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The Best Of What To Do In Amsterdam With Kids

Perched amid charmingly leaning houses and cobblestone streets, the idea of visiting Amsterdam with kids may raise a few eyebrows. After all, it’s not known as a family vacation spot, given its famous red-light district and intriguing “Coffee Shops.”

But hold onto your hats because this city of canals and a zillion bicycles is set to flip the script. Beyond its stereotypical and notorious aspects lies a place that warmly embraces families with a delightful Dutch flair.

Let’s gear up to explore the family-friendly face of Amsterdam, uncovering a whole different side that’s waiting to be discovered!

The Best Of What To Do In Amsterdam With Kids

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Navigating Amsterdam with Kids

Getting around Amsterdam with your little ones is a piece of cake, thanks to the city’s top-notch public transport system. Trams whisk you around swiftly, with designated spots at the back for strollers.

It’s like getting the VIP treatment for families. The metro joins in on the action, although a bit snug for strollers, it’s still an option.

For a relaxed and authentic experience, families can dive into biking. Amsterdam flaunts a whopping 320 miles of bike lanes, making it a true paradise for two-wheeled adventures.

Riding a bike with kids in Amsterdam

You can even rent a bike equipped with a side or front car, tailor-made for your little explorers. We rented ours from Black Bikes.

Keep an eye out for a car shaped like Amsterdam’s iconic clog. Not only does it add a whimsical touch to your ride, but it also makes for a perfect photo-op!

Best of Amsterdam with Kids

Let’s explore the family-friendly side of this beautiful city! Check out the top attractions and activities that make Amsterdam a blast for kids below. 

Amsterdam cruise

Canal Cruise

No Amsterdam with kids trip is truly complete without exploring its iconic canals that meander through the city’s captivating landscapes and there are a few family-friendly options to choose from:

A family adventure awaits aboard the Blue Boat Canal Cruise, setting off from the bustling Hard Rock Café.

This 1.5-hour journey unveils Amsterdam’s architectural marvels and offers a normal cruise experience but for kids on board they add captivating stories via audio in Dutch and English, activity booklets, and delightful Dutch snacks.

For an equally enjoyable option tailored to kids, there’s the Pancake Boat Cruise, a delightful 75-minute escapade for the whole family. Glide along the scenic canals while relishing Dutch pancakes topped with both sweet and savory treats.

Pizza cruise in Amsterdam

Alternatively, there are pizza Canal Cruises! Our May cruise was operated by Stromma and departed at 6pm from Stromma Damrak Pier 5 and included drinks, pizza and Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream as we cruised around Amsterdam. the kids were given an activity sheet and pencils too. A perfect way to end a summers day exploring the city with kids. Onboard is a toilet and a guide.

Kids pizza on a boat cruise in AMsterdam

It’s a culinary adventure in true Amsterdam fashion. You get to treat your family to a blend of rich flavors and stunning views, crafting unforgettable moments along the waterways of this lively city!

Vondelpark

Step into Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s vibrant heart tucked amidst the bustling cityscape. It’s a tapestry of Central Park-esque charm interwoven with its own Dutch flair.

Here, you’ll discover a lively mix of picnic spots, tranquil lakes, and inviting outdoor cafes, especially coming alive on those sunny days. It’s a fantastic playground for kids to roam and have fun.

Enter from the northern entrance, close to the Museum District, offering a serene pause after art-filled adventures. Venture further south, where the real excitement unfolds with an adventurous climbing playground, a cozy cafe to unwind, and an unexpected community of wild parrots adding a splash of whimsy.

Remember to attend the free concerts at the open-air theater! They’ll turn your family outing into a delightful cultural experience.

Anne Frank's House in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Anne Frank Museum

We took our 8 year old and 5 year to the museum and I am so glad we did. Our eldest engaged with what happened to Anne, her family and the other people hiding.

She asked lots of questions, and bought a version of Anne Frank’s diary in cartoon from the museum shop – which she had read several times and still dips into.

Our youngest did not under the significance of the Anne Frank museum but grasped how hard it must have been to stay so quiet and hide from the bad people. I’m editing this now when she is 9, and still recalls the visit and now read the same book her sister did.

Outside of Anne Frank House
Outside of Anne Frank House

You do need to book this in advance as tickets are limited. Do look on the Anne Frank Museum website, at least 6 weeks in advance for availability. New tickets are released on the first Tuesday for the following 6 weeks. Tickets are only available directly from the museum.

You are not allowed to take photos inside, but the tour has headphones and exhibits about the famous inhabitants. Walking through the hidden bookcase, is a moving moment.

The museum, recommending a minimum age of 10, preserves the secret annex where Anne, her family, and others concealed themselves during WWII. 

Original items, photos, and film clips transport visitors to that time of tribulation.

Explore the hidden rooms, marked by Anne’s indelible diary, and ensure this historical touchpoint is part of your family’s Amsterdam with kids journey.

Amsterdamse Bos

Looking for another fantastic spot for a family outing? Amsterdamse Bos, a sprawling 1000-hectare forest right on the city’s edge, is an absolute delight.

Here, your little explorers can embrace adventure at Speeleiland, a captivating play island. And for some furry encounters, De Ridammerhoeve and Boerderij Meerzicht offer petting farms where kids can get up close with goats and deer.

If your kids are seeking thrills, the Fun Forest climbing park will be right up their alley. So, while Amsterdamse Bos might not be on every tourist’s radar, it’s a great place to visit if you’re after a hub of tranquility and excitement.

You and your family will get to discover serene spots like the swimming lake, a toddler-friendly pool, scenic trails, opportunities for boat rentals, and a cozy pancake house.

 Oosterpark, Amsterdam

Oosterpark 

In East Amsterdam’s Oosterpark, families can jump into excitement with an amazing obstacle course. This park, quieter compared to others, flaunts a playground designed like a rollercoaster with swings and slides!

Scaling, swinging, and overcoming obstacles create a wonderfully active and fun-filled day out. Situated just 0.6 miles from Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo and 0.2 miles from the Tropenmuseum, Oosterpark is the go-to spot for an exhilarating family escapade in Amsterdam.

Artis Zoo

In Amsterdam, Artis Zoo promises a roaring good time for little animal enthusiasts! With engaging tales from zookeepers, captivating planetarium explorations, and a diverse array of creatures, from monkeys to lions, every visit is an adventure.

Open daily, even on holidays, Artis Zoo effortlessly slots into your Amsterdam itinerary. 

With child-friendly features and handy trolleys, it’s a wild yet convenient destination for families. In the summer, extend the fun into the evening, enjoying live music, twinkling fairy lights, and the entrancing sounds of nocturnal creatures.

Keukenhof Tulip Gardens

Timing matters, especially to catch the breathtaking sight of millions of tulips in full bloom across Amsterdam during springtime.

The ultimate spectacle unfolds at Keukenhof Gardens, just a stone’s throw from the city. Here, 100 skilled flower artisans showcase their bulbs, curating a mesmerizing display based on bloom schedules, colors, and heights.

For a hassle-free outing with your little buddies, grab the Keukenhof entrance ticket along with coach transport from the central station. No need to fret about pit stops – this bus even comes with a restroom on board! Faster than the metro, it guarantees a swift and comfortable journey back.

efteling

Efteling Theme Park

Efteling Theme Park, located an hour from Amsterdam, promises a day of enchantment and wonder. Diverging from conventional themes, Efteling immerses visitors in fairy tales, stories, and myths.

Traverse through an enchanted forest, relish theatrical shows, and brace yourself for thrilling roller coaster rides. It’s a captivating, full-day escapade where every moment unfolds with magical allure, offering families a unique adventure! 

Find out what we thought of our Efteling adventure by reading my Efteling theme park review.

A’DAM Lookout

For families seeking an adventure in the skies, A’DAM Lookout atop the renowned A’DAM Tower offers a thrilling experience for your Amsterdam escapade! Ascend via a glass-ceiling elevator to the observation deck.

No matter your age, the 360° panorama is a delight, especially when accompanied by a delicious ice cream treat.

What’s more, older kids (above 1.2 meters) have the chance to swing 100 meters high on Europe’s highest swing or take a spin on a virtual reality city rollercoaster. Snag discounted tickets for the A’DAM Lookout online, while swing and roller coaster tickets are available for purchase on-site.

Nemo Museum sign and entrance, Amsterdam, Netherlands

NEMO Science Museum

In the bustling eastern docklands of Amsterdam, the NEMO Science Museum beckons. Explore five floors filled with interactive displays that unravel the marvels of science and technology, catering to visitors of all ages.

Designed by the renowned architect Renzo Piano, its boat-shaped structure is a standout gem in the harbor.

Immerse yourself in experiments like Energetica, unraveling the mysteries of wind and water energy. Up on the rooftop, an open-air playground awaits, complete with a terrace, restaurant, and sweeping city views.

NEMO Science Museum is where learning intertwines seamlessly with endless excitement!

Young girls doing science experiments at Nemo Science Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Rijksmuseum

Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, a Dutch treasure trove, opens its doors to young explorers for free up to age 19. This architectural marvel houses iconic masterpieces like Rembrandt’s Night Watch and Vermeer’s The Milk Maid.

Families can join in on guided tours, engaging games, and even sensory-friendly evenings.  For an interactive twist, embark on the Family Quest audio tour, a playful journey through hidden treasures.

If your kids are not the museum kind, they can frolic in the museum fountain, while the parents take turns appreciating the art. 

Van Gogh Museum

While art museums might not initially seem ideal for kids, stepping into the Van Gogh Museum reveals a truly magical experience. This museum not only commemorates one of the 19th century’s most significant artists but also ensures it’s enjoyable for the little ones.

Specially curated weekend workshops, crafted for ages six to 12, redefine the way children perceive art. The journey kicks off with a guided tour, setting the stage for an interactive exploration of Vincent van Gogh’s iconic masterpieces.

Delve deeper into the world of art with private tours that include engaging scavenger hunts, turning art appreciation into an enthralling adventure for young imaginations.

Kids entering Fairytale Winterland at Sprookjeswonderland Theme Park in the Netherlands

Go on a Day Trip to Sprookjeswonderland Theme Park

We ventured on to the magical Sprookjeswonderland theme park which was perfect for our girls. It has several rides catering fro toddlers and little ones and plenty of fairytale magic. With entrance fees of around 14 Euro it is also super affordable!

Upside Down

Amsterdam houses an extraordinary and almost surreal dimension called Upside Down! This isn’t your run-of-the-mill museum; it’s a sensory escapade tailor-made for kids of all ages.

With over 25 intriguing rooms and installations, it’s an imaginative journey through a world of captivating visuals. Here, you’ll dive into a lively ball pit, strike gravity-defying poses, and even pose alongside a pink airplane.

The best part? Each room comes equipped with dedicated museum cameras, ensuring you can capture and download your playful moments for free!

An ideal spot for Instagram aficionados and those seeking offbeat adventures!

WONDR Experience

WONDR Experience is a one-of-a-kind indoor playground that turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. More than just a ball pit and foam baths, this fantastical wonderland offers a burst of color and excitement—perfect for those unexpected rainy days in Amsterdam.

Families can immerse themselves in interactive delight, with dedicated kids’ sessions on Wednesdays and weekends. 

Dive into Rollers Dreams, an added whimsical touch that elevates the fun. From karaoke to claw machines, WONDR Experience promises a joyous escape.

Around Amsterdam, on a boat pizza cruise and Anne Frank House and building, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Delicacies of Amsterdam With Kids

Finally, but certainly not least, an Amsterdam trip wouldn’t be complete without savoring the city’s delectable offerings! Experience the delightful flavors of Dutch pancakes and stroopwafels, promising an enjoyable and memorable family food adventure.

Amidst the wide range of options, Van Wonderen Stroopwafels stands out with its caramel-filled treats available in various sizes.

Another popular spot, Winkel 43, located in the historic Joordan square, offers a unique take on the traditional Dutch Apple Pie topped with a crumbly layer. In addition to their sweet selection, they provide heartier menu options too.

For a savory indulgence, join the queue at Vleminckx the Sausmeester. Since 1957, this cozy place has been serving Flemish fries along with a choice of their 28 signature sauces.

Hummus bistro d & a in the Netherlands

We also liked Hummus Bistro D & A which was right next to our accommodation.

Amsterdam
Young girl sitting on bed, double bed and single bed in room at YAYs Amsterdam Maritime Hotel, Netherlands

Where we stayed: Yays Maritime

Duplex Studio for 4 – Where we stayed.

The Duplex Studio has a bedroom with a double bed, space for a single bed in the loft area and a double sofa bed downstairs – easily accommodating up to four guests. Our stay in this room was perfect for our needs.

Living room area in the YAYs Amsterdam Maritime Hotel, Netherlands

We particularly loved the compact kitchen, ideal for enjoyable family meals that turned simple dinners into cherished moments. Just a heads-up, navigating the stairs might need a bit of attention during your stay with younger ones as they are quite steep.

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