The best things to do in Amsterdam
A trip to Amsterdam planned? Awesome idea! Check out what to do in Amsterdam
There are many things to do in Amsterdam. Here you already get an overview to save you time and let you know the most amazing (and even crazy) things to do in Amsterdam. Ready?
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The best things to do in Amsterdam
Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House: A city like Amsterdam has as many great sights as tulips on the canals. But there are a few top-class events you should definitely see or experience. In our list of things to do in Amsterdam, you have everything that really matters in Amsterdam ready for you to decide what you want or don’t want to do in the city.
By the way, you can click on the things to do and add them to your MyTravel. Just click on the heart sign of the activities and attractions that most interest you and that’s it! Your favorite spots are ready for you to organize your trip day by day. (MyTravel is totally free)
Explore the magnificent RijksmuseumMuseum in MuseumpleinAdd to myTravel added
On the list of the best things to do in Amsterdam is without a doubt the Rijksmuseum!
The Rijksmuseum is visited by 2.2 million people annually, making it the most visited museum in the Netherlands. Located in the museum district „Museumsplein,“ Rijksmuseum was designed by the Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers. The building alone is imposing and worth seeing.
The Rijksmuseum is dedicated to the Netherlands’ arts, crafts, and history and contains over 8,000 objects. The focus of the museum is the Netherlands’ Golden Age. Here, you will find works by world-renowned artists, such as Rembrandt, Frans Hals, Johannes Vermeer, Jacob Isaakszoon van Ruisdael, Jan Steen, and more. Among the great artistic highlights of the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is “The Night Watch.” This painting portrays a militia group in Amsterdam and is Rembrandt’s largest and most complex work.
Tickets for the Rijksmuseum are only sold online, not in person. Another important piece of information is that you can only visit the Rijksmuseum with a reserved time slot. Whether you bought your ticket individually or chose one of the Amsterdam Tour Pass options, you must choose your time slot to visit the Rijksmuseum.
Be moved by the story of Anne FrankMuseum in JordaanAdd to myTravel added
Probably one of the most historically significant Amsterdam things to do is visit Anne Frank House. The touching Anne Frank House is located in more than just any building. Instead, it’s a building of refuge: The former hiding place of the Frank family during WWII. This is where she wrote her diaries, now known worldwide, and the pieces of information that allowed readers to learn about her life and fate during the Nazi era. During the Anne Frank House tour, visitors can explore the house alone.
Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam is visited by 1.3 million people every year. If you want to visit the house at a less crowded time, you should book your visit starting at 6 p.m.
Tickets to visit the Anne Frank House can only be purchased through the official website and are not included in the Amsterdam Sightseeing Passes. About 80% of tickets go on sale 6 weeks in advance and sell out quickly. The final 20% of tickets are sold online the same day. Note: There is no option to buy tickets at the museum door. Every Tuesday at 10 a.m., all tickets for the next six weeks will be available for purchase. You can choose between visiting the Anne Frank Museum on your own or with an introductory program.
You will not have access to the museum on any of the Anne Frank-themed walking tours. The guided tours walk you through the city, explaining in detail the story of Anne Frank and about the events that occurred, especially those in the area. However, we have participated in a few Anne Frank walking tours and can say that it is a great way to connect with the story and learn more about the political decisions that led to this little girl becoming a worldwide symbol.
1-hour Classic canal cruise in Amsterdam (optional with Cheese & Wine)Boat tour in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
Amsterdam meanders 160 canals, so a charter tour is perfect for sightseeing because, in no time, you can discover the city’s best highlights aboard a small boat! This boat tour is perfect for those with little time but do not want to miss it to sail through the UNESCO World Heritage Site! An audio guide provides you (also in German) with all the essential information about the culture and history of the world-famous city. Depending on how it suits you, you can choose the main station or opposite the Anne Frank Museum as starting points. Our Tipp: If you want to upgrade your classic Amsterdam boat tour. Here you can even include cheese and wine in your experience.
Enjoying a canal cruise with a delicious glass of wine and a plate of Dutch cheeses is definitely something that should be on your list of things to do in Amsterdam.
Discover Amsterdam's most famous district: the Red Light DistrictNeighborhoodAdd to myTravel added
The Red Light District in Amsterdam is officially in the De Wallen district which is surrounded by museums, cafes, and restaurants. So whether you are looking for adult entertainment or cultural attractions, exploring the Red Light District should be on your list of things to do in Amsterdam.
The world-famous Red Light District in Amsterdam is known as the <strong>district of pleasure, prostitution, strip clubs, numerous bars, and famous coffee shops</strong>. There are no specific opening hours, as each establishment has its own timetable. So, whether day or night, it is worth wandering the streets of the Red Light District.
The prostitution offered by the famous windows and the various adult theaters are landmarks of Amsterdam’s Red Light District; however, you will find many types of <strong>bars, restaurants, gift stores, and even museums</strong>. If you are interested in the history and curiosities of Amsterdam’s Red Light District. Take one of the many walking tours of the neighborhood that allow you to understand much more behind the many neon lights.
Discover the world of Van GoghMuseum in MuseumpleinAdd to myTravel added
The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam is one of the most visited art museums in the world. It hosts the largest Dutch painter Van Gogh collection, totaling over 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and hundreds of documents.
My personal highlights of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam are the paintings “Vincent’s Bedroom in Arles” and “Self Portrait.”
Unlike other art museums in Amsterdam, Van Gogh Museum is smaller and more intimate. Here, you will find not only his works of art but also a lot of information about the painter’s life, who also influenced art history.
Tickets for the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam are sold only online, not in person at the museum. The Amsterdam Digital Pass offers tickets to the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and a boat ride on the canals. With this option, you can save much more than buying each ticket separately. To find out how much you can save and which pass is best for your trip, use our Amsterdam Pass Advisor: Simple, Free, and Online.
When purchasing tickets online, you only need to select a time slot for your visit to the Van Gogh Museum. This requirement applies to single tickets and the Amsterdam Digital Pass.
The Van Gogh Museum welcomes around 1.6 million visitors every year. No wonder a visit to the museum belongs to the list of the best Amsterdam things to do!
Admire Amsterdam from the top of A'DAM LookoutBuilding in BuiksloterhamAdd to myTravel added
Every city trip includes a bird’s eye view. I love to look at a city from above and get an overall view. The best observation deck in Amsterdam is the A’DAM Lookout THAT offers you 360-degree panoramic views of Amsterdam.
To get to the A’DAM Lookout, take the Buiksloterweg ferry, which will take you from Amsterdam Central Station to the A’DAM Lookout building in a few minutes. The F3 ferry is free and runs regularly, even at night or early in the morning. You can check the departure schedule of the F3 ferry here. After visiting the A’DAM Lookout observation deck, you can visit the A’DAM Lookout restaurant for a quick meal and drink.
The entrance of A’DAM Lookout is included in some Amsterdam Cards for free! For those looking for a real thrill, I have great news! Europe’s highest swing, „Over the Edge,“ is on A’DAM Lookout. For just 5 euros extra with the Amsterdam Explorer Pass or with the Amsterdam All-Inclusive Pass, you’ll have an incredibly incredible experience. The A’DAM Lookout and Swing are among the most memorable things to do in Amsterdam!
Walk through VondelparkPark in Amsterdam Oud-WestOur highlightAdd to myTravel added
The Vondelpark is definitely not to be left off the list of things to do in Amsterdam. More than 10 million visitors walk through Vondelpark every year, picnicking on the lush green grass or take a stroll along the many ponds.
Whether Amsterdamers or visitors, everyone who can use some relaxation from the hustle and bustle comes here. Numerous green spaces invite you for a picnic, a beautiful rose garden is perfect for a relaxing walk, and several cafes and restaurants offer delicious refreshments. But even those longing for more than a pause will find what they seek. Vondelpark is a venue for sporting and cultural events during the summer months. Summer concerts on the open-air stage are quite popular among locals and tourists alike.
Discover the secret behind the taste of Heineken beerBrewery in De PijpAdd to myTravel added
One of the most popular Amsterdam things to do is the Amsterdam Heineken Experience. As the name suggests, this is more than just a museum. The Heineken Experience offers a chance to learn about the history, brewing process, innovations, and sponsorship of the most famous beer in the country.
The Heineken Experience brewery in Amsterdam is divided into different areas, allowing you to enjoy this experience in different ways:
- Guided tour
- Guided tour + canal boat ride
- VIP guided tour
- Guided tour + rooftop bar
- Heineken shop
For almost all entertainment activities in Amsterdam, you need a ticket for the Heineken Experience. You can choose between one-way tickets or in combination with an Amsterdam Tourist Pass. The only “free” attraction at the Heineken Experience is a visit to the Heineken Shop, which is open to everyone.
Since the Heineken Experience is one of the most popular activities in Amsterdam, it is highly recommended that you book your time slot in advance.
Touch, try and have fun at the Nemo Science MuseumMuseum in IJ WaterfrontAdd to myTravel added
The Nemo Science Museum is an excellent Amsterdam museum for adults and children because, here, interaction is essential. Instead of walking through the museum and looking at numerous exhibitions, you can participate here, touch and try out. This is what makes the museum particularly interesting for families. On four levels, you can explore different areas of physics, biology, chemistry, and technology and participate in experiments and exciting shows.
Incidentally, the NEMO Science Museum stands for New Metropolis. It found inspiration in the 1920s film of the same name, in which Fritz Lang showed an impressive future world. The building itself resembles a giant ship. So you can’t miss it. During your visit, remember to explore the roof terrace. From there, you’ll have a great view of the city!
The Nemo Science Museum is considered one of the best things to do in Amsterdam. That’s why the ticket for the museum is included in some Amsterdam Sightseeing Passes.
Escape the tourist crowd at Amsterdam's Hortus BotanicusPark in PlantageAdd to myTravel added
If you like nature and want something to do in Amsterdam that goes beyond the traditional, a visit to Hortus Botanicus is the right option for your trip. Amsterdam’s Hortus Botanicus has impressed visitors for nearly four centuries with its exuberant greenhouses and exotic plants. Initially founded in 1638 as a herb garden for the city’s doctors and apothecaries, it is one of the world’s oldest botanical gardens.
And despite such an impressive history, it is considered one of Amsterdam’s insider tips because tourists usually overlook it. Although it is centrally located in the middle of the old town!
The Hortus Botanicus offers a quiet refuge from all the hustle and bustle and houses more than 6,000 native and non-native trees and plants.
Tickets to the Hortus Botanicus cost about 12 euros but are free with the I Amsterdam Card. Unlike most other attractions in Amsterdam, tickets can be purchased at the door, so there is no need to choose a time slot or purchase the ticket in advance. However, the official website of the Amsterdam Hortus Botanicus also offers online tickets if that’s more up your alley.
Visit the Keukenhof Flower Park from AmsterdamDay Trip in BuiksloterhamAdd to myTravel added
If you visit Amsterdam during the spring season, definitely include this day trip in your list of things to do in Amsterdam. This day trip to Keukenhof Flower Park from Amsterdam includes round-trip transportation and admission to Keukenhof. In 5 hours, you can explore the tulip fields of Keukenhof, taking lots of photos and consuming the sights of a sea of tulips. The bus departs near Amsterdam Central Station and takes you to the entrance of Keukenhof. You can choose the option of an audio tour in numerous languages if you want a more in-depth experience. This tour has morning and afternoon departure times, but if you choose a time, you must return at the scheduled time.
Take beautiful photos at the BloemenmarktMarket in Amsterdam Canal BeltAdd to myTravel added
The Bloemenmarkt in Amsterdam, founded in 1862, is the only floating flower market in the world. The unique market is on the Singel Canal, Koningsplein, and Muntplein. It consists of a series of greenhouses on houseboats.
But the market traders know they can jack up the prices quite a bit, so many tourists come here during the day, so just be sure to not get ripped off there.
That being said, visiting the Bloemenmarkt is a fantastic thing to do in Amsterdam. The floating flower markets of Amsterdam are just a magnificent sight!
Our tip: Taking a few photos from the other side of the river can be enough! The floating gardens in front of the beautiful house facade offer an excellent photo motif!
Explore all the senses at the Albert CuypmarktFood Market in De PijpAdd to myTravel added
With about 260 stalls, the Albert Cuypmarkt is the Netherlands‘ largest and most famous open-air market! Here, you can get the best poffertjes and stroopwafel!
The Albert Cuypmarkt is in the famous Pijp district, where you can find everything: souvenirs, clothes, shoes, vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry, and the most exotic articles.
Of course, the Albert Cuypmarkt offers numerous options for freshly made cheese and other goods. Tasting the flavors of the Albert Cuyp Market definitely gets on our list of things to do in Amsterdam and on your travel plan.
Admire and visit the oldest church in Amsterdam: Oude KerkReligious SiteAdd to myTravel added
Oude Kerk Amsterdam means „Old Church.“ The name does not come by chance, as the Oude Kerk is the oldest preserved building in Amsterdam and was founded by fishermen in the 13th century.
The historic Oude Kerk Amsterdam is in the middle of the Red Light District on the Wallen — a stark contrast. Because of its extensive history, the Oude Kerk is perhaps the most important church in the city, making it a unique sight in Amsterdam.
Regardless of your religious beliefs, visiting the Oude Kerk is definitely on the list of the best things to do in Amsterdam. Imposing, grand, and very well maintained, the inside of the Oude Kerk does not disappoint visitors who are already impressed by the oldest church in Amsterdam from the outside.
Tickets to visit the Oude Kerk Amsterdam can be purchased individually or are included in some Amsterdam City Card options. If you plan to visit Oude Kerk Amsterdam, it is necessary to select a time window.
Discover the tastes of Amsterdam's traditional district: JordaanWalking Tour in JordaanAdd to myTravel added
At least one food tour should be on your list of things to do in Amsterdam. We recommend combining a walk through one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in the city with a food tour.
Not far from Amsterdam’s city center lies Jordaan, arguably the city’s most popular neighborhood, and not without reason. The town is noted for its charming narrow streets along flower-lined canals and plenty of little stores and boutiques to browse. And when you need a break, wonderful cafés and restaurants are scattered throughout the area. More than any other part of Amsterdam, Jordaan exemplifies a Dutch way of life. Dutchies here enjoy morning coffee and chat happily on the benches in front of their canal-side homes. An Anne Frank House visit is essential in Jordaan. If you want to learn more about the history of the oldest families in the neighborhood and taste the goodies, take this walking tour through the history of Amsterdam.
Over 3.5 hours, you will be taken into the culture and history of the neighborhood. The tour takes you to restaurants and cafes already part of Amsterdam’s history.
See amazing collections of modern and contemporary art at the Stedelijk MuseumMuseum in MuseumpleinAdd to myTravel added
The Stedelijk Museum is located on Paulus Potterstraat, next to the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum in the museum district „Museumsplein.“
It includes a permanent exhibition with over 750 works and special exhibitions. The museum houses about 90,000 exhibits ranging from the end of the 19th century to the present day. Among them are many well-known works of art by Dutch artists of the last century, from classical modernism to German expressionism and American pop art.
The museum also offers guided tours to immerse you deeper into the works, backgrounds, and meanings.
The entrance to the Stedelijk Museum is included in many Amsterdam Sightseeing Passes. You can choose the option that helps you save the most on your trip or select a single ticket. With our Amsterdam Pass Advisor, you can find out on the fly which Amsterdam City Pass option helps you to save money with the list of attractions and museums you want to visit: online, free, and individual.
Explore the grand Dam SquareSquare in Amsterdam-CentrumAdd to myTravel added
Dam Square is the central square of Amsterdam, where two of the most important streets meet, and several visitors cavort. The square owes its name to the dam built in the 13th century on the Amstel River. But not only the square finds its name originated in the dam. The city was named after the dam: Amsterdam = Amstel + Dam. In the center of the square stands the National Monument. It was built in 1956 as a peace monument and commemorates the victims of World War 2. The square is surrounded by many other Amsterdam landmarks, such as the Royal Palace. Next to the Royal Palace is the New Church, „Nieuwe Kerk.“ Also not far from Dam Square are the Red Light District, numerous shopping opportunities, the tourist magnet Madame Tussauds, and one of the narrowest houses in the world!
Moco MuseumMuseum in MuseumpleinAdd to myTravel added
The small and relatively new Moco Museum has been Amsterdam’s center for modern contemporary art since 2016.
The Moco Museum was founded by Lionel and Kim Logchies, owners of the Lionel Gallery in Amsterdam. The couple specializes in art, including the works of Banksy, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Picasso, and Salvador Dali. They offer visitors an incomparable collection of provocative art in which irony and humor are used to reflect on modern society. A unique experience intended for a broad audience, a visit to the Moco is to see things in a new way.
The exhibits at the Moco Museum include works by world-famous artists, but among the biggest attractions at the Moco Museum in Amsterdam is undoubtedly the work of the mysterious Banksy. Moco Museum tickets can be purchased online as separate tickets. You can also use one of Amsterdam’s sightseeing passes.
Tip: The Digital Immersive Art Exhibition at the Moco Museum is amazing and you can’t miss the opportunity to visit it in Amsterdam
Evening Canal Cruise with Pizza and DrinksBoat tour in AmsterdamAdd to myTravel added
Amsterdam, cruise, pizza – it is also called the „Holy Trinity“; there cannot be a better combination! For 90 minutes you discover the world-famous canals in Amsterdam in the cozy cabin or on the sun deck of the boat and the culinary is definitely not too short: When boarding the boat you order the starters and pizza of your choice, which is then delivered fresh from the oven! On top of that, there are 2 drinks (wine, beer, or soft drinks), which are included in the price. Also a audioguide on several languages is included in this tour. Well, have fun and bon appétit.
If during the day a boat trip is already exuberant, imagine ending your trip with a cruise through the canals at night, good idea ? Then finish your list of things to do in Amsterdam by making sure you get a seat on board.
Only 15 km from Amsterdam, visit the beautiful windmills of the village Zaanse SchansHistoric Building in Zaanse SchansAdd to myTravel added
A visit to the Zaanse Schans Windmills is a great thing to do on your Amsterdam Trip. It offers a visit to the past of the Netherlands. The mills are located in the village of Zaanse Schans, which has kept the old architecture very well preserved and today offers numerous tourist attractions such as museums, cafes, restaurants, cheese tasting, and of course, a visit to The Mills of Zaanse Schans.
Besides being beautiful, the mills of Zaanse Schans are very close to Amsterdam, only 15 km away, and offer a great destination for a day trip. You can take the bus from Amsterdam or opt for the comfortable and practical round-trip tours that offer a tour bus and an accompanying guide.
- The Rnet-bus 391 runs from Amsterdam Central Station every fifteen minutes to the Zaanse Schans. The trip takes forty minutes.
- This tour departing from Amsterdam offers a round-trip bus, English, German, or Spanish-speaking guides, a visit to a cheese factory, free time to explore the village, and even a demonstration of how the famous clogs are made.
As a trademark of the Netherlands, the Zaanse Schans windmills have been part of the landscape since the 11th century. At the time, mills were used for various purposes such as grinding corn, sawing wood, and extracting oil. However, their main function since the early days has been to remove excess water from marshy areas to make them habitable and productive.
There are 4 mills in the village:
- Windmill the Cat
- Windmill the Bonte Hen
- Windmill the Jonge Schaap
- Windmill de Schoolmeester
More things to do in Amsterdam for less – with City Passes!
You can save money on your trip by choosing one of the Amsterdam City Pass options. These passes are absolute all-rounders in the Dutch capital, with them you can experience many activities on this ‘things to do in Amsterdam’ – best list for free, or greatly reduced. The more you want to see in Amsterdam, the more such passes are worthwhile. So for someone like me, it’s a win-win situation!
With the City Passes you can see, experience AND save a lot!
There are four City Cards in Amsterdam :
- I Amsterdam Card: Free admission to all major museums, activities, and 100% free use of public transportation.
- Amsterdam Explorer Pass: Great activities and reduced price for those who want to pay only for what they do.
- Amsterdam All-Inclusive Pass: A buffet of activities, museums, and no limitation on the number of attractions.
- Amsterdam Digital Pass: Basic, convenient, and budget-friendly. 3 great attractions with one ticket.
Each of them can save you money from 1 day or 3 attractions – more precisely up to 50%. We have summarized for you how they work, what Amsterdam activities they contain, and what differences there are. If you are in Amsterdam to experience a lot, then you should get one of these passes. With the I Amsterdam Card, for example, you can even use the city’s public transport for free!
Our money-saving tip
If you are traveling for the first or second time to the Dutch capital and don’t want to miss the main things to do in Amsterdam, then the I Amsterdam Card is one of the Sightseeing Passes that can offer you the most advantages.
Not only are a lot of things to do in Amsterdam completely free, but you can also get a lot of discounts and even gifts using your I Amsterdam Card. We describe in detail everything the I Amsterdam Card can offer you and how you can make the most out of this attraction card to do more things in Amsterdam and spend less.
I Amsterdam Card prices:
With the I Amsterdam Card you pay about 26-65 Euros per day. But the more days you book, the lower the price per day. The day pass alone can be worth it with just 2 attractions because Amsterdam is not cheap.
As you can see here, admission prices in Amsterdam have salted quite a bit:
2 Days - Public Transportation
1 Hours - City Canal Cruise
NEMO Science Museum
Museum Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder
More things to do in Amsterdam for you
Was there really nothing for you here? I can’t imagine that at all. But no problem, Amsterdam has much more to offer, as you will see:
All the things to do in Amsterdam
Frequently asked questions about things to do in Amsterdam
How many things do you have to do in Amsterdam?
Countless. With more than 30 parks, 60 museums, and endless options for activities, Amsterdam offers things to do for all kinds of visitors and in all months of the year.
How many days to visit Amsterdam?
You need at least 5 days to get to know Amsterdam and have time to do the main things in town.
What is the most famous thing to do in Amsterdam?
The Rijksmuseum is considered Amsterdam’s most famous attraction.
What are the 5 coolest things to do in Amsterdam?
- Visit the Rijksmuseum
- Take a canal cruise
- Visit the Heineken Experience
- See the Anne Frank House
- Eating at Albert Cuyp Market
What are the things to do in Amsterdam that you can't miss?
Visit at least one museum, take a canal cruise, drink a Dutch beer, eat a cheese in Amsterdam’s markets, and sit in one of the city’s parks.
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Das Reisen ist meine große Leidenschaft. Ich liebe es, die Wanderwege in Rio de Janeiro zu erkunden, die besten Strände in Miami zu entdecken, die ältesten Museen in Rom zu besuchen und noch die besten Gerichte in Paris zu verkosten.
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