Ho Chi Minh City For Kids

The ultimate guide to Ho Chi Minh City for kids: classes, activities, parks, sports, cafes, restaurants and experiences.

This list was compiled after our big world school adventure, where we found interesting activities to do in far-flung corners of the world. Now we’re home in Ho Chi Minh City again, we’re obsessed with experiences that can help us learn more about art, music, life and this wide wonderful worlds of ours.

This list is divided geographically, with a strong focus on District 2 because we live there. We haven’t had a chance to visit each and every place yet, but we are working on it! The places we haven’t visited yet have been recommended by friends.

 

District 1

Au Parc

Middle Eastern cafe-restaurant with a kids play area on the second floor. Great coffee, snacks and food.

23 Hàn Thuyên St, D1
Ph: 08 3829 2772
www.auparcsaigon.com

Board Game Station

A cafe kitted out with many board games.

21 Trinh Van Can St, D1
Ph: 0909 361 556
boardgamestation.vn

Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre

Water puppetry started in the Red River Delta north of Hanoi, so Hanoi is considered the home of this craft. However, the 50-minute show performed by the Golden Dragon team seems to be exactly the same as the one performed in Hanoi. It’s all in Vietnamese, and it can be confusing because there’s no plot, as such. The show is just scenes from Vietnamese daily life, mixing in the daily life of royalty and farmers.

55B Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St, D1
Ph: 08 3930 2196
Website was down at the time of publishing

 

Gymboree Play & Music

Classes in music, art, sports, school skills, and play and learn for ages 0 to 5. Two locations, in Districts 1 and 7.

1st floor, Somerset Chancellor Court, 21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St, D1
Ph: 08 3827 7008
gymboreeclasses.com.vn

Independence Palace

Sometimes called the Reunification Palace, or Dinh Độc Lập in Vietnamese, this is as much a testament to 1960s kitsch as it is to Vietnam’s recent history. For bigger kids, it’s a comic walk through shagadelic Asian decor, cool army bunkers and real-life tanks and fighter jets. For smaller kids, the playground out the back is the highlight.

135 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia St, D1
ditich.dinhdoclap.gov.vn

Don’t miss the playground behind the palace.

 

Nau Nau DIY Studio

A charming little studio that where you can make your own lip balm, body lotion, shampoo, scented candle, shower gel or soap. The focus is on the aromas and the fun of making and decorating your own product. Next door to a groovy cafe that overlooks Nguyen Hue walking street. Bookings essential.

5th floor, 42 Nguyen Hue St, D1
Ph: (08) 6281 3056
naunau.vn

Peek-a-Boo Cafe

A neat little cafe with a play area upstairs. Not much English spoken.

25/66 Nguyen Binh Khiem, D1
Ph: 08 2238 8884
www.facebook.com/peekaboocafe.com.vn

Saigon Street Eats’ Pho Trail morning walking tour

Yes, this is one of our tours, which we designed with the help of our then-three-year-old, who helped us work out the precise ratio of walking, talking, eating, jumping off ledges, touching things, finding kittens and bats, and running around like a rabid monkey. It is a long and hot tour, but it is designed with families in mind. (So we take care to point out the toilet stops. And how to stay alive while crossing the road.)

No address because we pick up from hotels in District 1 or 3, or meet in front of the Opera House
Ph: 0908 449 408
www.saigonstreeteats.com

September 23 Park (Cong Vien 23 Thang 9)

A long skinny park that follows the old railway line, this park has a great little playground for young kids.

1 Pham Ngu Lao St, D1

Star Kitchen

A Japanese cooking school with a range of kids classes.

2F 8/15 Le Thanh Ton St, D1
Ph: 0164 968 1044
star-kitchen.jp

Tao Dan Park

A large park with a great playground (can get crowded on weekends). The park is also home to the bird cafe, fountains, topiary animals, a mini Cham tower and open spaces that are used for tai chi, cheerleading practice, badminton, scout camps, ballroom dancing and aerobics.

Bounded by Cach Mang Thang Tam, Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Nguyen Du and Huyen Tran Cong Chua streets, D1

 

tiNiWorld Saigon Centre

Very large indoor play centre with many activities for small kids.

4th floor, Saigon Centre, 65 Le Loi St, D1
Ph: 0934 096 633
www.tiniworld.com

World Games

Arcade games and other amusements, inside the Vincom Center.

B2 (basement 2), Vincom Center, 72 Le Thanh Ton St, D1
Ph: 08 3993 9555
www.worldgames.vn

District 2

 

Arsenal Soccer Schools

Training, tournaments and holiday camps for ages four and up, Arsenal Soccer Schools has facilities in Districts 1, 2 and 7. Listing just the D2 address here.

8 Nguyen U Di, Thao Dien, D2
Ph: 0903 919 461
www.arsenalschools.vn

 

Bama Kids Cafe

An indoor playcentre/cafe with loads of toys and costumes for dress-ups.

Level 4, 41 Duong 41,  Thao Dien, D2
Ph: 08 8846 2262
www.facebook.com/BAMAKidsCafe

CaliKids

A kids gym offering gymnastics, dance, martial arts and yoga classes.

3rd Floor, Thao Dien Pearl
12 Quoc Huong St., Thao Dien, D2
Ph: (08) 7303 2999
www.calikids.com.vn

Dance Center

Dance classes for kids, teens and adults. Classes for kids include dance play, dance intro, jazz, ballet, hip hop, tap, acro and Zumba.

53 Nguyen Dang Giai
District 2, Thao Dien, D2
Ph: 08 3519 4490
www.dancentervn.com

 

DanceSpace

Kids and adult classes in ballet, jazz, hip hop, break dance, tap, salsa, belly dance, Afro dance,  traditional Vietnamese dance and Cuban percussion.

51 Hanoi Highway, District 2
Ph: 08 3744 6519
dancespacevn.com

Family Garden

A farm-in-the-city type of place, with a pond, rabbits, ducks and a little cafe-restaurant. The target market is Vietnamese, so it can be a bit confusing.

28 Thao Dien Street, Thao Dien, D2
Ph: 0913 662 887
familygarden.vn

 

JoyMax

Indoor play centre with a cafe area for parents.

218 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, D2

 

Jump Arena

Vietnam’s first trampoline park, with special sessions for toddlers, a junior jump zone for beginners and equipment for more advanced jumpers.

63 Hanoi Highway, Thao Dien, D2
Ph: 08 2253 1900
jumparena.vn

Let’s Move

Go-karts, inline skating and a kid’s play area.

199 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, District 2
Ph: 091 691 74 96
www.letsmovehcm.com

The Loop

Great cafe for breakfast, brunch or lunch, with a little kid’s play section at the back.

48 Thao Dien St, Thao Dien, D2
Ph: 0
www.theloop.vn

 

Mad House

Run by a Danish couple, Mad House is a fusion restaurant in a converted villa. Great burgers, Danish dishes, coffee and cocktails for the adults, a kids menu and a kids play room for the little monkeys. Expensive compared to street food but worth it if you need a splurge-y dinner with your kids in another room.

6/1/2 Nguyen U Di, Thao Dien, D2
Ph: 08 3519 4009
www.facebook.com/madsaigon

Mekong Merchant

Another popular expat hangout, Mekong Merchant has a kids play room with only a few toys. The centerpiece of the playroom is a big screen TV playing children’s movies and TV shows.

23 Thao Dien St, Thao Dien, D2
Ph: 08 3 744 7000
www.mekongmerchant.com

My Gym Saigon

Music, dance, gymnastics and sports for children aged 0 to 13. School holiday programs also available.

8 Nguyen U Di St, Thao Dien, D2
Ph: 090 388 71 66
www.facebook.com/pg/mygymsaigon

 

 

Saigon Outcast

For older kids and the forever-young, Saigon Outcast is an outdoor entertainment and event complex with a skateboard tube (and a few worn skateboards to borrow) and Saigon’s highest climbing wall, operated by Push Climbing. Saigon Outcast hosts life drawing classes on Tuesday evenings, outdoor cinema sessions on Thursday evenings and farmers markets and live music on weekends.

188/1 Nuyen Van Huong, D2
Ph: 0902 365 780
saigonoutcast.com

 

Snap Cafe

Hugely popular with the expat crowd, Snap Cafe has a little something for everyone. For the kids, there’s a kids menu, friendly staff and an outdoor playground, with slides, swings, climbing frames and a little doll house. For the adults, there’s live music, a pool table, a book exchange, a fully stocked bar and a menu with a myriad of options including salads, burgers, pizzas and Mexican and Vietnamese food.

32 Tran Ngoc Dien St, Thao Dien, D2
Ph: 08 3519 4532
www.facebook.com/TheSnapCafe/

Snow Town

A cool indoor snow-themed play centre that occupies three floors of an apartment building.

125 Dong Van Cong Street, Thanh My Loi Ward, D2
Ph: 0902 823 778
www.snowtownsaigon.com

Socio Muso

Music and drama activities for kids aged four and up. As well as classes, Socio Music runs after-school programs and summer musical theatre camps.

www.sociomuso.com

Sweet + Sour

Cupcake cafe full of adorable party supplies. Cute dolls house for kids and a well-stocked champagne fridge for the parents.

9 Ngo Quang Huy St, Thao Dien, D2
Ph: 08 3519 1568
sweetandsour.vn

 

Cupcakes and coffee at Sweet + Sour

 

tiNiWorld Vincom Mega Mall Thao Dien

Indoor play centre

4th floor, Vincom Mega Mall Thao Dien,  61, Hanoi highway, Thao Dien, D2
Ph: 0901 313 80
www.tiniworld.com

Trung Tâm Âm Nhạc Armuli (Armuli Music School)

A lovely new piano and art school run by Ms Thanh, who speaks quite good English. There are regular small group classes, or you can just drop in for an impromptu piano lesson.

22 Duong 34 (off Tran Nao), Binh An, D2
Ph: 097 604 01 37
facebook.com/trehocpiano

Vertical Academy

Indoor rock climbing, with regular classes.

18-20 Truc Duong (duong so 3), Lang Bao Chi, Thao Dien, D2
Ph: 08 6281 9248
vertical-academy.com

VinPearl Land Ice Rink

A small indoor ice skating rink on the fifth floor of the Vincom Mega Mall Thao Dien. It can get crowded on weekends and holidays. Skates and animal-shaped skating aids are available for hire.

Vincom Mega Mall, 159 Hanoi Highway, D2
thaodien.vinpearlland.com/en/portfolio/vinpearlland-ice-rink

VinSpace

Art classes and camps for kids throughout the year. The gallery hosts regular exhibitions and art classes for adults (a canvas and wine class anyone?).

6 Le Van Mien St, Thao Dien, D2
Ph: 08 3519 4581
www.vin-space.com

WeeWee Family Cafe

A family-friendly cafe with an indoor playground.

13 Street 10, Thao Dien, D2
Ph: 0983 799 737
www.facebook.com/weeweecafe

Yoga Mamas

A yoga studio with an air-conditioned room (with a nanny service) for babies and toddlers.

Ph: 0169 359 6623
www.facebook.com/yogamamassaigon

 

District 4

KizCiti

A theme park where kids need to “work” to earn pretend money. Jobs include airline pilot, pediatrician, fire fighter and delivery person. The more difficult jobs usually generate the pretend money, which can be spent on the “fun” activities, such as being a fashion model.

Khanh Hoi Park Compound, Hoang Dieu St, D4
Ph: (08) 3825 3868
kizciti.vn

District 7

Artinus

Clever optical illusion paintings on the walls and floor of the gallery allow you to create amazing photos that will puzzle your friends and family.

2-4 Duong So 9, Khu đô thị Him Lam, D7
Ph: 08 6298 3767
artinusvn.com

 

That’s my two-year-old trip-trapping over the dangerous bridge!

 

Bee Bee Premium Cafe

Indoor play centre with a toys, sand pit, and a trampoline. Kids’ playtime is charged by the hour, and adults are expected to order something from the cafe to pay for their presence. Staff on hand to supervise the kids, so you can sit and enjoy your coffee.

Cao Trieu Phat St, D7
Ph: 08 3873 4351
www.facebook.com/pages/Bee-Bee-Premium-Kids-Cafe

 

Gymboree Play & Music

Classes in music, art, sports, school skills, and play and learn for ages 0 to 5. Two locations, in Districts 1 and 7.

4th floor, Crescent Mall, 2101 Ton Dat Tien St, D7
Ph: 08 5413 8198
gymboreeclasses.com.vn

Kindermusik

Music and movement classes for children aged zero to seven.

Crescent Residence 2, 107 Ton Dat Tien St, Tan Phu Ward, District 7
Ph: 090 709 94 80
www.facebook.com/Kindermusik.vietnam

MoMo Kids’ Cafe

Indoor play centre/cafe with Korean food. Can get crowded on weekends.

155-SD04 Garden Court, 1 Ton Dat Tien St, Phu My Hung, D7
Ph: 08 5413 8867

www.facebook.com/MomoKidsCafe.Restaurant

Yoga Joy

Yoga for all ages, from newborns to teens, as well as tai chi classes for families.

No. 14, P Street, Panorama, Phu My Hung, D7
Ph: 097 143 13 99
yogajoysaigon.com

 

Vietopia

A similar concept to KizCiti in District 4, Vietopia introduces children to the world of work through dress-ups and activities. It’s next door to Artinus, so it’s possible to do both on the same day … if you have the energy.

2-4 Duong So 9, khu do thi moi Him Lam, D7
Ph: 08 6268 5777
vietopia.com.vn

 

Vuon Tuoi Tho Childhood Garden

An experimental educational garden project. Open weekends only.

159 Nguyen Văn Linh St, D7
Ph: 094 999 05 98
www.facebook.com/vuontuoitho.hcmc

 

 

Further Afield

Dam Sen

There are two parts to Dam Sen, a cultural park and a water park. The cultural park has gardens, cultural displays, folk music performances, a small zoo, an aquarium, a Japanese teahouse, a monorail, a Roman amphitheater, paddle boats and rides. The water park has several water slides, a wave pool and a dedicated section for small children.

3 Hoa Binh, District 11
Ph: 08
3858 8418
www.damsenwaterpark.com.vn

De-Form Pottery

Pottery studio, with regular classes.

Floor 17, Room 17.04, 66 Nguyen Ngoc Phuong St, Binh Thanh District
Ph: 0932633200
de-formpottery.com

 

Suoi Tien Theme Park

The world’s only Buddhist-themed theme park. It can be a little crazy, and there’s not much information in English. But there is a huge shed full of rides and games, and a kart track. The park is vast, so arrive early. You’ll need to allocate one full day to the water park, and a full day to the theme park.

120 Hanoi Highway, District 9
Ph: 0838 960 260
suoitien.com

 

Van Thanh Park

A government-owned “tourist” park, Van Thanh is a green oasis. There are restaurants, a ponds, tennis courts, a small resort-style swimming pool, an indoor play centre and a little playground at the back. There is also vast swathes of green grass, something that can be difficult to find in Ho Chi Minh City!

48/10 Dien Bien Phu St, Binh Thanh District
Ph: 08 3512 3026
binhquoiresort.com.vn

 

Why yes, that is a concrete buffalo in the lily pond!

 

Did I miss anything? Leave a comment if you know of any other kid-friendly place or activity in Ho Chi Minh City. Or if something has closed down.