We’re having a lot of fun rediscovering our hometown Haarlem. There’s so much to do and see! The second post in this series about fun things to do in Haarlem with kids is about kid-friendly cafes. Whether you are sightseeing in Haarlem for a day or staying here longer, it’s always good to know the best places to go for a coffee or lunch with your child.
If you’re coming to The Netherlands, Haarlem should definitely be on your list of places to visit. It’s one of the nicest cities in The Netherlands. Not just because it’s our hometown (if you do come to Haarlem, drop us a line and we can show you around!). Haarlem has beautiful old architecture in the city center and there are lots of activities in and around the city, for both kids and adults. If you’re staying in Amsterdam, to go from Amsterdam to Haarlem by train only takes about 15 minutes. Some people call Haarlem ‘small Amsterdam’, the same type of architecture, but smaller and much less touristy.
Combine sightseeing with rest & play
When you go sightseeing with kids or even if you just go shopping, it’s important to build in enough moments for rest and play. Unless you go to a very posh, upscale place, restaurants in Holland generally welcome kids. Most restaurants in The Netherlands offer high chairs and a place to change your child’s diaper. And there are definitely some fantastic Dutch sweets that your child will love. Of course it’s more fun for your child to go to a place that’s really kid friendly, where there are toys and other kids to play with. So here’s a list of restaurants with play area in Haarlem.
Our little man loves Meneer Paprika! It’s a combination of a cafe with kids playground and a toy store in one. There’s a 5 meter long wooden train track in the middle of the restaurant area, what’s not to like? Besides the train track there are also numerous other toys, like duplo, kapla and building blocks for kids to play with. The tables are situated around the train track so it’s easy to keep an eye on your child and you don’t have to constantly chase them (unless they wander to the toy store area of course ;-)). All the items on the menu are mostly bio, fresh and homemade. Meneer Paprika is located in Haarlem’s city center in a side street just off the Grote Markt, so it’s very easy to reach. The address is Koningstraat 19 – 21, Haarlem. Check out their website or Facebook page.
Pippa’s is a very child friendly restaurant, conveniently close to the Haarlem train station. At first it can be a bit overwhelming, because it’s quite spacious and can be crowded at times. If you manage to get a table close to the play area it’s not too bad. Of course if your kids are a bit older, it doesn’t matter that much anyway. They have a large wooden train track, dolls houses and other toys to play with. Pippa’s serves great bio and sugar free foods, made with local products and offers lots of vegetarian options. The prices seem a bit high, but the portions you get are quite generous. Wednesdays to Sundays to can also have dinner there and on Friday and Saturday afternoon kids can get their face painted. The only con is that it’s self service. You have to order at the bar (a bit away from the play area) and pick up your order there when it’s done. Not always very practical with a toddler. Still it’s definitely a place to check out! And it offers free wifi, so if you can stand the kids or have older kids that can play by themselves it’s also a good place to work. You can find Pippa’s at Stationsplein 64. Take a look at their website or Facebook page.
Yoghurt Barn Haarlem is part of a small chain of cafe’s located mostly in the East and South of Holland. It’s a cozy place that offers, can you guess… delicious yoghurts. They have some very yummie toppings for the yoghurts, that makes them a nice breakfast or lunch, but they also serve great coffee and tea, smoothies and lovely cakes. The best part of Yoghurt Barn in Haarlem however is the great wooden play kitchen located all the way in the back. The kitchen is very well equipped with wooden pots and pans and fruits and veggies to play with. And there are soms reading books and toys to play with too. Our son loves it, especially when there are one or two other kids to share the fun. It’s a small place, but usually not very crowded so that’s a big plus. People without kids normally tend to sit in the front of the cafe, leaving the play area to parents and kids. It’s a great place to meet friends with kids as you can have a nice chat while your kids play very close by. Recommended! Yoghurt Barn Haarlem is located at Kruisstraat 15. You can find them online at Yoghurtbarn.nl
Minimarkt has recently relocated to Haarlem from Bloemendaal. We heard some raving reviews so went to check it out last week. On their website they say they’re a concept store aimed at families. Like Meneer Paprika it’s a combination of a store and a cafe. They offer kid’s clothing, toys and other presents, accessories and they also have a kid’s hairdresser (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday). They also have a wooden train track and a few toys to play with, but the restaurant area is quite small compared to Meneer Paprika’s. The store has an expensive look and feel, but the atmosphere is good. It can get crowded quite easily, but when we were there, there were only a few other kids. To be honest I don’t really understand the raving reviews, Jace got bored after about 15-30 minutes because there wasn’t much to play with besides the train track and the other kids were either too young or ignoring him. I checked out their online store and they mostly sell expensive brands, so not really our cup of tea. I don’t think we’ll go there again. But since everybody has different tastes, Minimarkt does belong on this list. For more information, check out the Minimarkt website. Minimarkt is located at Kruisstraat 11, close to the train station and not far from the city center. It’s two doors down from Yoghurt Barn, which is located in the same street at no. 15.
Some people hate it, some people love it. Veerkwartier has a very bio, recycle, creative type of atmosphere, with cutlery in tin cans, drinks in weck pots and a pavilion build with second hand materials. Unfortunately, as with other places like this the prices at such places are quite high. Still it’s a nice place to go with kids. Veerkwartier is located on the edge of a small man made lake (Veerplas) with a small beach and has lots of grassy space to run around right next door. In the summer, it has a nice terrace and in the winter it’s really cozy to sit inside with the hodgepodge furniture. This place serves both breakfast, lunch and dinner. It’s a bit out of the way, and easy to miss if you don’t know where it is. The address is A. Hofmanweg 62, right on the edge of the Waarderpolder. They offer lots of activities such as baking bread on a camp fire for kids and music performances in the evenings and sunday afternoons. Check out their website or Facebook page.
This place just opened recently (October 2016). The cafe is brand new, but has a similar look and feel as Veerkwartier, with recycled materials and bio products. Again, I find the prices for food and drinks quite high. There’s a small kids corner in the cafe area. In the attached green house there are more tables to sit and you can find more toys, books etc and, as there is lots of space, kids are free to run around. Kweekcafe is located in the Haarlemmer Kweektuin (culture garden) in the Northern part of Haarlem. With a small goblin forest, a small playground and some goats, birds and rabbits it’s a very nice place to visit. There are plans to change this area to a sustainable city park, so it will be even nicer in the future. Near the Kweektuin there’s the Cronjé shopping street. The address if Kweekcafe and Kweektuin is Kleverlaan 9. You can find more info at Kweekcafe’s Facebook page.
Ikea / Smaland
Love it or hate it, but Ikea is definitely child friendly. Kids from 3-9 years old can play in Smaland, the kids play area. Our 3 y/o is still a bit scared to play there by himself, because there often are older kids running around. But we can easily spend a morning at Ikea. If you’re early enough you can usually secure one of the car shaped shopping carts. Our little one loves them! He really enjoys ‘driving’ around the store in his little car. Of course the area with the kids products holds the most appeal. Not because he wants the products, but because there is a small train track and some play houses. After playing and driving around the store, we usually go to the restaurant. Of course the Ikea restaurant is also very kid friendly. Both small sized kids meals and meals for adults are great value for money. There is no play area at the restaurant at Ikea Haarlem, but lots of space for kids to run around. People who come to Ikea expect kids, so usually no one complains. If you’re in the area and your kids need to play for a bit and you can use a coffee and a bit to eat, Ikea Haarlem is a good choice. The store is right next to the small Haarlem Spaarnwoude train station and has a huge parking lot. The address is Laan van Decima 1, Haarlem.