.
17 – Relax on Nice’s beaches
Nice has several great beaches for soaking up the sunshine or taking a dip in the Mediterranean Sea.
Plage de la Promenade des Anglais is one of the most popular spots, thanks to its prime location along Nice’s famous seafront promenade.
For something quieter, head east towards Villefranche-sur-Mer. There you will find several beaches in a tranquil bay that features crystal clear waters for swimming.
18 – Explore Musée Matisse
Pay a visit to the Musée Matisse, located in Nice’s Cimiez district.
The museum is dedicated to the work of French artist Henri Matisse, who lived and worked in Nice for many years.
Inside the museum, you’ll find an impressive collection of paintings and sculptures by Matisse as well as other artworks from his contemporaries.
Cost: 10 euros
Hours: Open daily except Tuesday. From November 1st to April 30th: open from 10 am to 5 pm. From May 2nd to October 31st: open from 10 am to 6 pm
Website: Musée Matisse
19 – See the Nice Cathedral
Nice Cathedral, located in the heart of Nice’s Old Town, is an impressive example of Gothic architecture.
The building was constructed in the 13th century and features a large rose window and an intricately carved facade.
Inside the cathedral, visitors can admire artworks such as altarpieces and sculptures dating back to the 16th century.
There are also some stunning stained-glass windows that make for stunning photo opportunities.
20- Have a drink at the Negresco
The Negresco is an iconic hotel located on the seafront promenade in Nice.
The building has been a landmark since 1913 and is known for its grand Renaissance-style architecture.
Head to Negresco’s bar for a unique experience – you can enjoy creative cocktails surrounded by luxurious decor without breaking the bank.
21- Take a cruise to Villefranche Bay
Villefranche Bay is a beautiful part of the Mediterranean coastline that can be found just east of Nice.
Take a boat ride along the bay and soak up some incredible views, including the terracotta rooftops of Villefranche-sur-Mer and the St Jean Cap Ferrat peninsula.
22 – Get lost in Vieux Nice
Vieux Nice, or Old Nice, is a quaint neighborhood located in the heart of the city. It’s filled with colorful pastel buildings, winding alleyways, and small boutiques to explore.
For a taste of local history, take some time to wander through Vieux Nice and you’re sure to stumble upon a hidden gem or two.
23- Train Experience Through The Alps and Baroque Route
Looking for an epic day trip?
Then go on a unique train journey through the breathtaking Alps and Baroque Route.
During this experience, you will stop in the most picturesque villages, and discover very surprising hidden treasures, being astonished as well by the landscapes, medieval villages & baroque treasures of the Baroque Route.
24- Go on a Segway sightseeing tour
For a unique way to explore Nice, take a Segway sightseeing tour.
This tour provides an exciting and interactive experience as you zip around the city on two wheels.
Cruise along the Promenade des Anglais or weave your way through Nice’s old town streets as you get up close to the city’s sights and sounds.
25- Catch the ferry to Sainte Marguerite Island
Take a tranquil journey across the Gulf of Cannes and visit Sainte Marguerite Island. The island is home to a stunning national park, as well as some fascinating historical attractions.
Some of the most popular activities on this beautiful island are exploring the remains of the 17th-century Fort Royal, enjoying the beach, visiting Musée du Masque de Fer et du Fort Royal, or going scuba-diving and seeing the underwater sculptures by Jason deCaires Taylor.
Learn more: A guide to Saint Marguerite Island
26- Shop at Galeries Lafayette
Galeries Lafayette is a sophisticated shopping center located within Place Massena. It has several options of stores offering high-end fashion, beauty, and home items.
It is a great place to explore on a lazy afternoon or even a rainy day.
Hours: Open daily from 10 am to 8 pm.
27- Go on a pub crawl
On my first week in Nice, I went on a pub crawl and had the best time, so I highly recommend it if you like going out and meeting interesting new people.
There are plenty of lively bars to explore in the city, with everything from traditional French pubs to modern nightclubs.
Get ready to mix and mingle with locals and travelers alike as you hop from one bar to the next!
28- Take the ferry to St Tropez
Take a day trip to the glamorous seaside resort of St Tropez.
Hop on a ferry from Nice‘s port and cruise around the coast, admiring views of the French Riviera as you go.
Once you arrive in St Tropez, explore its charming harbor, visit pristine beaches, or shop for unique souvenirs at one of its many boutiques.
29- Explore Lascaris Palace
The Palais Lascaris is one of Nice’s most impressive historical landmarks and surprisingly, a bit of a hidden gem.
It was built in 1648 by an Italian noble family who had settled in France at the time. Today, it is open to the public and houses an impressive museum, filled with antiques, musical instruments, and paintings from the 17th century.
Hours: From 10 am to 6 pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
30- Visit Musée Massena
Musée Masséna Museum is a vast and unique history museum that celebrates the life of the city.
It offers a wealth of artifacts and historical treasures in interactive displays and extensive galleries. The exhibits tell the story of the city’s reattachment to France in the Belle Epoque period and its subsequent growth in the arts, culture, commerce, and industry.
31 – Hike Sentier du Litoral to Villefranche-sur-Mer
For some of the best coastal views in Nice, take a hike along Sentier du Litoral. The trail runs from Nice to Villefranche-sur-Mer and offers spectacular panoramas of the French Riviera.
The hike is easy and well worth it – you’ll end up in Villefranche-sur-Mer, a charming little town with plenty of restaurants and cafes to explore.
32- Watch a spectacle at the Opera de Nice
If you’re looking for an evening of culture, head to the Opera de Nice. This historic building opened in 1888 and has been entertaining audiences ever since with its world-renowned performances.
From ballets to operas, the Opera de Nice offers something for everyone – make sure to check out their lineup before visiting.
Website: Opera de Nice
33- Have a nice cup of coffee in a café
When in France, it is important to take some time to sit down á la parisien (facing the street) and just enjoy the moment.
Some of our favorite cafés in Nice are Caffe Vergnano, Cafe de France and Cafe Frei.
34- Explore the antique market on Cours Saleya on Mondays
On Mondays, a huge and beautiful antique market takes place in Cours Saleya in the place of Marché aux Fleurs.
It is a wonderful place for finding unique clothes, decoration items, and books.
35- Visit Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
This absolutely stunning villa is very easy to reach from Nice and is so worth the visit.
Best free things to do in Nice
- Walk Promenade des Anglais
- Walk up Castle Hill
- Explore Vieux Nice
- See Nice’s Cathedral
- Visit the Cours Saleya Market
- Explore Place Massena
- Go for a Swim in the Mediterranean Sea
- Hike Sentier du Litoral
- Stroll along Cimiez Gardens and Monastery.
- Visit Liberation
- See the sunset
Best things to do in Nice with kids
- Playground at Castle Hill
- Muséum d’Histoire naturelle de Nice
- Enjoy at the beach
- Ride a bike along the Promenade
- Go on a day trip to Éze
Best things to do in Nice at night
- Dance at Wayne’s Bar
- Have a drink at Waka bar
- Go on a pub-crawl
- Have dinner at one of the restaurants in Cours Saleya
- Party the night away at the High Club
Best things to do in Nice when it rains
- Shop at Galeries Lafayette
- Nice Etoile Shopping Center
- Visit a nice café
- Walk around and see Nice from a unique perspective
- Visit the museums
- Enjoy a glass of wine in a bar
These are just some of the most popular things to do in Nice. With so much to see and do, it’s no wonder why this beautiful city is one of the top tourist destinations in France.
Nice Travel Guide and FAQ
Is Nice safe for tourists?
Nice is a beautiful and fascinating city to explore, but it can also be a bit intimidating to travelers who are unaware of its safety ratings.
Thankfully, Nice is overall considered quite safe for tourists – though it may be wise to take caution in certain areas at night, especially near the train station.
What is the best time to visit Nice?
Although a lot of people will tell you to visit Nice during summer, we absolutely believe that Nice is worth visiting all year round (I am personally very fond of Nice in the Fall as it attracts fewer crowds while still having amazing weather.
What are the best places to stay in Nice, France?
There are many good areas to stay in Nice, depending on what type of experience you are looking for. The most popular areas for tourists to stay in Nice are the Promenade des Anglais, Vieux Ville, and Carré d’Or.
Some hotels that we highly recommend include:
What is the best way to get around Nice?
The most practical way to get around Nice is by walking as it allows you to experience the city in a much more meaningful way.
Additionally, Nice has an efficient public transport system which consists of busses and trams.
You can also use the hop-on hop-off bus for easy access to all the main areas in Nice.
What is Nice France known for?
Nice is known for its stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea, its beautiful promenade lined with palm trees and art deco buildings, the lovely old town of Vieux Nice, and for being a great place to relax by the sea.
It is considered a great base for exploring the French Riviera. Additionally, it’s well known for its vibrant nightlife, delicious food scene, and vibrant shopping opportunities.
How many days do you need for Nice?
The amount of days you need for Nice depends on your interests and preferences. If your main focus is sightseeing, then 3-4 days in Nice should be enough to cover the major attractions (although if necessary you can also do a lot in one day in Nice!).
However, if you are looking to go on day trips and see more of what the riviera has to offer, then anything from a week to 15 days would be ideal.
Is Nice worth visiting?
Yes, definitely! Nice is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and has something to offer for all types of travelers.
Whether you are looking for culture, history, or nightlife or just want to relax by the beach – Nice has it all.
Conclusion: Best things to do in Nice
We hope this guide has answered your questions about the best activities in Nice, France.
If you have any additional questions or tips for other travelers about what to do in Nice, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment below. Happy exploring!
Oh! And if you are visiting the South of France soon, follow my Instagram for more hidden gems and travel tips. Happy travels!