Things to Do in Amsterdam: A Guide to the Best Experiences

Are you planning a trip to Amsterdam and wondering what to do in this vibrant and culturally rich city? Here we provide the solution, a comprehensive guide. We will walk you through an array of exciting activities and attractions that will make your visit to Amsterdam truly unforgettable. From exploring historic landmarks to indulging in local cuisine, Amsterdam has something to offer for everyone.

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Things to do in Amsterdam

Things to Do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands, is renowned for its picturesque canals, stunning architecture, and vibrant cultural scene. If you are a history enthusiast, an art lover, a foodie, or simply someone seeking an adventure; Amsterdam has countless options to keep you entertained.

Here are some of the must-visit attractions and activities in the city:

Stroll along the Canals

Amsterdam is famous for its charming canals, which have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a leisurely walk along the canals, marvel at the elegant canal houses, and soak in the unique atmosphere of the city. Don’t forget to snap some Instagram-worthy photos of the picturesque bridges and houseboats that line the waterways.

Visit the Van Gogh Museum

Immerse yourself in the world of art by visiting the renowned Van Gogh Museum. Here you will find the largest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings, including his iconic masterpieces including “Sunflowers” and “Starry Night”. Explore the artist’s life and work through the extensive collection of paintings, drawings, and letters on display.

Explore the Anne Frank House

Pay homage to one of the most powerful stories of the 20th century by visiting the Anne Frank House. Arrive Early as there is always an extensive queue. Providing a glimpse into the life of the Jewish girl who hid with her family in a secret annexe, to better understand the impact of the Nazi occupation during World War II.

Wander through the Vondelpark

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by spending a peaceful afternoon in Vondelpark. This sprawling urban park offers a serene retreat with its lush greenery, tranquil ponds, and winding pathways. Bring a picnic, rent a bike, or simply relax on the grass while enjoying the vibrant atmosphere of this popular recreational spot.

Discover the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is a treasure trove of Dutch art and history, housing an extensive collection of masterpieces from the Golden Age. Marvel at Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” and Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid” as you delve into the rich cultural heritage of the Netherlands. The museum’s grand architecture is also a sight to behold. To our cost, we discovered they have some funny rules about what you can take into the museum. Musical instruments being one notable exception!

Indulge in Dutch Cuisine

No visit to Amsterdam is complete without trying some traditional Dutch delicacies. Sample the famous stroopwafels, thin caramel-filled waffles, or savour the rich flavours of Dutch cheese at one of the local markets. For the more adventurous foodies, raw herring and bitterballen (deep-fried meatballs) are popular treats that offer a true taste of Amsterdam.

Take a Canal Cruise

Explore Amsterdam from a different perspective by embarking on a canal cruise. Cruise along the picturesque waterways while admiring the city’s stunning architecture and iconic landmarks. Many cruises offer informative audio guides that provide insights into the history and culture of Amsterdam, making it an educational and entertaining experience. We did the trip twice, the first time around to get a feel for the route, and the second time around using the cruise as a hop-on hop-off facility.

Visit the Royal Palace

Step into the royal history of the Netherlands by visiting the Royal Palace, located at the heart of Amsterdam on Dam Square. Originally built as a city hall, this magnificent building now serves as a royal palace and is open to the public for tours. Marvel at the opulent interiors, adorned with grand chandeliers, elaborate artwork, and luxurious furnishings.

Explore the Jordaan District

Immerse yourself in the charm of Amsterdam’s Jordaan district, known for its narrow streets, cosy cafes, and boutique shops. Wander through the district’s quirky art galleries and antique stores, or stop by a traditional brown café to enjoy a refreshing local beer. The Jordaan district offers a delightful blend of history, culture, and a vibrant atmosphere.

Experience the Nightlife in the Red Light District

Amsterdam’s Red Light District is infamous for its vibrant nightlife and unique atmosphere. It may not be to everyone’s taste, but exploring this district can provide an interesting glimpse into Amsterdam’s liberal culture. Walk along the narrow streets, lined with neon-lit windows, and witness the city’s unique approach to legalized prostitution.

Visit the Museumplein

The Museumplein is a vibrant square that houses some of Amsterdam’s most prestigious museums, including the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum. Admire the iconic “I Am Sterdam” sign, which has become an emblem of the city, or relax on the expansive lawns surrounded by art and culture. A popular venue for concerts and events throughout the year.

Discover the Rembrandt House Museum

Step into the world of the famous Dutch master painter at the Rembrandt House Museum. Rembrandt’s home and studio. This beautifully restored 17th-century house was houses the museum’s collection of Rembrandt’s etchings and paintings. Gain insight into his life and artistic techniques through interactive displays and workshops.

Take a Bike Tour

Join the locals and hop on a bike to explore the city like a true Amsterdammer. With its extensive network of bike paths and bike-friendly infrastructure, Amsterdam is the perfect city for cycling. Rent a bike or join a guided bike tour to discover the city’s hidden gems, charming neighbourhoods, and scenic routes.

Visit the Natura Artis Magistra

Escape to a world of nature in the heart of Amsterdam at the Natura Artis Magistra. Founded in the 18th Century, this is the city’s oldest zoo. The expansive grounds, are home to a diverse range of animals, including lions, elephants, penguins, and more. Also you will discover an aquarium, a planetarium, and beautiful botanical gardens. Its a perfect family-friendly attraction.

Experience the Heineken Experience

Beer enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to visit the Heineken Experience, located in the former Heineken brewery. Take a self-guided tour through the interactive exhibits and learn about the history and brewing process of this iconic Dutch beer. Don’t forget to enjoy a refreshing Heineken at the end of your visit!

Visit the Albert Cuyp Market

Flower Stalls Amsterdam
Dutch Clogs Things to do in Amsterdam

Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Amsterdam’s most famous street market, the Albert Cuyp Market. Browse through the stalls selling everything from fresh produce and flowers to clothing and souvenirs. Indulge in some local street food, and experience the bustling energy of this beloved market.

Explore the Begijnhof

Step back in time as you enter the serene oasis of the Begijnhof; a hidden courtyard dating back to the 14th century. This historic enclave was originally inhabited by beguines, a Catholic sisterhood. Admire the charming old houses, the English Reformed Church, and the tranquil garden that provides a peaceful escape from the bustling city.

Take a Day Trip to Zaanse Schans

Just a short journey from Amsterdam, Zaanse Schans is a neighbourhood in the Dutch Town of Zaandam. Offering a glimpse into the Netherlands’ rich history and traditional Dutch culture. 17 minutes on a train from Amsterdam Central Rail Station, or around 25 minutes in a car. Explore the open-air museum, featuring well-preserved windmills, traditional distinctive green wooden houses, and workshops. See regional costumes and witness the traditional craft of wooden shoe-making. Chocolate making. Barrel Making and pewter casting. Or indulge in some Dutch cheese tasting, and capture the perfect postcard-worthy photographs.

Visit the Westergas

If you’re seeking a unique cultural experience, head to the Westergas. This former gasworks complex has been transformed into a thriving cultural hub, hosting art exhibitions, concerts, festivals, and food markets. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the park, visit art galleries, or attend a live performance. The Westergas offers a vibrant blend of art, entertainment, and culinary delights.

Discover the Amsterdamse Bos

Escape the urban landscape and immerse yourself in nature at the Amsterdamse Bos, a vast forested area on the outskirts of the city. This sprawling green oasis offers a multitude of recreational activities, including hiking, biking, picnicking, and even canoeing in the lakes. Enjoy the tranquillity of nature while still being within reach of the city centre.

Explore the Science Center NEMO

If you’re travelling with kids or have a curious mind yourself, a visit to the Science Center NEMO is a must. This interactive science museum offers hands-on exhibits, workshops, and demonstrations that make learning about science and technology engaging and fun. From exploring the human body to experimenting with electricity, NEMO provides a stimulating experience for visitors of all ages.

Visit the Tropenmuseum

Delve into the diversity of cultures at the Tropenmuseum, an ethnographic museum that showcases artefacts and exhibitions from around the world. Explore the interactive displays, learn about different cultures, and gain a deeper understanding of global issues. The Tropenmuseum offers a thought-provoking and educational experience that celebrates the beauty of cultural diversity.

Enjoy a Concert at the Concertgebouw

Experience the enchantment of classical music at the Concertgebouw, one of the world’s most renowned concert halls. Attend a performance by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra or indulge in a recital by internationally acclaimed musicians. The Concertgebouw’s stunning acoustics and elegant architecture create an atmosphere that is truly captivating.

Take a Day Trip to Keukenhof

If you’re visiting Amsterdam during spring, don’t miss the opportunity to witness the breathtaking beauty of Keukenhof. The world’s largest flower garden. Located just a short distance from the city, (an hour from Amsterdam’s central rail station) Keukenhof boasts millions of vibrant tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths, creating a kaleidoscope of colours and fragrances. Explore the meticulously designed gardens, snap photos amidst the sea of flowers, and embrace the essence of spring.

25. Relax in the Hortus Botanicus

Unwind in the serene surroundings of the Hortus Botanicus, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. Explore a diverse collection of plant species from around the globe, including rare and exotic plants. Stroll through the enchanting greenhouses, admire the blooming flowers, and find solace in this tranquil oasis in the heart of Amsterdam.


For something completely left of field visit ‘The Upside Down’. A tourist attraction in central Amsterdam which is just very very strange. Full of interactive, social media worthy optical illusions.

FAQs about Things to Do in Amsterdam

1. What are some budget-friendly things to do in Amsterdam?

If you’re looking to explore Amsterdam on a budget, there are plenty of options available. Some budget-friendly activities include visiting free-entry attractions like the Vondelpark, exploring the Albert Cuyp Market, or taking a self-guided walking tour to admire the city’s architecture. Additionally, renting a bike and exploring the city’s neighbourhoods is an affordable and authentic way to experience Amsterdam.

2. Is it necessary to book tickets in advance for popular attractions in Amsterdam?

Booking tickets in advance for popular attractions such as the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House, and the Rijksmuseum is highly recommended. Booking in advance allows you to skip the long queues and ensures that you secure your spot, especially during peak tourist seasons. Check the official websites of the attractions for ticket availability and booking options.

3. What are the best neighbourhoods to explore in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is a city of diverse and vibrant neighbourhoods, each with its own unique character. Some of the best neighbourhoods to explore include the Jordaan district, known for its charming streets and boutique shops, and the De Pijp neighbourhood, famous for its lively food scene and the Albert Cuyp Market. The Negen Straatjes (Nine Streets) area is also worth exploring, with its trendy boutiques and picturesque canals.

4. How do I get around Amsterdam?

Amsterdam has an excellent public transportation system, including trams, buses, and metros, which can take you to various parts of the city. However, one of the most popular and enjoyable ways to get around is by bike. The city is extremely bike-friendly, with dedicated bike lanes and rental options available throughout. Walking is also a great way to explore the compact city centre.

5. Are there any day trips from Amsterdam worth considering?

Yes, there are several day trips from Amsterdam that offer unique experiences. One popular option is a trip to the historic city of Haarlem, known for its charming architecture and impressive museums. Another option is a visit to the picturesque fishing village of Volendam or the iconic windmills at Kinderdijk. Additionally, the beautiful city of Utrecht, with its stunning canals and historic sites, is easily accessible from Amsterdam.

6. What is the best time to visit Amsterdam?

Amsterdam is a year-round destination, with each season offering its own charm. The spring months (April and May) are particularly popular due to the blooming tulips and the vibrant atmosphere. Summer (June to August) brings pleasant weather and outdoor festivals. The fall (September to November) offers fewer crowds and beautiful autumn colours. Winter (December to February) is the quietest season, but the city comes alive with festive lights and Christmas markets.


Amsterdam truly captivates with its unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From its charming canals and historic landmarks to its world-class museums and vibrant neighbourhoods, the city offers a wealth of experiences for every visitor. Whether you’re indulging in local cuisine, exploring art masterpieces, or simply strolling along the canals. Amsterdam never fails to leave a lasting impression. So, pack your walking shoes and head for the enchanting city of Amsterdam.

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