Things to do in Lyon

Itineraries for Your Trip to Lyon

Lyon locals share their perfect days.
Find your Lyon

3 Days in Lyon for First Timers

Curated by Peter NeelyPeter Neely is a Brooklyn-based writer and poet who's been bounding between cities for a decade, with stops in San Francisco, Budapest, Montreal, and Lyon. Changing NYC apartments like socks, Peter has lived in Harlem, Greenpoint, Sunnyside, and Crown Heights, though Coney Island is his spiritual homeland. Spot him reading on the subway, or complaining about the slice at your favorite pizzeria.

With three days in UNESCO-listed Lyon, you have plenty of time to experience the city’s history, cuisine, and surrounding vineyards. Cross the Saône and Rhône rivers, step into the cathedral, taste world-renowned wine, and more. Here’s how to make the most of 72 hours in Lyon.

Day 1

Get your bearings with a sightseeing adventure. Start your day on a hop-on hop-off bus tour, or try an e-bike or Segway tour. Visit Lyon’s famous squares, including Place Bellecour and Place des Terreaux, and stop by attractions such as the Ancient Theatre of Fourvière (Théâtres Romains de Fourvière).

Foodies shouldn’t miss the chance to sample the cuisine in one of the top culinary destinations in the world—so spend the afternoon on a food tour with a stop at Paul Bocuse Market (Les Halles de Lyon Paul Bocuse). Alternatively, history fans might opt for a tour about Lyon’s past. End your day wandering the cobblestoned streets of Old Town (Vieux Lyon), or ride the funicular to the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière (Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière) for sweeping views of the city.

Day 2

Lyon is the perfect home base for a full-day French wine excursion to Beaune, Burgundy, Beaujolais, or Côtes du Rhône vineyards. A guided small-group or private tour from Lyon is your most convenient option for tasting local wines and exploring the rolling hills of the Lyon countryside.

Alternatively, several historic towns in the nearby Alps are also ideal day-trip destinations. Check out medieval Pérouges, or visit Annecy and its picturesque lake. End the day with dinner at a traditional bouchon.

Day 3

Time to hit the museums, so grab a sightseeing pass for discounts. The Cinema and Miniature Museum (Musée Cinéma et Miniature) is a must for movie buffs, while the Museum of Fine Arts (Musée des Beaux-Arts) offers a more traditional gallery experience.

Later, take a break in Place des Terreaux, notable for its fountain. Then, hop on a tram up to the Croix-Rousse neighborhood, once the home of Lyon’s silk industry. Savor the city views before relaxing over dinner at one of the area’s celebrated restaurants. Wind up your stay in Lyon with a stop at the Big Pebble (Gros Caillou) for more fantastic views, then head down the hillside on a traboule.

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