18 of the best things to do in Amsterdam for kids (toddlers and up)

Amsterdam Houses with title: Amsterdam with kids

A mum’s guide to the top things to do in Amsterdam with kids: Amsterdam kids attractions, kid-friendly museums, what to do in Amsterdam with family. Updated March 2021.

I am exceptionally fond of Amsterdam and I believe it is one of the best cities to visit in Europe with kids.

Compact, leafy and very safe, there are so many things to do in Amsterdam with kids, you can easily make the city your home and never run out of things so do and if you are only here for a family city break well, you will be spoilt for choice!

Amsterdam has kids attractions and many attractions that while not for kids as such are easy to visit even with little ones in tow.

I have visited the city many times and this year I was lucky enough to have one of my best friends moving there – the ultimate excuse to go an explore like a local!

This is my guide to the best things to do in Amsterdam with kids and how to see Amsterdam must see attractions with kids in tow.

Top things to do in Amsterdam with kids: Amsterdam kid-friendly attractions we love

Here are my top picks for things to do in Amsterdam with kids of all ages.

Attraction NameTypeTicketedAge suitabilitySuitable for rain*
NemoChildren Science MuseumYAll (school age kids will get the best value for money)Yes
Canal CruiseBoat cruise YAllYes
Tropen MuseumMuseum of world culturesYAllYes
Artis Royal Zoo and MicropiaZooYAllNo
Amsterdam houseboat MuseumMuseumYSchool age and upYes
Cat BoatCat shelter / houseboatYAllYes
Openbare Bibliotheek and Mouse MansionLibraryNToddlers and small kidsYes
Van Gogh MuseumArt MuseumYAllYes
Rijks MuseumArt MuseumYAllYes
Anne Franke HouseHistorical Home / MuseumYOlder kids / TeenagersYes
The Maritime MuseumNaval History MuseumYSchool age kidsYes
VondelparkGarden/ ParkNAllNo
Amsterdam NoordAreaNAllNo
Nine StreetsAreaNAllNo
Amsterdam BegijnhofCourtyardNAllNo
Ajax StadiumFootball ArenaYSchool ageY
Glow in the dark Mini GolfCrazy Golf CourseYSchool age and upY
Amsterdam Marionette TheaterPuppet ShowYAllY

*If you wait for good weather you may be waiting a long time in Amsterdam.

Attractions marked as not suitable for a rainy day are just attractions that are better in the sun but if you only have a limited time, just warp up and go anyway!

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Family guide with the best things to do in Amsterdam with kids including must see Amsterdam attractions, museums, parks and more #amsterdam #netherlands #europe #travel #familytravel
Our tried and tested selection of things to do in Amsterdam with kids

Discover Nemo Science Museum and its terrace – the best place in Amsterdam for toddlers and school age kids

Amsterdam science museum tops our list as one attraction specifically for kids but easy to enjoy for adults too.

Located in a stunning building close to Central Station, in Amsterdam city center, Nemo museum is an interactive space where kids can learn about science through exhibitions, workshops and hands-on science experiments.

The museum develops over several floors and covers from mechanics to human learning and activities suitable from toddlers to teenagers and adults.

The entrance is ticketed and the museum is not cheap: I recommend it for school age kids especially as I believe they will get the best value for money experience.

Top tip: At the very top of the building, the museum has a wonderful terrace with additional installations, fountains you can splash in (!) and a cafe. This area is free and fantastic with toddlers!

This is by far our favorite place in Amsterdam for toddlers and school age kids especially.

Take a canal cruise – best thing to do in Amsterdam for the whole family

It may be a touristy thing to do but a boat tour of Amsterdam canals is a fantastic family activity and one of my must-do things to do in Amsterdam with kids in tow.

Several companies offer cruises of different lengths and many are family-friendly: some simply welcome kids while others go the extra mile tantalizing small taste buds with a pizza cruise!

We took a lovely cruise in December and I recommend it as a family activity for all seasons.

In winter, just make sure you pick a boat with a glass roof – not all have them and winter in Amsterdam on the canals gets pretty chilly!

In summer, I highly recommend you get an open-air canal tour instead: it is a great way to visit Amsterdam on a sunny day.

Visit the Tropen Museum – museum of world cultures

The Tropenmuseum is often mentioned as one of the best museums in Amsterdam for kids in the world and indeed, it has special attention for young visitors.

The museum is an interactive space aimed at teaching kids (and adults) about different cultures around the world.

The museum has a special children route to allow them to experience as much of the space as possible and encourage them to interact as much as possible with what surrounds them to they can have a truly immersive experience.

Spend a day in Artis Royal Zoo and Micropia

Artis Amsterdam zoo is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands and its complex now comprises of two attractions: the zoo itself and Micropia.

The zoo caters to kids with specialized workshops,  zookeepers talks (in Dutch, but you can ask questions in English) and organized feeding times.

It also has a playground and, in summer, hosts special workshops for children and musical performances.

Top tip: you can bring your own picnic or order a pizza from their outdoor kitchen!

Artis Zoo gets pretty busy on a sunny day so we recommend getting skip the line tickets if going at prime visiting time

View of canal houses from the Houseboat museums, one of the best things to visit in Amsterdam with kids
The view over Amsterdam houses is even better from the water

Visit a houseboat for people…. or cats!

Amsterdam’s canals are the most interesting feature of the city for kids who will no doubt notice the many colorful boats floating in the canals of Amsterdam city center.

What children may not realize is that while some boats are for transport, some are for living.

Houseboats are an incredible thing to visit.

They have the most interesting nooks and crannies and children will love to see what you can do with a small space!

To experience life on a houseboat you have several options.

You can stay in one, visit the Houseboat Museum or take a different approach altogether: visit a houseboat converted into a cat refuge!

Play in Openbare Bibliotheek and mouse mansion – the best thing to do in Amsterdam with a toddler!

A wonderful space for kids and adults is Amsterdam’s central library.

Located in the city cente, not far from the Central Station and a stone throw from Nemo, the library has a great kids section with books, colorful couches and a play area for smaller children.

One of its areas does have books in English.

The library is a great Amsterdam attraction for kids but is wonderful for adults too.

Something not to be missed in Amsterdam’s central library is the Mouse House.

This is a 2m-tall dollhouse for mice (toys, not real ones!) with rooms, hallways, factories and shops.

The library is free and a perfect refuge for a rainy day or if you have toddlers who may want some floor and playtime.

Visit the Van Gogh Museum

The van Gogh museum tops the travel lists of many Amsterdam visitors and can easily be enjoyed as a family too and not just because of Van Gogh’s colorful and (mostly) child-friendly art.

The museum has special attentions for kids.

They have family tours, family guides, a children treasure hunt and something special: ‘Vincent’s traveling case’, packed with fun activities for kids and adults!

Make sure you stop at the entrance desk for all family information and materials.

You can buy fast track entry tickets to the museum here

Explore the Rijks Museum with kids

The Rijks Museum is one of the most important art museums in the workd and it is very kid-friendly.

As well as being stroller friendly, the museum has a very child friendly approach that sees regular activities for kids taking places in there spaces (drawing sessions, family tours).

The museum also has a fun souvenir shops and a lovely garden just outside that are handy if you need to let them run while a little while after the visit.

Experience Anne Frank House

I recommend a visit to Anne Frank’s House to families with older kids and teenagers able to take in the magnitude and meaning of the place.

However, if you have children of the right age I do think this can be a really interesting place to see and to bring history to life.

Make sure you book tickets in advance from the house itself.

Visit the Maritime Museum

Another museum to please both kids and adults is the Maritime Museum.

The museum teaches about the history of Dutch maritime endeavors and impressive empire and has something sure to pique the kids’ attention: a full-size replica of an East India Company sailing ship!

The ship is part of the museum and welcomes kids with a discounted price for kids 4 to 11 (kids under 3 go free).

You can buy skip the line tickets to the museum in advance here

Play in Vondelpark

There are many beautiful parks in Amsterdam and a family favorite is Vondelpark.

The park is large and a pleasure to visit with kids: you can stroll or cycle and several playgrounds make it a favorite for local families and visitors alike.

You can bring a picnic to the park but you also have several food options for a family-friendly meal, including hot dog stands and filly fledged restaurants.

Eat pancakes

My kids had heard about the famous Dutch pancakes before we left home and so we obliged.

Our two favorite places for them are the Hoxton (child-friendly, despite the cool look and atmosphere) and Pluk.

You can read a selection of our favorite family-friendly restaurants and eateries in Amsterdam here

Go for a cycle in Amsterdam Noord

Another activity not quite for kids as such but pleasant to do as a family is a trip to Amsterdam Noord.

This area of Amsterdam is just in front of the Central Station, on the opposite side from the Canal Ring, and has an interesting history.

Originally an industrial and working-class area, Amsterdam Noord is not a hip and up and coming area with many beer gardens, artsy corner and a lot of green spaces.

A free shuttle boat connects it with Centraal in a matter of minutes and you can spend a whole day wandering around this flat neighborhood.

Here you have the Amsterdam lookout and famous swing (for daredevils and suitable for older kids only), the beautiful Eye Film Museum and a plethora of waterfront eateries with a hip yet family-friendly vibe.

The nicest way to explore Amsterdam Noord with kids is to get a bike: the area is leafy, flat and very bike friendly, one of the best areas in Amsterdam for cycling with little ones!

Explore the quirky shops of Nine Streets

The ‘Nine Streets’ are a lovely area of Amsterdam full of concept stores and cafes.

The area is perfect fro brunch and we found it wonderful for kids as it is full of quirky shops and art that is guaranteed to give them a giggle!

This is also one of the best areas to find family-friendly restaurants in Amsterdam city center.

Relax in Amsterdam Begijnhof

The Amsterdam begijnhof is a historical courtyard with a lovely garden and the oldest house in Amsterdam.

It is a loelyplace to visit at any age: toddlers will love the quiet and car-free space (please be mindful that they cannot run on the grass), older kids and grown ups will find its history interesting and everyone will love that is a vit of a calm oasis right in the middle of busy Amsterdam city center!

Historical homes in Amsterdam overlooking an internal yard called Begijnhof

Take a Stadium Tour

Soccer lovers may be excited by the idea of visiting the stadium of legendary Ajax.

The stadium can be visited on most days and welcome kids: special kids tours are available in Dutch only but they include playtime on the pitch. A perfect and fun opportunity for cultural immersion through play!

Glow in the dark Mini Golf

If you are looking for something fun and unusual to do in Amsterdam with your kids, then you may want to consider the glow in the dark mini golf.

This is a bizarre indoor mini gold course that is a bit of an assault to the senses but in a fin way: the course is flooded with UV lights in different colors!

Go to the Amsterdam marionette theatre

I am closing this list with an old fashioned attraction that I believe will charm kids and adults alike: the old marionette theatre.

The theatre holds regular performances with wooden characters that perform opera and music pieces by various composers under the skillful movements of 6 puppeteers.

Some of the performances are specifically for kids.

Performances are usually in Dutch but because of the nature of the show can be enjoyed also by non-Dutch speakers

Additional resources for families traveling to Amsterdam with children

The best time to visit Amsterdam with family is the late spring / summer.

This is the time of the year when rain is least likely and a wonderful time to see Amsterdam’s many parks. In spring, you will even see the famous Dutch tulips!

The best area to stay in Amsterdam for families is the inner city center and teh canal ring. I personally love eh area of Prinzengracht close to the Amstel, which is lovely and well connected to all main Amsterdam attractions

Amsterdam is very stroller friendly and you will have little difficulties navigating the city with wheels. If you want to baby wear, I recommend you bring a waterproof layer in winter as rain here can be intense!

In all season, you want to have layers ready. Read our bpacking list at the following links:

Amsterdam is best visited on foot and by tram. You can find recommended itineraties and tips for using public transport below.

I hope you enjoyed this selection of the best things to do in Amsterdam with kids. Safe family travels!

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