I have a couple times been asked by folks for various recommendations around Amsterdam. I visited a number of times as my previous job moved their HQ to downtown Amsterdam right on the canals. It was a lovely city to visit and is a great connection point for all over Europe. Erin joined me a number of times along with Theo and we always had a good time. Theo particularly enjoyed boat trips on the canal (including when he knocked my glasses off my head and into the water). Since the office was in the canals I generally stayed very close to the waterways as well, an easy walk to most of the popular attractions. Which means the majority of things I recommend are in that general area.
- If you do a boat tour I highly recommend “Those damn boat guys” We have done that twice with Theo (who is now 2)
- I have also done a number of larger tours with work, which was also fun
- They are smaller boats/groups, and less stodgy very funny and factual kind of stand-up comedy history
- Theo loved it both times, as have some friends and their kids
- I have recommended it to others who went with them and enjoyed it
- The pick up / drop off is across the canal from the Anne Frank house an easy to find the location
- Watch all their videos/homework
- I haven’t been yet but Erin and Theo have and everyone has rave reviews about the Nemo Science Museum
- Anne Frank house, obviously a popular stop.
- Go through museum row (Museumplein), my favorite is the small Banksy museum there… Rijksmuseum, etc… all the others are great and as one would expect.
- Vondelpark, frequently has music and other events going on just see what is happen while you are there
- Rent bikes and cruise through Vondelpark, regardless of biking or walking Vondelpark is awesome on a sunny day
- The splash parks everywhere are great, Theo basically travels the world to compare the splash parks, swings, and slides. If you travel to Amsterdam in summer there will be splash parks everywhere — the parks, the museums (including the Science Museum) and by restaurants. So, if your kiddo is young, make sure you are always prepared for him to get wet — have a towel, change of clothes and splash diaper if needed with you at all times, or you will just have either an angry or a wet kid.
- Amsterdam is a great city for strollers — the bike infrastructure makes it very easy to navigate with a stroller and you will rarely be required to fold it up and lug it around (unlike most of Europe where a baby carrier is really the way to go).
- Erin also recommends Red Light Secrets as a museum in the red light district to help you learn more about that part of Amsterdam’s culture and economy. Probably best for grown-ups. You actually get to go inside one of the brothels.
- I would recommend going during summer weather, but it is beautiful and fun to walk through the snow-covered streets as well. If you do go during the summer and with your kiddos, beware the jetlag. Having the sun up until nearly 11PM can be tough on bedtime routines, but also quite fun if you are willing to go with the flow.
Food & Drinks
- The Pantry: A slightly touristy but fun restaurant to try a bunch of traditional Dutch food
- probably worth getting reservations as it can fill up (small not too many tables)
- one of you should order the ham shank it is so good I get it once every visit to AMS (photo below)
- The Pantry is also a Theo favorites
- In general if you like Asian food many of the Malaysian and Vietnamese places are great
- Brewery: Might not work with kids your age but a really cool brewery in an old windmill, Brouwerij ‘t IJ
- If traveling with young kiddos get them babychinos at the cafes (just frothed milk). Theo loved them.
- Other restaurants: Piqniq, Winkel, Foodhallen, De Silveren Spiegel
Honestly, my favorite part of the city is just walking around the canals, randomly stopping for snacks (chocolate covered waffles). I could easily waste hours away just walking around through the odd paths, walkways, alleys, and bridges that sprawl through the city. On work trips, I would listen to an audiobook while strolling through the streets in the evenings, which was always a pleasant way to spend an evening.