In my research on Amsterdam before we went, I read about two places where we'd be able to see Amsterdam from above. One was in a cafe in a building that may or may not have been a library, and the cafe was attached, or on a different floor, and basically I was too confused to know how to get there or even what to be looking for.
So we went to the next place on the list: NEMO Science Center Amsterdam.
We walked behind the central train station, through and under the train tracks, through some parking lots and probably not the touristic part of Amsterdam, and then finally across a bridge, until we got there.
And the best part: it was free. The science exhibit downstairs is also free, but when it's sunny and you have three more hours in Amsterdam, you go to the roof, because clearly it'd been designed for that exact activity.
Place to buy drinks and snacks, chairs, and a place to play in water. What more can you want?
Plants in lines is one of my favorite things, and the fact that they were in cool, identical planters helped a lot.
Nemo Science Center: Website / Map