Where To Stay
Plan to stay in an area of the city outside the Red Light district, also called De Wallen and clustered around the central train station. Some lodging options rated highly by families with children, according to the experts at Booking.com:
- The Cityden Rijksmuseum Residence, which offers comfortable modern one-and-two bedroom apartments near the museum park, is an excellent option for families that want to combine art tours with outings in the park's playgrounds and outdoor cafes. The art and antiques shopping district and the sprawling Vondelpark are a short walk away. Prices range from about $250 a night for a one-bedroom to about $350 a night for a two-bedroom.
- The Ambassade Hotel offers Family Specials, where for about $430 a night including breakfast and taxes for a family of three, the hotel will arrange custom-made tours for children aged 6-18.
- The Blue House Boat offers a unique Amsterdam experience, living on a lux, charming houseboat in the Prinsengracht Canal near the Anne Frank house, with one queen bedroom and a living room with fold-out sofa...and a flat-screen TV. The Blue House Boat sleeps four and a crib is available for no charge. The price is about $300 a night.
Amsterdam offers many casual cafes, including choices in its lush parks and with tables facing the canals, where you can eat happily with even the pickiest child: Pasta, fries, and hot dogs are readily available, as are a wide range of desserts laden with schlag -- the fun-to-say word for whipped cream.
If you stop for a pick-me-up coffee, you'll want to be sure you're visiting a coffee house and not a coffee shop -- the code name for establishments specializing not in caffeine but in cannabis. Coffee shops are identifies by the green and white stickers in the window.
At the Kinderkookkafe in Amsterdam's largest park, Vondelpark, children can cook their own meals, prepare meals for the whole family, even write menus. The restaurant is open seven days starting at 10 in the morning and offers cooking programs for children from toddlers to teens.
On the one evening of the trip when the whole family dresses up and goes out to the kind of dinner you'd savor if you were traveling in Europe sans kids, Restaurarant DeKas can be an intriguing option. In an old greenhouse that had been scheduled for demolition, DeKas grows its own vegetables and herbs and is open for lunch and dinner.
Combine an activity with a meal by cruising Amsterdam's canals on the Pancake Boat, where you'll feast on all-you-can-eat pancakes while taking in the city's sights.