Amsterdam, with its iconic canals, historic cobblestone streets, and vibrant cultural scene, offers an adventure that’s as rich and varied as a Dutch stroopwafel. This city isn’t just about tulips and bicycles (though they’re pretty great, too); it’s a place where history collides with modern flair, creating an environment ripe for exploration.

Whether you’re here to muse over masterpieces, dance until dawn, or simply soak in the scenic views, Amsterdam promises to be an unforgettable voyage. So, let’s dive into the heart of this lively city with a list of 20 epic things to do that cater to the whims and fancies of every urban explorer out there. Buckle up; it’s going to be a wild ride.

1. Cruise the Canals by Boat

The canals of Amsterdam are not just waterways; they’re the veins of the city, offering a unique perspective on its heart and soul. A boat cruise here isn’t your average sightseeing tour; it’s a serene journey through time. Evening cruises come highly recommended because there’s something magical about the way the city lights dance on the water.

Pro Tip: Look for tours that offer small, intimate settings for a more personalized experience. Companies like “Those Dam Boat Guys” and “Canal Cruises Amsterdam” often get rave reviews for their knowledgeable guides and unconventional routes.

Location & Cost: Tours typically start from around €20 and can embark from various points like Centraal Station or the Anne Frank House. It’s an affordable ticket to ride through Amsterdam’s liquid lanes.

Cruise the Canals by Boat
Cruise the Canals by Boat | @dutchie

2. Visit the Van Gogh Museum

The Van Gogh Museum is a mecca for art lovers, housing the largest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s works in the world. From ‘The Potato Eaters’ to ‘Sunflowers’, the museum offers an intimate glimpse into the mind of a genius.

Pro Tip: Beat the queues by booking your ticket online, and consider opting for the multimedia tour to truly get inside Van Gogh’s head.

Location & Cost: Nestled in the Museumplein, tickets range from €19 for adults, with free entry for children under 18. It’s not just a museum visit; it’s an investment in inspiration.

Van Gogh Museum
Van Gogh Museum

3. Stroll through the Historic Jordaan District

The Jordaan district, with its narrow streets, historic buildings, and independent art galleries, is the essence of Amsterdam charm. It’s where the city’s artistic soul and entrepreneurial spirit intertwine.

Pro Tip: The best day to wander through Jordaan is Saturday when the local markets come alive. The Noordermarkt is a treasure trove of organic foods, vintage clothes, and unique antiques.

Location & Cost: Walking through Jordaan is free, but good luck walking past the boutique shops and cozy cafes without wanting to buy everything in sight!

Jordaan District
Jordaan District | @eddie_amsterdam

4. Explore the Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House is more than just a museum; it’s a poignant reminder of the human spirit’s resilience. Walking through the secret annex where Anne and her family hid during World War II is an experience that stays with you long after you leave.

Pro Tip: Tickets can only be purchased online and are often sold out weeks in advance, so plan ahead. The quiet of the early morning tours adds to the emotional impact of the visit.

Location & Cost: Located on the Prinsengracht canal, the entrance fee is around €14 for adults. It’s a small price to pay for a monumental lesson in history and humanity.


Anne Frank House
Otto Frank revisiting the attic where his daughter wrote her diary | @aflashbak

5. Chill at Vondelpark

Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s green heart, a sprawling haven where locals and tourists alike come to breathe. Whether you’re up for a leisurely picnic, a scenic jog, or just people-watching, this park has got you covered.

Pro Tip: Look out for open-air concerts and performances during the summer months. They’re often free and are a great way to experience the city’s lively cultural scene.

Location & Cost: Entry to Vondelpark is free, making it a perfect spot for a budget-friendly day out. Located close to the Museumplein, it’s easily accessible and well worth a visit.

Vondelpark | @elinefarideh

6. Enjoy the Heineken Experience

Dive into the history of one of the world’s most famous beers with the Heineken Experience. Housed in the original brewery, this interactive tour isn’t just about sipping beer (though there’s plenty of that); it’s about understanding the craftsmanship behind the brew.

Pro Tip: The tour ends with a beer tasting, but don’t rush off immediately. The rooftop bar offers stunning views of the city — the perfect backdrop for enjoying your pint.

Location & Cost: Located at Stadhouderskade, the tour costs around €21. It’s a small price for a deep dive into beer history, complete with tastings.

Heineken Experience
Heineken Experience

7. Bike Around the City

No visit to Amsterdam is complete without experiencing it like a local — on two wheels. With more bikes than people, cycling is the soul of the city. Rent a bike and let the city’s charms unfold at your own pace.

Pro Tip: Stick to the bike lanes and follow the traffic rules — Amsterdammers take their cycling seriously! Bike rental shops are aplenty; MacBike and Yellow Bike are popular choices offering rentals starting from around €10 for a day.

Location & Cost: You can pick up and drop off bikes at various locations across the city. It’s not just transport; it’s your ticket to discovering hidden nooks and crannies off the beaten path.

8. Sample Dutch Street Food

Dutch street food is a world waiting to be tasted. From piping hot stroopwafels prepared right before your eyes to raw herring that’s surprisingly delicious, Amsterdam offers an array of flavors that are as unique as the city itself.

Pro Tip: For an authentic taste of Amsterdam, head to the Albert Cuyp Market or Foodhallen. Don’t leave without trying a portion of patatje oorlog — fries with a mix of peanut sauce, mayonnaise, and onions. It’s a flavor bomb!

Location & Cost: Street food is one of the most wallet-friendly ways to eat your way through Amsterdam. Prices vary, but you can enjoy most snacks for just a few euros.

Dutch 'Poffertjes'
Dutch ‘Poffertjes’ | @eatingeurope

9. Check Out the A’DAM Lookout

For a truly breathtaking view of Amsterdam, head to the A’DAM Lookout. This observation deck offers 360-degree views of the city’s patchwork of canals, historic buildings, and bustling streets. And for those who dare, the “Over the Edge” swing lets you swing over the edge of the tower, adding a rush of adrenaline to the scenic vistas.

Pro Tip: Visit at sunset for an unforgettable experience. Watching the city shift from day to night, with the lights twinkling to life across the skyline, is nothing short of magical.

Location & Cost: Situated across the IJ River from Central Station, a standard ticket to the Lookout is around €13.50, with an additional charge for the swing. It’s a small price for an unparalleled view and thrill.

A'DAM Lookout
A’DAM Lookout

10. Discover the Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum is a treasure trove of Dutch art and history. Home to masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and countless other artists, the museum takes you on a journey through the Netherlands’ rich cultural heritage.

Pro Tip: Don’t try to see it all in one visit. Instead, pick a few sections that interest you most. The museum’s app offers themed tours, helping you delve deeper into specific periods or artists.

Location & Cost: Located in the Museumplein, entrance fees are around €20 for adults, but the experience is priceless. Dive into the Golden Age of Dutch art and come out inspired.

Rijksmuseum | @johannahelenagy

11. Shop at the Albert Cuyp Market

The Albert Cuyp Market is the epitome of Amsterdam’s vibrant market scene. With over 260 stalls selling everything from fresh produce to clothes and jewelry, it’s a bustling hub of activity and the perfect place to find a unique souvenir or snack.

Pro Tip: Go early to beat the crowds and have the first pick of the day’s offerings. Don’t be shy to haggle, especially for non-food items—it’s all part of the experience.

Location & Cost: Situated in the De Pijp district, browsing is free, but you’ll likely be tempted by the array of goods on offer. Whether it’s Dutch cheese or handmade items, prices are generally reasonable.

Stroopwafels at Albert Cuypmarkt
Stroopwafels at Albert Cuypmarkt | @dimitria.lima

12. Dance the Night Away in Rembrandtplein

Rembrandtplein is one of Amsterdam’s most lively nightlife hubs, brimming with bars, clubs, and cafes. Whether you’re into electronic dance music, hip-hop, or live bands, there’s a venue for every taste.

Pro Tip: Start your night with a leisurely drink at one of the square’s many terraces before diving into the club scene. Club Escape is a popular choice among locals and tourists alike, known for its epic light shows and world-class DJs.

Location & Cost: In the heart of Amsterdam, each venue has its own entry fees and drink prices, but wandering around Rembrandtplein and soaking up the vibrant atmosphere is completely free.

Rembrandtplein | @alldayphotobybianca

13. Attend a Concert at the Concertgebouw

The Concertgebouw is not just any concert hall; it’s an acoustic marvel, renowned worldwide for its exceptional sound quality. Home to the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, this venue hosts a wide range of classical music performances, from intimate chamber music to grand symphonic concerts.

Pro Tip: Check out the free lunchtime concerts offered on Wednesdays. They’re a great way to experience the world-class acoustics without splurging on a ticket. Make sure to arrive early as seats fill up quickly!

Location & Cost: Situated in the Museumplein, ticket prices vary based on the performance, but experiencing a concert in one of the world’s most revered concert halls is an experience worth every penny.

14. Visit the Royal Palace Amsterdam

The Royal Palace Amsterdam is more than just a building; it’s a symbol of Dutch history and royalty. Originally built as the city hall, the palace’s interior is a showcase of lavish decor and intricate artworks, reflecting the opulence of the Dutch Golden Age.

Pro Tip: The palace is still used for royal events, so check the opening times before your visit to avoid disappointment. The audio tour is included with your ticket and offers fascinating insights into the palace’s history and architecture.

Location & Cost: Located on Dam Square, the entrance fee is around €10 for adults. It’s a small price to pay for a glimpse into the lives of Dutch royalty and the rich history that shaped the Netherlands.

Royal Palace Amsterdam
Royal Palace Amsterdam | @albertdrosphotography

15. Explore the Red Light District

Amsterdam’s Red Light District is famous (or infamous) around the world, but there’s more to this area than meets the eye. Beyond its neon-lit windows, the district is full of history, intriguing shops, and cozy bars. Guided tours can offer insights into the area’s complex history and contemporary issues, providing a deeper understanding of this unique part of Amsterdam.

Pro Tip: Respect is paramount here. Photography of the windows is strictly prohibited, and remember to treat everyone in the area with dignity. Night tours are available for those interested in seeing the district’s famous lights in all their glory.

Location & Cost: Centrally located and easily accessible on foot, wandering through the Red Light District is free, but guided tours typically range from €20 to €30, offering valuable context and a safer way to explore.

Red Light District, Amsterdam
Red Light District, Amsterdam | @travelby.toni

16. Take a Day Trip to Zaanse Schans

Just a short trip from Amsterdam, Zaanse Schans offers a picturesque glimpse into traditional Dutch life. This village is like stepping into a postcard, with its historic windmills, wooden houses, and artisan workshops. It’s the perfect getaway from the city’s hustle and bustle.

Pro Tip: Don’t miss the cheese-making demonstrations and the chance to see how traditional Dutch wooden clogs are made. Both are not only fascinating but also provide unique photo opportunities.

Location & Cost: Located about 15 kilometers north of Amsterdam, Zaanse Schans can be reached by bus, train, or a guided tour. Entry to the village is free, but some windmills and museums within the village charge a small entrance fee.

Zaanse Schans
Zaanse Schans | @dfdsuk

17. Join a Beer Tasting Tour

Amsterdam’s beer scene goes far beyond the familiar Heineken, diving into a world of craft breweries and unique flavors that reflect the city’s innovative spirit. Joining a beer tasting tour not only quenches your thirst but also offers a peek into the process behind brewing these golden delights.

Pro Tip: Look for tours that visit smaller breweries for a more intimate experience. These places often share their brewing secrets and might just let you in on the next big thing in the beer world.

Location & Cost: Tours typically start from central locations and can range from €25 to €50, depending on the length and the breweries visited. It’s a worthwhile investment for any beer enthusiast looking to dive deeper into Amsterdam’s brewing culture.

18. Find Tranquility at the Begijnhof

Hidden away from Amsterdam’s bustling streets is the Begijnhof, one of the city’s oldest inner courts. Once home to a semi-monastic community of women, this secluded garden offers a peaceful respite from the urban noise, with historic houses and a chapel that dates back to the 14th century.

Pro Tip: Keep your voice down as you wander through; the Begijnhof is still home to residents who cherish the quiet. The entrance can be a bit tricky to find, adding to its secluded charm, so keep an eye out for the gated door off Spui Square.

Location & Cost: Access to the Begijnhof is free, making it a perfect spot for a tranquil break. It’s a reminder of Amsterdam’s capacity for quiet beauty amidst its lively atmosphere.

Begijnhof | @fallingoffbicycles

19. Visit the Amsterdam Dungeon

For those with a taste for the macabre, the Amsterdam Dungeon offers a thrilling journey through the city’s dark history. Live actors, special effects, and gripping storytelling bring tales of the plague, tortures, and sea voyages to life, ensuring an experience filled with both chills and chuckles.

Pro Tip: This attraction is best enjoyed with a group, as there’s nothing like shared screams to bond over. The shows run every few minutes in multiple languages, so you won’t have to wait long for the next terrifying tour to begin.

Location & Cost: Located near Dam Square, ticket prices vary but booking online can often save a few euros and secure a spot in this popular attraction. It’s a unique way to learn about Amsterdam’s history with a twist of humor and horror.

Amsterdam Dungeon
Amsterdam Dungeon

20. Catch a Film at EYE Film Institute

A Cinematic Gem: The EYE Film Institute is not just for cinephiles; it’s a striking piece of modern architecture on the IJ riverfront, offering far-reaching views over Amsterdam. Inside, you’ll find a celebration of film in all its forms, from vintage classics to contemporary masterpieces, showcased through screenings, exhibitions, and interactive installations.

Pro Tip: Make sure to visit the café, even if you’re not catching a film. The view of the water and the passing boats offers a serene backdrop for reflection or casual conversation. Check their schedule in advance; they often host special screenings and filmmaker Q&As.

Location & Cost: Located just a short ferry ride from Centraal Station, which is free of charge. Ticket prices for films and exhibitions vary, but the visit is worth it for the building and view alone, not to mention the comprehensive dive into film history and culture.