Amsterdam needs no formal introduction. A city that’s known for its unique canals, Red Light District and Vibrant Nightlife. Holland’s capital city is no stranger to a good time! The key to Amsterdam is not just finding anything to do, and it’s finding the best things to do! And no matter what kind of traveler you are, there is always something unique to find in Amsterdam.
Check out the top 25 things to do while visiting the city of a million stories:
“Find your adventure in Amsterdam”
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Technically, this is an area rather than a place, but it is well worth the visit. This is the perfect place to dabble in a little bit of food, fun, and culture. This is particularly recognizable by its long, narrow, and winding streets that border canals at every turn.
In the Jordaan, you will find no shortage of corner-side stores, bars, and eateries all with their own distinct and independent charm. Most have outside seating so that you can sit back, relax, and watch the boats pass by on the charming waterways that flow throughout the city.
Truly immerse yourself in Amsterdam by walking its streets and going where the gentle breeze blows you. Well worth the stop, and tempting enough to stay all day!
Anne Frank House
As the former residence and secret hiding place of historical figure Anne Frank, the Netherlands have honorably turned this location into a thoughtful museum. Anne Frank wrote “The Diaries of Anne Frank” during World War II before being captured and transferred to a concentration camp. Anne Frank died of Typhus at the young age of fifteen.
She hid in this house for two years to escape capture. Now the house has been transformed into an interactive museum complete with the original works on display. If you plan on going to the Anne Frank House while in Amsterdam, you’ll need to book your tickets in advance. You can only book tickets online for a certain time slot. Make sure to plan ahead! And most importantly: be respectful! This is a site of important historical significance and should be treated with respect.
Van Gogh Museum
Although you’ve probably seen the pictures, you might not know the name. The Van Gogh Museum is most recognizable by its sizeable sunflower patch that covers a wide expanse of land outside the actual building harboring a great density of Vincent Van Gogh’s work. Since this is another one of Amsterdam’s popular attractions, expect heavy crowds!
For guaranteed tickets, try and buy online, or stay until 9 p.m. on a Friday for the museum’s extended hours which typically draw a lesser crowd. Regardless of the population density, this is one of the most important things to do in Amsterdam, and well worth the effort.
What started out as a rich-only open space has transformed into one of Amsterdam’s most beloved parks! The Vondelpark is just one of the many things to do in Amsterdam that will have a genuine impression on you months after your visitation date.
The only thing better than food? More food! At Foodhallen guests can treat themselves to one of the widest arrays of cultural treats known to the capital city. If you’re looking for things to do in Amsterdam, why not grub? And with any meal in Amsterdam, it is not complete without a world class brew. Foodhallen is a giant collective adventure where you can meet and interact with other travelers from all around the world and bond over a few pints of Amsterdam’s best.
Verzetsmuseum (Dutch Resistance Museum)
Looking to avoid the crowds? The Dutch Resistance Museum is conversationally regarded to as one of the best-kept secrets of Amsterdam by locals. It is an impressive array of history not just of the city, but of the country as a whole and offers a wildly unique experience to some of the other, tourist-heavy museums. Ask about audio tours so you can learn the full history of Dutch Resistance.
Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s premiere botanical gardens come alive with well-maintained exhibits and beautifully preserved wildlife. If one of the best things about visiting a city for you involves any degree of reveling in nature than Hortus Botanicus is well worth the stop in Amsterdam!
The best Dam Square there is! The Dam Square is walking distance away from the Amsterdam Train Station, and centrally located in the heart of the city. It is an impressive expanse of architecture and Dutch culture that marks one of the prime spots on any ‘things to do in Amsterdam’ list. From here you can also visit some of the shops, restaurants, and attractions to be found in the area. Use this as the proper wandering ground it is, and immerse yourself in the soul of such a vibrant city.
Experience Heineken from brew to the bar, and take a walking tour through the proud home of one of Holland’s best beers. Here, you can walk through the many stages it takes to get that perfect pint, all with the pleasure of a tasting room at the end. Amsterdam is the literal birthplace of Heineken beer, so one of the best things to do would be to take an interactive tour of this world-renowned beverage. Often, if you buy online, you can also snag some valuable discounts or even city maps from the real experts of Amsterdam.
Royal Palace Amsterdam
Next on the list of things to do in Amsterdam is the famous Royal Palace! One of three spread across the country, the royal palace is a significant marker of Dutch history. It resides on the west side of the Dam square, which gives it a central location that is easily accessible by foot or automobile.
As one of the oldest zoos in all of the Netherlands (and one of the oldest in Europe as a whole), ARTIS is one of the best things to do with the whole family and is luckily located in the center of Amsterdam. Not only is ARTIS a world-class zoo, but also a planetarium and aquarium, making for one interesting and informative day spent in the city.
If you’re looking for nightlife, and don’t want to deal with the Red Light District, then check out Leidseplein! Some of the best things to do in Leidseplein include shopping, nightclubs, concerts, and the highly coveted coffee shops that Amsterdam boasts of. It is in no way vacant. However, it does feel significantly less crowded than some of Amsterdam’s other tourist attractions, offering a nice break from the usual shoulder-to-shoulder traffic that comes with the bustling streets of Netherland’s capital.
De Pijp is a trendy and unique environment that is typically popular with the young adult crowd. There are trendy restaurants, local shops, and even an open-air street market Mondays through Saturdays! De Pijp manages to hit that sweet spot between ‘run by locals’ and ‘welcomes tourists’.
The Rembrandt House
The Rembrandt House is a museum renovated to display the works of famous painter Rembrandt. Rembrandt was a painter during the mid-17th century, and most of his original works are available for viewing in this state of the art museum. As a house instead of an actual museum building, it has a distinctly unique charm that is representative of the painter himself.
Rijksmuseum (or State Museum)
Definitely one of the places you’ll want to set an early alarm for! With a museum this impressive, the demand can be fairly high, and therefore fairly cramped. But don’t let the masses dissuade you from seeing some of the best things that Amsterdam has to offer. Rijksmuseum is one of the largest compilations of Dutch and cultural art known to the region.
As such a populated city with so much to offer, it can be truly hard to see all the best things that Amsterdam includes. Amsterdam is a city that is spread out, and sometimes traffic can get bad. Bypass all those worries, and see the city on a bike! Bikes are a popular form of transportation in this city, and whether you’re looking for a guided tour or a solo adventure, Amsterdam is sure to deliver!
Concertgebouw (Concert Building)
Built in 1888, Concertgebouw is not just one of Netherland’s most prominent concert halls, but one of the worlds! Proudly housing about 700,000 visitors per year this is one site you’ll want to see in person. Often, this location will even offer free shows, which not only makes it one of the best things to do in Amsterdam, but one of the cheapest! If you happen to be in town for this experience, show up early to guarantee admission! Check out this website for more information:
The best way to see the city is to see all of the city! Check out the A’dam Lookout for a full 360-view of all the best things there are to do in Amsterdam, and try and spot the places you’ve been, or plan to go to. There’s a rooftop swing specifically designed with thrill seekers in mind, and a few restaurants for those who are looking for a calmer way to spend the night.
NEMO Science Museum
Known by its boat-like building, the NEMO Science Museum is fun for all ages! There are interactive museums, exhibits, and even a rooftop terrace with a truly stunning panoramic view of the city. Not only will you see some of the best things Amsterdam has to offer, but you’ll adventure through it as the NEMO Science Museum takes you through the wonders of modernity.
All canals lead somewhere! Zandvoort is one of Amsterdam’s premier beach spots, and although ‘sun, surf, and sand’ may not be your first thought when you think of the Netherland’s capital: it should be! This is by far, one of the best things to do while visiting Amsterdam as it is adventure and relaxation all rolled into one! It is a bit of a drive from city to shore, clocking in at just about 45 minutes (by car), by you’ll see lots of Netherlands’ beauty along the way.
Probably one of the most generalized terms on any ‘best things to do’ list, but no trip to Amsterdam is complete without drifting softly through its ethereal canals. The city is centered on these winding canals, so to flow through the heart of it all. Look into all the independent sellers in the city, or make some friends and spend a night under the stars, and on the water in Amsterdam!
It’s great fun to avoid the crowds and book a private boat tour throughout the canals.
National Maritime Museum
As the Netherlands was once the leading country in maritime technology, a visit to the capital’s national museum seems fitting. This museum not only takes you through the ages of sea trade and travel but also through the history and culture that came about from it.
De Oude Kerk (The Old Church)
Constructed in 1213, The Old Church is the oldest building in Amsterdam! This church has been beautifully preserved over the years and still holds its natural effervescence. The architecture alone is one of the best things about this site, and the fact that it remains today a functioning concert hall and church makes it a true testament to Amsterdam’s preservation.
Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market)
The Bloemenmarkt was once the world’s only floating flower market. Now it has transformed into the jack of all trades to incorporate numerous other vendors. Some of these sellers still sell beautiful fresh flowers, whereas others have found new crafts to dive into. The Bloemenmarkt draws visitors from far and wide to its unique open-air doors.
Although located on the outskirts of Amsterdam, Amsterdamse Bos is a stunning array of natural beauty. It has large, expansive pastures and lush green wildlife at every twist and turn and is well worth the short drive it takes to visit one of the best things about Amsterdam: its parks!
Museums, parks, and boat tours, oh my! Amsterdam is truly a city of just about every event, and the best way to enjoy Amsterdam is to do it your way! Wander! Explore! See things you never dreamed you would, and find things you’ve never heard of. Spend a weekend in this city, and map out your very own list of best things to do in Amsterdam!
Is the Amsterdam City Card worth buying? When you are visiting several museums and cultural sites in Amsterdam, it’s absolutely worth buying the Amsterdam City Card. You can buy the card for a duration of 24 – 120 hours, depending on how long you stay. The card gives you a discount for several places, and some of them are even free to visit with the city card. It also gives you unlimited access to the public transport network in Amsterdam.
Do they Speak English in Amsterdam? The majority speaks English in The Netherlands. However, the official language is Dutch. A lot of people are able to speak several languages. It’s effortless to get around in Amsterdam, not knowing a word of the Dutch language.