Amsterdam 10AM - 2PM with children and 3 very different palates
I'll be flying with my wife and 2 sons from Portland, OR (USA) to Frankfurt. We have an 8 hour layover at Schiphol. We arrive at 8:30 am on Monday, August 8, and our flight to Frankfurt leaves at 4:45.
We're going to hop the train, and I figure we'll get into Amsterdam at around 10:00 am, and be able to stay until about 2:00 pm.
My sons are 8 and 12 years old. I would love recommendations for both food and activities. I'm mostly here for food - but if you've got ideas for activities too, I'll certainly listen. We've never been to Amsterdam. I don't even know what area of town we should go to, but certainly something not too far from the airport train, and I'm thinking city center?
My sons are pretty standard-issue boys. They love to climb, run, jump, get dirty, and do anything physical.
My 8 year old is an adventurous eater. My 12 year old pretty much eats burritos, hot dogs, rice, cereal, and bread. I try not to let him ruin my eating too much, but I do have to feed him. Then there's my wife, who does not eat gluten. I am a very adventurous eater, and there's not much I don't like. So generally I eat with my 8 year old, my 12 year old gets a side dish of potatoes or something, and my wife figures out what's gluten-free. My boys do not have good table manners, and we would not want a fancy lunch.
I'm thinking maybe a walking market where we can each get different things? Or a street full of small simple places where we could each go into different places?
Any recommendations for food (and activities) would be greatly appreciated.
I'd head over to Nieuwmarkt and Chinatown, right across the street (and to the east a little) from Central Station. yes it's close to the red light district but you can avoid that quite easily, and it's all perfectly safe. Get some Indonesian sandwiches (or chicken sate or gado gado for your wife) at Toko Joyce. Or there's also a nice fishmonger at the south end of the Zeedijk where you can get some freshly fried kibbeling or a herring with pickles and onions...
...and of course you can always pick up fries and a shoarma anywhere between Nieuwmarkt and the station, though I can't recommend any specific joint over there.......
We ended up taking your advice and walked to Nieuwmarkt. We misstepped and wandered into red light area, which was very exciting for a moment. I don't think I scarred my young sons TOO badly! We ended up eating in a streetside cafe. Toko Joyce was closed during the few hours we were there.
Bicycle spotting was fine sport! It was a nice interlude of a few hours, and most importantly, we managed to stay awake.
Thanks for your help.
Dutch common / street food that are easy to any palate:
kroketjes - croquettes - usually beef ragout mix, rolled in bread crumbs and deep fried
saucijzenbroodjes - ground beef inside flaky pastry
both are served with piccalilli
friet or patat - french fries served with mayo, sometimes they charge extra for tomato ketchup
frikandel - kind of deep fried beef patties - in sausage shape
krentenbrood - raisin buns
oliebollen - their donuts
and of course fresh herring served with diced onions, a real treat for those who like. My son was 10 when he was introduced to herring and loved it since.
Cookies: stroopwafels - very sweet. Our favourite: Verkade (brand) Cafe Noir. Verkade has varieties of cookies.
.. and Dutch cheeses -
if you are taking the train from Schiphol straight to the Central Station you will be right in the centrum. Canal excursion is one option: distance & duration varies: 90 min or longer. It's right by the station. Anne Frank museum isn't far either.
As you walk out from the station, there are plenty to see. Ask the boys to spot "different" bicycles. The tourist info at the station could also help.
De Bijenkorf - the largest department store is across from the station. Looking at their chocolate & candy section is quite entertaining.
An umbrella or two, or light rain jacket could be handy if you'd like to walk around. Rain comes and goes.
Not sure which part of Germany you will be visiting, please pay attention to admission or fare discounts. Parks: children under 16 pay minimum admission: Euro 2.00-2.50 or even free. For local transit: look for family fares (72 hours or longer) are the most economical. Weekend discount fares which is valid from 10:00 am Friday to 3:00 pm Monday, etc. Children under 12 could be free for inter-city trains - summer discounts.