Abstract Quantum simulations are one of the pillars of quantum technologies. These simulations provide insight in fields as varied as high energy physics, many-body physics, or cosmology to name only a few. Several platforms, ranging from ultracold-atoms to superconducting circuits through trapped ions have been proposed as quantum simulators. This article reviews recent developments in another well established platform for quantum simulations: polaritons in semiconductor microcavities. These quasiparticles obey a nonlinear Schrödigner equation (NLSE), and their propagation in the medium can be understood in terms of quantum hydrodynamics. As such, they are considered as “fluids of light.” The challenge of quantum simulations is the engineering of configurations in which the potential energy and the nonlinear interactions in the NLSE can be controlled. Here, some landmark experiments with polaritons in microcavities are revisited, how the various properties of these systems may be used in quantum simulations is discussed, and the richness of polariton systems to explore nonequilibrium physics is highlighted.