Traveling with kids can be a headache, but it can be also a great adventure. Do you feel that your holidays are no longer holidays? Some places are just not good to visit with the whole family and I will give you an overview of how it is in Amsterdam. Is Amsterdam a Good City For Families?
Amsterdam is a good place for families. It’s full of attractions and family-friendly things to do. Amsterdam is a great destination for families with toddlers as well as teenagers. Among things, you can do with the whole family is a bike tour, canal cruise or a museum tour.
In this article, I will tell you more about traveling with your kids to Amsterdam. I’ll share with you some tips and tricks which will make your holiday much easier and more enjoyable. Keep on reading and share with me your experience of a family holiday in Amsterdam.
Why Amsterdam is Good For Families?
If you visit Amsterdam, I am sure you will have a great time. There are plenty of things to do, family-friendly attractions and activities. Keep on reading to learn, what are the best activities for families, where to stay in Amsterdam and where are family friendly restaurants.
Is Amsterdam a Good Place to Live With Family?
Amsterdam is often promoted as a city of parties, cannabis and a legalized prostitution. Thankfully the municipality of Amsterdam is changing this image. There is much more to this city then just parties.
Amsterdam is good for families because of possibilities for children, a great education system and a competitive labor market. For sure there are many opportunities, but the Netherlands offers many opportunities in general. It’s not only Amsterdam. In smaller towns, you’ll be also good.
Of course Amsterdam is very expensive but to be honest you can save a lot of money if you want to. I think people want to live the life they can’t afford. I earn an average and I live a good life. I don’t eat in restaurants and I cycle to my work. I am happy with what I have. If you are a family where both parents work, you’ll be more than good. If there is only one person working, then it’s going to be more difficult but you can do it. Recently prices of housing in Amsterdam skyrocket and it’s very difficult to find an affordable apartment. In fact, it’s very difficult to find an apartment at all. There is a shortage of housing in Amsterdam, so forget about living in the city center. But you can find something within 30 minutes commute to the center. The best would be to find accommodation before you come to Amsterdam.
Why Amsterdam is NOT Good For Families?
The Netherlands is a country where everyone is equal. Doesn’t matter if you are a single, gay or a mother with a kid. Everyone is treated equally. There is no priority in airports for families. Barely you can find restaurants with family discounts. On the other hand entrance to many museums and attractions are free for children.
Things to Do in Amsterdam For Families
There are many museums that are perfect to visit with the whole family. For example, there is The Amsterdam Dungeon. I am sure you have heard about London Dungeon, Berling Dungeon or Amsterdam Dungeon. They are pretty all the same and all definitely worth visiting. This is a perfect place for the whole family. Actors playing their roles in Amsterdam Dungeon do a great job. They are very dedicated to their job and their performance is very engaging. They often choose someone from the audience so it’s even more fun. It’s both in Dutch and in English. It’s suitable for kids older than 10 years old. Children below 12 years old have to be supervised by their parents or family members older than 16 years old.
Nemo is another interactive museum for the whole family. This science center is located very close to the Centraal station. You can get there by walk in 17 minutes. It’s especially cool for kids because in this museum technology and science meet fun. In Nemo, you can spend even a whole day. There is a fabulous roof terrace, from which you can enjoy a view of Amsterdam.
Visit Amsterdam Windmills
There are 8 windmills in Amsterdam, and you can even go for a tour and see all of them. I recommend this windmill tour. Kids join for free. Some of these windmills are closed and you can not enter. Others are inhabited. There are even windmill museums – especially cool for children. In Windmills work volunteers. They know a lot about windmill history and they explain everything in a very engaging way. Here you can read an article about Windmills in Amsterdam. I describe in depth each and every on them. Choose the one that you like the most or visit all of them.
Amsterdam is known for its cool escape rooms. For those who don’t know what is an escape room, basically, you are locked in a room for 1 hour (most often one hour but in some cases longer) and within this time you have to resolve some tasks which lead to finding a code and escaping a room. Your goal is to do this as quickly as possible. My favorite escape rooms in Amsterdam are the following: Sherlocked Escape Room – Link, Escapist – Link, and probably my favorite and the most interactive Questomatica – Link.
Visit a Petting Zoo
There are multiple petting zoo’s in Amsterdam. These are little zoos with animals such as goats, pigs, donkeys, rabbits, and chickens. Often there are also playgrounds and little cafes, so you can drink your coffee and your children can play with animals. I would like to recommend you an Amstel Petting Zoo -it’s located in Amstel Park, my favorite park in Amsterdam. It’s open daily from 10:00 to 16:00. It’s located at Amstelpark 22, 1083 HZ AMSTERDAM.
There is another petting zoo in Amsterdam and this is actually my favorite one, but it’s a little further from the city center. It’s called Geitenboerderij Ridammerhoeve and it takes 45 minutes to get there. It’s a cool idea for a tour on a sunny day. Geitenboerderij is a Goat Farm. There are also other animals such as pigs, cows, chickens, etc. You can buy some fresh eco goat cheese or you can buy biologic eggs. You can even go to the henhouse and pick them yourself. Enjoy!
There is also a cafe so you can eat lunch or get a coffee. This goat farm is located in Amsterdamse Bos and there are also other cool things to do there.
Do you like arcade games? Kids love them too. Playing board games together create beautiful memories. In Amsterdam, there is this bar with some old school arcade games. This is one of my favorite spots in Amsterdam. I used to play these games in the past. There is Pacman, Pinball, Mario, etc. There are two locations in Amsterdam. I would choose the one in Westerpark, as another one is in the city center just next to the red light district. Just in front of TonTon, there are windows with some naked ladies, so maybe it’s not the best spot for families.
This zoo is located in the city center of Amsterdam. When you go to the Artis I can recommend you to get a ticket for micropia. It’s a science center located in Artis where you can learn anything about microbes. (It’s in Artis but you need a separate ticket) This exhibition is very interesting, full of amazing images and interactive activities.
Active Things to Do
Active things to do are the most engaging for children, they bond family and create the most beautiful memories. Amsterdam is a great place when it comes to that kind of activities. All depends on the age of your children but I share with you the best activities for different ages.
- Rent a bike and cycle around the city
- Go to Seaside
- Friday Night Skate
Rent a bike and cycle around the city
The average cost of renting a bike in Amsterdam is as little as 8-10 euros per day. You can also rent a bike for 3 hours, but it’s just better to rent it for the whole day, don’t be in rush and go to multiple places with a lunch break in the middle of the day. You can rent a bike here and I advise to book a bike in advance – LINK,
There are some cool bike tours organized in Amsterdam and among them is my favorite Clog Cargo Bike Tour -> Here you can learn more.
Jumpsqaure isn’t only a great place for kids. It’s also a lot of fun for adults. It’s perfect for a date or just if you want to exercise. Jumpsquare is a big hall with trampolines. There are a lot of different thigns you can do there. For example, you can play basketball while jumping, play dodgeball, jump on a fake snowboard or just run around like crazy. There is also a balance beam so you can work on your balance skills. The best would be to get a 1-hour ticket, but trust me after 30 minutes you’ll be exhausted.
Do you know what Goe Caching is? It’s an outdoor activity, where you follow the instruction of the app installed on your mobile device and you search for some hidden spots and boxes. When you find one you mention this in an app and you get some points. The goal is to find as many boxes as possible. Boxes are called Geocaches. You can find this app in the app store. See below how GeoCaches look like.
Go To Seaside
There are multiple cool coastal towns close to Amsterdam, but I recommend you to go to Zandvoort. The connection from Amsterdam Centraal Station is great. You can get there in as little as 30 minutes. Zandvoort has very wide beaches and a cool old town.
Friday Night Skate
If you enjoy skating, a great way to spend some cool family time is Friday Night Skate. Every Friday at 8 pm skaters from Amsterdam meet in the Vondelpark and they go for a ride around the city. Every weekend there is a different route. It’s only for people who know the basics of skating. Skaters from Amsterdam have quite a fast pace. Below you can watch a video I record during one of the Friday Nights. I know you don’t have skates, but don’t worry, you can rent skates in one of Amsterdam skate shops.
Kart racing is very popular in the Netherlands. There are a few spots where you can race, but I would recommend you, Silverstone. This one is the best because there is also a bowling and laser paintball. You can play there billiard and eat something. It’s open until 2 am and it’s a great spot for a rainy day.
Amsterdam Family Tours
When it comes to visiting Amsterdam with the whole family there are few tours I would like to recommend to you. Among them are:
Amsterdam’s Best Family Food Tour
Amsterdam is a city of great food. You can discover it with a private local guide. I like this much more than big company tours. On “Best Family Food Tour” you can choose your favorite guide and the tour will be tailored for you. You will try the best foods in Amsterdam, you visit a food market and there will be also some time for your kids to play on the playground. You can book this tour here –> LINK
Family Day in Magical Zaanse Schans
Zaanse Schans is one of the most beautiful places in the Netherlands. It’s perfect for a day tour with your kids. This tour is 4 hours long and during this time you’ll take a photo of your kid in funny fisherman’s costume, you will enjoy delicious local treats, games & activities you will take part in wooden clogs workshop. This is a private tour what means that there will be only your family and the guide. Check more details here –> Link
Family Fun Tour on a Unique Ride!
Let’s go for the bike tour on this unique Dutch clog bike. Tour takes approximately 3 hours and personalized to your preferences. There will be only your and your local host Debora. Kids can join this tour for free. Learn more about this tour –> Here
Babysitter in Amsterdam
If you would like to explore the city and have a few hours without your child I would like to recommend you Kids Club “Play+Relax” – Link Here. This is a place where you can bring your children, and they can play for up to 3 hours. They are open daily from 12:00 untill 20:00. It’s a solution for parents who would love to go for a date, shopping, or just visit a museum.
Where to Eat with a Whole Family?
This is one of my favorite burger restaurants in Amsterdam. Their food is very tasty and they serve mini burgers perfect for children. You don’t have to wait long and their service is great.
If you are into a healthy lifestyle you should visit De Pluk. They serve some healthy dishes but you can also get some pancake loved that much by children.
Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx
Kids love fries and I know a place in Amsterdam where you can eat very good ones. It’s called Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx, and it’s located between Dam and Rembrandtplein. It’s a walking distance from the main square in Amsterdam.
This spot isn’t that big, so it’s better to call them earlier and make a reservation, but it’s definitely worth it. Link to their website – Here, They have such delicious food at competitive prices. I like it especially because they serve breakfasts all they long. If you come to Amsterdam quite late, this is a place where you can eat breakfast. Enjoy!
Family friendly Hotels in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a touristic city so there are plenty of hotels. I am going to recommend you three that I like the most, and each of them is in a different price range.
- Citadines Sloterdijk Station Amsterdam – It’s the most affordable hotel for families. I like its standard and what’s important you can book one room for you and for your kids – LINK
- Vondelpark House B&B – I like B&B and this one if my favorite in Amsterdam. It has a perfect location in the city center LINK
- Mokum Suites – Canal ring is one of the most beautiful places in the Netherlands and these suites are located just there. These suites can be a little pricey, but a view on Herengracht is definitely worth it LINK
- Zoku – Zoku is my choice when it comes to work-life balance. It’s a hybrid between a hotel and a workspace. I believe that’s the future of working. If you work online, if you are a traveling nomad, or you just need to get some work done when traveling it’s a place to go LINK
- Flying Pig Downtown – My favorite hostel in Amsterdam. It’s very close to the city center and the prices are decent. If you search for affordable accommodation this is a place to go.LINK
What is The Best Area To Stay in Amsterdam for Families?
If you want to stay in the Netherlands for a longer period of time I would suggest Watergraafsmeer. It is a bit pricey but it’s a great place to live for families. They have great schools, the area is breathtaking, and it’s very close to the city center.
Another place I would recommend is Diemen. It’s a developing neighborhood with lower prices and with a very high standard of living.
If you would like to go more budget I recommend you Amstelveen or Alsmeer. Haarlem offers very similar prices to Amsterdam. The cheapest houses you will find in Zaandam or Hoofddorp. Of course, there are many little towns where prices are lower but they may be a little bit limiting when it comes to living there with a family. It depends on what you are looking for. You must be aware that the area of North Holland is in general very pricey, but the labor market is very competitive and salaries are also higher than in other parts of the Netherlands.
I heard a lot of opinion on whether Amsterdam is a good place for families or not. Please share with me what is your experience.