The best things to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is a city known for its picturesque canals, historic architecture, and vibrant culture. From museums and art galleries to parks and markets, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning traveler, here are some of the best things to do in Amsterdam.

Explore the Canals

One of the most iconic things to do in Amsterdam is to explore the city’s canals. The best way to do this is by taking a canal cruise, which will give you a unique perspective on the city and its many historic buildings. You can also rent a boat and explore the canals on your own, or take a guided tour on a bicycle or foot.

Visit the Museums

Amsterdam is home to some of the world’s most famous museums, including the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Stedelijk Museum. These museums feature a wide variety of art and artifacts from the Netherlands and around the world, and are a must-see for any culture lover.

Shop at the Markets

Another great thing to do in Amsterdam is to explore the city’s many markets. The most famous of these is the Albert Cuyp Market, which is the largest street market in the Netherlands. Here you can find a wide variety of goods, including fresh produce, clothing, and souvenirs. Other popular markets include the Noordermarkt and the Waterlooplein Flea Market.

Relax in the Parks

If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, Amsterdam has many beautiful parks to explore. The Vondelpark is the largest and most famous park in the city, and is a great place to relax, have a picnic, or take a stroll. Other popular parks include the Sarphatipark and the Westerpark.

Experience the Nightlife

Amsterdam is famous for its nightlife, and there’s no shortage of things to do after dark. Whether you’re looking for live music, clubs, or bars, you’ll find something to suit your taste. The Leidseplein and Rembrandtplein are two of the most popular areas for nightlife, and are home to a wide variety of bars, clubs, and cafes.

Take a Day Trip

If you have some extra time in Amsterdam, consider taking a day trip to nearby towns and cities. The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht are all easily accessible by train and offer a different perspective on the Netherlands. The Keukenhof, which is the largest flower garden in the world is also a popular day trip destination during spring.

Visit the Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House is a must-see for history buffs. This museum is dedicated to the Jewish girl Anne Frank, who, along with her family, hid from the Nazis in the annex of the building during World War II. The museum features exhibits about Anne Frank’s life and the history of the Holocaust, and is a powerful reminder of the atrocities of war.

See the Windmills

Just outside of Amsterdam, you can find the beautiful windmills of Zaanse Schans. This open-air museum is home to a collection of well-preserved windmills, as well as traditional houses, shops, and workshops. It’s a great place to learn about the history of windmills and the role they played in the Netherlands’ industrial revolution.

Visit the Heineken Experience

For those who enjoy beer, the Heineken Experience is a must-see. This interactive museum takes visitors on a journey through the history of Heineken, from its founding in 1864 to the present day. The tour includes a visit to the brewery, a tasting session, and a look at the brewing process.

Take a Bike Tour

Amsterdam is a very bike-friendly city and one of the best ways to see it is by taking a bike tour. You will have the freedom to explore the city at your own pace and discover hidden gems you might have missed otherwise. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning traveler, a bike tour is an excellent way to experience Amsterdam’s culture, history, and architecture.

Visit the Jordaan neighborhood

Jordaan is a charming and historic neighborhood in Amsterdam, known for its narrow streets, picturesque canals, and traditional architecture. It’s a great place to stroll around, take in the sights and sounds, and discover hidden gems such as the Noorderkerk, Westerkerk, and the Anne Frank House. Jordaan is also home to a variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops, making it a great place to spend an afternoon.

Visit the Royal Palace of Amsterdam

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is a magnificent building located in the heart of the city. Originally built as a city hall in the 17th century, it has since been used as a palace for the Dutch royal family. Visitors can take a tour of the palace and learn about its history and architecture, as well as see the beautiful interiors, including the throne room, the palace chapel, and the audience chamber.

Visit the Botanical Garden

For a touch of nature in the heart of the city, visit the Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world. The garden has a variety of plants from all over the world, including a large collection of tropical plants, cacti, and succulents. It’s a great place to relax, take a stroll, and learn about different plant species.

See the Artis Royal Zoo

For a fun family outing, visit the Artis Royal Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in Europe. The zoo has a wide variety of animals from all over the world, including primates, big cats, elephants, and more. The zoo also has a planetarium and a small aquarium, making it a great destination for a full day of entertainment.

Visit the Science Center NEMO

For a fun and educational experience, visit the Science Center NEMO. This interactive museum is designed for visitors of all ages, and features a wide variety of exhibits on science and technology. The museum also has a rooftop terrace with great views of the city, and a cafe where visitors can relax and enjoy a bite to eat.

Visit the Amsterdam Museum

For an in-depth look at Amsterdam’s history and culture, visit the Amsterdam Museum. The museum has a wide variety of exhibits that cover everything from the city’s medieval origins to its present-day culture. It’s a great place to learn about Amsterdam’s history and gain a deeper understanding of the city and its people.

See the Concertgebouw

For a taste of Amsterdam’s classical music scene, visit the Concertgebouw. This beautiful concert hall is home to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and is considered one of the best concert halls in the world. It offers a wide variety of concerts and performances throughout the year, including classical music, jazz, and pop.

Visit the Ijhallen Flea Market

For a unique shopping experience, visit the Ijhallen Flea Market. This market is held several times a year and is one of the largest in Europe. It features a wide variety of goods, including vintage clothing, antiques, and collectibles. It’s a great place to find unique and one-of-a-kind items, and to experience Amsterdam’s vibrant market culture.


Amsterdam is a city with endless things to see and do, and this list is just a small selection of the many options available. From exploring the canals, to visiting museums and markets, to experiencing the nightlife, Amsterdam has something for everyone. With its rich history, culture, and natural beauty, Amsterdam is a destination that should not be missed. Plan your trip today and discover all that this wonderful city has to offer.