Family-Friendly Things to Do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a super fun and family-friendly city! In this article, you’ll find great things to do with the kids including free activities, open-late attractions, restaurants, and interesting museums.

 

 


TOP 10 THINGS TO DO

With so much to do and see in Amsterdam, you need a game plan. That’s why we have our top 10 favorite family-friendly things to do in Amsterdam listed here.

And if you’re looking for a convenient way to get around the city, check out our post about hop-on-hop-off buses and boats!


1) Kid-Friendly Sightseeing Tours

How do you get your children involved in the local culture? Take them on a sightseeing tour!

Of course, riding a boat down the canals is going to be a hit with the whole family. And after, you’ll have a better idea of finding your way around the city. For an interactive cruise, try this pirate adventure boat ride!

 

 

Another great option is going on a food tour. Even the pickiest of eaters will find something to enjoy with choices like pie, cheese, and Dutch pancakes.

Older kids could really enjoy a bicycle tour of Amsterdam as well! For a comparison of all the great tours available, visit this post.


2) Tour a Museum

Museums and kids don’t always mix, but there are some fantastic museums that will be popular with the younger ones in your family!

 

 

Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam is an interactive, internationally-known wax museum that features a fashion runway and TV news studio.

The NEMO Science Museum is a more educational experience with hands-on chemistry experiments to take part in.

And if history is of interest, you can see how Anne Frank lived during World War II at the Anne Frank House.

See more museum experiences for the whole family in the section below.


3) Go to the Children’s Theatre

Amsterdam has several theatres for people of every age in your group.

Theater De Krakeling is the only youth theatre in the country and has multiple performances where non-Dutch speakers will be able to follow along.

 

 

The Tuschinski Cinema is a lovely art deco theater that plays popular films – recently showings have included Captain Marvel and the new Dumbo.


4) Rent a Bakfiets

Renting a bike is the perfect way to see Amsterdam – the city is famous for all the bicycle-riding by locals. There are also plenty of spacious bike paths.

 

 

If some of the kids in your family are too young to keep up on bikes of their own, you can rent a bakfiet.

Bakfiets are cargo bikes with space for your youngest family members to hitch a ride. One great place to rent bicycles is A-Bike – they also offer tours.


5) See Some Football

The most popular team in Amsterdam is the AFC Ajax – their professional football team. (Also known as soccer.) There are teams in several different leagues throughout the city.

 

 

Football (Soccer)

Attending a match is the perfect way to end your day in Amsterdam. If you’re looking for more evening activities, check out the section below.


6) Enjoy Amsterdam’s Food

Amsterdam’s restaurants are incredibly kid-friendly. From delicious Dutch cuisine to interesting, family-first concepts there will be something for everyone in your group.

This concept is called a Kindercafe, which combines a restaurant with shopping and play space.

 

 

One cafe concept location is Cafe Belcampo. Located inside the De Hallen library branch, this cafe has a play area with toys for the kids and acts as a reading cafe for the adults.

We have even more dining options in the section below if you’re looking for more inspiration.


7) Vondelpark

Take part of your day to enjoy Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s largest and most famous city park. The green space has long expanses of pathways to walk, run, or bike down.

Locals and visitors flock to the park in every season – the landscape is inviting for fun activities.

 

 

Children will love the playsets which include slides, swings, toys, and castles. If you have any youngsters who love to climb, this is the perfect place to bring them.

Looking for more free activities? We have some listed below!


8) Artis Zoo

Giraffes and lemurs and flamingos, oh my! If you or anyone in your family is fascinated by the animal kingdom, you don’t want to miss the Artis Zoo.

 

 

Both fun and educational, every day you can catch presentations by zookeepers in different enclosures.

Before noon you might be able to learn about butterflies, while later on in the day you could watch a red ruffed lemur being fed.

Find even more museums and attractions below.


9) Visit a Windmill

It might take you slightly outside of the city of Amsterdam, but visiting a working windmill is a quintessentially Netherlands activity.

There are a handful of tours that will drive you out to the countryside to see what life is like away from Amsterdam.

 

 

Step into the picturesque landscape and enjoy the fresh country air while looking at the inner workings of a windmill. 


10) Save Money with a Tourist Attraction Discount Pass

Amsterdam has multiple tourist passes that allow you to get bulk discounts on attractions throughout the city. 

You also get skip-the-queue-privileges that can save you a lot of time as well.

 

 

Included in some passes:

  • Public Transport Tickets (for the Bus, Tram, and Metro)
  • Canal Cruises
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • NEMO Science Museum

Check out our City Pass comparison to find one that will work for you!

 


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FREE ACTIVITIES

Not everything in Amsterdam has to break the budget, which can be a concern when traveling with the whole family.

We’ve previously mentioned activities like visiting Vondelpark, and this section mentions some more options.

 

 

For more free things to do, take a look at our full free activities post


Visit the Mouse Mansion

 The Mouse Mansion was created to illustrate a children’s book series. Mice Sam and Julia live in a miniature world and have adventures in their doll-sized house.

There are two locations to see some fun model mansions. Head down to the Central Library to see a mansion displayed, or go to the shop to find replicas and discover how the mansion is made. At the shop, you can also buy the books in multiple languages.


Walk the Canals

Amsterdam is famous for its canals, bridges, and bicycle-lined pathways. The center of the city is made up of connected canals that you can walk or bike down.

Kids can enjoy watching the boats go by and getting a glimpse of a unique city’s culture.


Amstelpark

Amstelpark is another great city park to take the whole family to! Within the park, there are play areas with jungle gyms and a hedge maze.

The hedge maze is perfect for younger kids, as it is pretty big but uncomplicated.

If you’re a fan of farm animals, there is also a small city farm within Amstelpark!


Scheldestraat’s Miffy Shop

Get a look at what cartoon characters Dutch children love in the Miffy Shop. Miffy is a small rabbit who became famous as the main character in an illustrated book series.

 


This photo of de winkel van nijntje – Amsterdam is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

You can look through books, toys, and accessories to see how local kids entertain themselves.


Visit the Catboat

De Poezenboot, or the Catboat, is a floating sanctuary for stray cats. Locals can adopt cats from the boat, but many visitors just want a chance to cuddle with them!

It is free to step inside the boat and spend time with the cats between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm, but since space is limited there can sometimes be a line.

They do accept donations to help feed the cats.

For more free things to do, take a look at our detailed free activities post. 

 


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NIGHTTIME ACTIVITIES

You won’t run out of things to do with the family at night in Amsterdam. Here are a few of our family-friendly evening recommendations.

 

 

Make sure to check out our full article on things to do at night.


Friday Night Art Galleries and Museums

Several of Amsterdam’s museums stay open late on Friday nights. The Stedelijk Museum has a gallery full of contemporary art and free for anyone 18 years old or younger.

They’re open until 10:00 pm on Friday nights and offer arts and crafts in a workshop for anyone to create their own masterpiece.

The Van Gogh Museum and Eye Film Museum are also open late on Friday nights.


Friday Night Skate

If you can get a pair of skates, joining in the Friday Night Skate in Vondelpark is a fun activity for the whole family! Joining in is free, but you must bring skates with you. The skate starts at 8:30 pm.

 

 

Check the website to see whether or not the skate will take place, as it depends on the weather.  


Powerzone Laser Tag

Take the evening to do a fun, competitive activity. Powerzone has a large laser tag arena which can hold up to 20 players at a time.

If you don’t want the evening of games to end, why don’t you finish off the night with a game of glow-in-the-dark bowling?


Evening Canal Cruise

At night, the lights from the buildings and bridges reflect off of the water. It makes everything a bit more magical and beautiful. And what could make an evening cruise more magical for the kids? Pizza!

This evening pizza cruise will be a hit with everyone and also help you get your bearings in the middle of the city center.  


Madame Tussauds

Visit this world-famous wax museum to hang out with the stars. From Zayn Malik to Ariana Grande and Captain America, there will be a celebrity for everyone to take pictures with!

 


This photo of Madame Tussauds Amsterdam is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

If anyone in your family is fashion-forward, they’ll also love strutting their stuff down the runway in the fashion room.

 


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DINING OPTIONS AND RESTAURANTS

Even the pickiest of eaters in your family will find something delicious to love in Amsterdam.

 

 

Here is our list of family-friendly restaurants and dining options in Amsterdam.


Pancakes

Who doesn’t love pancakes? Pancakes Amsterdam has multiple locations throughout the city serving – you guessed it – pancakes.

From traditional Dutch pancakes with traditional toppings like lemon and sugar to more gourmet flavor combos, there will be something for everyone here.


Moeders

The Dutch word for “mothers,” Moeders is a traditional Dutch restaurant with some delicious options for dinner and dessert. Try the spare ribs and fries then finish off with cookie ice cream!

There are Gluten-free, Vegetarian, and Lactose-free options.


La Perla

Head to La Perla for some authentic Napoli pizza. They use fresh ingredients to make crispy, wood-fired pizzas. There’s something for everyone, like the salami or Margherita pizzas.


Blender Amsterdam

The concept of Blender is to offer healthy food in a fun, child-friendly environment. The restaurant is combined with a shop containing toys and gifts, as well as a crafts and play area.


Het Groot Melkuis

Het Groot Melkuis is in Vondelpark right against the lake. After getting all their energy out at the playground, the kids can enjoy french fries, burgers, and ice cream.

If you’re there on a Wednesday, they can also take part in some arts and crafts.


Lunchroom Lastig

Another restaurant that was built to be kid-friendly, Lunchroom Lastig offers a healthy and tasty menu full of sandwiches, Indonesian dishes, and pastries.

The space is decorated like a cozy home with a terrace, wifi, and space for kids to draw with chalk.

 


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MUSEUMS AND ATTRACTIONS

Amsterdam is home to a lot of family-friendly museums and attractions.

 

 

If you’re looking for an entertaining morning or afternoon, take a look at these hands-on art museums and children’s theater.


NEMO Science Museum

This science museum is entertaining and hands-on. Kids can learn about the world around them while having fun!

Learn about how science evolved throughout history until we reached today’s level of innovation, or how light, wind, and water create energy.

The whole family could spend an afternoon at NEMO without getting bored.


Rembrandt House

This musuem is the actual house where Rembrandt, one of the most important painters of his time, lived and worked.

Rembrandt House is full of his work and information on his life as an artist, teacher, and entrepreneur.

The whole family will be interested in the daily demonstrations held on the techniques that Rembrandt used, including etching and paint prep.  


Van Gogh Museum

One of the most well-known painters in the world has his own museum. The Van Gogh Museum has the biggest collection of his work in the world. You can see paintings such as Sunflowers and Self-Portrait, amongst others.

 


This photo of Skip-the-line Van Gogh Museum is courtesy of TripAdvisor

 

Each Saturday in March, April, and May, you can even attempt to paint your own masterpiece in a workshop between 1:00 pm and 4:00 pm.  


Artis Zoo

The Artis Zoo is a hit with children and adults alike. It is a calm oasis next to the city center with pleasant walking paths, a diverse array of plant life, and, of course, plenty of animals.

Your family can watch primates, large cats, and reptiles interact with their habitats.

Most pathways are wheelchair accessible.


Anne Frank House

Learn about the life and story of Anne Frank and her family, who went into hiding from the Nazis in 1942 during World War II.

In the Anne Frank House, you will see where she and seven other Jewish people lived in secret for several years to escape capture by Nazis.

 

 

There are pictures on the walls, quotes, and her original diary. It is fairly somer but exceptional way for children to connect with history.  


See the Koos Kneus Puppet Theatre

Open in the early afternoons on Sundays and Wednesdays, the Koos Kneus puppet theatre holds puppet shows that are perfect for kids between ages 2 and 8.

The first two performances each Sunday are targeted toward the youngest children (2 – 4) and are not language-heavy. This makes them pretty easy to follow

Your kids will be entertained by songs, dancing, and puppets. Afterward, they can dress up and grab a snack!

Show Times:

  • Sundays at 10:30 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 3:30 pm
  • Wednesdays at 2:00 pm, 3:30 pm

 


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