Thinking about visiting Amsterdam with toddler or baby in tow? In this guide I round up all our local knowledge from an Amsterdam mum to help take the stress out of visiting Amsterdam with baby or toddlers including best advice on where to stay in Amsterdam with kids, how to get around and of course the best things to do in Amsterdam with toddlers.
Where to Stay in Amsterdam with toddler or babies
Amsterdam is actually a relatively compact city by European standards and it has great public transport options (more on this later). I don’t think there is one right answer when asking “where to stay in Amsterdam with kids” as it really depends on what you are looking for. In this section I will tell you some of my favourite areas to visit in Amsterdam with kids including best hotels and apartments we’ve found for different budgets.
Before I moved here a lot of guides I read suggested staying in the Jordaan area with kids. Now I like the Jordaan but this can be a very busy part of town and for this reason one of my favourite places to stay in Amsterdam with kids is actually the Plantage area. This area is slightly quieter and has good access to a lot of my favourite things to do with babies and toddlers in Amsterdam including the zoo, botanical gardens and some of the most child friendly museums in Amsterdam.
A good rated hotel in this area is the Hyatt Regency which also has an airport shuttle, restaurant on site and access to public transport, near by to a good supermarket and restaurants, a park with good playground and is only 800m from Artis Zoo.
Another great option especially for those opting for a longer stay is to stay in an aparthotel. We stayed for six weeks in the beautiful and historic Wittenburg which was great for us as it meant we didn’t have to eat out all the time as it comes with a kitchen and it also has options for one and two bedroom apartments which I prefer when travelling with kids as it means you don’t have to sit in the dark once your little has gone to sleep.
If you don’t want to stay in this area another option is to stay near Vondel Park – the biggest park in central Amsterdam and a great place for toddlers and babies in Amsterdam. In this area The Marriott comes highly rated:
If you are looking for more budget options then I would recommend staying slightly further out of the city as the hotels tend to be slightly better value than those that are in the centre of the city. If you want to consider staying further out we recommend the Amsterdam Zuid area as there are lots of public transport options and options for both hotels and apartments such as (click the name for details of prices and availability):
How to get around Amsterdam with a baby or toddler
Amsterdam is actually quite a compact city with a lot of options for getting around with a baby or toddler in tow. In this section I will break down all of the best options for transport in the city
Metro & Trams
Amsterdam has a compact but easy to use Metro system that is supplemented by an extensive tram network. Both of these systems are really easy to use even if you are travelling with a stroller and take you nearby to most of the major Amsterdam attractions.
Renting a Bike in Amsterdam with Toddler or Baby
I think that renting and riding a bike in Amsterdam is something at the top of a lot of people’s Amsterdam bucket lists. If you are wondering if you can rent bicycles in Amsterdam with toddlers or babies then the answer is yes.
Babies can sit on the front of bicycles from the time that they can comfortable sit up on their own fully in control of their neck and head. Once children reach two, they can then switch to a seat behind the parents. It is not legally required for adults or children to wear helmets in Amsterdam but I always put my little one in a helmet whenever I take her out.
Another popular option is to do what the Dutch do and cycle with a bakfiets! This is a box on the front of your bicycle where children can seat and some even come with attachments so you can put even newborn babies in in their car seats. For novelty value you could always rent one in the shape of a clog but this will definitely mark you out as a tourist!
I would urge though a word of caution that if you are not a confident cyclist and especially if you are travelling in peak season you may not want to rent bikes or you might want to consider renting further out of town and get used to the bikes not in the busiest intersections of Amsterdam. Our guests recently rented bicycles by black bikes Amsterdam and the service and the bikes were excellent. They also have front and back seats, bakfiets and clog bakfiets bikes for rental and this can be done by 3 hour intervals or longer i.e. a week dependent on your itinerary.
Walking Around Amsterdam with toddlers – Is Amsterdam Stroller Friendly
As with any city in Europe one of my favourite ways to explore the city is to walk it and Amsterdam is a very easy city to walk. However it is not a place that I would let my toddler have free run of. There are lots of cycle lanes all over the city (usually denoted by red markings but not always) and for children and adults who are not used to these cycle paths it can be dangerous if people forget and walk out so if you are walking I recommend using a carrier, stroller or a toddler back pack with reins (we love these ones )!
If you are wondering is Amsterdam Stroller Friendly then my answer is largely yes! Amsterdam is famously very flat and the pavements are equipped for dealing with strollers.
Best Time to Visit Amsterdam with babies and toddlers
In my opinion there is no bad time to visit Amsterdam with toddler or baby in tow. Spring is always a great time to visit Amsterdam because the tulips will be out in full bloom and you can visit Keukenhof or cycle around the nearby tulip fields. This is a lovely day trip and is definitely a bucket list item however it can be very busy so bear this in mind when you are travelling to Amsterdam with a baby or toddler.
Summer is another great time as you will have the best chance of weather for your visit to experience the city’s great parks and outdoor spaces however summer is peak time for Amsterdam so you will be faced with more crowds.
Autumn is one of the quieter times in the city and the weather won’t be as bad as in Winter. Travelling in the shoulder seasons means you will have mild weather and limited crowds which might be favourable when travelling with a toddler or baby to Amsterdam.
Winter on the other hand sees Amsterdam decked out for Christmas. Amsterdam has great Christmas lights and its own tradtion of Sinter Klaas and Zwarte Piet who arrives in the city on 6th December. I love travelling to cities during Winter when the crowds are less but also to experience local traditions like when we went to Stockholm in Winter for the festival of St Lucia. Amsterdam also has some lovely Christmas markets and taking a canal tour to see the Christmas lights is another special thing to do in Amsterdam.
Best things to do in Amsterdam with a toddler or baby
Being a local we have out experiencing and trying to find the best things to do in Amsterdam with a toddler or baby. In this section we round up the best things we have found and the things we recommend you NOT doing in Amsterdam with toddlers and babies. This section will be updated as we find more things especially a few more Amsterdam hidden gems.
Best Amsterdam Parks for Toddlers
This is perhaps the most well known of all the parks in Amsterdam and it is also the biggest in the centre. Vondelpark is a great place to cycle around, take a picnic but also there are two lovely play areas that are great for toddlers. If it is a hot day there is also a splash pool so be sure to take swimwear.
There is also a cafe Groot Melkhuis which is a great place to stop for refreshments with kids as there is also a playground here!
Oosterpark is in a bit more of an up and coming neighbourhood by comparison to Vondelpark but it has my toddlers favourite playground. There is a section with swings and slide but her favourite area is a large wooden floating adventure walkway (not sure how else to describe it but if there is an official name please do let me know). My little one will spend hours here on the course and it is a great thing to combine with a visit to Artis Zoo or the Troppenmuseum.
Our nearest park and one of my favourites. Amstelpark has something for everyone. There is a small petting zoo with donkeys, ponies, goats, pigs and cows that is free admission, one of the largest playgrounds in Amsterdam with sections for the very small up to older children, a small fun fair, mini golf and a train that you can take a ride round the park on that runs at weekends and holidays. You can easily spend at least half a day in this park and there is a really nice pancake place next to the lake which is a great place to stop for lunch.
Just outside of the park is one of the nine windmills that are in Amsterdam which is a great place to go for photos. And if you are in Amsterdam on the second Sunday of the month I would recommend heading to Amstelpark on a Sunday as the Pure Markt is there – a moving artisanal market that is one of my favourite things to do in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam Bos aka Amsterdam Forest is a forest on the border of Amsterdam and Amstelveen. The forest isn’t ancient but was actually built int he 1960s as part of an economic stimulus project. The Bos is one of y favourite things to do in Amsterdam with toddlers as there is just so much to do there. My toddlers favourite thing in the Bos is to go to the Goat Farm (The GeitenBoerderij). This is particularly delightful in Spring when there are plenty of baby goats that you can bottle field.
On top of the goat farm there are plenty of playgrounds and also splash pools in the Bus swell as a large lake that you can swim in.
Best Museums in Amsterdam for Toddlers
I am a museum fan but there are some museums that are better for visiting with toddlers than others. Here are my and more importantly my toddlers favourite museums in Amsterdam.
Nemo is the interactive science centre in Amsterdam. I was in two minds about taking my little one here when she was three years old as I was worried that it might be a bit too old for her but I was pleasantly surprised. There are things even for toddlers there – ,my little one particularly enjoys the water play area about rain but be warned if you are going I would advise taking a spare set of clothes.
I won’t spoil the exhibits for you but if your little is anything like mine they will love it.
There is also a great viewing platform terrace on the roof of Nemo which is also one of my favourite free things to do in the city.
Amsterdam Maritime Museum (Het scheepvaartmuseum)
I wasn’t sure about this one before we went but actually it has a reasonable amount for a toddler in Amsterdam. Outside there is a a tall ship that you can go on and explore. We spent a good twenty minutes aboard the ship trying out the hammocks, exploring the captains quarters and role playing at the wheel.
Inside there are more exhibits for the kids such as the Monster or Whale exhibit which explores the history of whaling. Please note there is a large replica whale in the exhibit that you can walk through which might be scary for some children.
Other Best Things to do In Amsterdam with kids
This is literally my toddler’s favourite thing to do in Amsterdam. The Artis Zoo is located in the PLantage and has a great mix of outdoor and indoor activities (butterfly house, reptile house monkey room and a bit more dated aquarium). You can easily spend a half day in the zoo and I’m sure it will be a hit with your little too.
There are also two play areas at the zoo – one next to the cafe which has a small section for toddlers but the main section is probably a bit big for toddlers. There is also a giraffe slide next to the chimpanzee enclosure.
The zoo can get busy especially if you are travelling during the peak season so I would recommend booking your tickets in advance to skip the queue.
Tunfun – the best indoor activity in Amsterdam with kids
If you have a rainy day in Amsterdam with kids then a great place to visit is TunFun. This is one of the largest indoor soft play areas that I have ever been to. It is underground in a disused station and has sections based on a childs age each with a transport theme. This isn’t my favourite thing to do in Amsterdam but if you have a rainy day this is the best indoor activity in Amsterdam for kids.
Hortis botanical gardens
Hortis is a short walk away from Artis and while there is nothing specifically aimed at toddlers here we love going for a walk through the gardens and the greenhouses.
Boat tours are also a great way to see Amsterdam and it is totally doable to do this with toddlers or babies. The hop and hop off boats are a great option when travelling with small children as you can break up the journey and don’t have to do a complete tour in one go but can work around your children’s schedule easily.
You can book the Amsterdam Hop on Hop Off Boat Tour Here
An alternative to the hop on hop off boat tour is to rent your own boat and drive this yourself this way you can make your own schedule.
Things NOT to do with a toddler in Amsterdam
I very rarely advise people not to do things in my guides but there are definitely some things that I would not do with toddlers in Amsterdam. The first one i s
De Wallen is the famous red light district of Amsterdam and even during the day time this is not suitable for toddlers. I personally don’t like viising this area with or without toddlers but if you want to visit while in the city I would advise tag teaming your visit so your toddler doesn’t go into this district.
I have summed and ahhed about adding the Rijksmuseum onto this list but after careful consideration of visiting Rijksmuseum with kids I thought I would mention it. There are no specific toddler activities at the Rijksmuseum and I would say the children’s trails are really suitable from age 7 onwards. If you want to you could visit with a toddler and do a quick highlights tour however there are definitely much better museums in Amsterdam for toddlers to visit.
Hop On Hop Off Bus
Hop on Buses can be a great way to a city but personally I prefer the hop on hop off boat tour in Amsterdam as yo get to see more of the city.
What to eat in Amsterdam with toddlers
Pancakes are a must for any visit to Amsterdam. There are loads of great places to try pancakes in Amsterdam from the pancake place in Amstelpark to the Pancake Boat. Be sure to add this to your Amsterdam itinerary.
This cafe in the Pijp is a great child friendly place to visit in Amsterdam for lunch. There is a great soft play area here that is suitable for babies and toddlers and the coffee is quite good too!
This place lets kids get the ingredients to make their own food like pizzas. It is a quirky cafe that has been open since 1981 and is a great place to go with toddlers.
Although this can pose a slight logistical challenge when it comes to finding a table and grabbing food I absolutely love the food hall in Amsterdam. The variety of cuisines on offer mean that the whole family can eat what they like without having to eat exactly the same as your toddler.
What are your favourite things to do in Amsterdam with toddler or baby in tow?