Best things to do in Amsterdam

Visiting this vibrant city and wondering what to do in Amsterdam? We’ll leave you no time to be bored! On ThingstoDoinAmsterdam.com we’ll show you both the highlights and hidden secrets and guide you through them.

Museums in Amsterdam

Museums in Amsterdam

If you like going to museums you’ll be enlightened by the wide variety of museums in Amsterdam. Besides the world-famous Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam counts 50 more less-known museums.

Canal Cruise

Canal Cruise

A canal cruise is an absolute must-do in Amsterdam, as the city is known for its many iconic canals! The city centre is practically a network of canals, along which you’ll find Amsterdam’s historical canal houses. Therefore, it is often said that Amsterdam is best seen from the water!

Amsterdam Attractions

Amsterdam Attractions

The variety of Amsterdam's attractions is immense. The city offers attractions for young and old. Find your way through all the best attractions in this beautiful, small and cosy city we like to call our home.

Amsterdam is a unique city in many kinds of ways: from its parks to the many museums and the romantic canal belt and from its characteristic architecture to its liberal laws on drugs and prostitution. We make sure you don’t have to miss out on anything, as we tell you all the things to do in Amsterdam and provide you with the best tips, photos, discounts, and information. On this page, you’ll find;

Our top 10 to-do’s in Amsterdam

Below, you’ll find our personal favourite 10 things to do in Amsterdam. For each of the items, we’ve also added a brief explanation of why we feel it deserves a spot on this list. Hopefully, this list will help you plan your city trip to Amsterdam;

  1. Canal cruise; just like most of the Netherlands, the capital is below sea level. Therefore, water management is of existential importance to the Dutch. Amsterdam is built around countless canals and waterways connected by even more bridges. Alongside the canals, you’ll find the picturesque canal houses. The best way to see and comprehend this concept is by seeing it from the water. Therefore, our number 1 must-do in Amsterdam! If you want to take your cruise experience to the next level, also make sure to check out the options for a private canal tour, customized to your wishes.
  2. Rijksmuseum; although small, the Netherlands has been an influential player in world history and culture. The Dutch have been roaming the world since the early days of international trade. In the Rijksmuseum, you’ll find artefacts and artworks that are significant for the history of the Netherlands.
  3. Van Gogh Museum; arguably one of the most influential Dutch artists till today, is Vincent van Gogh. With his peculiar style, this painter has been a source of inspiration for many. In the Van Gogh Museum, you can admire some of his masterpieces in person.
  4. Anne Frank House; the recent history of the Netherlands is heavily marked by the horrors of the Second World War. Amsterdam used to have a fairly big Jewish community. The story of Anne Frank lives on in the Anne Frank House. It’s important to keep this story alive, in the hope that for once, humanity learns from its past. Let us never discriminate against, or exclude from society, any population group.
  5. Bike tour; there’s no place on earth where cycling is as popular as in Amsterdam. Due to the relatively small city centre, you can easily explore all the highlights in a few hours by bike. It’s a fun, convenient way to get around and you can blend in with the locals. Therefore, a bike tour is a great way of seeing the city!
  6. Red Light District; the prostitution area of Amsterdam is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city. Its history dates back to when sailors set sail from the Amsterdam harbour to roam the world. After months or even years at sea, the sailors returned hungry for love. That’s where the world’s oldest profession comes in.
  7. ARTIS Royal Zoo; during a hectic city trip, it can be nice to take a step back for a while. A perfect place in the centre of Amsterdam to have such a moment is one of Europe’s oldest zoos. ARTIS is a small, historic zoo where one can relax and watch the inhabitants of the zoo go about their daily lives.
  8. NEMO Science Museum; in this remarkable building, just east of Amsterdam Central Station, the mysteries of science will be unraveled with some practical experiments. This museum is an absolute must-do with kids, but also a fun, educational experience for older visitors!
  9. National Maritime Museum; ship trade was of significant importance for Amsterdam in the 16th and 17th centuries. In the majestic building of the National Maritime Museum, you can learn more about how the rich maritime history turned a small country into a world player in international trade.
  10. Day trips from Amsterdam; don’t get us wrong, we love Amsterdam! However, there are many more lovely cities and towns to explore in the Netherlands. These places are, in contrary to Amsterdam, still undiscovered by the big tourist crowds. Therefore they feel less commercial and we feel it’s worth taking a day or two to go beyond the city borders of Amsterdam!

Must-see museums in Amsterdam

In Amsterdam, you’ll find enough museums to spend an entire month wandering through museums. However, most people only have a few days in the city, thus we selected three museums that you really can’t miss out on. If you have enough time, you might want to check out some of the other museums in Amsterdam as well! Even if you’re usually not the type of person who likes to visit museums, Amsterdam has some peculiar ones that might trigger your curiosity.

Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is home to some of the world’s most famous artworks, including The Night Watch by Rembrandt van Rijn. Art lovers can literally spend hours wandering through countless artefacts. The majestic building is home to works from world notable Dutch painters such as Frans Hals, Jan Steen and many more.

Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum

This museum is dedicated to the life of Vincent van Gogh, one of the most influential painters The Netherlands has ever seen. Admire the world’s biggest collection of artworks by the artist who cut off his ear. Learn about his life, what inspired him, and how he became the icon he is today.

Anne Frank House

Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House is the actual building where Anne Frank wrote her world-famous diary. Her diary tells the story of the horrors of WOII, through the eyes of a young Jewish girl growing up, hidden away from society. A fascinating but tragic story.

Best attractions in Amsterdam

The best attraction of Amsterdam does not exist, everything is great on its own. There is something for every budget. Amsterdam is an easy city to spend a lot of money as there’s a lot to see and do. The attractions in Amsterdam can have a major impact on your travel budget, so choose wisely. Check out the entrance prices and discounts on this website to make the most out of your budget. We’re constantly working on adding new attractions and experiences.

Our House - Electronic Dance Music Museum

Our House - Electronic Dance Music Museum

Dive into the history of electronic and dance music in Amsterdam. Visit one of Amsterdam’s most unique and vital museums and learn about the beauty of one of the world’s most energetic music genres.

Ice bar

Ice bar

Visit the Ice bar and learn what it’s like to be stranded on the North Pole. Enjoy drinks in a glass made of ice, in a bar made of ice. A chilly, unique experience near the lively Rembrandt Square are with lots of possibilities for clubbing. Great start for a night out!

House of Bols

House of Bols

The House of Bols is a unique museum in Amsterdam that not only educates you on the history of liqueur and spirits but also lets you experience it yourself. This award-winning cocktail & genever experience is the perfect combination of heritage and history in a modern and beautifully designed environment.

Latest activities in Amsterdam

As Amsterdam is a popular tourist destination, there are always new things to do popping up. Below, you’ll find some of the latest attractions or activities in Amsterdam that have recently opened their doors. Have you been to Amsterdam before and looking for something new? Make sure to check out these latest attractions and activities!

STRAAT street art museum

STRAAT street art museum

In the Northern part of the city, a new museum has erected. STRAAT is, with 8000 squared metres of exhibition space, the world's biggest museum dedicated to street art. STRAAT features over 150 artworks by international artists in this unconventional art scene.

Rembrandts Experience

Rembrandts Experience

If you're looking the learn more about the life of one of the Netherland's most iconic artists in a fun, exciting way, Rembrandts Experience is the place to go! In only 25 minutes you'll get some of the most interesting insights into the life of this world-renowned artist.

WONDR Experience

WONDR Experience

WONDR is the home of the coolest Instagram photos. WONDR Amsterdam is an artistic playground of 1200m² with fifteen interactive installation spaces. Have some fun in the world of WONDR!

To-do’s in Amsterdam with kids

Are you looking for what to do in Amsterdam with your kids? There’s more than enough to do with kids in Amsterdam! A canal cruise, for instance, is a treat for the whole family. Watch the city passing you by from a boat. Fancy an interactive and educative museum? Visit BODY WORLDS,  Micropia in Artis Zoo, and the Nemo Science Centre. If you’re willing to travel a fair bit, Mardurodam is amazing with kids. Also, the theme park Efteling is a great place. In this fantasy theme park, you’ll be surrounded by fairy tales. For a more elaborate overview also check out our blog post on things to do with kids in Amsterdam.

Ripley’s believe it or not

Ripley’s believe it or not

Visit the Amsterdam version of Ripley’s believe it or not. Meet the people who made it into the Guinness Book of World Records and hear the stories behind the rare pieces of art collected by world traveler Robert Ripley.

Artis Amsterdam Zoo

Artis Amsterdam Zoo

Escape the busy streets of Amsterdam and relax at the Amsterdam Zoo. The kids will be able to enjoy themselves in the petting zoo. Not the biggest zoo, but definitely charming and romantic!

Nemo Science Museum

Nemo Science Museum

Nemo Science Centre is a great combination of entertainment and education. Probably coolest and most interactive museum that you’ll ever see! There’s a lot to see and do for practically all ages.

To-do’s in Amsterdam for adults

Looking for stuff to do in Amsterdam for adults? Some things that Amsterdam is best known for are not exactly the places that you’d go to with the whole family. The unofficial slogan for the city used to be ‘Come for the weed, stay for the hookers’. Nowadays, Amsterdam still is home to a fair share of adult-only entertainment in specific places. Want to know more about this naughty part of the city? Make sure not to miss the following places and attractions.

Red Light District

Red Light District

Red Light District or ‘De Wallen’ in Dutch is home to one of the oldest professions in the world. Wander around the area and pay a visit to one of the peepshows! This much-discussed neighbourhood has been around since the 15th century.

Amsterdam Coffeeshops

Amsterdam Coffeeshops

Smoke some world famous pot and fly away. Interested to find out how Amsterdam became famous for its marihuana? Take a few hours to find out why in one of the coffeeshops.

Casa Rosso

Casa Rosso

Check out the most (in)famous erotic theatre in the Red Light District! Casa Rosso is the most iconic theatre in the area since 1968. Sit back and enjoy one of the live 18+ shows on stage.

Cheap activities to do in Amsterdam

As you already might know Amsterdam is not cheap. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a good trip to Amsterdam if you’re on a budget. You might have to plan your trip a bit better, so you can find cheap alternatives. We will try and provide you with tips that save you money while still having an amazing experience. Take a look at our restaurants in Amsterdam page for instance, you’ll find really good meals for around €15,-. Also for a canal cruise there are cheap alternatives, such as sailing a small boat yourself. A day in the park, sightseeing or in a coffeeshop doesn’t have to cost much either! Stay tuned as we will be adding new activities in Amsterdam as much as we can!

Rembrandts Amsterdam Experience

Rembrandts Amsterdam Experience

The Netherlands is well known for many things. One of them without a doubt are the artists. That’s why the Rembrandts Experience was created! In only 25 minutes you’ll get some of the most interesting insights into the life of this world-renowned artist.

Bike tours in Amsterdam

Bike tours in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a beautiful city to discover by bike! From our experience, it’s the best way to get around in town. Discover Amsterdam’s highlights or go explore the lovely rural areas.

Glow in the dark mini golf

Glow in the dark mini golf

If you like mini golf, you’re going to love this indoor version! Escape the rain for a moment while you enjoy these golf holes, brought to life with the aid of UV-lights.

Things to see in Amsterdam

Although the city is small, there are many many things to see in Amsterdam. The capital of the Netherlands is a unique city in many kinds of ways and sure is different from most of the European cities you might have visited. From the beautiful parks to the wide variety of markets and the many exhibitions. Get yourself a bike, this is the number 1 form of transport in Amsterdam! A fantastic way to tour and discover the city and surrounding areas.  Want to see it all? Visit the A’DAM Lookout for a magnificent view of Amsterdam.

Amsterdam Canal Belt

Amsterdam Canal Belt

Roam around in the Amsterdam canal belt, a Unesco World Heritage site. The romantic canals and countless bridges will make you fall in love with the city. Will you discover the stunning architecture by foot, boat or bike?

Parks in Amsterdam

Parks in Amsterdam

Take a break from sightseeing and have a cosy picnic in one of the parks. You’ll save money that you would have spend on a restaurant.

Albert Cuyp Market

Albert Cuyp Market

There’s no better place to explore culture, than at a local market. Best of all it’s totally free! Take a stroll along the many stalls at the Albert Cuyp.

Less-known things to do

For those of you who have visited Amsterdam before and have visited most of the highlights yet, we’ve crafted a top 10 with some less-know activities. Hopefully, you can find some cool things to add to your itinerary;

  1. Nightlife of Amsterdam
  2. Begijnhof
  3. Our House
  4. Amsterdam Noord
  5. Visit a brown café
  6. Straat Museum
  7. Sleep on a houseboat
  8.  Watch a match at the Johan Cruijf Arena
  9. Fabrique des Lumières
  10. Visit Haarlem

What to do on a rainy day in Amsterdam?

So what to do on a rainy day in Amsterdam? In The Netherlands, we have a lot of rain. Big chance that during your trip to Amsterdam you will have to deal with a little rainfall. However, with some smart planning, you can try and make sure that you have some indoor activities planned. Luckily there’s a lot to do in Amsterdam that doesn’t require good weather. Our advice is to take a good look at the Amsterdam weather forecast just before coming to Amsterdam. A very popular website among locals is buienradar.nl; you can check real-time radar images to see if there’s any precipitation coming up. Bad luck? Rain coming up? Make sure to check out the following activities:

National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum

Learn more about the naval history of The Netherlands and how a small country played a big role in trade.

Hop on Hop off tour

Hop on Hop off tour

If you’re looking to explore the city of Amsterdam but the weather isn’t helping out, consider this comfortable tour by bus and boat.

Moco Museum

Moco Museum

Moco stands for modern, contemporary art. The museum never seizes to amaze, with regularly new exhibitions featuring the latest artists. Among others the museum has one of the biggest collections of artworks by streetartist Banksy in the world!

Unique to do’s in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is one of those cities with hidden secrets and unique things to do. A truly unique way of admiring all that Amsterdam has to offer is on a private canal cruise that can be tailored to your wishes. Want to visit the former brewery of a world-famous beer? Go visit the Heineken Experience. Want to check out a bar that is completely made out of ice? Go visit the Icebar. Not only the attractions of Amsterdam are unique and one of a kind, but also the history that is displayed in many of Amsterdam’s famous museums.

The Catboat

The Catboat

Visit the only floating animal shelter in the world! A must-do for any cat friend. Visiting the Poezenboot is completely free of charge, but a donation is appreciated.

Ons' Lieve Heer Op Solder

Ons' Lieve Heer Op Solder

Want to see a hidden church in an attic? Museum Ons' Lieve Heer Op Solder is perfect for you. Find the one of the oldest museums in the heart of the city centre in the wellknown Red Light District.

Dutch Resistance Museum

Dutch Resistance Museum

Learn about a small, fringe minority of the Dutch people who were brave enough to put up a fight against the Nazi-regime. A valuable lesson to learn for both young and old!

Where to go in Amsterdam?

During your stay in Amsterdam, you surely want to explore different kinds of areas. Get a taste of this vibrant city. But where to go in Amsterdam? The variety of neighbourhoods, shops and different spots is wild. Therefore, if you like exploring, Amsterdam suits you well. Go shopping in the Nine Streets, visit all kinds of museums at Museumplein, and take a rest in a so-called Dutch ‘hofje’.
We advise you to rent a bike, and from experience. By bike, you can easily get around all of the city highlights within an hour. Next the bike we know from our own experience that having a public transport card, helps you to travel quickly, and conveniently. Especially with the Noord-Zuidlijn, which is the metro, you can be at each central point within 15 minutes.

Take the Ferry

Ferries in Amsterdam are free to use, and a great way to travel to Amsterdam North. If the weather is good it’s a really pleasant short and quick trip. You can also take your bike on the ferries, and if the weather is bad, there’s the possibility of staying inside the boat.

Begijnhof

Begijnhof

Begijnhof Amsterdam is an oasis of peace in the busy Amsterdam City centre. It is one of the oldest ‘hofjes’ in Amsterdam, which is a Dutch word for a courtyard with almshouses around it.

Nine streets

Nine streets

When you’re in Amsterdam to shop, you shop until you drop it in the Nine Streets, also known as 9 Straatjes. This unique area consisting of nine streets can be found in between the canals and the famous Dam Square.

Museumplein

Museumplein

Museumplein, or Museum Square, is the place to be for museum lovers or people who just want to enjoy the sun. The Square, which feels like a park, features the best museums in Amsterdam. Museumplein is a must visit.

Cool places near Amsterdam

Don’t get us wrong, we love Amsterdam. However, there’s much more to see and do in the Netherlands! The fact that the country is so small, makes it easy to travel around. There are other towns and cities with a completely different atmosphere to explore within less than an hour by public transport. What about Leiden, Muiden, Volendam and Weesp? You can even flee the busy city by bike and explore these hidden secrets surrounding Amsterdam. Thus we strongly recommend reserving at least one day for a day trip from Amsterdam.

Haarlem

Haarlem

Within twenty minutes from Amsterdam Central Station, you’ll find the beautiful city Haarlem after which Harlem in New York was named.

Giethoorn Watervillage

Giethoorn Watervillage

Giethoorn is The Venice of the Netherlands. The water village is known for its bridges, waterways, and punts. It is a great day trip!

Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans

It is rather touristy, but the traditional Dutch Windmills and countryside are priceless here. Pretty pictures guaranteed!

Frequently Asked Questions about ThingstoDoinAmsterdam

Thingstodoinamsterdam.com was founded by two locals who grew up in and around Amsterdam. The city has no secrets for them. Therefore they decided to make this website to be your local city guide so you don’t miss out on anything. Read more on the page about thingstodoinamsterdam.com.

Amsterdam is located in the Netherlands, which a lot of people also refer to as Holland. It is located in the North Holland province on the West side of the country. ‘Mokum’, as locals like to call Amsterdam, is easy to reach as the public transport is great and the airport Schiphol is one of the biggest in Europe.

In one day you can already see a lot of the city as it is not as big as other European cities. You can just bike or walk everywhere. In general we do advise you to visit Amsterdam for 2 – 4 days. In this timeframe you can visit almost everything and enjoy the city.

We can already tell you: Amsterdam is a great city for fun and exploring culture every day of the year. Of course, on some days there might be rain, but there are still plenty of things to do with rain. To be honest, there is no answer for the best time to visit — it really depends on what experience you want to have during your trip.

Amsterdam is known for the beautiful canals, a great collection in many museums, the tons of bicycles and its liberal laws on drugs and prostitution. Want to know more about Amsterdam? Explore our website, we will tell you everything you need to know about this vibrant city.

The people of the Netherlands speak Dutch. But don’t worry, nearly everyone can speak English and some even speak more languages as Spanish, German, and French are taught from a very young age.

Amsterdam is located in the Netherlands, a small country in the North of Europe. The Netherlands is located north of Belgium and West of Germany. In the West, you’ll find the North Sea, which separates the Netherlands from the United Kingdom.

Check out our latest blogposts on the city of Amsterdam

Looking for even more information on Amsterdam and what’s going on in the city? Make sure to also check out our blogposts on Amsterdam. You can view our latest 3 posts below. We regularly update our blog with news, and things to do in the city of Amsterdam.

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