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12 Things to do in Amsterdam with Kids

A family holiday to Amsterdam is a great choice for a city break with kids. The capital of The Netherlands is a manageable four hour road trip from the port of Calais and there are lots of park and ride options to get you into the centre of the city on foot. Great transport links in and out of the centre of Amsterdam also means you can save a bit of money and choose to stay outside of the centre with ease.

We have travelled to Amsterdam in the Netherlands a couple of times with children and this itinerary has proven to be a great way to see some of the best sights the city has to offer. It also doesn’t involve spending that much money! Here are 12 quintessential things to do in Amsterdam with kids and also a great itinerary for 1 day in Amsterdam too!

Getting There – Park and Ride

The best way to get into the city is on the incredibly efficient and easy to use P+R service. Through the P+R Amsterdam website you can find out which park and ride car parks are full and which have spaces on your day of travel.

The website tells you step by step how to use P+R Amsterdam. It states how much you need to pay and where to purchase your GVB cards from – each person travelling needs one of these to access public transport into the city.

Depending on what time you enter the car park, you can even get your parking for only €1 for the whole day!

If you are travelling by car I would highly recommend using P+R Amsterdam.

Central Station to Dam Square

Odds are that you’ll arrive in Amsterdam via the Central Station. One of the first things to do is to get swept up in the throngs of tourists hitting the pavement and walk down Damrak Street towards Dam Square.

Fun on Damrak Street, Amsterdam
Having fun on Damrak Street!

On the way down take your time to enjoy all the souvenir shops that line the streets and maybe purchase your very own set of clogs to for your fridge when you get home. Then enjoy wandering around the innumerable cheese shops, which, trust me, you will never tire of!

Tulip souvenirs Things to do in Amsterdam
Tulips from Amsterdam…
Cheese shop on Damrak Street
Chese shop on Damrak Street!
Cheese shop on Damrak Street
Having a sneaky nibble

Then, if your hungry, at 10 o’clock in the morning, and looking for a light snack (probably not so light really), you can enjoy some chips from one of the various chips shops claiming to be the number 1 best fries in Amsterdam!

We stopped off at a place called Mannekenpis and shared one portion between eight of us – maybe this does qualify as light after all – and I have to admit, they were pretty darn good! Sampling some of the local delicacies on a budget is always a staple of our family holidays in Amsterdam.

Mannekenpis chips
Mannekenpis chips were pretty darn good!

Once you have had your fill of tulips, magnets and giant clogs you will suddenly find yourself at Dam Square.

A picture outside the impressive Royal Palace will be unavoidable. The building was built as a city hall in the 17th century and then became the Royal Palace of King Louis Napoleon (Napoleon of France’s younger brother).

Royal Palace at Dam Square - Things to do in Amsterdam
Dam Square and the Royal Palace

Anne Frank’s House

From Dam Square walk past the Royal Palace and follow the canals and streets out of the city centre to Anne Frank’s House.

Tickets to enter the Anne Frank House are all purchased online. The majority of tickets are released two months in advance. If this is something you want to do as part of your trip make sure you get organised.

Ann Frank's House Things to do in Amsterdam
Anne Frank’s House

If you don’t go in it’s still worth a little look. You can see the house and have your picture taken at the door. This is without a doubt one of the most quintessential things to do in Amsterdam.

An added extra for us was that my sister had just finished reading Ann Frank’s Diary, so she told us some facts about the house and Ann’s life whilst she lived there. Obviously, the stories were incredibly sad and standing at the house made them all the more heavy.

It was a somber experience, but a nice way to introduce Ann’s story to my little girl along with a little bit of history.

PANCAKES Amsterdam Westermarkt – things to do in Amsterdam with kids

Since you’re in this neck of the woods, Pancakes Amsterdam Westermarkt is a great place to stop for lunch or elevenses!

The restaurant has a very contemporary feel inside and out and a lovely place to spend some time time on your family holiday in Amsterdam.

Outside, the white picnic tables and blue umbrellas are paired with exposed brick walls on one side and full glass windows on the other. The restaurant is also decorated with giant vases imitating the famous dutch delftware. It feels clean and sleek and there’s lots for the kids to look at. It’s a fabulous place to take kids when in Amsterdam.

Pancakes Amsterdam

The staff were incredibly friendly and plied the kids with colouring sheets, crayons and activities to keep them entertained and the prices are reasonable.

There are lots of different types of yummy pancakes on the menu and, best of all, once you have paid you walk away with a clog on a keyring! Now in my book, that is much better than an after dinner mint!

Pancakes Amsterdam
The kids with their Pop, taking in their surroundings at Pancakes Amsterdam

Walk the 9 Streets – child-friendly sightseeing in Amsterdam

From Pancakes at Westermarkt, head south and amble the 9 Streets. Enjoy the canals, the boats, the shops and the streets.

Take a million photos of the water, bikes and houses and then just take a moment to enjoy being in one of the calmest and prettiest cities in the world.

Walking the 9 Streets - Things to do in Amsterdam
Walking the 9 Streets
Views along the 9 Streets in Amsterdam
Walking the 9 Streets
Quintessential bike, bridge and canal picture!

Flower Market – a great experience for kids in Amsterdam

The Amsterdam Flower Market might not sound like a very good things to do with kids in Amsterdam, but trust me your kids will love it!

Flower Market Tulips
Tulips in the Flower Market
Flower Market
Flower Market

There are of course tulips in their thousands, which are incredibly beautiful in the most amazing array of bright and vivid colours, but there is also so much more! This is also a must see if you are only sending one day in Amsterdam.

Henri Willig Cheese Shop

In between wandering around the different stalls in the market, take some time out to visit the Henri Willig Cheese Shop.

Here you can sample goat cheese, sheep’s cheese and about 100 different varieties of cow’s cheese. The ladies in the shop can tell you how it is made and will help you pick out the flavours they think you will like the best. Everything is available to try. It is a cheese lovers dream!

There is also a small museum upstairs that is definitely worth a little look and great for the kids as you’ll only be there for about 5/10 minutes.

Henir Willig Cheese - Things to do in Amsterdam
Henri Willig Cheese Museum

Stroopwafel – kid-friendly things to do on a family holiday to Amsterdam

Don’t miss the opportunity to buy freshly made stroopwafle, either plain or with a topping. You can treat it like a dutch version of a coffee and a cake or get one to take away and munch on it while you walk the rest of the flower market.


Peppernuts – Netherlands Number 1 Chocolate Cookie!

Also, don’t walk past the Peppernuts shop! The shop itself is small and unassuming from the outside. However, don’t let this fool you. Once you step inside it’s like walking into one of the shops from Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley!

Peppernuts - Things to do in Amsterdam

Peppernuts are dubbed as Holland’s number 1 cookie and the Dutch eat 7 billion of them each and every year! Peppernuts are small round biscuits with a slight cinnamon taste covered in various different flavours of chocolate.


The shelves are full of every colour, taste and texture you can think of and again, you can taste any of them!

My personal favourite was the white chocolate, but the gin and tonic, lavender and cappacino flavours were all lovely too. You can even get stroopwafle flavoured Peppernuts!

Peppernut tasting! Things to do in Amsterdam
Peppernut tasting!

They make a great present to take back home or just something to indulge in on the day!

Flea Market

From the Flower Market follow the canals around to the Flea Market and City Hall and enjoy the view as you go!

A view from a bridge
A view from a bridge

The Flea Market wraps itself around city hall and it’s a nice place to amble and browse the stalls and arty bits.

A flea market isn’t everyones cup of tea, and we didn’t actually buy anything, but we all really enjoyed the atmosphere and the walk!

Flea Market - Things to do in Amsterdam
Flea Market

Rembrandt Corner

Once you’ve walked out of the flea market and headed north you’ll find yourself walking past Rembrandt Corner.

This is a lovely place to have a quick beverage and a little sit down before you head off again. You can sit inside and out and the staff were very accommodating of our very curious and explorative children!

Rembrandt Corner
Rembrandt Corner

Rembrandt Corner also offers some fantastic views of Oudeschans Canal, which is very easy on the eye.

Oudeschans canal
Oudeschans Canal

Check out this guide to the best coffee in Amsterdam!


The Nieumarkt is like a farmers market. We found it wasn’t as big as the Flea Market – although we got there just as it was starting to finish up.

Here you can find fresh fruit smoothie stalls, jewellery stalls, cheese stalls and bread and cake stalls.

The Nieumarkt - Things to do in Amsterdam
The Nieumarkt

It also happens to be next to The Waag.

The Wagg

The Waag is a lovely looking 15th century building that was originally built as a city gate. It was also a part of the walls of Amsterdam. The Waag now houses a coffee shop and is the oldest secular building in Amsterdam!

The Waag
The Waag

Red Light District

Arguably, no trip to Amsterdam is complete without a trip to the Red Light District.

Visiting this part of the city with children might be a point of contention for some parents and I can fully understand why.

The Red Light District - Things to do in Amsterdam
The Red Light District

We did decide to take our children into the Red Light District for a little walk around. We didn’t wrestle or juggle with the moral implications of this decision very much if i’m honest, but this might be because we had been before.

It doesn’t look seedy or illicit in the middle of the afternoon. If we were there with the kids at 10 o’clock at night, I most likely would have made a different decision. In the day you will probably see some ladies in their rentable windows, but, if like us, you have very small children, they won’t even notice them.

Nothing is brazenly shoved in your face at this time of the day and you will only see tidbits if you are looking.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Karen

    Amsterdam is such a fantastic city for kids, these are great recommendations I’m sure lots of visitors would otherwise miss on a brief visit.

  2. Liona

    Amsterdam is so colourful. We went 10 years ago and have been desperate to go back since.

  3. Jen Brommer

    My husband and his family are 100% Dutch. I never really considered visiting the Netherlands until I read this post! Thank you so much for sharing these inspiring photos!J

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