Guest post written by David of Hello Amsterdam
Although many people think of it as the Sin City of Europe, Amsterdam is actually a great family-friendly destination that attracts many parents with babies and toddlers. The capital of the Netherlands offers numerous baby-friendly activities both indoors and outdoors. From pancake restaurants to museums packed with interactive displays and parks with playgrounds, there is to plenty to look forward to when visiting Amsterdam with a baby or toddler.
Getting Around Amsterdam with Toddlers or Babies
When I visited Amsterdam for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to get around the city. There are not that many cars and it seems that everyone is riding bicycles.
You will see many locals driving their babies around the city in a bakfiets, a bike with a tub in front where a child can sit in. If you are staying in Amsterdam for a few days, than I recommend renting a bike with a child seat, as bakfietsen are not that easy to ride. Do you still want to ride one? Rent one from a local via Peerby.com.
As for getting around Amsterdam with a stroller, the city is generally easy to navigate with a stroller. Just watch out for cobblestone streets, although most roads and streets have sidewalks. Train and subway stations do have lifts making it easy to navigate with a stroller, but I can’t say the same for houses and hotels. At some places, you will actually need to carry up your kid in your arms and leave the stroller in the hallway. Plan to bring a lightweight stroller in case you need to carry that up any stairs! You can bring along one of these best baby carriers for travel too, which will make carrying baby and luggage a lot easier!
Amsterdam Tip: Keep in mind that red sidewalks in Amsterdam are not to be used by pedestrians, as these are cycling paths.
To explore Amsterdam from a different perspective, why not go on a family trip with a canal ride. There is a reason why they call this city the “Venice of North”. Hop on one of the boats to explore over one hundred kilometers of canals and admire charming buildings from the 17th century and picturesque bridges all around.
I also suggest getting a 72 Hour I Amsterdam Pass because of its value. Besides unlimited public transit with buses, tram, metro, and one free canal cruise, this pass includes free admission to places like Rembrandt House, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam Museum, NEMO Science Center, the National Maritime Museum, Artis Zoo, and many others.
If you are traveling to Amsterdam with a baby or toddler and have a stroller with you, the easiest way to get from the airport to the city center is by train. It is faster and much cheaper than a taxi ride. You should also keep in mind that taxis usually don’t have their own car seats.
If you’d prefer to travel by car with a car seat, Welcome Pickups is a nice option. Not only are child seats available at no extra cost, your driver will greet you at your arrival gate with your name on a sign.
Things to do in Amsterdam with Toddlers and Babies
Playgrounds in Amsterdam for Toddlers and Babies
Amsterdam has many both indoor and outdoor playgrounds for babies and toddlers. Luckily, many of them are located in the vicinity of major attractions. TunFun is probably one of the most famous indoor baby-friendly playgrounds in Amsterdam, while Groot Melkhuis in Vondelpark is a lovely waterside café with a nice outdoor kid’s playground
No trip to Amsterdam with a toddler or baby is complete without visiting at least a couple of museums. The thing about this city is that many museums offer plenty of entertainment for families with children and most of them offer tours for kids. If you are traveling to Amsterdam with a baby who is very young, I recommend going to the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank House. Travelers with toddlers who are more mobile should visit museums which are best for kids including the Maritime Museum, the awesome NEMO Science Museum which features the coolest interactive displays ever, and Tropenmuseum.
There are many fun things to do in Amsterdam when traveling with babies and a visit to Vondelpark is definitely one of them. This is the largest park in Amsterdam and has plenty of family-friendly activities to offer. Whether you wish to rent bikes with baby seats, spend some quality time with the children at one of the playgrounds, or visit the baby-friendly Kinderkookcafé, the options for having a good time in Vondelpark with a baby or toddler are endless.
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Artis may not be the largest zoo in the world, but it is one of the oldest in Europe. Opened in 1835, this fabulous museum features dozens of impressive animal exhibits, as well as lovely gardens. There is also a nice planetarium and aquarium worth visiting. In case you get hungry, have lunch at the on-site restaurant that also has a nice playground for the little ones.
Where to Eat in Amsterdam with Babies and Toddlers
People who travel with babies and toddlers always have a concern about whether or not they will be able to find a good place to eat in the city. Fortunately, Amsterdam is well-known for its abundance of restaurants and cafes that cater to parents with young children. The Pancake Bakery on Prinsengracht is one of the most popular eateries here and kids just love their poffertjes (small pancakes covered in powder sugar). Moeders which translates to Mother should also be included on your list of restaurants to visit in Amsterdam. They serve Dutch home cuisine and it’s delicious.
Where to Get Baby Supplies in Amsterdam
What I also like about Amsterdam is that the local supermarkets offer a wide range of baby food and formula. As for buying diapers in Amsterdam, they can be bought in just about any supermarket in the city. The most famous supermarket in the Netherlands is the AH. You can also find them in beauty shops like Etos and Kruitvat.
Baby-Friendly Places to Stay in Amsterdam
There are many great neighborhoods in Amsterdam to stay in when traveling with babies or toddlers. The Leidseplein area is very convenient, as it is close to shops, museums, and Vondelpark. De Jordaan area is also one of the best neighborhoods to stay in. It is close to all the action, but still not that close to the vibrant nightlife of Amsterdam.
As for the types accommodations, there are plenty of options to choose from. Some parents like staying in apartments and cottages with fully-equipped kitchens, while others prefer to book a room in a hotel.
Fortunately, Amsterdam is home to a number of family-friendly hotels. XO Hotels Blue Square has a cute kid’s corner for toddlers indoors, while the luxurious and centrally located Ambassade Hotel offers babysitting services.
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