The Best Things to do in Amsterdam with kids
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Amsterdam is one of my favorite cities in the world and one of the best European cities to visit with kids is Amsterdam. The city is walkable, easy to navigate by public transportation and very family friendly. Our 4 day Amsterdam itinerary was jam packed with lots of fun things and we hope it helps you when planning your trip to Amsterdam with kids. With lots of family friendly museums, playgrounds and activities, here are the best things to do in Amsterdam with kids.
How to get to Amsterdam
The fastest and easiest way to get to Amsterdam from many European cities will be to fly into Schiphol Airport, which is just a 15 minute train ride to Central Station. Many low cost carriers fly here, making it an inexpensive option.
Alternatively, you can take the train. Paris is 3 hours and 20 minutes, Brussels is 1 hour and 50 minutes by train. Many other cities offer train service as well.
Things to know when traveling to Amsterdam with kids
- Amsterdam is a bike friendly city and you will see thousands of them. Be sure to look both ways when crossing any road, they will not stop for you and go at super high speeds. You are more likely to be hit by a speeding bike than car here.
- While we saw strollers here, we did notice that many were struggling especially on the very narrow, uneven streets away from the city center. So if you bring one, make sure it is something better than a tiny umbrella stroller since those wheels won’t work well here. We actually saw more people biking with their kids and baby wearing than strollers.
- Bring a portable charger. I used my every single day since once we left the hotel in the morning, we didn’t return til well after dark. I love that this charger is tiny unlike those old fashioned power banks that took up so much room.
- Apple Pay is the preferred method of payment and accepted everywhere, we didn’t even take cash out of the ATM. Many restaurants and shops had signs that no cash was accepted and I loved this. I wish the US would get in on the digital payments! This made it super easy to go anywhere and just quickly pay with my phone and not have to take any cards or cash out.
Where to stay in Amsterdam with kids
There are many family friendly hotels in Amsterdam, so you will have lots of options to choose from. Since we wanted to explore multiple areas and I had points to use with Hilton and Hyatt, we split our stay between the Hyatt Regency Amsterdam and Hampton by Hilton Amsterdam Centre East. The Hampton was just 3 stops on the tram from Central Station and only a one block walk to the hotel from there, making it an awesome location and easily reachable by transit. The NEMO museum was just 2 stops away from here too.
The Hyatt was in a different part of town, walking distance to the zoo, Micropia and Oosterpark. It was really nice to be able to explore two different parts of the city. There were multiple trams that stopped within a block of the Hyatt as well as the Metro, making it a very convenient location for getting anywhere in the city.
No matter what your budget or family size, there are tons of great family friendly hotels and apartments in Amsterdam to choose from.
How to get around Amsterdam with kids
While Amsterdam is a very walkable city, there are times you will want to rest of need to get somewhere where walking just isn’t feasible. The public transportation in Amsterdam is super easy to use and if you buy the I Amsterdam City Card, it is included on your card making it super easy to get around. The trains and trams are easy to navigate here. I used my card on the trams and metro during our visit and it was great. For kids ages 4-11, purchase them a 24 hour ticket for € 4,50. This can be purchased in the ticket center (white building in front of the central station) when you arrive. Be sure to buy enough for your entire stay, these are sold in 24 hour increments and label them so you don’t accidentally use a new one before finishing the old.
Alternatively, you can be like the locals and rent a bike to get around. Amsterdam is a very bike friendly city and you can rent bikes with child seats or trailers as well if your kids aren’t old enough to bike on their own.
What to do in Amsterdam with kids
Since Amsterdam is a family friendly city, there are lots of things to do in Amsterdam with kids. I highly recommend purchasing the I Amsterdam City Card for the adults since it will include free museum and attraction entrances to tons of places as well as free public transportation for the duration of the card. Children are heavily discounted or free in some in many of the museums, so I would just purchase their tickets separately as needed.
Anne Frank House
If you have older kids (I would say at least 8 or older), then a visit to the Anne Frank House is a must. Milana read Anne Frank’s Diary before our trip so this was a great educational experience to actually see where Anne wrote the diary and where they were hiding. We are homeschoolers, so any opportunity for travel and education is a huge plus for us! Be sure to purchase your tickets well in advance, since they sell out especially during peak travel times. Tickets are only sold on the official website, if another retailer is promising tickets, do not purchase them. Every Tuesday at 10am CET all tickets become available for a visit six weeks later.
The largest science museum in the Netherlands, the NEMO Museum is perfect for older kids. We actually saw way more adults without kids here than with kids. The exhibits are definitely geared for the older crowd, I would say 8 and up to fully understand it. If you’re looking for the typical children’s museum, this is definitely not it! Milana loved it but she is 11 so it was perfect for her. The area with the science experiments required kids to be at least 8. I know people say they bring their toddlers here, but aside from just wandering around, I don’t see how they can understand half of these exhibits.
This popular indoor playground immersive experience is intended for adults but kids can come as well during certain hours. Please note that if your child is 10 or younger, they will not be allowed in the exhibit outside of the special family hours.
Amsterdam Duck Store
These are not your average cheaply made ducks! These ducks are made out of high quality materials and there are hundreds of different designs and themes to choose from. We came here one afternoon and Milana chose a duck to bring home. They have multiple locations all over Europe if you happen to be in another city. Be sure you go to the actual store by this name as there are some imposters we have seen that are not affiliated.
In the center of Amsterdam is this little zoo. If your kids like animals, this is a good place to spend a couple of hours. We are not normally zoo people, but Milana really wanted to go and I’m glad we did. This zoo was just an 8 minute walk from the Hyatt and super cute. The animals were very close too, you can actually see them unlike many other zoos we have been to.
Van Gogh Museum
Another fun thing to do in Amsterdam with kids is visit the Van Gogh Museum. Now you might be thinking that art museums and kids don’t mix, but this one is very family friendly! When you arrive, ask for a treasure hunt map at the front desk. There are two different versions, one for kids under 6 and another for kids 6-12. It’s a fun way for them to explore the museum and learn some facts without being bored.
If you want a break from the city, then head to Oosterpark for a walk. It’s a beautiful park in the middle of the busy city, with multiple playgrounds. This park is less than a 10 minute walk from the Hyatt.
One of the best museums in Amsterdam is Micropia. We both loved it and highly recommend it to older kids and adults. Microbes are the smallest and most powerful organisms on the planet and this museum is full of them. Look under the microscope and see things you can’t with the naked eye. This was such an awesome and unique educational experience and definitely worth a visit. It’s located right next to the zoo, so you can easily combine the two.
Tony’s Chocolonely Super Store
Does your family like chocolate? If yes, then this is one of the best things to do in Amsterdam with kids! This massive store has tons of different chocolate flavors that you can sample and kids can even create their very own custom chocolate bar. Milana loved making a bar with all her favorite toppings. This is one of Milana’s favorite brand of chocolates, we buy it frequently at Whole Foods back home. She was so happy to see that Tony’s is a Dutch company, we honestly had no idea.
Amsterdam is still the biggest cocoa port of Europe, so putting a place like this in the middle of the city makes sense. We love chocolate (and who doesn’t) and couldn’t wait to visit this place. They sell a chocolate drink that tastes more like melted chocolate than chocolate milk, I highly recommend trying one! You can find these in the fridge in their store.
Mouse Mansion Museum & Shop
If you’re visiting Amsterdam with kids, then this place is a must see! This is the cutest little shop you will ever see. There are miniature buildings on display with tiny mice living in them. Be sure to ask for a scavenger hunt when you enter, once your kids complete it there is a price. This place is free to enter, so be sure to support them by buying a cute little mouse to take home.
The Cheese Museum
Do you like cheese? Then you have to visit the (free) cheese museum! So really, this is a cheese shop with a small “museum” section downstairs but it’s still worth a visit! We love cheese and they let you sample anything you want. We ended up buying some to bring home.
Albert Cuyp Market
If you want to explore a local market while in Amsterdam, then head to the Albert Cuyp Market. This 100 year old market features everything from household goods, clothing, produce, and many prepared food vendors. In this market, you’ll also find the best stroopwaffels (mentioned below), so if you want to try these, this is the place to be!
OBA Oosterdok-Public Library
Now you might be thinking why did a library make the list of places to visit with kids in Amsterdam? But let me tell you, this isn’t your average library! There are multiple levels, including the most amazing children’s section you will ever see. Lots of books, a soft area for little ones to sit and just a great place to hang out if the weather isn’t cooperating. This is just 5 minutes from the Nemo museum. There’s also a restaurant on the upper level.
One of the best things to do with kids in Amsterdam is to go on the canal cruise. You will see many vendors and they are all pretty much the same, just board whichever is leaving soonest. If you have the IAmsterdam card, this will be free. This is a great way to see the city from the water while getting a break from walking for an hour.
Where to eat in Amsterdam with kids
Amsterdam is full of amazing restaurants and just about any cuisine you might want. We loved walking around and stopping in to eat as we wanted and have found some amazing family and kid friendly Amsterdam restaurants.
So while I’m not one to recommend fast food, this is a must when visiting Amsterdam. When Milana heard of a vending machine restaurant, she was very excited so this was our first stop. I didn’t eat here, but she had a burger and loved the whole concept of it. You tap your card and then select your meal choice, it’s that simple. You can see the cooks behind making the food and replenishing as they are sold. It’s a really fun thing to see and kids will get a kick out of it! There are multiple locations in the city, so just look for one near where you are.
The Pancake Bakery
It’s not a visit to Amsterdam without having some pancakes and this is one of the best pancake restaurants in Amsterdam. It’s also a very kid friendly Amsterdam restaurant (they have coloring books, a children’s menu and give them a little painting project to take home). I grew up in Poland so my version of pancakes is called naleśniki, which is similar to crepes. The Dutch version is very similar to that and very good! They also have American pancakes if that’s your thing and a lot of topping options. We loved it and would highly recommend it if you’re in the mood for pancakes.
One evening, Milana asked if we can have ramen for dinner so I researched and found that one of the best ramen restaurants in the world is right here in Amsterdam, Ramen Kingdom. This is a small restaurant with a long line but the line moves quickly (we waited around 30 minutes). We’ve had ramen all over the world, including Japan, and this is definitely in the top 3! If ramen is your thing, give them a try. Juste be prepared to wait!
Rudi’s Original Stroopwafels
We asked several locals for the best stroopwafel location in Amsterdam and they all said Rudi’s. You might here some more “famous” ones mentioned, but from what we heard, they were geared toward tourists and not worth the visit. Well Rudi’s was amazing! It’s just an unsuspecting booth at the Albert Cuyp street market but the stroopwafels here are amazing! They are hot and fresh and filled with gooey goodness. The staff is super friendly too, I highly recommend trying them if you come to the market. Just be warned: you will pass several others who sell the same thing so make sure you are at Rudi’s before purchasing. He usually has a line so it shouldn’t be hard to find!
We love fries and one of the best things to eat in Amsterdam is fries from one of the fry stands. Just down the street from Central Station, you will see a place called Manneken Pis with a huge line, no matter what time of day it is. Let me tell you, keep on walking! We wanted to see the hype and they weren’t good at all. The fries and the sauces here aren’t that great. We found another fry place away from the main area and it wasn’t packed and the fries and sauces were amazing, so don’t follow the crowd on this one.
One of the best meals we had in Amsterdam was at Moeders. If you want to dine during peak time, be sure to make a reservation on their website as they book up fast! This family run restaurant serves traditional Dutch food and if you want to try it all, get the sample platter. The decor here is cute too, just a bunch of photos of mothers.
De Carrousel Pannenkoeken
Yes, another pancake place! We wanted dessert one evening and stumbled upon this place. It’s located next to a great playground too so if you come during the day, you can take the kids to play. The design of this place is really cute and the pancakes were really good. We also tried some ice cream and it was great as well. In fact, we liked it so much that we went back the next day for more!
Looking for some great pizza in a quieter neighborhood? Then check out La Perla. We loved the pizza here!
The Happy Pig
Another great pancake place, this one serving them rolled up and cut. We really liked these and it was much easier to take these on the go.
Last pancakes restaurant, I promise! This one is right by Central Station. This time, we both tried the savory options and they were really good. This place gets busy, so be prepared to wait in line.
On our last night in Amsterdam, Milana asked for some Indian food and after searching, I found this place. It has been around since 1981 and the food was really good. We shared the butter chicken and some garlic naan and loved the meal.
As you can see there are many fun things to do in Amsterdam with kids. We only had 4 days but could have easily spent weeks exploring all that the city has to offer. This is one city that we will definitely be back to! Its proximity to the airport and ease of getting into the city from the airport make it one of the best European cities to visit with kids.Want to save this to read later? Pin one of the images below!