11 Things To Do In Amsterdam With Kids
Amsterdam's reputation as a European sin city may make it seem like an adults-only kind of place. Of course, there's much more to the capital of the Netherlands than vice, but even the best museums in Amsterdam are likely to be of limited appeal to children.
But don't make the mistake of thinking this beautiful European city isn't kid-friendly. Look below the surface, and you'll find that visiting Amsterdam offers plenty for families to do. Depending on what your kids are into, you can find a variety of activities that will keep the kids from getting bored. There's so much variety of things to do in Amsterdam with kids that you shouldn't have any problem creating a memorable vacation for the whole family when you visit Amsterdam.
Of course, traveling with the family usually means carrying lots of luggage. You can make things easier on yourself by dropping off your belongings at a Bounce luggage storage location in Amsterdam while you explore Amsterdam at your own pace. Traveling light gives you one less thing to worry about. Check out our family guide to Amsterdam for some of the best things to do with kids in the city.
Amsterdam's world-famous flower market has to be seen to be believed. The stalls here are bursting with the bright colors of tulips and other flowers, and each is located on its own canal boat, making it the only floating flower market in the world. Plus, there's more for sale at the flower market than just flowers. While you shop for bulbs for your garden, the kids can go on a treasure hunt to find unique souvenirs from the many stalls. Located in central Amsterdam not far from Centraal Station, the Blomenmarkt is a great place to visit with the family and gives you a true taste of Dutch culture that won't bore the kids.
Nemo Science Museum
Amsterdam is famous for its museums, but if you're looking for a more kid-friendly attraction on your visit, don't miss Nemo Science Museum. This state-of-the-art interactive museum offers hands-on activities that will keep kids of all ages entertained while it teaches them about the natural world, the human body, the mysteries of outer space, and other aspects of the scientific world. With five floors of exhibits, this is the biggest science center in the Netherlands and one of the biggest science museums in Europe. Families could easily spend a day or more at this exciting museum, making it one of the best family attractions in the city. If you're visiting Amsterdam with kids, this is a place you need to add to your itinerary.
Anne Frank House
Visiting Amsterdam with kids offers plenty of fun attractions that are great for families. However, part of the appeal of a visit to Amsterdam is its history. And not all of that history is particularly pleasant. That doesn't mean it's not important to learn about.
Anne Frank is known to generations of children through her famous diary. Anne and her family hid from the Nazi forces that occupied Amsterdam during World War II and wrote her diary in hiding. Now, the Anne Frank House preserves the actual building where the Frank family hid, and is both a museum and a moving memorial not just to Anne and her family, but to all of the persecuted Jews of Amsterdam.
This dark story may be too much for younger kids. However, older kids will learn a lot about an important chapter of history, especially if they have already been studying Anne's diary in school. It's important to teach younger generations about the atrocities of the past to help prevent them from happening again, and the Anne Frank House is a visceral and unforgettable way to do that.
Artis Royal Zoo
You can't go wrong with a visit to the zoo, especially with younger kids. Artis Zoo, founded in 1838, is one of the oldest zoos in Europe, and has been one of the best things to do in Amsterdam with kids for almost two centuries. See giraffes, zebras, monkeys, crocodiles, and other fascinating animals while you explore the grounds of the zoo. Additionally, Artis Zoo prides itself on being more than just a zoo. Older kids with a scientific curiosity will get a kick out of Micropia, the world's only museum of microbes. Younger kids can burn off some energy at the playground. And families can find plenty to wow them at the on-site planetarium, which takes on a voyage through the planets and stars without leaving Amsterdam.
As a major port city, Amsterdam has its seedy side. It's probably not the best idea to take the family to the red light district, but you can get a glimpse of some of the darker stories of the city in a safe and entertaining way at the Amsterdam Dungeon. This interactive attraction will take you to an Amsterdam bar in 1651, where you'll try to solve the mystery of the Flying Dutchman. Costumed actors bring history to life at this thrilling attraction, and older children will have a blast exploring the scarier side of Amsterdam. The Dungeon recommends a minimum age of 10 years old, since the experience might be a little too scary for youngsters.
While Amsterdam can be an expensive city to visit, you can find some things to do in Amsterdam with kids that are low cost or even free. In fact, there are all kinds of free things to do in Amsterdam with kids, so you can still have fun on a budget.
Amstel Park is one of the city's most popular green spaces, and for good reason. This is where Amsterdam parents bring their kids to learn to ride bikes and have fun whenever the weather is good. It's a great place for a walk or bike ride, and this famous park is also a fantastic place for kids to burn off some energy. As well as the ample green space of the park itself, you'll find a petting farm and a hedge maze, plus plenty of play areas that make great activities for kids in Amsterdam. In short, the park is one of the best free things to do in the city, and an excellent place to bring the kids if the weather allows.
Amsterdam is known as a city of bikes, and bicycles are one of the most popular ways to get around for locals and visitors alike. Bike rentals are readily available throughout the city, and most rental businesses offer a range of different sizes of bikes so that both you and the kids can get on two wheels. Many even supply carts, known as bakfiets, so that kids too young to ride for themselves can ride along with you on the city's many bike lanes.
If you're wondering where to take your bike, Amsterdam's major parks such as Vondelpark and Amstelpark are a good place to start. You could also consider booking a bike tour so you can see some of the best of the city on your trip. You can book guided tours or self-guided tours where you explore the city at your own pace, and half the fun of biking in Amsterdam is discovering your own favorite places to visit. Thanks to the city's extensive network of bike lanes, there are few better activities in the summer than gliding alongside a canal and enjoying the scenery of the city. Plus, it's a great way for kids to burn off some energy.
Blue Boat Pirate Cruise
As well as bikes, Amsterdam is known for canals. And where there's water, there are boats. Taking a canal cruise is one of the best ways to see the city, and an excellent activity to do in Amsterdam with kids.
You'll find plenty of tour operators that will take you on a variety of cruises focusing on history, architecture, and other aspects of the city. But if you really want to make little ones happy, a ride on the Blue Boat Pirate Cruise comes highly recommended. Blue Boat offers a range of different cruises in Amsterdam, but for young kids, the Pirate Cruise is definitely the way to go. They'll be given an activity pack as they board, and the guides keep up a hilarious and entertaining commentary as you cruise along the busy canals of Amsterdam. It's a great way for you to get a little peace and quiet while the kids have fun.
Sometimes, the simple things are the best. You can plan all the best family activities in the world, but often, children will find relatively mundane activities to be the most memorable. If you live in a city that doesn't have trams, kids will have a lot of fun just riding Amsterdam's extensive tram system. Best of all is the historic tram that runs from Artis Zoo. The tram is run by volunteers and offers a glimpse back into the history of Amsterdam's public transit. You can ride one way or make a round-trip and enjoy the way travel used to be.
For more historic forms of transportation, you'll find a museum tram that runs alongside Vondelpark, and makes a great activity to do while you visit the park with the family.
National Maritime Museum
Children and museums don't always go together. However, Amsterdam's National Maritime Museum is an exception. After all, Dutch sailors were one of the driving forces behind the exploration of the world, and this themed museum tells that fascinating story in an interesting way. Don't miss the Amsterdam, a full-size replica of a former Dutch East India Company ship that made the voyage from Amsterdam to Asia many times in the 18th century. Kids can explore the ship to their heart's content, and the entry fee is separate from the main museum, meaning you can visit just the ship if that's more suitable for your kids than the museum itself.
From the van Gogh Museum to the Rijksmuseum to Rembrandt House, Amsterdam is known for having some truly incredible art galleries. And while kids may not appreciate the Dutch Masters the way their parents might, Amsterdam museums make sure they offer something for everyone by providing activities for kids. For instance, the impressive Rijksmuseum offers a special tour for families that will keep the kids occupied with interactive games. Likewise, the van Gogh Museum offers child-friendly tours and a treasure hunt that will keep your children occupied while you appreciate the work of one of the world's most popular artists. The Rembrandt House also offers a special audio guide for kids that will explain the artist and his work in a child-friendly way. It would be a shame to visit Amsterdam and not see some of the city's incredible art collections, so this is a great way to see Amsterdam with kids without depriving yourself of some of the city's top attractions.
What are the best family activities in Amsterdam?
As far as one-stop attractions go, Artis Zoo is hard to beat thanks to the wealth of activities you'll find here. It's especially good for smaller children, but older kids will also find something to enjoy at this historic park. If, on the other hand, your kids are old enough to appreciate a few scares, the Amsterdam Dungeon is practically guaranteed to ensure you all have fun visiting Amsterdam with kids. But sometimes, it's the simple things that make the best memories. Renting bikes and cruising through the city can make for enjoyable family time that's also very affordable.
Hopefully by now, you've seen just how much there is to do in Amsterdam with kids. Of course, you and your children will have your own preferences, but the selections above can guide you in the right direction to see some of the best of what the city has to offer. And as always, Bounce is here to help with affordable and convenient luggage storage in Amsterdam. Whatever you choose to do with your family in the city, you'll enjoy it more if you're not carrying heavy bags with you.