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Best Things To Do in Nice

The world-famous shoreline is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Nice. The city boasts many museums, churches and ruins to keep history enthusiasts entertained for days. There are also plenty of opportunities to spend some money: an array of shopping opportunities abound in Place Masséna, while the Cours Saleya offers everything from freshly cut flowers to brocante (flea market) stalls. Just make sure to save some energy for after sundown, as Nice has one of the hottest nightlife scenes in the Riviera.

How we rank Things to Do.

#1

#1 in Nice

Free
Vieille Ville, or Old Town, is a nook of a neighborhood enjoyed by both travelers and locals alike. There are the usual tourist traps, but you can also find some authentic French restaurants and shops, not to mention the Cours Saleya flower and fruit market. 
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Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Old Town (Vieille Ville)
Vieille Ville, or Old Town, is a nook of a neighborhood enjoyed by both travelers and locals alike. There are the usual tourist traps, but you can also find some authentic French restaurants and shops, not to mention the Cours Saleya flower and fruit market. 
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#2

#2 in Nice

Free
You'll likely pass by Place Masséna, the city's main square, several times while in Nice thanks to its central location. With the seafront to the south, the shopping street Avenue Jean Médecin jutting off to the north, and the lovely Albert I and Massena gardens surrounding it, you can walk to it from virtually anywhere in the small city.
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Sightseeing Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
Place Masséna
You'll likely pass by Place Masséna, the city's main square, several times while in Nice thanks to its central location. With the seafront to the south, the shopping street Avenue Jean Médecin jutting off to the north, and the lovely Albert I and Massena gardens surrounding it, you can walk to it from virtually anywhere in the small city.
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#3

#3 in Nice

Free
The Promenade des Anglais (English Walk) runs parallel to the pebbly shore of Nice's beachfront, stretching for more than 2 miles along Baie des Anges. Locals simply refer to this world-famous stretch of road as the Promenade or La Prom. Recent travelers said that it's not only a beautiful place for a stroll, but it's also a great place to get your directional bearings early on in your trip since the city's main attractions spoke off from here. Plus, with a dedicated lane for cyclists and skaters and plenty of rental shops nearby, it can be a great way to exercise while sightseeing. Along the way, keep you eyes peeled for the ornate Hotel Negresco, the Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée and La Chaise, a large iron sculpture of a chair created by Niçoise artist Sabine Géraudie that has become the unofficial symbol of the city. 
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Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Promenade des Anglais (English Walk)
The Promenade des Anglais (English Walk) runs parallel to the pebbly shore of Nice's beachfront, stretching for more than 2 miles along Baie des Anges. Locals simply refer to this world-famous stretch of road as the Promenade or La Prom. Recent travelers said that it's not only a beautiful place for a stroll, but it's also a great place to get your directional bearings early on in your trip since the city's main attractions spoke off from here. Plus, with a dedicated lane for cyclists and skaters and plenty of rental shops nearby, it can be a great way to exercise while sightseeing. Along the way, keep you eyes peeled for the ornate Hotel Negresco, the Hyatt Regency Nice Palais de la Méditerranée and La Chaise, a large iron sculpture of a chair created by Niçoise artist Sabine Géraudie that has become the unofficial symbol of the city. 
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#4

#4 in Nice

Free
Castle Hill (Colline du Chateau) is more of an impressive hill than a castle. Even though most of the original Chateau de Nice structure has crumbled away, travelers still recommend climbing the hundreds of steps to reach the stellar view from its peak. 
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Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Castle Hill (Colline du Chateau)
Castle Hill (Colline du Chateau) is more of an impressive hill than a castle. Even though most of the original Chateau de Nice structure has crumbled away, travelers still recommend climbing the hundreds of steps to reach the stellar view from its peak. 
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#5
Beaches Free

#5 in Nice

Free
One of the main draws to a vacation in Nice is the beach, which is punctuated by the French Riviera sun, the rolling Mediterranean waves and the legendary blue chairs. However, there are some things to note. First, about 15 private (and costly) beaches break up the 20 public beaches, so be prepared to shell out several euros if you are hoping to lounge on a stretch of sand equipped with chairs, umbrellas and nearby restaurants. You should also note that the private beaches don't allow you to bring in your own food and drink, so you'll have to purchase refreshments from the adjoining (and expensive) restaurants. They even charge for lounge chairs and towels.
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Beaches Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Beaches
One of the main draws to a vacation in Nice is the beach, which is punctuated by the French Riviera sun, the rolling Mediterranean waves and the legendary blue chairs. However, there are some things to note. First, about 15 private (and costly) beaches break up the 20 public beaches, so be prepared to shell out several euros if you are hoping to lounge on a stretch of sand equipped with chairs, umbrellas and nearby restaurants. You should also note that the private beaches don't allow you to bring in your own food and drink, so you'll have to purchase refreshments from the adjoining (and expensive) restaurants. They even charge for lounge chairs and towels.
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#6

#6 in Nice

Free
This fruit, veggie and flower market makes for a colorful and aromatic experience. Located in Old Town (Vieille Ville) off the Promenade des Anglais as it turns into the Quai des Etats-Unis, the Cours Saleya is open nearly every morning, but an antique market takes the place of the produce on Mondays.
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Shopping Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Cours Saleya Flower Market (Marché aux Fleurs Cours Saleya)
This fruit, veggie and flower market makes for a colorful and aromatic experience. Located in Old Town (Vieille Ville) off the Promenade des Anglais as it turns into the Quai des Etats-Unis, the Cours Saleya is open nearly every morning, but an antique market takes the place of the produce on Mondays.
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#7

#7 in Nice

The popular Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain (Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art, or MAMAC for short) is a fabulous place to beat the heat, especially if you're traveling in the summertime. The museum features a wide array of Nice-based modern artists, most notably Yves Klein. Keep in mind that recent travelers raved more about the building's architecture and panoramic views than the art, and they especially recommend travelers visit the rooftop for a sweeping vista of the city or grab a bite at the museum's restaurant.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain)
The popular Musée d'Art Moderne et d'Art Contemporain (Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art, or MAMAC for short) is a fabulous place to beat the heat, especially if you're traveling in the summertime. The museum features a wide array of Nice-based modern artists, most notably Yves Klein. Keep in mind that recent travelers raved more about the building's architecture and panoramic views than the art, and they especially recommend travelers visit the rooftop for a sweeping vista of the city or grab a bite at the museum's restaurant.
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#8

#8 in Nice

Free
Tsar Nicholas II, the head of the tragic Romanov family, commissioned the building of the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in the early 20th century to accommodate the religious needs of the city's growing Russian population. The church's onion domes, bright colors and detailed ornamentation are hard to miss from its location on the aptly named Avenue Nicholas II. Women are asked to cover their heads while inside, but scarves are provided at the entrance.
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Churches/Religious Sites Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral (Cathedrale Orthodoxe Russe St. Nicolas)
Tsar Nicholas II, the head of the tragic Romanov family, commissioned the building of the St. Nicholas Russian Orthodox Cathedral in the early 20th century to accommodate the religious needs of the city's growing Russian population. The church's onion domes, bright colors and detailed ornamentation are hard to miss from its location on the aptly named Avenue Nicholas II. Women are asked to cover their heads while inside, but scarves are provided at the entrance.
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#9

#9 in Nice

Free
For some retail therapy, travelers ought to stroll Avenue Jean Médecin, which begins its upward ascent at Place Masséna. There are international chains, but you'll also find the Galeries Lafayette department store and the Nice Etoile shopping mall, as well as a number of French boutiques and cafes. If you've shopped the entire street and still want more, you'll find that the streets surrounding Avenue Jean Médecin are lined with retailers too. 
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Shopping Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Avenue Jean Médecin
For some retail therapy, travelers ought to stroll Avenue Jean Médecin, which begins its upward ascent at Place Masséna. There are international chains, but you'll also find the Galeries Lafayette department store and the Nice Etoile shopping mall, as well as a number of French boutiques and cafes. If you've shopped the entire street and still want more, you'll find that the streets surrounding Avenue Jean Médecin are lined with retailers too. 
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#10

#10 in Nice

Free
The layout of Garden of the Cimiez Monastery (Jardin du Monastère de Cimiez) has not changed since its original construction in 1546, when it was used by the monks as their orchard and vegetable garden. Among the various flora and fauna, the garden boasts beautiful climbing roses and a stellar view of the city and bay.
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Churches/Religious Sites Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
Garden of the Cimiez Monastery (Jardin du Monastère de Cimiez)
The layout of Garden of the Cimiez Monastery (Jardin du Monastère de Cimiez) has not changed since its original construction in 1546, when it was used by the monks as their orchard and vegetable garden. Among the various flora and fauna, the garden boasts beautiful climbing roses and a stellar view of the city and bay.
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#11

#11 in Nice

Free
For a free retreat from the city and a breath of fresh air, travelers recommend taking a hike in Parc du Mont Boron (located in east Nice). With about 7 miles of hiking trails, you can work up quite a sweat and perhaps burn off some calories from the previous evening's dinner. Climb to the top for the prettiest panoramas. And if you're a history buff, you might enjoy seeing the nearby military fort on Mont Alban. You'll see both tourists and locals enjoying the park daily.
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Hiking Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Parc du Mont Boron
For a free retreat from the city and a breath of fresh air, travelers recommend taking a hike in Parc du Mont Boron (located in east Nice). With about 7 miles of hiking trails, you can work up quite a sweat and perhaps burn off some calories from the previous evening's dinner. Climb to the top for the prettiest panoramas. And if you're a history buff, you might enjoy seeing the nearby military fort on Mont Alban. You'll see both tourists and locals enjoying the park daily.
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#12

#12 in Nice

The baroque Palais Lascaris is another of Nice's cheap attractions and might make for an interesting peruse on a rainy day. Built in the 17th century, the palace was home to one of the first noble families of Nice. The property was bought by the city of Nice in 1942, and it was later opened to the public as a museum in 1970. Experts recommend stopping by the étage noble (noble floor) for its 18th-century ornamentations, as well as the 1738 pharmacy. 
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Castles/Palaces Type
Less than 1 hour Time to Spend
Palais Lascaris
The baroque Palais Lascaris is another of Nice's cheap attractions and might make for an interesting peruse on a rainy day. Built in the 17th century, the palace was home to one of the first noble families of Nice. The property was bought by the city of Nice in 1942, and it was later opened to the public as a museum in 1970. Experts recommend stopping by the étage noble (noble floor) for its 18th-century ornamentations, as well as the 1738 pharmacy. 
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#13

#13 in Nice

Many travelers recommend making the Chagall Museum (think stained glass and colorful, surreal artwork) a part of your itinerary. But they insist that you come prepared by bringing your passport (or driver's license if you're a French citizen) for admittance. Like the Matisse Museum, this surreal arthouse is located in Cimiez and is best reached via bus No. 15.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Chagall Museum (Musée Marc Chagall)
Many travelers recommend making the Chagall Museum (think stained glass and colorful, surreal artwork) a part of your itinerary. But they insist that you come prepared by bringing your passport (or driver's license if you're a French citizen) for admittance. Like the Matisse Museum, this surreal arthouse is located in Cimiez and is best reached via bus No. 15.
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#14

#14 in Nice

Visitors primarily appreciate the aesthetics of Musée Matisse, an airy 17th-century villa, as well as the works it houses. Though the museum is small, it offers a dynamic overview of the artist's early works, according to past visitors. Here you'll find drawings, prints, sculptures and other personal artifacts that once belonged to the artist. Keep in mind: Some of the informational placards at the museum are only in French, so you may want to read up on the artist beforehand. Another gripe with reviewers: There isn't much nearby in the way of shopping or restaurants, so don't come hungry.
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Museums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Musée Matisse
Visitors primarily appreciate the aesthetics of Musée Matisse, an airy 17th-century villa, as well as the works it houses. Though the museum is small, it offers a dynamic overview of the artist's early works, according to past visitors. Here you'll find drawings, prints, sculptures and other personal artifacts that once belonged to the artist. Keep in mind: Some of the informational placards at the museum are only in French, so you may want to read up on the artist beforehand. Another gripe with reviewers: There isn't much nearby in the way of shopping or restaurants, so don't come hungry.
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Recreation Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
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