Guide to visiting Amsterdam with kids and what to do with children in Amsterdam.
Out of all the destinations that I have ever visited, I have posted the most about Amsterdam on my website because that’s one destination that I have visited over and over again.
Not only is Amsterdam stunning but is a very easy destination to explore and offers many amazing things to do for every kind of traveler.
So the question is, is Amsterdam ok to visit with kids? I’m happy to tell you that it is. I did visit Amsterdam with my little girl and it was a lot of fun.
Based on my multiple visits, I have created a list of amazing things that you can do in Amsterdam with your little ones. This list has been made keeping in mind children starting from the toddler phase till teenager.
My biggest tip for exploring Amsterdam with children is to take things super slow. The city is busy and can end up being stressful because of the fast-moving bicycle traffic. So, don’t schedule too many activities in a day. I will add more tips for visiting Amsterdam with children at the end of this post.
So, if you are looking for things to do with children in Amsterdam, it is likely that you will see websites with exhaustive lists to confuse to further. I have a short, crisp, and a list of fun things to do with kids in Amsterdam.
Table of Contents
1) Rent a Bicycle with kinderzitje
Amsterdam city isn’t car-friendly but cyclist-friendly even more than it is pedestrian-friendly. If you decide to explore this city with your children on foot, it will be too much for them.
To create an amazing memory for them of this trip, rent a bicycle with a kinderzitje, or a child seat.
You can find bicycles with seats for babies or buggies that fit 2-3 children. They are called “cargo bikes”.
Get a cargo bike, let your children sit in front, and take them around some of Amsterdam’s quieter streets in Jordaan that are pretty and they will have an amazing time.
Of course, if you have slightly older children, they can ride their own bicycles, or walk with you all over the city.
I recommend booking most of the things online but in my experience, the bicycle rental is cheaper in person, but it can be a risk if the bikes with buggies are already all rented out.
I did see cargo bikes for EUR 27 a day at Black-Bikes. I did see cheaper bikes at Albert Cuyp bike rental with child seats from EUR 10 – 15, but not a buggy.
In order to book a normal bike, you can check out MacBikes too, they have shops all over Amsterdam.
I had a bike from MacBike in 2021, which was included for free with my “I Amsterdam” city card. With this card, one gets unlimited use of public transport and free entrance to many attractions that are mentioned below. But I will talk more about the Amsterdam city card at the end of the post.
2) Het Muizenhuis – Mouse Mansion
Did you know that there’s a mouse mansion in Amsterdam? It is called Het Muizenhuis in Dutch and is in Jordaan.
The Mouse Mansion is like a miniature wonderland for mice with intricate details that will blow your mind.
There’s a living area with the bedroom of the Mouse family, kitchen, library, everything. I also loved this rollercoaster and bumper car for mice.
You can also buy books, soft toys, and DIY kits. I visited without my kid and still enjoyed it, so imagine how much fun this place is for small children. Add this place to your Amsterdam list of must-visit spots with children.
Het Muizenhuis is free to visit but we ended up buying a toy for my little girl which was for EUR 12. Click here for the location.
3) Butterfly Garden at Hortus Botanicus
Hortus Botanicus is a lovely botanical garden with outdoor and massive greenhouse sections.
Inside Hortus Botanicus is a tropical forest, a cactus hall, a palm house, and a section with massive water lilies, but the section that I think will be the most interesting for children is the Butterfly Garden.
The Butterfly Garden in Hortus Botanicus is a small greenhouse that has plants and an insane amount of pretty butterflies. They create the most magical atmosphere as they flutter around in slow motion. For me, the time stood still as I stepped into this room.
Please ask ahead if the butterfly section is open BEFORE you tell your children about it and get them excited. Even though as per my knowledge it is open all year round.
Moreover, Hortus Botanicus has many other sections that the children would love. There are special children’s activities that are organized by Hortus Botanicus.
Nature is an important part of life and every child should be given enough opportunities to appreciate the beauty of nature. That’s something you can do at Hortus Botanicus.
The entry for Hortus Botanicus is EUR 12.50 for adults, EUR 6.50 for children over 5, and free for children under 5. If you get the I Amsterdam city card, the entry for Hortus Botanicus is free.
4) Nemo Science Museum
A visit to the NEMO Science Museum is something that is going to be fun for children of all ages. This museum is interesting from both inside and outside. It is waterfront and the building looks like a boat.
Inside the NEMO Science Museum, 5 floors are full of interesting exhibits. There are interactive science experiments & shows. Each floor has something different to offer such as mechanical sciences, energy, space, human sciences, etc.
Ask at the information desk about the live shows because there are many happening at different times and watching one will be an unforgettable experience for you and your children.
Entry to the NEMO Science Museum is free for children under 4 and is EUR 17.50 for ages 4 and above. I highly recommend you book the tickets and a time slot in advance so that your children don’t have to wait.
NEMO Science museum is free to visit with the I Amsterdam city card, so if you are visiting 2+ attractions, it makes more sense to just get the card and book all the time slots on the card app directly to manage your schedule in one place.
5) De Poezenboot – Boat with Rescued Cats
De Poeezenboot is a houseboat that is a shelter for rescued cats. It is on the Singel Canal and is very easy to find.
Children often love activities that involve small animals and they will love visiting De Poezenboot because they will meet a lot of cats there. Make sure to ask the helpers which cats are friendly enough to play with.
De Poezenboot is open just three times a week from 1 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is open just on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. So don’t mention this place to your kids from before so that they aren’t disappointed if it is closed. Just let it be a surprise.
De Poezenboot is free to visit but we highly recommend you donate something for the upkeep of this amazing shelter for cats. Click here for location.
6) Mechanisch Speelgoed – Best Toy Store in Amsterdam
Mechanisch Speelgoed is a one-of-a-kind old-fashioned toy store that is small but has so much to see. Don’t expect a place like “Toy R Us” or Hanleys because Mechanisch Speelgoed has a vintage kind of feel.
The toys in Mechanisch Speelgoed aren’t battery-operated and aren’t the ones where the children just have to press buttons. Instead, these are mechanical toys where one has to turn a key!
Since it is a shop, it is obviously free to enter but keep in mind that you will spend money here. Let your children know that they can buy just ONE toy here.
I bought so much stuff for my little girl from Mechanisch Speelgoed for just 35 Euros. I wasn’t even here with my daughter but I ended up spending a long time here enjoying the vintage toys. No wonder this place is rated 4.9 on Google Maps!
Mechanisch Speelgoed is open from 10 am to 6 pm every day except Sundays. On Sundays, it is open from 12 noon to 5 p.m. Click here for the location.
7) Canal Cruise Boat Trip
One of the best ways to experience Amsterdam’s canals is on a boat and this is an activity that children will love.
The good thing is that small children can usually enter for free when you do a boat trip. Enjoy the stunning city as the boat moves under the bridges from one canal to the other.
The thing with doing a boat trip with children is that remember that they wouldn’t want to sit still for a very long time so don’t pick the longest boat trip. Pick something for a maximum of one hour and that should be enough.
- Basic canal tour for 1 hour in a glass-covered boat, EUR 16
- One-hour canal tour with an onboard bar on an open boat, EUR 17.96
- One-hour evening cruise with a bar on board, EUR 19.95
I have shortlisted a few boat tours for you which are for one hour and in some of them there’s a bar so that you can sip a drink.
I did a boat trip with my girl in Hamburg when she was 4 years old, and she loved it. But the boat trip was for almost two hours and she did get restless at the end.
Also, pick an afternoon boat tour that starts after lunch because that’s when their energy (and yours) will be at its lowest so you can just sit back and enjoy.
8) ADAM Lookout and Extreme Swing
This is something for the older kids because it can be too much for the smaller ones.
From Amsterdam Centraal, catch a free ferry that goes to the other side of the IJ river and get on top of the ADAM Tower. From here, you can enjoy a nice view over the Amsterdam city on all the sides.
What’s more, is that there is an extreme swing on top of ADAM Tower. I did ride it once with my husband in 2017 and I think children over 11 will love it.
The time I visited, the entry for the A’DAM tower and lookout was free with the I Amsterdam city card but I don’t think that’s the case now.
There is a family discount for the tower visit at the moment and there is more information about that on their website.
9) ARTIS – Nature Artis Magistra
ARTIS is short for “Nature Artis Magistra”, which means nature is the teacher of art. It is a zoo, aquarium, planetarium, micropia, a library, and a botanical garden with loads of activities and shows for children and grown-ups.
ARTIS has 27 historically significant bridges, buildings, and ponds that have been used as animal enclosures since 1838.
Some activities are organized daily in Artis that your children will enjoy. Such as the zookeepers present different animals such as Sea Lions, lemurs, lions, elephants, vultures, gorillas, penguins, and many more interesting creatures as mentioned in the daily schedule.
There are interactive lectures about topics such as evolution, and planetary health, and several walks organized every week.
To be honest, I never ended up visiting ARTIS and I don’t promote animal tourism but this is a responsible organisation per my research.
10) Food Hallen
Are your children picky eaters? You aren’t alone.
Bring your children to Food Hallen, which is an amazing food court with many options for things to eat.
The thing I don’t like about a lot of food in Amsterdam is that there are too many sweet options that are easily available and visible – pancakes, waffles, cookies, things with caramel syrup and the list goes on.
I don’t give sweet things to my little girl for a meal, but only as an after-meal sweet treat, and definitely tiny in size.
So, keeping that in mind I want to recommend Food Hallen to you, which has many stalls with a variety of things to eat and even the pickiest of eaters will find something.
Some children-friendly things to eat at Food Hallen are Bitterballen, Fries, Fish sandwiches, Burgers, and dumplings. Of course, there is a stand for sweet things but if you play it smart and just take them quickly inside, they won’t notice it there so won’t know that sweets are even an option.
The atmosphere in Food Hallen is pretty relaxed so you won’t feel stressed about your kids creating a ruckus. You can order something special for yourself or even a cocktail from the Gin and Tonic bar as you take a chill pill.
Tips for Visiting Amsterdam with Children
I have a post about traveling with children but below are some Amsterdam-specific tips for you to make your time stress-free as you explore my favorite city with your kids.
1) Avoid Dam Square and De Wallen
If you have read any of my other posts about Amsterdam, then you know already that Dam Square and De Wallen should be avoided altogether when you are in Amsterdam with kids.
This area has the red light district, sex shops, smart shops with bongs and whatnot, and loud tourists who are in Amsterdam just to get high or party. So, don’t bring your children to this area.
2) Consider Getting the I Amsterdam City Card
Traveling with children is not cheap and Amsterdam is an expensive city. So save as much money as you can on activities. If you visit even 2 attractions per day then the I Amsterdam city card’s costs are worth it and it has many more free things.
Most of the things to do in Amsterdam with kids that I have mentioned here are free with the I Amsterdam city card, and also on top of that one boat trip per card, one bike rental, and unlimited use of public transport.
I have a detailed post on my website about the review of I Amsterdam City card after using it twice, go give it a read and decide for yourself.
3) Book the time slots in advance
If you are a parent then you know this already even the sweetest-natured children turn whiney when they have to wait. They will forget about it within minutes when the wait is over but it will be hell for you when they have to wait.
So, plan things in advance and book your time slots already.
4) Amsterdam’s Parks and Playgrounds
Amsterdam has many parks and playgrounds. Make the most of them so that your kids can play for a while and you can sit on the bench for a little break.
If you are anything like me, you would pack a few snacks not just for the kids but also for yourself.
No matter where you go in Amsterdam, it is likely that a playground is nearby so just put “playground” on Google Maps to find the nearest one.
5) Surprise Them
Don’t tell them about the plans before you visit because if a place is too busy or isn’t possible to visit, they will be disappointed. Instead, when you arrive at a place and can enter (which you will if you book a time slot in advance), that’s when you can surprise them.
Watch the happiness on their faces because children love surprises.
6) Look for Seasonal Activities
If you visit Amsterdam in winter, you can go ice skating with your children. During Christmas time, you can ride Christmas carousels together.
Summertime is when there are open-air concerts in Vondelpark and some are children-friendly. You can also consider making a side trip to Zandvoort and Bloemendaal beaches near Amsterdam which are family-friendly and can be reached by train/bus or an E-Bike.
In spring, you can take them to see the tulip gardens
If you visit Amsterdam in winter, you can go ice skating with your children and ride carousels in Christmas markets. In summer, you can take them to open-air music shows in Vondelpark and some are child-friendly.
In spring, you can take them to the tulip gardens of Keukenhof. If you look for seasonal activities, there is something new to do with children in Amsterdam in every season.
Read more Amsterdam Travel posts on my website
I have written a lot of articles about Amsterdam and I recommend you read at least some of them before you visit:
If you are new to my website and would like more information about traveling to Amsterdam, be sure to check out the below posts too:
- Amsterdam for couples – Romantic things to do in Amsterdam,
- Weekend in Amsterdam – How to spend the most amazing weekend in Amsterdam,
- 3 Perfect Days in Amsterdam – based on my trip in 2023
- 2 Days in Amsterdam – a fast-paced itinerary for spending 2 epic days in Amsterdam,
- 1 day in Amsterdam – when you have just a day, this is what you need,
- Amsterdam travel quotes to inspire you,
- 30 Amsterdam Tips that are ridiculously useful,
- Amsterdam-Noord – Hipster neighborhood guide,
- NDSM Werf – how to reach, what to do, where to eat,
- Amsterdam Instagram Spots – my favorite photo spots of Amsterdam.
Amsterdam Hotel Recommendations for Families
Below are the places that I suggest for staying in Amsterdam that I have personally stayed at:
- PH Hotel Oosteinde / Boutique Hotel Oosteinde – an amazing location that’s close to everything but away from the Red Light district so perfect for families.
- Generator Amsterdam – It is a hostel but ask for private rooms if you are visiting with children.
- NH Collection City Center
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