Top 9 Things to Do With Kids in Amsterdam

Famous for its picturesque canals, Amsterdam in the Netherlands is one of the best European capitals for a great family holiday.

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Abundant green spaces and a compact centre that’s easily explored by boat or bike lend themselves to unforgettable summer adventures, while fun indoor activities range from quirky museums with exhibits especially for children to teen-friendly dining and shopping districts. It all adds up to making Amsterdam a travel destination that's more than suitable for kids and families.

Here are our favourite things to do and places to take your kids in Amsterdam, suitable for all ages and based on an ideal trip length of three to five days.

What to Do in Amsterdam With Toddlers

Pancake Boat Cruise

On a De Pannenkoekenboot cruise, you’ll journey for 75 minutes along the IJ River, past modern architectural landmarks including A’DAM Tower and the EYE Film Museum. For little ones, the highlight is the all-you-can-eat pancake buffet, featuring three kinds of pancakes (bacon, apple and plain) with a dizzying array of sweet and savoury toppings to enjoy. When they’re full, there’s a ball pit in the hold and colouring pictures to keep them entertained. Kids under 3 go free – another reason to choose this activity when visiting Amsterdam with toddlers.

Amsterdam Bike Tour

Bikes are the best way to explore Amsterdam with kids. We recommend the three-hour City Bike Tour, which takes you through the Canal District and the bohemian Jordaan neighbourhood, stopping off at top attractions including Anne Frank House and Vondelpark. You’ll hear plenty of insider anecdotes from your guide, and little ones will love travelling at speed through the city’s beautiful streets. Choose kids’ bikes, tandem bikes, child seats or a bakfiet, an Amsterdam icon that lets toddlers and babies sit up front in a cargo basket. Tours run twice daily.

Artis Zoo & Aquarium

Every toddler loves a good zoo, and Amsterdam’s historic ARTIS is one of the best. Located in a tranquil garden in the city centre, it houses more than 700 species, including giraffes, elephants, gorillas, lions and penguins. Check out the daily zookeeper talks, and don’t forget to visit the site’s aquarium and planetarium as well. The zoo opens daily from 9am to 5pm or 6pm (depending on the season). Kids aged 2 and under go free. Looking for a nearby Amsterdam family hotel? ibis Amsterdam Centre Stopera is less than 10 minutes away on foot.

What to Do in Amsterdam With Kids


Located southwest of the city centre, Vondelpark is the capital’s largest park. It’s the cornerstone of any family holiday in Amsterdam, especially on sunny days when picnic lawns and pathways perfect for bicycling and roller-skating beckon. The park has a large playground – and in summer, the open-air theatre hosts free children’s shows and concerts. If you need a sugar rush in between games of hide-and-seek, look for street vendors selling pancakes, or head to the pavilion restaurant for ice cream.

  • Hey kids! Got a bit of a sweet tooth? You’ll love Amsterdam, where local delicacies include poffertjes (Dutch pancakes), stroopwafels (waffles stuck together with syrup) and oliebollen (deep-fried sweet dumplings). Look for them at street stalls throughout the city!

NEMO Science Museum

Head to the Oosterdok to discover one of the most popular family attractions in Amsterdam: the NEMO Science Museum. This handsome ship-shaped building houses all kinds of magic for scientifically minded youngsters. You can hold an ancient meteorite, blow giant bubbles, generate electricity with your own water dam, or don a white coat and work on real-life experiments in the laboratory. When you’re finished, the open-air rooftop café is a breathtaking spot for lunch with panoramic harbour views. Tickets must be reserved online and cost €17.50 for adults and children aged 4 and over.

National Maritime Museum

Across the harbour lies the National Maritime Museum, another must-visit attraction for school-age kids. The museum itself reveals 500 years of Dutch maritime history with displays of navigation instruments, sea charts, model ships and paintings. But for younger visitors, the highlight is the replica Dutch East Indiaman ship docked outside, which they can climb aboard to discover interactive displays and an exciting virtual reality adventure. Ahoy, me hearties! The museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10am to 5pm. Tickets are priced at €17.50 for adults and €8.50 for children aged 4 to 17.

What to Do in Amsterdam With Teens

Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House is undoubtedly one of the top things to do in Amsterdam with teenagers, especially if they’re studying WWII at school. Located at Prinsengracht 263-267 in the city centre, the museum incorporates the house and annex where Anne Frank and her family sought refuge from the Nazi regime. It tells their tragic story through original artefacts, photos, videos and quotes from Anne’s famous diary. It’s an incredibly emotional experience and parents are cautioned that some children may find it upsetting. The museum is open daily from 9am to 10pm, and tickets must be reserved online. Children aged 10 to 17 receive a discount.

The Jordaan

If museums are more likely to elicit eye-rolls than excitement from your teens, set time aside for an afternoon spent strolling around one of Amsterdam’s coolest neighbourhoods, The Jordaan. A former working-class district with a distinctly bohemian atmosphere, it’s synonymous with street performers, pavement cafés, independent boutiques and Instagram-worthy canal scenes. Bartering for vintage fashion (Mondays) or sampling farmer’s market delicacies (Saturdays) at the Noordermarkt is a particular highlight. Want to really impress the kids? Combine your visit with a night at the nearby Sofitel The Legend Grand Amsterdam.


The capital is home to some world-famous art galleries (Rijksmuseum anyone?), but if you’re headed to Amsterdam with teenagers, the STRAAT Museum may be a better choice. Located in a former warehouse on the NDSM wharf, it celebrates street art and graffiti with a collection of more than 160 larger-than-life artworks by some of the movement’s biggest and brightest talents. Getting there is part of the experience, with free ferries from Amsterdam Centraal Station and Pontsteiger. The museum is open daily until 6pm, opening at midday on Mondays and at 10am all other days.

With many more attractions in top family-friendly areas including the Canal District, the Museum District, Westerpark, De Plantage and more, the answer to whether Amsterdam makes for a good family holiday is a resounding “yes”! Wondering where to stay in Amsterdam with kids? Family hotels like Novotel Amsterdam City offer the perfect base for exploring everything the city has to offer.

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