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I'll be arriving at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol at 18:00 with my family and will be staying at a hotel nearby for a few days. I wonder if it is a good idea to try to investigate surrounding area on the first night instead of resting at the hotel for the upcoming days.

I'm mostly trying to understand if there are some restaurants to try or at worst some shopping malls to spend time at which are within walking distance from the airport / Hoofddorp area.

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    What about the 15 minute train ride to the city center? – Bernhard Sep 16 '14 at 6:06
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    @pnuts I didn't want to mention the name of the hotel since I don't know if that's allowed/advertising etc. It is located at "Rijnlanderweg 800, 2132 NN Hoofddorp". I noticed Hoofddorp might be reachable but want to know if it worths it? – auselen Sep 16 '14 at 6:56
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    @pnuts Greek restaurant you mentioned seems to be located at Germany border. – auselen Sep 16 '14 at 7:33
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    Hoofddorp itself is a city with around 70k inhabitants, so there might be some nice places to see, for example parks. – fedorqui Sep 16 '14 at 8:55
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    @pnuts Bedtime isn't that much of an issue since we will have a stroller but then walking distance becomes important. – auselen Sep 16 '14 at 14:18
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The airport itself is in the middle of nowhere, I don't think there is any walkable attraction around but the public transport connections are very good. If you did not plan to go there during the next days and did not have to worry about a small kid, taking the train to the center of Amsterdam would be the obvious choice.

I don't know Hoofddorp itself but note that the area was a lake until the 19th century. The city was created from scratch after the land was reclaimed so you should not expect a typical historical Dutch town (but that might be interesting in itself). The pumping stations and the countryside in the vicinity (Museum de Cruquius and the area around Buitenkaag and the De Leeghwater pumping station) are definitely worth a visit if you are interested in the history of the landscape but they are not so easily reachable and you would need more time than an evening to go there.

As far as restaurants are concerned, iens.nl is probably the most popular website in the Netherlands. Here is their list for Hoofddorp

  • @pnuts huh? "Google has the Museum"? – Bernhard Sep 16 '14 at 14:31
  • @Bernhard “Google [maps] has the Museum 1h36 min on foot [from the hotel]” is proper English (point 12 in this Wikionary entry), it's the rest of the sentence that's more difficult to parse ;-) – Relaxed Sep 16 '14 at 15:01
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Having cycled in the general area and having used buses, I would use the evening to walk to the nearest fields and enjoy the view, combined with seeing the planes land and/or take off.

And looking on google maps, you will be close to fields, likely just a few minutes walking to the nearest ones.

There are buses in the area, you could take one for a few stops and walk back, or walk out along the bus route and take a bus back later. Ask in the hotel for the best options, as not all buses will run frequently that time of night.

Or you can plan bus (and other public transport) journeys on the planner website.

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