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30 Best Things to Do in Amsterdam (From a Local)

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Whether you’re in Amsterdam to explore historic canals or lose yourself in a night of debauchery, one thing’s for sure: your stay in this 700-year-old city is filled with a rich history that will provide an experience you’ll never forget. As someone who moved to this city from 2,000 miles away simply because of my love for the energy and culture, these are my favorite things to do in Amsterdam.

Hey, I’m Kyle Kroeger, writer and founder of ViaTravelers. I moved over 2,000 miles from my home in Minneapolis to Amsterdam to live “digital slomads” along with my wife, toddler, and dog.

We loved Amsterdam so much that we packed up and left, determined to discover every corner of the city. Two years after living here and exploring the city, we’ve covered a lot of ground! You’ll find nearly every photo of these activities that I took. I hope you like it.

Here, you’re bound to find something curious in every corner. Lining its canal-woven core are narrow pathways flanked with vintage boutiques, ultra-niche restaurants, hipster art galleries, and craft breweries beckoning midnight revelers to visit.

This city gives art lovers plenty of reasons to celebrate, from the historic Van Gogh Museum to the glorious Rijksmuseum. If you love art, you’ll need to grab an I Amsterdam City Card, allowing access to several museums in one central tourist pass.

If you’re not in it for the art, there are many other reasons to stay. To show you how to spend a trip in Amsterdam, we’ve whittled down the choices of the best things to do there. Not too keen on winging it? We’ve also listed the best Amsterdam tours to take for your convenience.

Watch our full video tour of my favorite things to do in Amsterdam.

Let’s get into our favorite things to do and tourist attractions in Amsterdam.

Things to Do in Amsterdam, Netherlands

1. Cycle your way through the city.

Cyclists and pedestrians enjoying a sunny day in Amsterdam's Vondelpark.
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Did you know that there are more bikes in Amsterdam than people? With over 800,000 bicycles in the city, cycling here is a way of life.

With its flat landscape, narrow streets, and easily accessible cycle routes, pedal power is the best way to explore the city (you’ll miss out on a lot from the comfort of a car).

Cyclist biking near historic Amsterdam architecture on sunny day
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

You could rent a bike and ride along the waterfront through central Amsterdam or join a tour with Bike Tours Amsterdam and go with your family or friends along the canals in the city. They are one of the best bike tours in Amsterdam.

Or, take a 30-minute bike ride from Amsterdam Centrum (the city center) to explore Ouderker aan de Amstel, an idyllic village surrounded by huge swaths of greenery. Biking hits differently in Amsterdam. You’ll see the city differently while taking in the culture.

Once you’re winded from the bike ride, grab a bite at any of the village’s charming restaurants (try the Jaime van Heije for top-notch French-International cuisine). Cycling is one of the many things Amsterdam is famous for.

See Related: Things to Do in Volendam

2. Get lost in the vibrant Jordaan.

Street in Jordaan with view of Westerkerk, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Joordan, Amsterdam, Netherlands

No neighborhood in Amsterdam screams personality more than the Jordaan. Formerly a worker’s quarter, this extraordinary destination features quaint buildings, offbeat galleries, old homes, courtyard gardens, beery bars, and charming vintage shops scattered across a grid of tiny lanes.

Here, the food is divine, and the shopping is unparalleled – if you had to pick just one neighborhood to stay in, the Jordaan should be at the top of your Amsterdam bucket list.

If shopping is high on your list when you visit Amsterdam, be sure to wind through the De 9 Straatjes (The Nine Streets), nine streets featuring some of the best shopping in Holland, including small boutiques and household luxury brand names. If you aren’t a fan of shopping, that’s okay. These little nine streets feature amazing cafés and dining as well.

With so many sights to see, exploring the Jordaan is easily one of the top free things to do in Amsterdam. (PS: You could spend a week here without exploring everything). We suggest exploring the city sans the map, but if you must, take this 90-minute guided tour to see the best local attractions.

See Related: Weekend Getaways from Amsterdam

3. Take a classic Dutch canal cruise.

Canal Cruise in Amsterdam, one of the top Amsterdam attractions
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

A head-scratching question: Why are we calling Amsterdam the “Venice of the North” when Amsterdam actually has more canals – 15 more, to be precise? With over 165 canals collectively extending 50 km long and winding under 1,281 bridges, Amsterdam is actually more Venice than Venice is.

The Amsterdam Canal Ring is a UNESCO World Heritage Site on its own. Add a boat experience with your favorite libations, and what else could you want in life?

Though Amsterdam’s canals are largely underrated (yes, they still are underrated, in my opinion), tourists say that exploring the city on a canal cruise is one of the best things to do in Amsterdam.

As you cruise up and down the canals, you’ll spot a variety of unique canal houses that make the Netherlands truly special.

Take the city via a canal tour on GetYourGuide or rent out the services of a captain for only €140-250 for two hours. A bottle of champagne and prosecco is usually a bonus. There is no shortage of boat tours and canal cruises if you want to find something that fits your style.

See Related: How to Plan a Girls Trip to Amsterdam

4. Dare to eat raw herring.

Hand Holding a Street Food

Every Amsterdam visitor must try raw herring, which is scary for the uninitiated but mouth-smackingly delicious for locals. If you’re up for trying this Dutch specialty, visit any herring carts or haringhandels all over the city. Here’s one right behind the Royal Palace:

Authentic Dutch Herring Cart, Haring & Zo in Historic Amsterdam -
Dutch haringhandel (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

The delicacy is usually served with only pickles and onions, but if you’re looking to moderate the fish’s stringent saltiness, ask for a broodje haring to enjoy the dish in sandwich form. Raw herring is said to be at its sweetest between May and July, so watch out for these dates.

If you’re still hungry and wondering what to eat in Amsterdam, taste your way through the city with this private food tour with a local. If you prefer to do something less risky, try these other amazing Amsterdam food options.

See Related: Best Party Cities in Europe

5. Sunbathe at Amsterdam’s beaches.

Zandvoort Beach (Zandvoort aan Zee), Netherlands
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

How you approach Amsterdam’s beaches is entirely up to you. For the laid-back, Amsterdam’s coasts are perfect spots for sunbathing lazily with a book. For hardcore revelers, these are where wild, unforgettable beach parties happen (or forgettable, during moments of alcohol amnesia).

Most beaches are within half an hour of Amsterdam Central Station, so it’s easy to drop everything and go if you’re raring for a beach fix. Laze in a funky beach bar at Zandvoort aan Zee, paraglide at IJmuiden or hit the dance floor at Bloemendaal. Amsterdam’s beautiful stretches of coastline are the perfect playground for all types of water lovers.

See Related: Amsterdam vs Copenhagen

6. Catch a glimpse of zoo animals (for free).

Giraffes at ARTIS, one of the best things to do in Amsterdam with kids
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Plantage Kerklaan 38, 1018 CZ Amsterdam, Netherlands

Looking for free things to do in Amsterdam? We recommend buying a ticket to Artis to get the full zoological experience. Still, if shallow pockets stop you from entering one of the Netherlands’ oldest zoos (it’s €24.00 for ages 10 and over), we’ve got tips on how to ‘steal’ a peek at its robust collection of fauna.

If you come by boat from the Entrepotdok, you can spy right into the giraffe enclosure without entering the zoo. You’ll also see antelopes, zebras, and other animals. Cafe Restaurant de Plantage also offers splendid views of the Artis aviary and flamingos, camels, and goats.

See Related: Best Museums in Amsterdam

7. Hit up an old brewery.

Brouwerij 't IJ located at De Gooyer Windmill
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Funenkade 5, 1018 AL Amsterdam, Netherlands

De Gooyer in the Easter Island neighborhood is one of Amsterdam’s eight remaining windmills and the easiest to access. Don’t let the non-descript facade fool you; this is not just a regular windmill.

De Gooyer towers over an award-winning artisan microbrewery called Brouwerij ‘t IJ, which features a spacious outdoor drinking terrace. Here, you’ll find a delicious variety of organic standard and seasonal ales (but nothing compares to their in-house brew).

Though the craft beer here is good, we advise you to drink moderately, as bar hopping is the best way to experience Amsterdam’s beer scene. If you can’t reach the Easter Island neighborhood, they have a beer garden in the middle of Vondelpark.

Brouwerij ‘t IJ is just one of the city’s best pubs; you’ll find that Amsterdam has much more to offer. It’s a great alternative to the Heineken Experience if you want to escape the tourist scene. Read more about all the other top beers in Amsterdam to try.

See Related: Rijksmuseum Travel Guide

8. Go on a culture trip at Museumplein.

Inside Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Inside the Stedelijk Museum, a modern art museum (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

Address: 1079 RA Amsterdam, Netherlands

Enjoying Amsterdam without appreciating its art is a serious crime. Travelers looking for the best things to do in Amsterdam must explore the city’s art scene – one of its most stunning features.

Take a relaxed stroll around Museumplein and visit the Van Gogh Museum (the largest collection of Van Gogh’s art), The Royal Concertgebouw, the Rijksmuseum (the largest collection of Dutch Art), the MOCO Museum, and the Stedelijk Museum.

Following a decade of meticulous renovations, Amsterdam’s most popular cultural hub is ready for culture vultures looking to hobnob with fellow art lovers.

The spacious public space between the buildings is rife with life all day, featuring bustling markets, open-air exhibitions, and a large paddling pool that turns into a vast outdoor skating rink in the winter.

Skip the lines to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum with this tour, including a canal cruise of the charming Canal Belt.

See Related: Things to Do in Alkmaar

9. Attend a concert at a renowned venue.

Electronic Music Concert During Amsterdam Dance Event
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Are you looking for fun things to do in Amsterdam? Regarding the live music scene, Amsterdam’s concert venues are unparalleled.

Paradiso, a church-turned-concert hall, has hosted various A-listers, including The Sex Pistols and The Rolling Stones, and up until today, showcases a plethora of world-renowned talent. For something more classical, head to Concertgebouw for world-class orchestras, performing alongside famous musicians.

De School’s basement nightclub attracts throngs of young music lovers with its diverse live music program. For a more intimate setting, head to Roode Bioscoop for live concerts, cabaret, stand-up comedy, poetry, and more.

See Related: Essential Breakfast Spots in Amsterdam

10. Get creative at Hembrugterrein.

Hembrugterrein

Address: Hemkade 18, 1506 PR Zaandam, Netherlands

Now a hangout for hipsters and a thriving cultural center, Hembrugterrein is a creative’s paradise. This artsy paradise was once a hub for the production of weaponry and ammunition.

It has since reopened in 2014 to feature a rejuvenated complex with museums, restaurants, and several creative venues. Het Hem, the cultural center for its artistic activities, runs various seasonal art programs, including theater, music, philosophy, and dance.

Once you’ve got your art fix, there are several spaces here where you can relax: a coffee bar, a library, and a restaurant with a terrace and bar that hosts live acts and DJs. This is one of the more local hidden gems, making it one of the better places to visit to avoid tourist crowds.

See Related: Free Packing Checklist for Amsterdam

11. Breakaway from the crowd in Westerpark.

Quiet Day in Westerpark of Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Westerpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands

If you need a break from the crowds of tourists and want a family-friendly activity in Amsterdam, head to Westerpark in Amsterdam West. This excellent public urban park features bars, coffee roasters, restaurants, an art-house cinema, a microbrewery, and many creative businesses.

While Amsterdam parks are flooded with weekend visitors, Westerpark remains relatively quiet. Founded in the 19th century, Westerpark was the city’s first urban public garden.

Several landscaped areas allow you to laze around with just a book, while water features and unique architecture offer even more eye candy. The Westergasfabriek, an old gasworks converted into a cultural pavilion, is just a stone’s throw away.

You can check out TonTon Club, an old-school video game arcade, Kettelhouse arthouse cinema, and the famous Gashouder, one of Amsterdam’s most popular live music venues.

See Related: 2 Days in Amsterdam Itinerary

12. Take in the views at a rooftop bar.

View of Royal Palace Amsterdam from Rooftop Bar with Pool at W Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Once you’ve soaked in all the street-level sights, level up your city experience with a brand-new vantage point at any of Amsterdam’s modern rooftop bars. Here, you can sip on inventive cocktails and nibble on gastronomical delights while marveling at the city skyline.

For a 360-degree view of the city center and Amstel River, head to Canvas on the seventh floor of the Volkshotel building. On Fridays and Saturdays, it transforms into Club Canvas, beckoning night revelers to come and visit.

If you want a more breathtaking view, swing by the 80-meter-high A’DAM Tower across River IJ. This observation deck is in the city’s heart and offers visitors stunning panoramic views of Amsterdam and its surroundings.

At the top of A’DAM, you’ll also find Europe’s highest swing. Take a ride on it to get that adrenaline rush more powerful than biking in Amsterdam. The lookout also features a stylish sky bar that offers picturesque views of Amsterdam and delectable dishes.

13. Live the royal life at the Royal Palace of Amsterdam.

Dam Square with Royal Palace of Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 147, 1012 RJ Amsterdam, Netherlands

Not blessed to be born into royalty? Amsterdam offers several regal experiences to help you live out your fairytale fantasies. The city is home to several palaces, castles, and fortresses, all offering opportunities to learn about the Netherlands’s royal past and present.

Swing by The Royal Palace Amsterdam, open to visitors for much of the year, feels like a proper diplomat. As King Willem-Alexander’s official reception palace, this is where heads of state and world leaders are entertained.

For a more medieval experience, head to Muiderslot – a 13th-century Disney-like castle complete with a moat, a drawbridge, and five towers. Explore the palace at your own pace with this private tour. Right next to The Royal Palace Amsterdam in Dam Square is the Nieuwe Kerk (the New Church), a 15th-century Dutch reformed church.

Several famous Dutch naval sailors and historical poet Joost van den Vondel are buried at the church. It is no longer used as a church but features incredible architecture worth seeing.

See Related: Ultimate Travel Guide to Amsterdam

14. Go bargain hunting at Europe’s largest flea market.

Ij-Hallen at NDMSM, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: T.T. Neveritaweg 15, 2012 ZM Amsterdam, Netherlands

If you’re raring for retail therapy, head to IJ-Hallen for an unparalleled shopping experience in Amsterdam. This massive second-hand market should be included in your itinerary because IJ-Hallen sells almost everything.

Once every month, IJ-Hallen’s two big industrial warehouses are converted into a bustling bazaar. Around 750 stands sell a massive assortment of items, including shoes, second-hand clothes, books, antiques, furniture, and jewelry; shopping here is a great hidden gem and is one of the best things to see in Amsterdam while avoiding tourists.

Take your time exploring the treasure trove of unique finds and bargains, but don’t forget to relax and grab a bite at any of the market’s food stalls. Keep an eye out for souvenirs to bring home.

Here are some other top Amsterdam souvenirs you need to look out for. IJ-Hallen is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and every Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., except during the Christmas holiday season (December 24th – January 1st).

See Related: Cities in the Netherlands to Visit

15. Live in the shoes of Anne Frank.

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Westermarkt 20, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands

After fleeing persecution in Germany to seek refuge in the Netherlands, diarist Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis at the Prinsengracht Canal house during World War II.

Today, there’s a museum located at the front of the house, while the back annex has been preserved to show what life was like for Anne and her family. The Anne Frank House is arguably the most well-known building in Amsterdam and is visited by more than a million visitors annually.

Vintage bookcase display at Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, a poignant piece of history
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Tickets are only available online and only during certain times and dates. Know that waiting times are lengthy, and around 80% of ticket sales are released two months before admission.

While tickets are difficult to obtain, there are other ways to learn about Anne Frank’s story and life in Amsterdam (this World War II walking tour offers insights about Amsterdam’s centuries-old Jewish Quarter with anecdotes about Anne Frank’s life).

Want to see more for less? Here are some of the other best Amsterdam tours, some of which offer access to the Anne Frank House.

16. Indulge in art at the EYE Filmmuseum.

Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: IJpromenade 1, 1031 KT Amsterdam, Netherlands

Located in the Overhoek neighborhood, the EYE Filmmuseum is a museum and film archive offering Dutch and foreign film screenings. If you’re a film buff, visiting this cultural landmark is one of the best things to see in Amsterdam.

EYE Filmmuseum features an impressive collection of 60,000 posters, 37,000 film titles, 20,000 books, and 700,000 photographs, with the oldest materials dating back to the advent of the Netherlands’ film industry in 1895.

17. Nibble your way around Food Hallen

Vendors at the Food Hallen, one of the best places to eat in Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Bellamyplein 51, 1053 AT Amsterdam, Netherlands

Anyone wondering what to eat in Amsterdam should try some of everything at Food Hallen. Situated in the trendy De Hallen cultural complex in the fashionable Oud-West neighborhood, Food Hallen is a bustling indoor food market that offers a variety of high-end street food and drinks.

If you’re looking for a place to relax while munching on snacks with a beer, this market hall offers 20 food vendors offering artisanal burgers, wood-fired pizzas, and Vietnamese summer rolls.

Right smack at the center is a large island bar surrounded by perches and tables. Venture further, and you’ll discover specialty bars, extra rooms, and an upstairs seating area with splendid views of the expansive space.

See Related: Things to Do in Maastricht

18. Tread around tulips.

Toddler Playing with Tulips in Amsterdam's Vondelpark
My little one loves it when the tulips spring (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

Cliche as it may seem, a trip to the Netherlands will never be complete without admiring the city’s multicolored tulips. Visit Amsterdam in spring and swing by the world-famous Bollenstreek, an expansive tulip field just a 20-minute ride from the city center.

Stunning tulips stretch across miles of lowland fields between Leiden and Haarlem. Or, visit Keukenhof Garden in Lisse, South Holland, Netherlands.

The garden is open from March 20 through May 12, and generally, 100 million tulips bloom there, making it the world’s largest flower garden and one of the most romantic things you could do near the city.

It only takes about 40 minutes to get to the Keukenhof by train from Amsterdam, making it an excellent day trip away from the city center. If you want a more hands-off experience, you can book a guided tour.

Suppose you don’t want to make the trip. In that case, there are plenty of opportunities to admire these perennial blooms right in the city’s heart: lining the Tulip Museum windows or for sale at the Bloemenmarkt, a floating flower market.

See Related: Things to Do in Giethoorn

19. Feed goats at Central Park.

Petting Goats at the Westerpark Kinderboerderij
Always a good time to bring my daughter to see the goats (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

Stop by Amsterdam’s largest park and recreational area for picnics, bike rides, swimming, barbecuing with friends, lazing along flower-blanketed valleys, and our favorite: feeding goats at the Goat Farm Ridammerhoeve.

You can hobnob with many goats, lambs, pigs, chickens, horses, and cows here. Once you’ve had your fill of farm animals, head to its charming restaurant for its homemade goat cheese. If that doesn’t fill you up, swing by the Meerzicht Farm and Pancake House for fluffy Dutch-style pancakes.

There is an outdoor theater, a vibrant botanical garden, and a winding canal named Bosbaan, where the city’s rowing competitions are held. If you want some action, rent your canoe, kayak, pedal boat, or bicycle at Amsterdamse Bos.

See Related: How Many Days Do You Need in Amsterdam

20. Explore the Amsterdam Red Light District.

Tourists and locals in front of Moulin Rouge in Amsterdam's Red Light District
4kclips / Shutterstock.com

Address: De Wallen Amsterdam, Netherlands

This one’s mainly for adults, but if you’re looking for an indulgent, eye-opening experience, a trip to the Red Light District may be one of the best things to do in Amsterdam.

Globally renowned as a hotspot for unbridled debauchery and probably one of the most well-known attractions in Amsterdam, Amsterdam’s Red Light District thrives with life at night and until the wee hours of the morning.

Things here may get rowdy (you’ve been forewarned) and might be too much for the uninitiated. Much more than its erotic appeal, Amsterdam’s Red Light District is also intriguingly historical: it is the city’s oldest neighborhood, De Wallen.

De Wallen is complete with churches (make sure to check out the Oude Kerk, which means Old Church), monuments, and charming squares worth visiting. It’s another reason why Amsterdam makes for a great vacation for a group of friends.

See Related: Best Hidden Gems of Amsterdam

21. Visit a Brown Cafe.

One of the Best Brown Cafes in Amsterdam, Cafe 't Smalltje
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

An Amsterdam trip is incomplete without a few stops at a classic brown cafe. A brown cafe is a cafe in Amsterdam that serves coffee or beer.

Think of it as a Parisian cafe with a Dutch flair. One of my favorite activities in Amsterdam is sitting on the canalside, enjoying an ice-cold Heineken, and people-watching.

To complete your visit to the Brown Cafe, you can order some Dutch fries or a Dutch pancake. When it comes to food, don’t expect any surprises. The food at the Brown Cafes is pretty much what you would expect.

If you’re looking for something else on the menu that will make your mouth water, you may want to try an Indonesian rijsttafel. It’s traditional Dutch food with an Indonesian twist.

22. Create your own picnic in Vondelpark.

Summer day with locals enjoying Vondelpark, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Vondelpark is a great place to go for a picnic and is still a pretty well-known tourist attraction. There are plenty of trees, grass, and benches to set things up. You can also find things like playgrounds and ponds in the park. There are plenty of nearby restaurants where you can also grab some food.

Vondelpark is in the southwest corner of Amsterdam. It is found at the end of Buiten Singel, just before the Amstel River. The park was originally a tidal inlet and was later used for farming. It is named after the Dutch poet Joost van den Vondel.

The things you can do at Vondelpark depend on whether it’s sunny. If the weather is nice, you can walk, rent a bike, or play with your kids in the playgrounds.

Or, grab a beer at Proeflokaal ‘t Blauwe Theehuis, which means “The Blue Teahouse,” operated by Brouwerij ‘t IJ. If you are visiting in the summer, Vondelpark is one of the best places in Amsterdam.

See Related: Historic Landmarks in the Netherlands

23. Explore Albert Cuyp Market and De Pijp.

Albert Cuypmarket
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Albert Cuypstraat 203, 1073 BE Amsterdam, Netherlands

De Pijp is a neighborhood in Amsterdam. It is one of the city’s oldest areas, originally outside its 17th-century fortifications from the Dutch Golden Age.

This part of town was home to many industrial buildings and workers in those factories. More recently, things have changed with the shift from industry to fashion and culture.

For those who love a good foodie crawl but don’t want to venture too far from the city center, De Pijp is perfect. Though it has changed drastically, plenty of shops and boutiques nearby, such as Albert Cuypstraat and Ferdinand Bolstraat, characterize its historic Dutch aesthetic.

Amsterdam is home to a huge street market known as the Albert Cuyp. It can be found near the Albert Cuypstraat, named after an 18th-century cattle dealer who owned a stall on this street.

The Albert Cuyp Market is open six days a week and runs from Ferdinand Bolstraat to Piet Heinkelstraat. You can find fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, cheese, flowers, clothes, shoes, and souvenirs at the market.

These stalls are grouped according to where they come from in Holland or other European countries such as France and Italy. The market closes at about 8 p.m. on weekdays and weekends.

24. Explore the hidden churches.

Church Ceiling in Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 38-40, 1012 GD Amsterdam, Netherlands

As a religious minority in Amsterdam, clandestine churches or the ‘heir house,’ as they are better known, offer much to tourists interested in religious practices of different faiths.

The most famous example of religious practices in Amsterdam is the Our Lord in the Attic Museum, which holds about 150 worshippers and was originally built when Catholics weren’t supposed to practice their religion.

Inside of the Our Lord in the Attic Museum
Inside the Our Lord in the Attic Museum (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

In 1888, it became a house of worship, but now it’s a museum that displays recently refurbished rooms and religious articles.

See Related: Amsterdam vs. Brussels

25. Find the Begijnhof.

Begijnhof, Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Beguinage Amsterdam, Nieuwezijds voorburgwal 371, 1012 AB Amsterdam

The Begijnhof in the center of Amsterdam is a unique example of hidden courtyards with surrounding homes. The Beguinage was initially established as a sanctuary within communities in 1264, largely populated by single women.

Who are the beguines? They were active religious reformers and leaders of mystical sects in medieval Europe. Their communities existed from the 12th to the 16th centuries, but their presence is still evident today in Amsterdam, where there is a beautiful beguinage—or “garden city.”

A visit to The Begijnhof is an oasis of calm in this busy city. It’s a peaceful and hidden garden surrounded by high walls on which ivy grows, with gardens inside. You might even forget that you are in Amsterdam while you’re inside.

There are several guided tours with audio guides that you can jump on to learn more about the rich history of the Secret Garden City. The Begijnhof is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

See Related: Best Travel Apps for Europe

26. Take a day trip to Zaanse Schans.

Traditional Dutch windmills at Zaanse Schans, North Holland
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Zaanse Schans, Zaandam, Netherlands

If you want to see classic Dutch windmills in their true form and Kinderdijk is not suitable for visiting, take an easy day trip to Zaanse Schans, just a short ride north of Amsterdam. You can explore the open-air museum, learn about traditional Dutch crafts like clog-making and cheese, and tour one of the windmills.

The best way to get there is by taking the train from Amsterdam Central Station. The journey takes about 15-20 minutes. Once you arrive in Zaandam, you can walk to the Zaanse Schans museum area in about 10 minutes.

Zaanse Schans is an open-air museum that shows how the Dutch lived in the 18th and 19th centuries. It includes houses, windmills, shops, and craft demonstrations that give a sense of what life was like then.

One of the most iconic symbols of the Netherlands is the windmill, and Zaanse Schans has several of them that you can visit. The De Zoeker (The Seeker) is the most popular, a working mill over 250 years old.

The best way to see this day trip is via a tour of Zaanse Schans, Volendam, and Marken. These three towns in the area offer a great perspective of picturesque Holland.

See Related: Hotels in the Netherlands

27. Relive Rembrandt’s Life at the Rembrandt House Museum.

Inside the Rembrandt House Museum
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Jodenbreestraat 4, 1011 NK Amsterdam, Netherlands

If you’re interested in learning about one of the most renowned Dutch painters, visiting the Rembrandt House Museum is a must. While the art museums in Museum Quarter take the grand prize, there are plenty of other great museums in Amsterdam beyond the kingpins, and the Rembrandt House is a great addition, especially if you love art and history.

Located in the Old Jewish Quarter (Jodenbuurt) of Amsterdam, the museum is dedicated to showcasing Rembrandt van Rijn’s work and life. Visitors can explore the artist’s former home and studio, which have been preserved to look much as they did during Rembrandt’s time. Seeing where Rembrandt worked and lived gives visitors a deeper understanding and appreciation for his art.

The museum also has a large collection of Rembrandt’s work on display, including many of his famous paintings. There are also temporary exhibitions that feature other Dutch artists from the same period. If you’re interested in learning about Rembrandt and Dutch Golden Age art, visiting the Rembrandt House Museum is necessary.

See Related: Review of the Willet-Holthuysen Museum

28. Learn about the WWII resistance effort at the Dutch Resistance Museum.

Verzetsmuseum facade with vibrant foliage in Amsterdam, showcasing Dutch resistance heritage
Verzetsmuseum entrance in Amsterdam (Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers)

Address: Plantage Kerklaan 61, 1018 CX Amsterdam, Netherlands

If you’re interested in learning about the resistance efforts during World War II, visiting the Dutch Resistance Museum is necessary. The museum tells the story of the Dutch people who fought back against the Nazi occupation and includes exhibits on the various forms of resistance that were used.

You’ll also learn about some of the major figures in the resistance movement, including Cornelis van Hagen, who led one of the largest sabotage operations against the Nazis.

The museum is a great way to learn about an important part of Dutch history and Europe. It will surely be an enlightening experience for anyone interested in the topic.

See Related: Museums in the Hague, Netherlands

29. Spend a day in the trendy, progressive neighborhood of Amsterdam-Noord.

Outside of the STRAAT Museum in Amsterdam-Noord
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Amsterdam-Noord, Amsterdam, Netherlands

If you’re looking for a more local experience in Amsterdam, you should definitely head to Amsterdam-Noord. This up-and-coming neighborhood has cool cafes, independent shops, and great city views.

The STRAAT Museum is a new museum in Amsterdam-Noord that celebrates street art and graffiti. It’s in a former warehouse on the NDSM Werf – a former shipyard home to restaurants, bars, and art galleries.

The museum features work by some of the biggest names in street art and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and tickets cost €18.50. Amsterdam-Noord is a great place to spend a day or two.

It’s got a cool, local vibe different from the rest of the city. You can take a ferry that’s completely free to ride from Amsterdam Central Station to get to Amsterdam-Noord.

30. Go on an immersive, audiovisual journey.

Visual Experience at AMAZE Amsterdam
Kyle Kroeger / ViaTravelers

Address: Elementenstraat 25, 1014 AR Amsterdam

If you’re an electronic music or immersive art fan, you’ll definitely want to visit Amaze Amsterdam. This immersive audiovisual experience, founded by the masters behind Tomorrowland’s iconic music festival, is an incredible showcase of the work involved in electronic dance music.

If you want to learn more, read my Amaze Amsterdam review after visiting the experience. Immersive experiences don’t stop there.

Amsterdam’s youth culture of creativity surrounding music and next-generation experiences is thriving. You could argue that Amsterdam is the world capital of electronic dance music.

Other great experiences resemble Amaze Amsterdam, including Our House Museum, the first museum dedicated to EDM, and the Nxt Museum in Amsterdam-Noord.

See Related: Things to Do in The Hague

Map of Amsterdam Attractions

Map of Amsterdam Attractions
Nick Furnari / ViaTravelers

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is 1 day enough for Amsterdam?

No, one day isn’t enough to experience all that Amsterdam offers. Most people pop in and out for a weekend trip, but Amsterdam is much more than that. Try to stay 3-7 days to truly experience everything.

How long should you stay in Amsterdam?

Boat tour on Amsterdam's iconic Damrak canal with historic gabled buildings and vibrant blue skies.

One week is a good amount of time.

What are the top attractions to visit in Amsterdam?

The top things to visit in Amsterdam are the Royal Palace, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Anne Frank House.

What are the best outdoor activities in Amsterdam?

Vondelpark scenery with greenery, calm waters, and Dutch architecture

If you’re looking for things to see and do outdoors in Amsterdam, you don’t have to look far. First, you can attend or watch a Dutch football game at one of the many terraces, visit a tulip field or greenhouses, explore the canals by bike, or, even better, take a boat tour. Plus, Amsterdam has many amazing parks, so if it’s your first visit, stop by Vondelpark or Westerpark.

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