The Best of Basel for Families
Updated: Jul 1, 2021
Basel is a charming city perched perfectly on the Rhine River. The city has roughly 175,000 residents, making it the ideal urban oasis for families, businesses and travelers. If you are in the city and looking to make the most of your visit, listed below we highlight some of our favorites. Have a beautiful visit!
Taking a ferry across the Rhine is an authentic experience and a great way to witness the city from a new perspective. The ferries are open from 11:00 - 17:00 during the week, but only when the weather is good. There are currently four operating ferries. One located in the St. Alban area of Basel, one in the St. Johann area, another just below the Münster and the final ferry is located at Klingental. The cost of a one - way ticket is only 1.60 CHF and we promise, you won't be disappointed with this experience. For more detailed information, please visit: ferries.
Museum: Natural History Museum Basel
Our top pick for a child - friendly museum in Basel is the Natural History Museum. This is one museum that truly brings history, nature and animals to life for children of all ages. Check - out their latest exhibit, which is entitled, "Earth at Its Limits," which will run until July 3, 2021. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday (closed on Monday) from 10:00 - 17:00. To find out about the latest exhibits, information on birthday parties, and admission cost, please visit: museum.
Basel playgrounds are incredible. Despite its urban location, the city's playgrounds offer ample green space in stunning locations. Our top picks for playgrounds are Schützenmattpark and Kannenfeldpark.
Schützenmattpark – Bachletten 4054
This park ideal for the entire family. With swings, slides and a small play area for young children, this park is great for lounging on the grass, swimming in the small pool, or digging in the sand. There is also a “track” of sorts for those inclined to run around the perimeter.
*This park has a café on site and pay toilets.
Kannenfeldpark – Burgfelderstrasse 75
This is hands down the most beautiful, enclosed parks in Basel and a true haven for lovers of green space. With several small play areas (which makes watching children very manageable) including swings, sand –pits, climbing parks and a pool, this is a great place to enjoy a full morning or day. Don't forget to search for the giant statue in the park. In the autumn, the park is full of chestnuts, which our children thoroughly enjoyed searching for when they were younger.
*This park has a café on site.
Basel is home to the Zoo Basel dating back to 1874. The zoo is classified as the oldest and largest (based on the number of animals in captivity) in Switzerland.
With a wonderful indoor aquarium, a newly constructed outdoor area for the gorillas (thank goodness), chimpanzees and orangutans, play areas for the children, an onsite restaurant, and a petting area; the zoo is a constant source entertainment for families. Accessible by trams 1 or 8 to stop “Zoo Bachletten” or trams 10 or 17 to the “Zoo” stop. The zoo is open daily, even on holidays, and costs CHF 21 per adult and children 6 to 15 pay CHF 10. The admission price is hefty, but if you plan to frequent the zoo, the family pass of just CHF 160 is a fabulous deal. For more information visit: zoo.
A Walking Tour of Basel with Basel's Hidden Stories - A book by Jeanne Darling
If you are looking for an exciting way to see some of Basel's most interesting locations and learn more about the rich history of the city, do yourself a favor and pick - up Jeanne Darling's book, Basel's Hidden Stories. This book brings the city to life for families of all ages. We recently completed multiple pages from the book with our children ages 8 and 11 and they were mesmerized. They were excited to search for clues and eager to learn more about Basel's history. This book is a must for visitors or residents and is available at most major bookstores in Basel. It makes a fabulous gift as well.
One of our favorite cafés in Basel is set in the tiny Andreasplatz courtyard. This little gem tucked away from the city is perfect for families. The outdoor space is vast, which allows children the opportunity to move around freely. The Holzofenbäckerei Bio Andreas serves up some delicious treats, including all bio products and a delightful lunch. The bonus of this location is its proximity to the Spielbrett toy store. What a win for the little people!
Walking through the open air market in Basel's Marktplatz is a feast for the senses. The market is open during the day and invites local vendors to sell flowers, vegetables, fruit, coffee and meals. This is a great way to take in Basel and makes for impressive photos!
If you are looking for specific points of interest, pop into the Tourist office located off of Barfüsserplatz.
Image: Basel Fasnacht during a non-Covid year.