It can be stressful traveling with children if you are not sure what to expect. We don‘t want you to be stressed so here are a few tips on what to bring and what to do in Reykjavik as a family.
While visiting Reykjavik you probably want to walk around and get to know the city. If traveling with a small child, bring a stroller with a rain cover. It just makes everything easier. Then you have to make sure the children are always warm. The best thing is to dress in layers. That also goes for grown-ups. Even during summer, it can get a bit cold. We highly recommend wool base layers, then clothes and overcoats according to the weather. There are many outdoor activity stores where you can buy warm clothes, for example at Ullarkistan on Laugavegur. There you can find soft merino wool for both children and adults.
Food stops with kids
Reykjavik also has a variety of food and snack stops. Restaurants, cafés, small shops, bakeries, and supermarkets are on every corner where you can pick up bread, yogurts, fruits, and other snacks. If you are looking for something familiar supermarkets like Bonus and Kronan have baby food by brands such as Ella‘s Kitchen, Hipp, and Semper. There aren‘t any McDonalds but you can find KFC and Taco Bell. There are excellent Icelandic fast food options though, such as Búllan (Burger Joint), Hamborgarafabrikkan, Steikhúsið, and several pizza and kebab places.
Restaurants and cafés in Reykjavík are generally very child-friendly. If you are traveling with a small child you can be sure that the restaurant has a high chair for your baby. We like for example Laundromat Café which has a great play area on their ground floor where you can also get food service and the pizza place Eldsmiðjan on Suðurlandsbraut which also has a play area for children (a bit outside the center though). If you want to select your restaurant based on food rather than toys we would say that really all restaurants here claim to be family-friendly and should be able to cater to your needs. There are at least 3-4 vegan restaurants around our main street Laugavegur, including one called Á næstu grösum. For you mommies that are breastfeeding, you can breastfeed anywhere, anytime, as breastfeeding in public is very much accepted. So please feel comfortable feeding your little one without any worries about your surroundings.
Things to do in Reykjavik with kids
For activity, we love going to the public swimming pools. They are truly for all ages. Our baby boy was just a few months old the first time we brought him. Laugardalslaug is the largest one and the most popular, with many hot tubs, a good swimming pool, a large play area and a few slides for both the smallest and older kids. The pools are heated so don‘t let bad weather stop you, we go all year round. There are many pools scattered around the city so you can even go to more than one. The price is only around 9 USD for parents, 1 USD for 6-17, and finally free for 0-5 year-olds. The opening hours are also pretty flexible so perfect maybe after a day discovering the countryside to finish the day enjoying the geothermally heated hot tubs.
Just by Laugardalslaug, you have The Reykjavik Zoo. There you will find domestic animals, seals, and arctic foxes. Also a great family park with a play area and rides. The coffee shop is open all year long. The zoo is very popular especially during the summer holidays so often its better to show up early.
Public libraries are a great place to catch your breath. The downtown library is popular among the locals who bring their children to play in a small but lovely play area or to look at picture books, try on costumes or just read books. Great to meet other children as well. It is without any charge.
There are several open playgrounds in Reykjavik. There is one at Arnarhóll, the hill overseeing the concert house Harpa. It’s hidden behind trees and bushes, is perfectly located and well maintained. Then there is Hljómskálagarður, the park on the opposite side of the pond (Tjörnin) from the city hall. Great for running around, playing ball and there is a small playground as well. A bit further out by the museum Kjarvalsstaðir you have Klambratún, a really lovely park with a fantastic play area, frisbee golf, basket and volleyball courts, the museum and a coffee shop. Great for sunny days.
Another fun activity is to visit the Open Air Museum called Árbæjarsafn. It is a small village with more than 20 buildings which form a town square, a village, and a farm. It was an established farm well into the 20th century. There you can learn about life in Iceland, meet the animals, see the artwork, relax with a coffee and a traditional Icelandic pastry, or shop in the two museum shops. Great place for children to run around and play and even learn some history on the way.