Is it fun to spend a weekend in Groningen with kids! We thought so. We found Groningen to be a really super fun city to visit. The center is quite compact between the water and there is a really nice atmosphere we found. The university is also downtown and you can see that in the number of students you encounter downtown. Following two visits to the city of Groningen with our family, we list for you the best children’s activities and attractions in Groningen with kids!
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1. Stadspark Groningen
You can go to a very nice city park in Groningen with kids. In fact, in the southwest of the city is a large city park that is great fun to visit with in Groningen with kids. We drive there in the morning and in the city park Groningen you have plenty of (free) parking spots for the car. If you do not have a car, it is a little more than a thirty-minute walk from the city center to the park.
In the middle of the city park Groningen is a large playground, with lots of different playground equipment. Sophie runs straight to the swings and we don’t see her again for the first hour. By themselves, there are plenty of benches around the playground to sit in the sun.Next to this playground is petting zoo Stadspark Groningen, where the animals roam freely and are not in cages.
At the petting zoo is a terrace, where you can order ice cream or have a drink. A little further on, a herd of Scottish Highlanders also graze. The petting zoo is a free children’s activity in Groningen.
At the petting zoo, you can also pony ride with kids. Sophie had done this once at a children’s party a week earlier, so she was immediately excited. Especially when the weather is good, you can have a great time here for a few hours during your city break to Groningen with kids.
2. Climbing Martinitoren
We really liked the center of Groningen a lot. Surrounding the entire downtown is water, and to enter downtown you must cross one of the city’s many bridges over one of the canals into the city. The most famous square in the city is the Great Market, where you also have several cozy terraces, where you can have a great bite to eat and a drink.
The University of Groningen is also only a five-minute walk from the Grote Markt, so you’ll see students walking all over the city center. Of course, the Martinitoren is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. This 97-meter tall tower is still the tallest building in the city, and from the tower you have a beautiful view of the city of Groningen. There is no elevator in this tower, so you have to climb up the nearly 300 steps yourself from this tower in Groningen with kids.
However, you do have something to see every few steps, such as the bells and vaults of the tower. At about halfway up the climb at 39 meters, you can get out and walk around the tower. It is also possible to book a three-quarter-hour tour of the tower.
By the way, you have several places in the city where you can get a nice view of the city of Groningen with kids. So you have the Forum Groningen in the middle of the city. Here is a rooftop terrace at 45 meters high, where you have a beautiful and free view of the city. You can even see Wadden Island Schiermonnikoog here in clear weather. Other city views can be had from the rooftop terrace at Vapiano restaurant on Poelestraat and Cappuvino’s rooftop terrace on Vismarkt.
3. Scavenger hunt through the city
You can do a fun scavenger hunt in Groningen with kids! We always enjoy doing something of a scavenger hunt through a city. In this way, we also make it attractive for our daughter to explore the city. We had read online that a Kijk&zoektocht through the city would be offered, but when we stopped by Groningen’s tourist office, it turned out that this scavenger hunt no longer existed, as much of the city has already changed and the scavenger hunt was no longer up to date.
However, you can walk another scavenger hunt through the city. In fact, we ran the Scavenger Hunt Animals on the Street for kids. In this free scavenger hunt, you have to find all kinds of animals that can be found throughout the city center. You start at Central Station where you have Uncle Loeks’ horse. The website says the scavenger hunt takes 50 minutes, but we were quite a bit longer. In the end, you also walk quite a considerable route through the city.
The advantage, of course, is that you are downtown and can also walk part of the route. In the end, we did manage to find all thirteen animals in town. The directions are clear and at only one point did we walk the wrong way for a while. Especially if the weather is nice, this is a really fun scavenger hunt to do in the city and also a fun way to explore the city of Groningen with kids. And so this is also a free children’s activity in Groningen.
4. Selwerd playground
We hesitated whether to include this playground in our top activities in the city of Groningen with kids. Looking online for a playground, we came across playground Selwerd. The playground is located in the north of the city and you can park your car in the neighborhood for free. When we arrived at the playground, we didn’t really know what to expect but the playground itself is very nice. Sophie had a great time here with another little boy who came from the neighborhood.
However, it is true that if you do not have a car at your disposal or if you have little time in Groningen that you can skip this playground just fine. Then we recommend the playground in Stadspark Groningen which is a lot bigger than this playground. As you can already see from this list, you have plenty of free children’s activities in Groningen, so a city break to Groningen doesn’t have to be super expensive.
5. Hoornse Plas
You can also go swimming in the Groningen area with kids. Both times we visited the city of Groningen, the weather was not good enough that you could have a nice swim outside, but we can imagine that in the summer at the Hoornseplas you can have a great time with the family for half a day. From the center of the city you can drive in about 15 minutes to the lake, which lies to the south of the city.
You have many beaches around this large lake, where you can lie in the sun in the summer. There is also a large playground at the lake, including a large climbing frame in the shape of a pyramid. There are ample car parking spaces at the lake and plenty of restroom facilities. Another free children’s activity in Groningen.
Around the lake are several catering establishments, including restaurant Kaap Hoorn, where you feel like you’re in a beach club. A great place to dine by the water after a long hot day during your city break to Groningen with kids.
Children’s activities in Groningen |other
Of course, there are more children’s activities in Groningen that you can do. We list the best activities you can do with kids in Groningen below.
#6 Shipping Museum: you can gather information about the maritime history of the province of Groningen with kids at this museum in Groningen. For kids, there is a fun photo hunt through the museum, making this museum definitely a fun kids activity in Groningen.
#7 JumpXL Groningen: this is a fun place to lose some energy in Groningen with kids on a rainy day. JumpXL’s branches are actually located throughout the Netherlands and basically the principle is the same everywhere. Kids can come here for an hour (or two) to jump on all kinds of trampolines, while parents have a nice drink together on the side. We always find this a great children’s activity in a city to take our daughter to for an hour at the end of the day. So we usually find an hour is more than enough. An active children’s activity in Groningen!
#8 Bike tour Groningen city: you can also explore the city of Groningen with kids by bike. The Dutch company BajaBikes organizes guided bike tours of the city of Groningen. You cycle in 2.5 hours past all kinds of sights of the city of Groningen. Do check with kids to see if, for example, child seats are available or if you have to bring your own. We did this bike tour in Paris and really think this is a very fun children’s activity to do in Groningen.
#9 Storyworld: you can also go to a museum in the center of Groningen with kids dedicated to comics, games and animations. Storyworld is a museum where kids can get to work on 14 different interactive installations and discover, for example, what it takes to understand a cartoon and how to create one yourself.
#10 University Museum: you can also go to a science museum in Groningen with kids. At the University Museum, kids can use VR glasses, for example, to go on a polar expedition and see what it’s like in the polar region. The museum also has a craft corner for children and kids can do a scavenger hunt in the museum.
#11 Bouldering: An increasingly popular children’s activity in the Netherlands is bouldering. This is that kids have to climb up against a wall by using all kinds of holds on a wall. And you can also do this in Groningen with kids. At Apex Boulders in Groningen, you can spend a day climbing the various walls. Of course, there are different levels in terms of climbing and it is wise to start with the easiest levels with kids. What’s nice is that as a parent you can also climb with your kids.
#12 Kids Karting Groningen: You can also go karting in Groningen with kids. From eight years of age and a minimum height of 1.25 meters, kids may get into a go-kart here to drive several laps around the track. We have now done this at a number of go-kart tracks in the Netherlands with our daughter and we really think this is a super fun children’s activity in Groningen. Of course, the kids’ karts are limited in terms of speed, so kids don’t fly right out of the turn.
At this center, by the way, it is also possible to go bowling with kids in Groningen. Of course, a combination of both children’s activities in Groningen is perfectly possible.
#13 Zwembad de Papiermolen: if you visit the city of Groningen with kids in the summer, it can be nice when the weather is warm to go to the pool. Outdoor pool de Papiermolen is then a fine pool in Groningen where you can go. This pool has five pools, three of which are very shallow and suitable for young kids. Furthermore, the pool has several diving boards, a slide and also an excellent sunbathing area where you can lie in the sun in summer.
#14 The Gamebox Groningen: you also see these gaming halls popping up like mushrooms in the Netherlands and also in Groningen you have a large gaming hall, where you can buy a playcard and where you can play different games. Of course, this is also a fun children’s activity in Groningen if, for example, the weather is not so good in the city and you still want to do something with the family.
#15 Guided Tour Euroborg: if you are a family of five and you are absolutely crazy about soccer, you can book a guided tour of FC Groningen’s stadium. This is the soccer club of the city of Groningen and during this tour you will get to places in the stadium that you would not normally get to easily. Consider, for example, the locker rooms, the players’ tunnel and the stadium field. Please note that these tours can only be booked during the week and not on weekends.
Indoor Playground Groningen
When you are on a city trip to Groningen with kids and the weather is not so good, it can be nice if there is an indoor playground nearby. You have two indoor playgrounds located in Groningen and also a fun indoor playground near Groningen. We list these indoor playgrounds in Groningen.
#16 Ballorig Groningen: this indoor playground in Groningen is accessible for kids up to twelve years old and you can have a great time in Groningen with kids for a few hours with the many play equipment. What is an advantage is that you only pay for the kids and parents can come along for free. You park your car in front of the door for free, and at this children’s activity in Groningen, parents can enjoy a snack and a drink while the kids play.
#17 Monkey Town Groningen: Also at this indoor playground in Groningen, you only pay for the kids and not the parents. Actually, the principle is completely the same as at Ballorig Groningen. You can also park your car for free in front of the door here, and you can also have a great time for several hours at this children’s activity in Groningen.
#18 Indoor Play Paradise Leeuwenborg: a half-hour drive from the center of Groningen is another indoor playground to visit in the Groningen area with kids. This converted farmhouse also has several play equipment inside and in the summer you can also enjoy sitting outside on the terrace of this indoor playground here. Only kids pay admission here.
Children’s activities in the Groningen area
Of course, you also have plenty of children’s activities in the Groningen area. We list the best children’s activities in the area.
#19 Nienoord: you can also go to a playground in the Groningen area with kids. Amusement park Nienoord has been known for years as one of the most fun children’s activities in Groningen. Actually, the park is a big playground with a huge amount of playground equipment, and there is also a little train running around the park. The entrance fees for this “amusement park” are not too high, and in the summer it is also possible to go to the pool near the park. In fact, they have both an indoor pool and a large outdoor pool.
#20 ‘t Speulparadies: you can take kids to another great playground in the Groningen area. This outdoor playground in Groningen is located in the east of the province, and from the city of Groningen you can drive there in about half an hour. You only have to pay a euro entrance fee for this large playground and they have a lot of playground equipment here, as well as an air cushion, an adventure trail and a cable car. There is also a petting zoo near the playground with the familiar farm animals. A fun children’s activity in the Groningen area.
#21 Adventurepark Waddenfun: You can also go climbing in the Groningen area with kids. Adventurepark Waddenfun is the largest indoor climbing park in the Netherlands and is a twenty-minute drive from the city of Groningen. This is also a fun children’s activity in Groningen when the weather is bad. You have here for the youngest kids a course at two meters high and for the older kids you have here courses at 4.5 and 8 meters high. At the climbing center itself, other children’s activities include an escaperoom, archery and canoeing.
#22 Legio Museum: you can also visit a museum in the Groningen area with kids all about Lego. It is a museum founded by collectors who have gathered their collections. If your kids love Lego then this could be a fun kids activity in Groningen. There are entire villages and structures made of Lego and, of course, kids can play with Lego here.
#23 DoeZoo: You can also go to a small-scale zoo in Groningen with kids. This animal park is a half-hour drive from the city of Groningen and kids can get lots of information about the park’s animals here and they also have a nature garden, wild bee garden and a dino forest.
Family-friendly restaurant Groningen
You have some nice family-friendly restaurants in Groningen. It is always nice during a city trip to Groningen with kids to go somewhere nice for lunch or dinner with the family. We list some family-friendly restaurants in Groningen below.
Flinders: this is a family-friendly restaurant in Groningen located in the city center. At this restaurant you can eat delicious food, but as the restaurant’s website states: don’t expect white tablecloths and trouble-making, but a cheerful place. So this family-friendly restaurant where you can eat delicious local food has a coloring page for the kids as they sit waiting for their food, and in the summer you can sit outside on the restaurant’s terrace.
Pancake Ship Groningen: If you make a list of family-friendly restaurants in Groningen, then of course a pancake restaurant should not be missing from this list. At Pancake Ship Groningen you eat pancakes with your kids on a ship in the city center, and of course they have lots of different kinds of pancakes here.
Cantina Mexicana: another family-friendly restaurant in Groningen, this restaurant also has a play corner for kids. This restaurant is located in the city center and kids can enjoy crafts or play on the pinball machine in the restaurant’s play area before and after dinner. If your kids love Mexican food then this can definitely be a fun option during your city break to Groningen with kids.
The boys from the neighborhood: this family-friendly restaurant is not in the center of Groningen, but a 15-minute drive from the center in the town of Winsum. This is a family-friendly restaurant in the Groningen area with a playground. Especially in summer, this is a great place to have lunch with the family. The restaurant has a special children’s menu and in also inside the restaurant there is a play corner for kids.
Family-friendly hotel Groningen
City Hotel Groningen
We wanted to be downtown during our city trip to Groningen. Located five minutes from the Grote Markt, City Hotel Groningen is an ideal hotel for exploring Groningen with kids. We had a deluxe executive room, including bath which we enjoyed very much. We found the hotel super welcoming and also very creative!
In terms of food and drink, this hotel is also right for you. The hotel collaborates with local restaurants in the area, so for dinner we had delicious tapas at the hotel. The next day we also had a delicious breakfast at this hotel.
On the roof of the hotel you have a small terrace with a nice view of the Martinitoren, where you could have a nice drink in the summer. We really enjoyed the hospitality and luxury of the hotel and have written an extensive review of the hotel which you can find here.
Best Western Hotel Groningen Centre
The second time we visited the city of Groningen we stayed that night at the Best Westen Hotel Groningen Centre. We had booked an apartment here with the hotel. This apartment was in a residential house across from the hotel and was very spacious with two separate bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen.
However, we could use the facilities of the hotel such as breakfast in the morning. So we had the best of both worlds. And a homey atmosphere and yet the luxury of a hotel. Once Sophie discovered the living room, she didn’t want to go back into town and we spent the rest of the afternoon in the apartment.
This hotel is also located in downtown Groningen, and in just under ten minutes you can walk from the hotel to the Grote Markt. We also wrote an extensive review about this hotel which you can find here.