At Our Whole Village, we plan meaningful vacations for families who want to create lifelong memories and show their kids the world in a more conscious and intentional manner.
We help families take meaningful vacations so that they can escape everyday life, show their kids the world and make lifelong memories - with care, confidence and peace of mind.
Your (free) guide to the top travel destinations for families with babies, teens and everyone in between.
Traveling with teens requires creative planning and outside-of-the-box thinking to keep them engaged and interested. Of course, this can pose a challenge when considering a trip to Europe. After all, it’s easy to get caught up in history-heavy itineraries punctuated by fine dining. While this may float some adolescents’ boats, if your kid isn’t a history buff or foodie, teen ennui will likely ensue. How to avoid older kid’s malaise? By heading to the Netherlands!
More specifically, Amsterdam is chock full of fun and unique attractions that invite participation and engagement. It boasts highly interactive museums that bring history to life without giving off a dusty, musty vibe. Keep reading for our top pick of seven amazing things to do in Amsterdam with teens.
Few artists have captured the public imagination like Vincent Van Gogh. A man of stunning contradictions, his life’s path may have been circuitous, but it still produced some of the world’s most celebrated masterpieces. His art remains highly recognizable, even iconic, having made the transition from prized artwork to recognized pop culture. For all these reasons (and many more), the Van Gogh Museum is one of our top picks when it comes to Amsterdam attractions.
What will you and your teen see on a visit? More than 200 paintings and 500 drawings. They include countless versions of his celebrated Sunflowers, which look like condensed sunlight blazing from the canvas. During your tour, you’ll get to check out all five of the artist’s major periods as well as fun exhibits that explore Van Gogh’s continued significance in society. For example, the Van Gogh Museum teamed up with Vans in July 2022 to display a collection of Vans staples, all inspired by the canvases of the master.
The unbreakable spirit of eternal optimism and the horrors of the Holocaust come into stark contrast at the Anne Frank House. Your teen will be deeply moved by this transformative experience, and so will you. When you come prepared ahead of time, having read Anne Frank’s journal or watched a film adaptation, the tour becomes even more impactful.
The site is renowned internationally, so book your tickets in advance to ensure your spots. You’ll also want to remind your child of proper etiquette at the museum. Most importantly, kids should keep their phones in their pockets, avoiding the temptation to snap selfies or get distracted by electronics while touring the home. After a heavy experience like this, you’ll want to decompress by grabbing a meal nearby and talking about your family’s impressions of the house. From there, consider changing it up with a light-hearted destination.
What’s one of our favorite options for a whimsical place that’ll engage your teen and let them blow off some steam? A trip to the WONDR Experience. This immersive location is best described as a place of boundless creativity that packs a breathtaking visual punch. Think of it as the ultimate playground, where you and your teen can explore and play the day away.
Adventures abound, designed collaboratively by some of Amsterdam’s most renowned creatives.
Fun activities include dancing under a sky of shiny stars, jumping into an ocean of pink marshmallows, and exploring a surreal jungle. Other rooms invite you to sing at the top of your lungs (we’re talking shower stall loud) and dive into an enormous ball pit. No other destination in the Netherlands better celebrates the wonders of childhood bliss while inviting visitors to come along on the ride. It’s also a fantastic place to encourage your teen to take out their phone and get some selfies for social media and their travel album.
As the capital of the Netherlands and the most populous city in the nation, you’d expect Amsterdam to have a thriving metropolitan core with a towering business district. But unlike Paris, London, New York City, or San Francisco, Amsterdam remains surprisingly skyscraper-free. But there’s an exception to this rule, the 22-story Shell Building. More than 50 years old, the building itself isn’t especially pretty. Nevertheless, it’s well worth a visit for a couple of reasons.
The building was recently re-envisioned as a hub of creativity. Renamed A’DAM Toren, the site now includes a music school, a nightclub, a 19th-floor revolving restaurant called Moon, and the Sir Adam Boutique Hotel. But the real draw to the site is a swing that sits over the edge of the observation deck. A ride on this playground attraction reimagined provides incredible views and a serious adrenaline rush as you hang your toes nearly 330 feet over the city. When it comes to fun things to do in Amsterdam, it’s hard to beat this family favorite!
Founded in A.D. 1250 with the building of a dam between the Amstel River and the Southern Sea, Amsterdam’s fortunes have long been linked to water. Its canals arose from dual necessities: protection and water management. As a result, the canals are nearly as old as the city, although transportation reliance on them decreased significantly in the 20th century with the advent of automobile technology.
Nevertheless, these waterways provide much of the character of the city. And they also offer an attractive way to explore it from a unique viewpoint. Family-friendly Amsterdam boat rentals remain big in the city and come with many options for teens. Some kids may adore the idea of renting a self-driving boat. (Only those 18 and over can captain the rig, but younger kids will still appreciate playing first mate.) And your options don’t end there. You’ll also find plenty of spots renting pedal boats (a.k.a. pedalos) for a slower option with serious calorie burn. However you choose to explore the canals, water tours rank among the best things to do in Amsterdam.
What happens when you give a traditional art museum a modern makeover? The Straat Museum, featuring some of our favorite things to see in Amsterdam. Housed in a massive warehouse that exudes cutting-edge urban energy, the Straat is the largest museum of graffiti and street art on the planet. It provides a window into contemporary creativity and invites you to participate in the fun.
Museum guests will enjoy the opportunity to try their hand at graffiti on the outside of the building. You can even purchase spray cans in the museum’s shops! Your teen will never forget this unique chance to leave their mark behind, and it will open a new world of art to your family.
Amsterdam is teeming with countless fun places to grab beverages, buy snacks, or sit down for a meal. These include places like De Hallen, the Foodhallen, and the Albert Cuyp Market, where you’ll find an endless array of delights for everything from picky eaters to inveterate foodies. The Foodhallen also includes a cinema showcasing English films and plenty of live music and other events. And the Albert Cuyp Market is ground zero for delicious stroopwafels (think waffle cookies), poffertjes (mini pancakes), and some of the freshest herring in the city.
But one of our favorite spots when traveling Amsterdam with teens is the TonTon Club. Consider it a cross between a restaurant and a classic gaming arcade. The joint is chock full of coin-operated arcade games from the United States and Japan. The gaming theme is mirrored in the food offered at the Club, an irresistible combination of American and Japanese fusion. Just be sure to give ample time to this location if your teen’s a fan of Dance Revolution, Mario Kart Racer, Pacman, or Pong.
As you can see, there’s no end to fun adventures when traveling Amsterdam with teens. Whether you’re exploring the flavors of the Netherlands at Albert Cuyp Market, collecting vibrant selfies at the WONDR Experience, or swinging over Amsterdam atop the A’DAM Toren. Deeply moving counterpoints include visiting the Anne Frank House, where teens will relate to Frank’s youthful aspirations despite the horrors of World War II and the intervening decades.
The Van Gogh Museum’s incredible collection of highly acclaimed canvases will excite your teen’s artistic streak. And a visit to the Straat Museum provides the perfect outlet for all that newfound inspiration. Of course, no trip to Amsterdam would be complete without a tour of the canals via boat. If you opt for a rental, you’ll enjoy the liberation of making that tour DIY. And don’t skimp when it comes to family photos to commemorate your vacation! Here’s a shortcut to hiring a flytographer for your Amsterdam family vacation.
What else contributes to an unforgettable family getaway? We can help you design the perfect itinerary based on your family members’ ages and interests. Moreover, we’ve got the local connections and travel know-how to ensure you enjoy the best accommodations and a compelling combination of independent exploration, hands-on experiences, and tours. Discover why we’re the top pick for families looking for kid-friendly and, more specifically, teen-friendly vacations.
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