44 Things to do in Amsterdam - Weekends in Amsterdam Skip to main content
Foto: Philipp Benedikt

44 Fun sights and things to do in Amsterdam

By Mathilde Simon
August 27, 2020

During your visit to Amsterdam, you naturally want to experience the best activities and visit the most beautiful places; an overview of the best sights in Amsterdam is therefore always useful!

Whether you are looking for a piece of nature in the city, the best shops or the most interesting museums. Below we share with your fun sights and things to do in Amsterdam. Lots of fun!

 

1. Cruise on the canals of Amsterdam

Something you should not miss is taking a cruise on the beautiful Amsterdam canals.

You can rent a boat yourself and discover the city from the water. But it is also possible to book a cruise so you can just sit back and enjoy the view.

For example, go on this 1.5 hour evening cruise. This way you discover the old center of the city in a unique way. Cruise past the Skinny Bridge, the Golden Bend and more. It is also possible to do this cruise during the day.

 

2. 9 Straatjes

Foto: Koen Smilde

The 9 Straatjes (‘9 streets’) of Amsterdam are well known among shopping enthusiasts all over the world. Here you can find all kinds of nice shops, cafes and restaurants.

In addition to being a good place to shop and visit some great hotspots, it is also a place to just stroll around and admire the ancient architecture.

These special 9 streets can be found behind the Palace on the Dam between the Raadhuisstraat and Leidsegracht. Which streets belong to the 9 streets? The Gasthuismolensteeg, Oude-spiegelstraat, Wijde-heisteeg, Hartenstraat, Wolvenstraat, Huidenstraat, Reestraat, Berenstraat and Runstraat.

 

3. Het Rijksmuseum

Foto: John Lewis Marshall

The Rijksmuseum is a museum that everyone should have visited at least once. In the Rijksmuseum you can take a look at Dutch art and history, including works by 17th-century Dutch masters.

For example, the Rijksmuseum’s art collection includes The Night Watch, a world-famous work of art by Rembrandt. You can also admire the art of big names such as Vermeer, Hals, Steen and more.

In the museum you can also visit the Cuypers library, or the Rijksmuseum Research Library. This is the largest and oldest art history museum library in the Netherlands.

With this combi tour, you can combine entrance with a 1 hour cruise through Amsterdam. 

 

4. Anne Frank Huis

Foto: Philipp Benedikt

The Anne Frank House is an impressive museum where you can get to know the story of Anne Frank better. This is done with the help of quotes, photos, videos and original items.

In the museum you can also admire the famous original diary of Anne Frank, which she received on her 13th birthday.

Usually there is a huge line in front of the Anne Frank house, so be prepared for this and plan your visit smartly. For example, do not visit the museum during busy weekends and holidays.

A lot of tours are offered to discover the story of Anne Frank. A nice option is this walking tour about the Second World War and Anne Frank. This is of course also possible with a private tour.

 

5. Het Amsterdam Museum

Amsterdam from then, now and later. In the Amsterdam Museum you can admire more than 80,000 objects from the sixteenth century to the present. The collection contains paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, books, furniture, textiles, glass, ceramics, medals and crafts.

Buy your ticket for the Amsterdam Museum here.

 

6. Het Van Gogh Museum

Foto: Jan Kees Steenman

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam has a beautiful collection with a number of well-known masterpieces by Vincent van Gogh, such as ‘The Potato Eaters’, ‘Almond Blossom’, ‘The Yellow House’ and ‘The Bedroom’.

Buy your ticket for the Van Gogh Museum here.

 

7. Het Rembrandthuis

Foto: Kirsten van Santen

Another prominent museum in Amsterdam is the Rembrandthuis. Here you can visit a permanent collection of etchings by Rembrandt, but there are also many special temporary exhibitions.

Buy your ticket for the Rembrandthuis here.

 

8. EYE Amsterdam

The EYE museum is a must visit for all movie lovers. Here you can visit the permanent collection in the Panorama room. Here they have various film devices and interesting stories from the history of film. In addition, there are often nice temporary exhibitions to visit.

 

9. Nemo Science Museum

Foto: DigiDaan

The Nemo Science Museum is really nice for a day out in Amsterdam with (or without!) children. In this museum, kids and grown ups can discover how fascinating science and technology is. Think of phenomena such as electricity, light and sound.

Explore five floors full of exhibitions, experiments, demonstrations and workshops and learn how special everyday things really are. Research for yourself and learn to ask questions.

Buy your ticket for Nemo here.

 

10. De Dam

Either way you will come across the Dam when you walk through the center of Amsterdam. It is almost impossible to miss! This is the historic heart of Amsterdam and the location of many national events.

There are also many other sights at Dam Square, such as the Royal Palace, the Nieuwe Kerk and the National Monument. We will tell you more about this below!

 

11. Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam

The Royal Palace Amsterdam is also known as the Palace on the Dam. It is used by the Royal House as a reception palace and is used for exhibitions. The architecture of the Royal Palace is in the style of Dutch classicism.

 

12. De Nieuwe Kerk

You can visit De Nieuwe Kerk (‘The New Church’) for special exhibitions of art, photography and inspiring people and cultures. In addition, De Nieuwe Kerk also has a national function with royal ceremonies and cultural events.

 

13. The National Monument on Dam Square

The National Monument on Dam Square is a monument that commemorates World War II in the Netherlands. It is therefore the central location for the annual National Memorial Day on May 4.

 

14. De Wallen

The Red Light District is also part of Amsterdam! It shows that everything is possible. De Wallen leaves nothing to the imagination, so be sure to visit these streets with an open mind.

It might feel a bit more relaxed to explore the Red Light District with a guide and a group of people. A solution might then be this tour through the Red Light District.

 

15. Johan Cruijff ArenA

Learn more about Ajax’s history in the Gallery of Fame. Book a tour and learn all the ins and outs about the club and the stadium. The tour lasts 75 minutes and an enthusiastic guide will tell you everything you need to know!

 

16. The Vondelpark

In Amsterdam South, within walking distance of the Rijksmuseum, you can find the beautiful Vondelpark. It is one of the most famous parks in the Netherlands and also the largest city park in Amsterdam.

It is a place with an interesting history, so it was a popular meeting place for hippies in the 1960s, but now it is mainly a place where people can relax (or just jog). It is a beautiful oasis in the middle of the city.

In summer, many events take place here, such as the Open Air Theater from June to August. This has been the case since the 1970s!

 

17. Het Concertgebouw

Foto: Emmely Siebrecht

Visit the Concertgebouw of Amsterdam for one of the many beautiful concerts. It is a special experience to experience a concert of great composers in one of the four concert halls.

If you’re in Amsterdam for a weekend, you could go to a Sunday morning concert, for example!

 

18. De A’DAM Toren

It may look very modern, but the A’DAM tower first opened its doors in 1971. Now years later, and after a major renovation, the A’DAM Tower is definitely worth a visit.

It is a multidisciplinary location with a boutique hotel, nightclub, various bars and restaurants. Moon, the revolving restaurant, is particularly special. In addition, offices of major music companies and a selection of creative Amsterdam companies are located here.

 

19. IJhallen

Do you love beautiful vintage items? Then you should definitely visit IJhallen at the NDSM wharf.

It is the largest flea market in Europe. Here you will find all kinds of beautiful, unique items, from clothing to furniture.

Please note: entrance costs 5 euros for adults and 2 euros for children.

 

20. The Magna Plaza

The Magna Plaza can be found behind the Palace on Dam Square. This former Amsterdam Main Post Office is now a well-known shopping center.

But what makes the Magna Plaza especially an attraction in Amsterdam is because it is located in a beautiful monumental building in neo-gothic architectural style.

 

21. He Hua Tempel

This is a lesser known landmark in Amsterdam, which makes it all the more interesting. The He Hua Temple (which means lotus flower in Chinese) on the Amsterdam Zeedijk is even the largest temple in traditional Chinese palace style in Europe.

Chinese Buddhism is practiced in the temple. The temple is part of the International Buddhist Progress Society (IBPS) and Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA).

It is possible to visit this temple for free. Of course you have to respect the silence.

 

22. De Waag

On the Nieuwmarkt in the center of Amsterdam you can find the Waag, a building of great historical value. The building was built in the 15th century and was originally a city gate called Sint Anthoniuspoort.

In 1617, the building became the weighing house; a building where goods were weighed. Now the Waag has several functions. On the top floor you can find the Waag Society, an institute for art, science and technology, and on the ground floor you can enjoy a dinner in an authentic space in the café-restaurant “In de Waag”.

 

21. Westerkerk

The Westerkerk in Amsterdam also has great historical value, located on the popular Prinsengracht.

The church is built in Renaissance style and has a special Rembrandt memorial stone. There are 48 bells on the tower and an imposing organ in the church.

It is possible to visit the church and to climb the Westertoren.

 

22. Heineken Experience

Would you like to know how a small brewery from Amsterdam became the most famous beer in the world? Then book a tour and learn about the history of the brewing process, their sponsorships and of course beer will also be drunk!

Buy your ticket for the Heineken Experience here. Also nice: you can combine the Heineken Experience with a cruise on the canals.

 

23. Tuschinski

The Tuschinski Arthouse is part of Pathé. It is a beautiful cinema that many film lovers like to visit. It is possible to learn more about the history and special places in the cinema with an audio tour.

With the I amsterdam City Card you get a discount on a visit to Pathé Tuschinski!

 

24. De Gouden Bocht

‘De Gouden Bocht’ in Amsterdam can be found on the Herengracht, between Leidsestraat and Vijzelstraat. The wealthiest inhabitants of Amsterdam lived here from the 17th century onwards, which is why every house has an interesting story.

During a day in Amsterdam it is definitely worth taking a walk here. It is a beautiful part of Amsterdam. A special bridge that is not to be missed is the Magere Brug. This is beautifully illuminated in the evening.

 

25. De Jordaan

The Jordaan is a cozy part of Amsterdam. It has a special and eventful past, which makes this neighborhood even more special.

The Jordaan was constructed in 1612 during the urban expansion of Amsterdam. Many workers lived in the Golden Age, but also many artists, including Rembrandt van Rijn. After World War II, much of the Jordaan was in a dilapidated state, which was restored in the 1960s.

Nowadays you can find many nice cafes and shops here. The neighborhood is particularly popular with artists, young people and students.

 

26. Karthuizerhofje

This historic courtyard can be found in the Jordaan on the Karthuizerstraat. It was built in the mid-17th century and was a nursing home for widows.

 

27. Claes Claeszhofje

The Claes Claeszhofje consists of the merger of the Zwaardvegershofje and the Claes Claesz. Anslo’s courtyard. It is one of the oldest courtyards in Amsterdam. The houses look old, but have all been renovated and are currently rented to students.

You can find the Claes Claeszhofje at the 1st Egelantiersdwarsstraat 1-5.

 

28. Begijnhof Amsterdam

You can find two Beguinages in the Netherlands, one in Breda and one in Amsterdam. That makes the Begijnhof even more worthwhile to visit! This historic courtyard is located right in the center of Amsterdam, directly behind the Amsterdam Museum.

Around 1150, a group of women started a religious community, the main purpose of which was to provide education and care for the sick. These were the first so-called beguines; widows or unmarried women of a Catholic monastic order.

The Begijnhof in Amsterdam was built especially for them and today only women still live at the Begijnhof.

 

29. Hofje van Brienen

The last court we will discuss in this article is the Hof van Brienen. This courtyard was founded in 1804 and was originally intended for older couples.

The courtyard is open to the public daily from 06:00 to 18:00 and on Saturday until 14:00. The Hof van Brienen is closed on Sunday.

You can visit the Beguinage every day from 09:00 to 17:00. One entrance can be found on the north side of the Spui and the other on the Gedempte Begijnensloot.

 

30. Street art Spuistraat

If you are fond of street art and would like to explore this in Amsterdam, then a visit to the Spuistraat should definitely be on your list.

It is possible to discover it yourself or you can book a street art tour.

 

31. Visit the Flower Market

Something you really should not miss in Amsterdam is the floating Flower Market. From Monday to Saturday, the Singel in the center of Amsterdam is filled with fresh flowers in all scents and colors.

The famous Flower Market has been around since 1862. A greenhouse has been built on each boat, a mini version of the greenhouses that you can find throughout the Netherlands.

For example, buy seeds or flower bulbs here as a souvenir or original gift!

 

32. Stay on a houseboat

To make your visit to Amsterdam really special, you can choose to stay on a houseboat. A fun and original way to spend the night in Amsterdam!

For example, take a look at several houseboats in Amsterdam on Airbnb.

 

33. Explore Amsterdam by bike

The easiest way to get from A to B in Amsterdam is by bicycle! This way you will never be stuck in traffic and you will not be bothered by those high parking costs. And of course it is a super fun way to travel, because you really have the time to look around quietly and stop here and there to take a photo.

A convenient way to rent a bicycle is through BimBimBikes.

 

34. Eat delicious poffertjes

There are plenty of tasty snacks to eat in Amsterdam. Every Dutch person knows them: the famous poffertjes. They are actually small pancakes, often with butter and powdered sugar as a topping. There are plenty of places where you can order these treats.

 

35. Taste the famous stroopwafels

Another sweet delicacy from the Netherlands: the stroopwafels. You can find beautiful creations in Amsterdam of this delicious treat.

 

36. Eat herring the traditional way

Is the herring season during your visit to Amsterdam? Then you should definitely eat this sometime. Don’t be put off by the raw fish, it is very tasty for many!

 

37. Visit the Zaanse Schans

The Zaanse Schans is a nice day trip from Amsterdam. It is a historic open air museum with old fashioned wooden windmills and scenic views. Many windmills are still in good condition and it is possible to climb them to enjoy the view.

You can also visit the Wooden Shoe Museum and the cheese farm De Catherinahoeve. Here you have free demonstrations of cheese production and there are plenty of pieces of cheese that you can just taste!

How do you get to the Zaanse Schans? It is less than 20 minutes drive from the center. Take bus 391 from Amsterdam Central or book an organized tour from Amsterdam. Check this link for more tours to the Zaanse Schans.

 

38. Waterlooplein flea market

Another tip for people who love second-hand items! The Waterloopleinmarkt is the oldest flea market in the Netherlands. The market is open six days a week and there are about 300 stalls. From vintage clothing and jewelry to second-hand books, there really is something for everyone.

The Waterloopleinmarkt is open from Monday to Saturday from 09:30 to 18:00.

 

39. Beurspassage

The Beurspassage connects the Nieuwendijk to the Damrak. It has a long history, it even dates back to the 15th century, and has a mixed architectural style of business and Jugendstil.

Today, the Beurspassage is part of the redevelopment of the Damrak 70 and Nieuwendijk 196 buildings.

 

40. Muizenhuis

Looking for a fun kids activity in Amsterdam? Then visit one of the two Mouse Houses in Amsterdam! In the Public Library you can visit the Muizenhuis decor exhibition and in the Jordaan you can visit the Muizenhuis Winkel & Werkplaats.

Decorations specially made for the circus, theater, the harbor and the fair are on display in the Jordaan. Here you will see how a Mouse House is made and you can ask the makers questions.

 

41. Portugese Synagogue

In the middle of the Jewish quarter of Amsterdam you will find the Portuguese Synagogue, which was once the largest synagogue in the world. It is an impressive building, austere on the outside but full of splendor on the inside. The interior is light and spacious with beautiful chandeliers and many candlesticks.

 

42. Hortus Botanicus

One of the oldest botanical gardens in the world can be found in Amsterdam. Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam was founded in 1638 by the Amsterdam city council as Hortus Medicus, the place where doctors and pharmacists were trained.

Now it is a beautiful garden, filled with more than 4,000 types of plants, from seven different climates. You will also find a pond, herb garden, a butterfly greenhouse and a cafe.

 

43. Oudemanhuispoort Boekenmarkt

This hidden gem is really worth a visit if you are a book lover! The shop cabinets in this passage have been used as a book market since the 18th century.

 

44. Kattenkabinet

Do you love cats? Then visit the Kattenkabinet, a museum dedicated to everything that has to do with cats. From photos and prints to images and furniture. And even cats live there!

 

That’s it! The best things to do during your visit to Amsterdam. Did we miss any nice places? Let us know in the comments!

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