Travelling to Amsterdam with kids gives you a fresh perspective on the world. Despite a wild-child reputation, the city makes the perfect playground for kids, with its hands-on museums, sprawling parks, and maze of bridges and canals. We’ve picked some of the best things to do in Amsterdam with kids, from family-friendly restaurants and sweet treat spots to festive family winter activities. You’ll also find recommendations of where to stay in Amsterdam with kids.
This tranquil, family-friendly beach is found in leafy Sloterpark, in Amsterdam’s Niew-West district.
With designated zones for swimming, volleyball equipment and picnic tables, it’s easy to while away a day here– especially if you combine the beach with a bike ride around the park’s trails.
If you’re visiting Amsterdam in winter, it’s wise to prepare for a spot of rain. And what better indoor activity to have up your sleeve than a scientific playground? NEMO Science Museum hosts hands-on exhibitions that explore tech, chemistry, anatomy, the universe, and everything in between. Don’t miss the Chain Reaction live demo that brings the Mousetrap board game to life.
Discerning parents love this handsome shop, set on the edge of De Pijp. It sidesteps throwaway plastic in favour of traditional toys, from lambswool knitted bears to pastel-painted stacking sets. There are pocket-money trinkets too (think sticker sets and pirate eye-patches), along with chic essentials like bibs and bamboo bowls. Upscale clothes add to the appeal, from knitted baby bonnets to Bonton dungarees.
Treks across town can be tiring, of course, as can city-centre crowds, so it pays to be strategic when you’re choosing where to stay in Amsterdam with kids. A great place to stay in Amsterdam with kids is leafy Oud-West. Within easy reach of the Canal Ring, Museumplein’s a ten-minute stroll away, and Vondelpark is even closer; a handsome expanse of lawns, lakes and glades, dotted with first-rate playgrounds. To the north, De Hallen’s also worth a wander, with its cinema, weekly kids’ activities and lively indoor food hall.
With kids to keep busy, keep the practicalities simple, and book your tickets and hotel in one with Eurostar Holidays. We’ve found the best family-friendly hotels in Amsterdam.
Brunch is a pleasingly decadent affair at this cosy neighbourhood café, set on one of Oud-West’s prettiest streets. There’s a toddler-friendly sofa by the window, and a long communal table for larger broods. The menu runs from buttery brioche French toast to triple-decker croque monsieurs. Even the eggs benedict arrive on a croissant, though cereal, fruit and soft-boiled eggs cater to simpler tastes.
Ward off any hangry meltdowns by staying within reach of one of The Butcher’s rightly popular burger joints. If you’re planning ahead, book at the Albert Cuyp speakeasy-style branch. Upon arrival you’ll be asked for your password and escorted to the secret room out back. Or take the ferry to the A’DAM Tower for ping-pong and pinball with your grub. Wherever you end up, there’s a kids' menu on offer.
Despite its reputation for grown-up fun, Amsterdam is fast becoming a hot spot for family-friendly city breaks. With plenty of festive charm (and a host of weather-appropriate activities), winter is the perfect time to visit.
Lucky little Amsterdammers get two reasons to celebrate. A few weeks before Christmas, Sinterklaas – the Dutch Saint Nicholas – paves the way for a season of sugary treats. Give your kids a taste of edible Dutch traditions: pepernoten (small spiced biscuits), chocolate letters and oliebollen (Dutch donuts). The icing on the cake? When temperatures plummet, local kids strap on their skates for a whizz on the frozen canals. Whatever the forecast, there’s no shortage of winter fun to be had. Here are our top picks.
Get the whole family into the full festive spirit with a visit to Amsterdam Winterparadijs. Winter activities abound with ice skating, tube sliding and curling, plus traditional Dutch games. If you want a more gezellig experience (think cosy comfort), settle into the winter cinema or toast marshmallows on an open fire. Finish your day with a ride on the Ferris wheel to see the city from on high. From 21 to 30 December 2018.
Amsterdam’s annual Light Festival sees its streets and waterways illuminated with enchanting light installations from around the world. Teasers for this year hint at inflatable structures stretched over canals and 3D blueprints. Take a self-guided tour on bike or foot or book a boat ride to get a view from the canals. Either way kids will be captivated by the bright and the beautiful.
Covering almost 1,000 hectares, Amsterdamse Bos is a welcome retreat from the bustling city centre. Spot Highland cows and birds of prey, or take the kids to meet kids of another kind at the goat farm. There’s an outdoor playground to burn off excess energy, too. Snow forecast? Join locals sledging down de heuvel before refuelling with Dutch pancakes at Boerderij Meerzicht.
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