12 Very Best Things To Do In Amsterdam

Amsterdam is so much more than a city for partying, it’s got everything from award-winning restaurants, world-class museums and a history that dates back centuries. Trust me, there’s a heap of the very best things to do in Amsterdam that makes it perfect for a city break. 

It’s so easy to think of Amsterdam and just think of the red light district, but there is more that this buzzing city can offer. We totally loved the winding canals, flower markets and indie quaint coffee shops, too. Not only that, the city is filled with quaint canals that make the city so pretty.

Aptly called the Venice of the North, Amsterdam is dotted with more than 100 canals which are totally great for a stroll… or a boat trip. 

So, to make your trip nice and easy, I wanted to share some of the very best things to do in Amsterdam when you visit. This way, you can focus on all the incredible sites, without being bogged down with the planning. 

Have an amazing time visiting Amsterdam.

1.) Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum houses the largest and most extensive collection of the works of Vincent Van Gogh, one of the most iconic figures in the history of Western art.

Founded in 1972, the Van Gogh Museum is a feast for the senses, with 200 paintings, about 500 sketches and drawings, and hundreds of handwritten correspondence between Van Gogh and his family and friends.

Another feature called Meet Vincent Van Gogh Experience will take you through a cool multimedia experience of the painter’s life and work. The museum also highlights some of the paintings of Van Gogh’s contemporaries such as Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Paul Gauguin.

Make sure to book your Van Gogh tickets before visiting. This way, you can skip the lines on peak days.

Read more: Places to visit on a first trip to Amsterdam

2.) Vondelpark

Did you know that Vondelpark is constantly sinking and that it has to be renovated regularly so that it won’t be flooded with water? Yeah, apparently it’s a thing in Amsterdam! 

Nonetheless, it is one of the most popular spots in Amsterdam to stroll through gardens and watch live music and perfect for a stroll. It’s one of the best things to do in Amsterdam on a nice sunny day. 

There are many points of interest in the park, such as Pablo Picasso’s sculpture called The Fish, the neo-Renaissance Vondelparkpaviljoen, and the Openluchttheater where musical theatres and cabarets are held from June to August.

Afterwards, head over to Staring at Jacob for their delicious brunch menu. Their Nashville-style chicken is epic, and comes with a kick! 

3.) Anne Frank House

Sitting along the Prinsengracht canal, the Anne Frank House is dedicated to the short but meaningful life of Anne Frank. It’s one of the saddest and most essential sites to visit in Amsterdam

The house was where Anne Frank and her family once hid during the Nazi invasion of the Netherlands, and you can visit the rooms where she lived and penned her now world-famous diary.

Commemorating the hardships that the Holocaust brought to the Dutch people, the Anne Frank House is now a museum dedicated to the life of Anne Frank, her family, and four other Jewish people who lived there.

Also, don’t forget, you can book this Anne Frank walking tour that’s well worth joining if you want to learn more about her life in Amsterdam. 

Read more: Places to visit on a first trip to Amsterdam

4.) Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is not just a museum — it is a legacy of the Netherlands’ arts, culture, history, and literature.

Founded in 1798, it houses an enormous collection of about a million artefacts, including 8,000 paintings, 35,000 books and manuscripts, and countless antiquities, artwork, sculptures, and handicrafts.

For a more comprehensive experience, you can book a guided tour through the museum and dine at its Michelin-starred restaurant that’s pretty special. 

Oh yeah, you can also book this incredible canal cruise that will take you through plenty of the sites mentioned in the Rijksmuseum’s displays and collections.

It’s so worth it. It’s easily one of the best things to do in Amsterdam, especially if you want to get onto the canals. 

Book: The best Amsterdam canal cruise

5.) Bloemenmarkt

For a holistic experience of things that Amsterdam is famous for, head to Bloemenmarkt. It is a floating flower market found on the Singel canal’s south bank, open every day of the week.

You can check out stands and floating barges that offer an overwhelming collection of flowers and souvenirs. Tulips, narcissus, daffodils, and various other bulbs abound, making Bloemenmarkt a blooming tourist destination. I mean, it’s lovely. 

You can even purchase these flowers for export so that you can take a piece of Amsterdam home.

In the evening, and for sunset, head over to Pllek which is great for sundowner cocktails, food and a really cool vibe.

We loved it here and spent all evening chilling. 

Read more: How to visit Pllek in Amsterdam

6.) Rembrandt House Museum

Imagine the famous Rembrandt walking the very streets of Amsterdam and finding inspiration from the city canals and landmarks. Lots of his inspiration came from the city, which is now all displayed in the Rembrandt House Museum and see them depicted in his artwork and paintings.

The Rembrandt House Museum is located on the Jodenbreestraat, a Jewish Quarter where Rembrandt and his wife Saskia lived for twenty years. Book your entry tickets in advance, you can take a guided tour and observe the displays housed in this 17th-century home, featuring a number of Rembrandt’s personal effects and sketches.

It’s one of the best things to do in Amsterdam to learn more about the city’s creative history. Plus, you may want to visit Rembrandt Square, where you can while an afternoon away in one of the cafes and restaurants in the area.

Book: Rembrandt House Museum tickets 

7.) Jordaan

If you’re looking for an immersive experience of Amsterdam’s lively culture and lifestyle, Jordaan is the place to go.

Although it is most famous for the location of the Anne Frank House, it also offers a wide range of attractions and cute little cafes that you can visit all day long.

Some of the lesser-known but equally exciting museums in the neighbourhood are the Amsterdam Cheese Museum. I mean, I’m always up for a bit of cheese! Oh, and don’t forget about the Woonboots Museum, a floating museum that highlights houseboats of different styles.

Depending on your itinerary, you can visit either Lindengracht or Westerstraat for a wonderful experience of Dutch open-air markets. 

Read more: Places to visit on a first trip to Amsterdam

8.) Oude Kerk

While some features have been added here and there over the centuries, the Oude Kerk or Old Church remains as Amsterdam’s oldest structure. Built-in 1306, it is the first ever hall church in North Holland and was the model architecture for a lot of churches in this region.

While the Oude Kerk now houses contemporary art exhibits, you can still see its religious elegance reminiscent of old times — from its Dutch High Renaissance windows to its intricate wooden choir stalls.

Just across the bridge from Oude Kerk, you can stroll along the Zeedijk. One of the oldest streets in Amsterdam which also features the oldest surviving house in the city, Zeedijk is a place that will make you experience the Old Netherlands intimately.

9.) Dam Square

Surrounded by popular spots in Amsterdam, Dam Square is one of the most frequented places in the city. Dominating the area is the Royal Palace or Koninklijk Palace, a 17th-century building that was once home to the Dutch Royal family. Now, it serves as a venue for royal functions.

You can also find some of Amsterdam’s top must-see places for tourists, such as Madame Tussauds Museum, the New Church or Nieuwe Kerk, and the National Memorial Statue.

Afterwards, head over to Foodhallen for all the food stalls and street food that’s so delicious.

This place is so good and there are heaps of stalls for every taste. Perfect for lunch! 

Read more: Places to visit on a first trip to Amsterdam

11.) De Hortus Botanicus

Founded in 1638, De Hortus Botanicus or simply The Botanical Gardens is one of the oldest in the world. If you’re into your botany, you’ll easily find it’s one of the best things to do in Amsterdam. 

It played a significant role in Amsterdam’s history, supplying herbs and medicinal plants every time an outbreak of plague would descend on the city.

The species here came from all over the world, carried home by the Dutch East India Company back in the day. Now, it is home to more than 6,000 species of plants growing abundantly in a green pocket of land in the middle of Amsterdam.

12.) Begijnhof

Drawing tourists who want an escape from the busier parts of Amsterdam, Begijnhof is a tranquil neighbourhood that was once the residence of the sisterhood of Catholic Beguines. 

You can wander freely through Begijnhof’s neatly-kept lawns, through narrow pathways, and along a series of old houses. Amsterdam’s oldest wooden house, built in the 14th century, can also be found in Begijnhof.

Afterwards, book these tickets to head over to the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam. It’s a great way to learn all about the city’s beer and learn more about its brewing process. Plus, you might get a little tipple! 

Read more: Places to visit on a first trip to Amsterdam

10 Best Places To See On Your First Trip To Amsterdam


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