Amsterdam is a city that’s often visited by tourists, and people from all over the world come to take part in what the city has to offer, regardless of the season. Amsterdam is the biggest city in The Netherlands, as well as its capital, and you’ll find plenty of activities to keep you busy during your stay. Here’s a list of 35 tips that’ll help you stay on top of all the things that the city offers when you’re planning your stay.
See the City by Bike
In Amsterdam it’s very common to use a bike to get around and while you’re wandering around the city streets, you’re more than likely to see a ton of cyclists. Whether you’re on a larger road or an alley, you’ll see one or two bikes swishing by. There are great benefits to joining the biking Amsterdam locals as a tourist. With a bike in Amsterdam, you can move around efficiently and you’ll probably discover things you wouldn’t otherwise without a bike. Plus, it might be nice not to have to run up and down the subway or adjust to a collection of bus time tables. There are several places to rent a bike in the city. The best idea is to ask about it at the hotel or another tourist information location, like the train station.
Learn More about the City’s History at the Amsterdam Museum
Amsterdam has a rich history and there’s a lot to experience as a historically interested tourist. A visit to The Amsterdam Museum might be worth it to get a comprehensive overview of the city’s history. At this museum you can follow the urbanization of the city for several centuries and visit exhibitions to learn more about specific events in the Amsterdam’s history.
Joods Historisch Museum and the Jewish District
As a tourist in Amsterdam, you can learn a lot about the city’s Jewish history by visiting Joods Historisch Museum. This museum consists of four synagogues detailed with images, pictures and different objects that showcase the Jewish religion and culture in The Netherlands. Since the museum is located in the Jewish district, there’s a great opportunity to experience the Jewish culture out on the streets as well.
Experience What is Typically Dutch
If you’ve ever received a postcard from The Netherlands it might have had a picture of tulips or a windmill. These two symbols, together with Dutch handicraft, cheese and the ”klomp” clogs, are things you can see and learn more about as a tourist. There’s an enormous selection of tulips at Bloemenmarkt, which is an absolute must for those who want to buy Dutch tulips. If you’d like to see a typical Dutch windmill, you can visit De Gooyer, which is one of eight large windmills in Amsterdam. You can taste Dutch cheese at the Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Room, and if you’re interested in handicraft you can visit the Zaanse Schans Museum where you can see a ”klomp” (Dutch clog) or two. Don’t worry if you do not have enough information for some of these, we will share more with you later.
Discover Amsterdam from the Canals
Amsterdam is almost like a labyrinth with its 165 water veins, and all the bridges create a special cityscape. You can relax from all the stress of the street in peace and quiet and just lean back on one of the city’s canal boats. To get around by boat in Amsterdam makes it very easy to get an idea of the cityscape and discover interesting details about the city that you can’t see from land. You simply step off the boat when you’re ready to get back out into the city, before returning to do some more sightseeing on the water. If you decide to go on a boat trip you should consider renting a boat from Boaty Rent a Boat. Boaty Rent a Boat is one of the most popular boat rentals in Amsterdam and has (for many years in a row) been awarded the Tripadvisor "Certificate of Excellence". Another good boat rental is Boats4rent Boat Hire. Boats4rent has 5 out of 5 at TripAdvisor and 4,6 out of 5 on Google reviews.
Relax at Vondelpark
Possibly the most popular park in the city is Vondelpark, which is also called ”The oasis of Amsterdam”. Here you can wander around the greenbelts among beautiful flowers (tulips) and plants, or sit down on the grass to relax for a while. The whole atmosphere is very relaxing and is perfect for when you want a change of environment from Amsterdam’s central parts. At the park you’ll also find a playground for the kids, and if you’re in the mood for ice cream or something to eat, there are several cafeterias and restaurants. The easiest way to get here from the centre of Amsterdam city is by tram.
See an Event at Ziggo Dome
Ziggo Dome is a large arena in central Amsterdam that annually hosts several different events that consist first and foremost of concerts and musical performances. Several big artists have played here and with room for 17,000 spectators, it’s usually very lively in the arena when world stars appear. There’s some sort of performance at Ziggo Dome every week and if you’re lucky during your stay in Amsterdam, you just might manage to squeeze one of the shows in. Tickets are often available, but not always. It’s usually sold out weeks in advance if it’s a main act. You can find what’s on in the schedule on Ziggo Dome’s website.
Go to a Concert at Concergebouw
Concertgebouw in Amsterdam is one of the most famous concert halls in the world. This is especially true when it comes to the acoustics, which are ranked top three in the world right after Boston’s Symphony Hall and Musikverein in Vienna. You can listen to numerous concerts at this amazing concert hall, especially those in classical music from world famous orchestras, but also jazz and pop. The concert schedule is constantly changing so you’ll have to check the schedule on the website or at the location. If you visit Amsterdam between June and September, you can listen to the lunch concert at Concertgebouw every Wednesday for free. The concert takes place at 12.30 and is a rehearsal for the upcoming performance.
Visit Anne Frank’s House
Most people have probably heard about the Jewish girl named Anne Frank, including her life and fate during World War II. Some have even read Anne Frank’s diary where you can follow her and her family’s life between June 1942 and August 1944 in detail, when they were hiding in Amsterdam from the Nazis during the Dutch occupation. The house where the family lived still stands today and it’s become a well-visited museum. The rooms in which the family lived are still there and as a visitor it’s not hard to be touched by the story and imagery of what it was like to experience the occupation. Despite it being small, everything is planned very well and visitors walk a specified tour to see all the different parts. Bringing your children is no problem, but little ones should avoid watching the unpleasant films that are shown. Also make sure that you haven’t booked anything else in right afterwards as the lines to get in can be long. It’s a good idea to be there early in the morning.
Take a Break at Dam Square
Dam Square is one of the most famous places in Amsterdam. There are a wide range of different types of activities and festivals that take place in Dam Square throughout the year. In fact, this one area of Amsterdam has become one of the most famous and most popular places to see in the entire city. There are so many things to do in the square that you will enjoy from sitting and watching the people walk by at the famous fountain that is in the middle to observing the beautiful architecture to checking out the National Monument. Everyone will find something that they enjoy doing at Dam Square.
Play Mini Golf in a Different Environment
If you like to play mini golf, you definitely shouldn’t miss a visit to GlowGolf Amsterdam. You’ll definitely have a different mini golf experience at this place, to say the least. The courses are inside and the entire premise is made in a 3D environment with luminescent details and UV lights that light up everything that’s white. Even though it costs a little bit extra, you shouldn’t miss wearing 3D glasses while playing. The 3D glasses enhance the experience and also make everyone look funny. There are fifteen holes to play in total and everyone is welcome, regardless of age. There’s a restaurant and café on the top floor for those who’d like to stay to eat or grab a cup of coffee.
Send a Digital Postcard from Postcard Experience
A place that has just opened up in Amsterdam is Postcard Experience, where you go to get a digital postcard of your own design created. The process starts with you being filmed in front of a so called ”green screen” and taking directions on how to act. Afterwards, a film is produced where you go through Amsterdam or The Netherlands in a little ”clog car”. It’s similar to a personal postcard in moving format, which is very fun to look at. Instead of sending a traditional postcard, this is a cool alternative to email your acquaintances or to share with Facebook friends.
Visit the Van Gogh Museum
Even if you’re not an art enthusiast, a visit to the Van Gogh museum might prove to be very interesting. Van Gogh is one of the greatest painters in history and most people are fascinated by his different paintings and pieces. The museum was opened in 1973 and today has the largest collection of Van Gogh paintings. In addition to this, you’ll also find paintings from other artists who were active at the same time as the world renowned painter.
Enjoy a Cold One with the Heineken Experience
The Heineken Experience shares with you the story of Heineken. Heineken was started as a small brewery that was local to Amsterdam, but they would go on to become a beer that is world famous. The Experience takes you on a journey that shares the story of success, the sponsorships, and the brewing process. There is even an English speaking VIP tour that gives you a beer and cheese pairing, a personalized bottle of Heineken, time in the special bar, a guided tour, and more. If you decide to go you will get some perks by purchasing your tickets ahead of time online.
Learn About Amsterdam’s Unique History Through a Red Light District Tour
The Red Light District Tour is a great way to experience the unique history of this area in Amsterdam. This tour will teach you about Amsterdam’s most famous sex workers and the history of why their sex district is perhaps the most famous in the entire world. Most of the tours are walking tours where they show you each of the unique places that you might have heard about. If you want to know more of an insider’s perspective there are some tours that are given from former sex workers who share their experiences as they give you a guided tour.
Go See the Wind Blow on a Windmill Day Trip
One of the first things that you think about when you consider Holland might just be the windmill. There are so many windmills that are throughout Holland. You can take a day trip from Amsterdam where you get to see a wide range of different windmills. These day trips are going to show you just how beautiful the Dutch countryside is as well as the beauty that the windmills offer. These tours offer a great introduction to the history of the Dutch windmill. They also teach a lot about the lands and towns where you are visiting and see the windmills.
Experience Delicious Dutch Cheese
Being able to find some delicious Dutch cheese is one experience that you will not want to miss while you are in Holland. The Dutch have influenced so many cheesemaking practices and have been building the craft to where you can find the perfect cheese for your pallet. The historical Reypenaer creamery is famous for making some of the best cheeses in the entire world. They offer cheese tastings that are led by an expert cheese master. You will learn how to taste different cheeses while tasting all of the delicious options that Reypenaer has to offer. Some tours even pair these cheeses with different cocktails and/or wine.
Spend Time Enjoying the Beauty of the Tulips
Each year more than seven million people visit the beautiful tulip gardens in Holland. These are some of the most beautiful tulips in the entire world. There are actually more than eight hundred different varieties of tulips that you can see during these tours. The bright and intense colors are something that you will always be able to remember as they are a sight that is more beautiful than most. You will get to enjoy a bright landscape of colors which include: yellows, oranges, reds, and pinks. Plus, you can enjoy the bright and beautiful scents that they have to offer as well.
Learn About the Magic of the Human Body at Body Worlds Amsterdam
Body Worlds allows you to see the unique inner workings of the human body. This exhibition showcases over twenty unique human bodies that have had the layers peeled apart so that you can see the inner workings. This allows you to understand your own body and what you look like if you would peel back your skin. It is a unique experience and one that spreads and important message of tolerance while showing us that we really are all the same on the inside. Most visitors love seeing how the muscles work as well as experiencing the skeletal system and the nervous system.
Experience Modern, Street, and Contemporary Art at the Moco Museum
The Moco Museum features a nice collection of modern, contemporary, and street art. There are exhibits from all of these different types of art and a great way to experience it all. If you have already visited the Moco Museum, then you should definitely be willing to check it out again. The exhibits are always rotating so what you saw last time might not be there any longer as there will probably be new things to see as well. While visiting, try and learn something new about the artists and the art that you are viewing. This is going to help you to be assured that you have an amazing art experience.
Chill Out at an Ice Bar
One of the experiences that tourists seem to really love in Amsterdam is going to an ice bar. These unique bars are rooms that are full of ice, it’s like being inside of an igloo. They offer the visitors fur coats and the ability to drink different liquors and cocktails in an icy cold room. Ice bars are a great way to experience fun and enjoy a unique night with your friends. It is something different that can really be a lot of fun. There are a great number of choices to choose from as which means that you can find an ice bar experience that is going to fit with your group.
Experience the Bright Lights at Electric Ladyland
Electric Ladyland is actually the world’s first museum that is dedicated to fluorescent lights. This museum is not just unique because it is the only museum of its type in the entire world, but also because the museum encourages you to be a part of the art. You can see a wide range of different fluorescent minerals in all of the world, rocks that burst with colors when under the right lights, fluorescent artwork from the 1950s, and artifacts and advertisements that date back to 1932. There are so many amazing things to see that this is one that I would simply not miss.
Learn All About Cannabis with Hash, Marijuana, and Hemp Museum
The Hash, Marijuana, and Hemp Museum is a great place to learn about the cannabis industry and the many medicinal benefits of this plant. You can learn how the plant can help you and why there is so much controversy surrounding the plant. In addition, there is another museum branch in Barcelona. The museum in Amsterdam features special exhibits on Columbus and Cannabis, hemp fashion in early Japan, and even a hemp fiber surfboard. However, there is so much more for you to see. In fact there are ways that hemp has been used that you have likely never heard of.
Take Photographs Around Amsterdam
Amsterdam offers a wide range of places for you to test out your photographic eye. In fact, there are so many places to snap photographs around the city that you will want to make sure that you are ready when you travel there. Take a camera and the additional lenses that you might need and be prepared to spend some time walking around and photographing the city. While this might not be an enjoyable day for everyone, most people love that they can see so many of the amazing sites and take back photography to share with their friends and family.
Don’t Miss Out on Trying Stroopwafels
One of the most popular Dutch treats are Stroopwafels. These are cookies that are made in the fashion of delicious thin waffles with a cream center filling. They are a great combination of flavors and something that you will find yourself missing when you are back in your home county. There are many great bakeries and places where you can go to eat Stroopwafels. The best way to determine which award winning bakery really has the best ones is to take the time to try them all during your stay. Here are the places where you must go to try them: Original Stroopwafels, Lanskroon, Von Wondern Stroopwafels, and Stach.
Visit the Churches of Amsterdam
Amsterdam boasts some of the world’s most beautiful churches. One of the more relaxing things that you can do while you are visiting is that you can walk around and see the churches. There are many companies that offer tours of churches. You can grab tickets to one of these tours or you can look online for a map of the churches of Amsterdam. Make sure to check out churches that feature different arcitectural styles and take the time to really sit and observe the wonders that were created. If you are interested in the history of the churches, you can even look up historical information online and discuss it while visiting.
Make of Day of Visiting Poezenboot
The Poezenboot is known as the cat boot and is a great way to enjoy relaxing and visiting with your favorite furry creatures. The boat is open to visitors on specific dates and times each week so check ahead before visiting. It has become such a popular destination in Amsterdam that people are often seen waiting outside before the Poezenboot opens. Make sure that you go early if you would like to enjoy the full experience. One of the things that is unique is that this boat is actually a floating sanctuary for cats that are abandoned or strays. It keeps them from being killed in shelters and allows them to live an enjoyable life.
Take Time to Enjoy Life’s Finer Things at the Rembrandt House Museum
The Rembrandt House Museum is a beautifully unique historic home filled with the artwork of Rembrandt. Between 1639 and 1656 the famous painter Rembrandt van Rijn was living and working from this home. The museum has about a quarter of a million visitors each year. It features some of the sketchings and paintings that Rembrandt and his contemporaries created. It is a very popular museum and one that will give you a new perspective on art so that you can enjoy all of the beauty that this art holds. Just make sure that you are going during business hours and look at the extra tours and additional options to check out.
Visit EYE Film Institute Amsterdam
EYE Film Institute Amsterdam is a special archive and museum of the Dutch film industry. They preserve and present films that are Dutch but also do the same with films from the around the world. The screenings that are held at the EYE Film Institute Amsterdam are some of the most popular in all of Amsterdam so make sure that you arrive early or reserve your tickets online before. You will want to ensure that you get to enjoy a film at EYE Film Institute while you are in town. There is no shortage of experiences in the museum either. You can see more than 37,000 films, 20,000 books, 700,000 photographs, and 60,000 posters.
Feel Regal at the Royal Palace
Another must while you are in Amsterdam is the Royal Palace. The Royal Palace is actually one of three different palaces that are located within Amsterdam. The monarch is able to live in and move around freely within the different palaces. The Royal Palace is located on one side of the Dam Square. It is actually opposite of the War Memorial. One of the things that is really nice about the Royal Palace is that you can visit it. While other monarchies like to protect their privacy, it seems that King Wilhelm Alexander is willing to let you explore his life a little bit.
Grab a Cheap Lunch at Foodhallen
One of the most unique things that you can do while eating in Amsterdam is to visit Foodhallen. Foodhallen is an indoor food market where you can go to pick up food that you can cook or even shop from a wide range of food vendors. It is a delicious place to spend lunchtime at. You can even go there with picky eaters as everyone is going to be able to find their favorites while they are there. There are a wide range of foods that are featured from around the globe as well. You can eat gyros, traditional Dutch fare, sushi and other Asian dishes, and more. You will leave full and will find that all of the food is available for a value price.
Check Out Eco-Friendly Fashion at Fashion Meets Good
Fashion Meets Good is a unique fashion museum that is the world’s first museum dedicated to sustainable fashion. This museum looks at the industrialization standards and unique innovations that are making fashion more eco-friendly. The museum encourages you to take a look at your or own fashion goals and standards and to find fashion that is going to help you maintain your own eco-friendly nature as well. They even encourage upcycling or changing the fashion that you currently own to be on trend with the newest styles as a way of recycling clothing.
Visit Nature at Hortus Botanicus
Hortus Botanicus is a botanical garden that is located in Amsterdam. There are beautiful 17th century gardens that have been maintained and the entire experience exposes visitors to more than four thousand plants. Most visitors spend one to two hours during their visit to Hortus Botanicus. There is even a space called the Orangery which is the historic location where citrus fruits where stored on location. Guests can visit most days and the location is open throughout the day and early evening. This is really one of the best places to visit if you are looking for a unique experience or if you love plants.
Go Wild at ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo
The ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo is one of the most impressive zoos in the entire world. It is located in the heart of Amsterdam and a great way to entertain children or even adults while you are in the city.There is a rich heritage within the zoo with a broad expanse of different plants and animals. You can travel through the different areas to see the expanse of variety that the zoo has. The zoo even features a planetarium and aquarium which means that you are getting experiences in one place that you might have to visit three different locations to get anywhere else in the world.
Get Your Shopping Done at the Albert Cuyp Market
The Albert Cuyp Market is one of the best outdoor markets in all of Amsterdam. The market has been happening for more than a century which is why it has become a top tourist destination. One of the things that has become popular at the market are the wide range of trade goods that you can find within the different sellers areas. This type of product started becoming popular and available during the 1960s and the 1970s. You will be able to experience a wide range of different experiences that are known for Amsterdam in an atmosphere that is truly unique and special.