14 Best Things to do in Amsterdam

best things to do in amsterdam

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is truly a magnificent city. This vibrant city is home to a wealth of historic landmarks, world-class museums, and picture-perfect canals.

Amsterdam is also renowned for its tolerant attitude towards different lifestyles, making it a welcoming place for all visitors. Whether you’re interested in exploring the city’s culture or simply enjoying its relaxed atmosphere, Amsterdam is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Not to mention, for anyone mapping out a trip around Europe, Amsterdam is a great city to incorporate given that it’s only about an hour flight from other major European cities like London, Paris, Brussels and Berlin. To get the most out of your trip to Dutch capital, here’s our list of the 14 best things to do in Amsterdam.

biking in amsterdam
Biking Amsterdam” by IceNineJon is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

1) Take a Bike Tour Around the City

If you’ve never been to Amsterdam before, one of the first things you will notice is how many people are out biking around the city. Whether it’s for commuting to work, enjoying a nice day, or getting some exercise, the Dutch people truly do love their bikes (over 58% of the population over the age of 12 bikes daily).

So what better way is there to immerse yourself into Dutch culture than by biking around the city yourself?

There are many companies that offer guided bike tours of Amsterdam, and they are a great way to see the city. The tours typically last around two hours, and they take you to all the major sights, including the Rijksmuseum and Dam Square. 

You’ll learn all about the Dutch culture and history, and you’ll get to see the city from a whole new perspective. Best of all, you’ll be able to pedal at your own pace, so you can take lots of photos and stop to explore any sights that interest you. So if you’re looking for a fun and active way to see the city, a bike tour is definitely one of the best things to do in Amsterdam.

van gogh museum
Van Gogh Museum” by Paul J. S. is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

2) Check out the Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Netherlands. The museum houses the largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings in the world.

Visitors can see some of his most famous paintings, such as “The Potato Eaters” and “Starry Night,” up close. The museum also has a comprehensive exhibit on the artist’s life and work, which is sure to interest any fan of Van Gogh. In addition, the museum regularly hosts special exhibitions on various aspects of Van Gogh’s work. Whether you’re a fan of Van Gogh or simply interested in art history, a visit to the Van Gogh Museum is sure to be a memorable experience.

vondel park
Vondel Park in Spring” by jkneuper is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

3) Spend an Afternoon in Vondel Park

Vondel Park is one of the most popular parks in Amsterdam, and it’s easy to see why. The park is huge, and there’s something for everyone.

There are plenty of places to sit and relax, as well as a playground for the kids. There’s also a large lake where you can go for a swim or just enjoy the view. And if you’re feeling active, there are plenty of walking and cycling paths to explore. In short, Vondel Park is the perfect place to spend a day in Amsterdam.

anne frank house
Netherlands-4486 – Anne Frank House” by archer10 (Dennis) is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

4) Visit the Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House is a must-see for anyone who is interested in history. The house is located in Amsterdam, and it is where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazi regime during World War II.

Visitors can see the hiding place where Anne and her family spent more than two years in hiding, as well as the office where her father worked. The Anne Frank House is a powerful reminder of the human capacity for evil and the importance of tolerance and understanding. It is an important stop on any trip to Amsterdam.

I AMsterdam (Panorama)” by weesen is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.

5) Head over to the Rjiksmuseum

The Rjiksmuseum is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Amsterdam. The museum is home to a wide range of Dutch art, including paintings by Rembrandt and Vermeer.

Visitors can also see a large collection of applied arts, such as furniture and silverware. In addition, the Rjiksmuseum houses a library, a cafe, and a shop. The museum is located in the heart of Amsterdam, and it is easily accessible by public transportation. Admission to the Rjiksmuseum is free for everyone, making it an ideal destination for families and budget-minded travelers.

jordaan neighborhood
Around the Jordaan neighborhood” by ilovebutter is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

6) Spend some time in the Jordaan Neighborhood

If you’re looking for a truly unique and memorable experience, the Jordaan Amsterdam is worth checking out. This quaint Dutch neighborhood is full of charming cafes, shops, and homes, and it’s just a short walk from some of the city’s most popular attractions.

The Jordaan is also known for its thriving art scene, and there are several galleries and studios to explore. And of course, no visit to the Jordaan would be complete without sampling some of the delicious Dutch food on offer! Whether you’re looking to wander off the beaten path or simply take in some of Amsterdam’s most charming sights, the Jordaan is a wonderful place to visit.

canals in amsterdam
Leidsegraght Canal Bridge, Amsterdam” by ShaneTaremi is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

7) Take a Canal Cruise

Amsterdam is a beautiful city, and there is no better way to see it than from the water. Canal cruises are a popular tourist activity, and for good reason. They offer a unique perspective on the city, and allow you to see sights that you would otherwise miss.

In addition, canal cruises are a great way to relax and take in the scenery. The boats are typically very spacious and comfortable, and the tour guides are always happy to answer any questions you may have. Whether you are visiting Amsterdam for the first time or you are a seasoned traveler, a canal cruise is an activity that is not to be missed.

8) Head over to De Negen Straatjes (The Nine Streets)

This charming area is lined with narrow canals and quaint shops, making it a popular spot for both locals and visitors alike. The Nine Streets are home to a variety of businesses, including art galleries, vintage stores, and stylish boutiques.

There are also several excellent restaurants and cafes, making it the perfect place to spend an afternoon exploring or simply people watching. In addition to its many shops and eateries, the Nine Streets is also home to a few historic landmarks, making it a culturally rich area as well. Whether you’re looking to do some shopping, enjoy some good food, or just take in the sights, the Nine Streets is worth a visit.

Morning sunshine in Flevopark” by CharlesFred is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

9) Enjoy Nature at Flevopark

Flevopark is a vast nature reserve located in the Netherlands. It’s home to an abundance of wildlife, including rare species of birds, and it’s a popular spot for hiking, biking, and picnicking.

The Park also has a rich history dating back to the Middle Ages, when it was first established as a hunting ground for the Dutch royal family. Today, Flevopark is a beloved destination for both locals and tourists alike, and it’s easy to see why. With its scenic views and abundant birdlife, Flevopark is truly a Dutch gem.

heineken experience
Heineken Experience” by daryl_mitchell is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

10) Check out the Heineken Experience

If you find yourself in Amsterdam, the Heineken Experience is a must-do. This interactive museum takes you through the history of one of the world’s most iconic breweries. You’ll learn about the founder, Gerard Adriaan Heineken, and see how the company has grown over the years.

You’ll also get a behind-the-scenes look at the brewing process, and you’ll even get to pour your own pint of Heineken at the end. But the best part of the Heineken Experience is the beer tasting. You’ll get to sample four different kinds of Heineken, including a special brew that’s only available at the brewery. So whether you’re a beer lover or just looking for a unique experience, be sure to add the Heineken Experience to your itinerary.

Brouwerij’t IJ
brouwerijt ij” by krisadam is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

11) Speaking of Beer, go to Brouwerij’t IJ

Brouwerij ’t IJ is a Dutch brewery founded in 1985 in Amsterdam. The brewery is located in the basement of a windmill built in 1856, which was originally used to power a sawmill and a bakery.

The name of the brewery, ’t IJ, means “the EYE”, and is a reference to the nearby Amstel River. The brewery produces a variety of beers, including IPAs, stouts, and sours. Brouwerij ’t IJ has won numerous awards for its beer, and its products are exported to countries around the world.

In addition to its brewing facilities, the brewery also operates a bar and a bottle shop. The bar features a rotating selection of Brouwerij ’t IJ’s beers on tap, as well as a menu of small plates. The bottle shop sells a wide range of Brouwerij ’t IJ’s beers, including limited-edition and seasonal releases.

artis zoo
Artis Zoo, Ingresso” by Antonio Manfredonio is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

12) Spend an Afternoon at the Artis Zoo

The Artis Zoo in Amsterdam, Netherlands is one of the oldest zoos in Europe, and it remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city.

The zoo first opened its doors in 1838, and it has since been home to a wide variety of animals from all over the world. Today, the zoo is home to over 700 different species of animals, and it is a popular destination for families and animal lovers alike. Visitors can see everything from lions and tigers to penguins and gorillas, and there is also an impressive collection of reptiles and amphibians. In addition to the animals, the Artis Zoo also features a beautiful botanical garden, making it a truly unique destination.

Foodhallen in Oud-West (Amsterdam, The Netherlands 2017)” by paularps is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

13) Fill up at Foodhallen

Food halls are all the rage these days, and the Foodhallen in Amsterdam is one of the hottest spots in the city. This former tram depot has been transformed into a food lover’s paradise, with over 20 different vendors selling a variety of international cuisine.

There’s something for everyone at the Foodhallen, from fresh seafood to hearty Dutch staples. And if you’re looking for a place to relax after a meal, there’s plenty of seating available, as well as a bar serving up local beer and cider. Whether you’re a visitor to Amsterdam or a local looking for a new dining experience, the Foodhallen is worth checking out.

kings day
Koningsdag” by Paula Abrahão is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

14) Experience Kings Day in the streets of Amsterdam

On April 27, the Netherlands celebrates Kings Day, a national holiday that commemorates the birthday of King Willem-Alexander. The holiday is celebrated with a massive street party in Amsterdam, as well as other cities and towns across the country.

Tens of thousands of people descend on the Dutch capital to enjoy live music, food stalls, and a festive atmosphere. Kings Day is also an opportunity for people to sell their second-hand goods at open-air markets. Amsterdam’s canals are filled with boats decorated with orange flags, and the city comes alive with the sound of music and laughter. It’s a truly unique and unforgettable experience.

Recap of the Best things to do in Amsterdam

  • Bike Tour
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • Vondel Park
  • Anne Frank House
  • Rjiksmuseum
  • The Jordaan
  • Take a Canal Cruise
  • De Negen Straatjes
  • Flevopark
  • Heineken Experience
  • Brouwerij’t IJ
  • Artis Zoo
  • Foodhallen
  • Kings Day

Where to Next?

Looking for a similar city in terms of culture and history? Check out Copenhagen next!

For great beer, iconic landmarks, and stunning architecture, be sure to include Brussels on your trip!

Looking for great weather, food and views? Look no further than Lisbon!

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