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15 Best Things to Do in Amsterdam

15 Best Things to Do in Amsterdam

Searching for the best and most fun things to do in Amsterdam?

We just came back from our first big Europe trip, and it was our very first time visiting Amsterdam.

We spent about 3 days in Amsterdam, and we had so much fun exploring and eating our way through the city!

It was definitely a lot busier than we expected, even during mid-October, but we still had a lot of fun.

Here are some of the best and most fun things to do in Amsterdam!

If you’re wondering about the rest of our Europe trip, we also visited London, Germany, France, and Stavanger!

Be sure to also follow me on Instagram and TikTok – I share a lot more content on those platforms that don’t make it to the blog!

Disclaimer: amsterdam&partners was kind enough to hook us up with complimentary I amsterdam City Cards, which gave us access to several of the experiences I’ll be mentioning in here. As always, all opinions are my own, and I would never recommend anything to you guys that I wouldn’t pay for myself.

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Fun things to do in Amsterdam

Digital Immersive Exhibit at Moco Museum Amsterdam

Go museum hopping

Amsterdam is a city full of all kinds of incredible and unique museums, and we had so much fun checking out different museums during our visit.

We visited the Rijksmuseum, Moco Museum, Stedelijk Museum, and Jewish Museum in Amsterdam.

Entrance to all of these museums are included with the I amsterdam City Card, which I’d highly recommend getting during your visit to Amsterdam.

The card includes access or discounts to tons of attractions across Amsterdam, free public transit on the GVB, and more!

In terms of attractions, you can get free access to a number of museums, canal cruises, and bicycle rentals.

Do take note that some attractions will require you to book a timeslot in advance, so plan ahead.

Prices for the I amsterdam City Card depend on how long you want it for:

  • 24 hours: €60
  • 48 hours: €85
  • 72 hours: €100
  • 96 hours: €115
  • 120 hours: €125

The easiest way to get your I amsterdam City Card is to order it online, download the I amsterdam City Card app on your phone, then scan your card on the app to get access to attractions and public transit.

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam


The Rijksmuseum is the national museum of the Netherlands, and it’s dedicated to Dutch arts and history.

It was the very first museum we visited in Amsterdam, and it totally blew us away.

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

We’d only planned to spend about a half hour here, but we spent well over an hour, and could definitely have spent a few hours wandering around the museum.

We were even thinking about coming back on another day, but we decided we wanted to check out as many new sights as possible in Amsterdam!

There were so many cool historical artifacts and works of art in the museum, and we had no idea the Netherlands had such a dark history.

You can also see one of Van Gogh’s iconic self-portraits at the Rijksmuseum, which is really cool!

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
One of Van Gogh’s self-portraits on display at the Rijksmuseum.

The architecture of the museum building is also incredibly stunning, and you’ll definitely want to stroll through the beautiful gardens out front as well.

LOCATION: Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands

Digital Immersive Exhibit at Moco Museum Amsterdam
Digital Immersive Art exhibition by Studio Irma x Moco.

Moco Museum

The Moco Museum is dedicated to modern and contemporary art, and you’ll find a variety of iconic works by famous artists including Banksy, Kaws, and Andy Warhol.

We also saw our first NFT exhibition here, which was really interesting!

The Digital Immersive Art exhibition by Studio Irma x Moco was one of my favourite parts because of all the ✨selfie opportunities✨.

It reminded me of Yayoi Kusama’s iconic Infinity Mirror Rooms!

The Moco is not a particularly large museum, so an hour would be perfect to spend here.

They also have some really nice stuff in the gift shop – I almost bought a cute pink bucket hat!

LOCATION: Honthorststraat 20, 1071 DE Amsterdam, Netherlands

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Stedelijk Museum

Stedelijk is a really cool museum for modern and contemporary art and design.

From war posters, to sculptures, to video art, there are a lot of cool works to see at the Stedeljik Museum.

There were even some works by well-known and famous artists like Keith Haring and Andy Warhol.

When it comes to art, I’m probably more interested in contemporary works, but I do appreciate art of all kinds.

I loved how different all of the art museums we visited in Amsterdam were!

LOCATION: Museumplein 10, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands

Joods Museum Amsterdam (Jewish Museum)

Jewish Museum

The Jewish Museum (also known as the Joods Museum) is a museum dedicated to Jewish history, culture, and religion.

You’ll find it in the old Jewish Cultural Quarter, and it’s the only museum in the Netherlands dedicated to Jewish history.

Joods Museum Amsterdam (Jewish Museum)

We were deciding between the Jewish Museum or Anne Frank House, and we ultimately decided to visit the Jewish Museum.

Since we visited close to closing hours, we didn’t have too much time to explore the museum, but we still got to see a lot of it.

It was very emotional learning about the history of Jewish people in the Netherlands, and seeing objects and artifacts from Holocaust victims.

LOCATION: Nieuwe Amstelstraat 1, 1011 PL Amsterdam, Netherlands

De Pijp Amsterdam
A cute area in De Pijp.

Explore trendy neighbourhoods like Jordaan and De Pijp

Jordaan and De Pijp are both hip and young neighbourhoods in Amsterdam with trendy shops, cafes, and restaurants.

We didn’t really get to explore Jordaan much, but we loved what we did see of it.

De Pijp was near our hotel, and we loved exploring the area!


The trendy Jordaan neighbourhood is lined with indie boutiques, cool restaurants, and picturesque streets.

Mercado Uno is a great empanada spot just outside of Jordaan, and Adam says their Cheeseburger Empanada is the best empanada he’s ever had.

You’ve also gotta stop into Winkel 43 for their famous apple pie – we didn’t get the opportunity to, but we’ll definitely next time we visit!

If you’re up for some shopping, stroll along De 9 Straatjes, where you’ll find plenty of cool shops by local and international brands.

There are some other nice shops scattered around Jordan as well, including Almost Summer, a super cute t-shirt shop that prints the cutest designs on organic cotton.

Mumami is just outside of Jordaan, and it’s a really fun and vibrant shop selling handmade crochet and printed clothing.

The Anne Frank House is also located in Jordaan, and you’ll definitely want to secure your tickets ahead of time before they sell out.

We decided at the last minute that we wanted to go, but it was completely sold out, even in mid-October!

De Pijp

This vibrant Amsterdam neighbourhood is home to diverse restaurants, quirky shops, and the popular Albert Cuyp Market.

If you’re looking to get caffeinated, Jones Brothers Coffee Company is an absolute must-visit.

They served up one of my favourite iced lattes while we were in Europe!

It was also pretty funny that I was the first one of the week to order an iced latte in the “chilly” weather (which didn’t phase us Canadians).

Since we were staying near De Pijp, we ended up grabbing brunch twice in the neighbourhood.

We visited Bakers & Roasters, a cool New Zealand-style café serving up some unique takes on classic brunch dishes.

We also visited MOAK Pancakes, a super cute American-style pancake shop that had really fantastic pancakes (and Canadian maple syrup!)

If you’re a gelato lover, you absolutely need to stop into Massimo Gelato for their incredible gelato.

We got a double scoop of their Cheesecake and Ricotta & Fig gelato – both were amazing, but the Ricotta & Fig was next level.

We enjoyed the unique hot dogs at Bulls and Dogs, and I loved that their bar table featured upcycled Heineken bottles!

They also have a booth at Foodhallen (a food hall), if you’re looking for a more casual dining experience.

Waterlooplein Market Amsterdam

Shop vintage at the Waterlooplein Market

Amsterdam has tons of amazing vintage shops, but you’ll also find some incredible vintage and secondhand finds at the Waterlooplein Market.

The Waterlooplein Market is the oldest flea market in the Netherlands, and they’ve been in operation for over 130 years!

You can visit the market from Monday through Saturday, from morning until late afternoon.

Do keep in mind that vendors might start packing about an hour early, so don’t come too close to closing!

Vintage shopping at Waterlooplein Market Amsterdam

We sadly didn’t get to spend too long here as we visited close to when they were setting up shop, but I saw so many vintage gems.

I would definitely love to dedicate at least an hour or two at Waterlooplein Market next time I visit Amsterdam!

LOCATION: 1011 PG Amsterdam, Netherlands

Albert Cuyp Market in De Pijp, Amsterdam

Shop and dine at the Albert Cuyp Market

You’ll find the popular Albert Cuyp Market in the trendy De Pijp neighbourhood of Amsterdam.

Shop all kinds of cool gifts and souvenirs while enjoying international foods from all the different vendors at the market.

Some of my fave finds were the vendors selling vintage wool sweaters and crochet flower sweaters!

What I also loved about the Albert Cuyp Market was that there was a good mix of both shops and food vendors.

From Chinese steamed buns, to Italian cannolis, to Middle Eastern pitas, you’ll find a variety of delicious eats to try!

Since we’d eaten quite a bit already before coming here, all I got was a cannoli for a treat.

There were tons of yummy-looking eats though, and it’s a great spot for a little food adventure!

LOCATION: Albert Cuypstraat 203, 1073 BE Amsterdam, Netherlands

Dutch cheese in Amsterdam

Try traditional Dutch foods

Of course, with any place you visit, you should try the local and traditional foods!

Foods I sadly didn’t get to try were pickled herring and Dutch cheese, but hopefully we’ll try those next time we visit Amsterdam!

Here are the foods we did get to try.

Bitterballen from De BallenBar at Foodhallen Amsterdam


We tried Bitterballen at De BallenBar, a vendor at the Foodhallen food hall, and it was absolutely amaze.

They’re basically deep-fried meatballs, and De BallenBar offers them up in a variety of classic and fusion flavours.

Definitely try the original Beef Bitterballen, which is made in the traditional style with Dutch cattle.

We enjoyed the Old Cheese Spinach Cashew (vegetarian), but the Beef was definitely our favourite between the two.

Dutch fries

Fabel Friet is all over TikTok, so we of course had to stop in and try their famous Dutch fries. They were delicious!

Their perfectly crispy fries are topped with your choice of toppings, with their specialty being a parmesan and truffle mayo combo (which we got and loved!)

Afterwards, head nearby to the viral Van Stapele Koekmakerij to try their one and only offering: a dark chocolate cookie with white chocolate filling.

Hans Egstorf stroopwafel in Amsterdam


Stroopwafels are a famous Dutch treat made up of two thin waffle cookies held together by caramel filling.

Van Wonderen Stroopwafels is the more famous spot for Stroopwafels, but we visited Hans Egstorf as they had better reviews.

Hans Egstorf is also the oldest bakery in Amsterdam, and they’ve been baking up the same stroopwafel recipe since 1898!

They’re freshly made right in front of you, and you get to enjoy them nice ‘n’ hot.

I’d recommend holding your stroopwafel flat, as all of our filling sunk to the bottom from holding it upright!

De Laatste Kruimel Amsterdam

Enjoy pastries on De Laatste Kruimel’s balcony

If you’re a pastry lover, you’ll definitely want to stop into De Laatste Kruimel in central Amsterdam.

Their epic window display is filled with endless delectable treats, whether you’re in the mood for something sweet or savoury.

De Laatste Kruimel Amsterdam

And the best part of this spot? Their teeny tiny balcony overlooking the canal!

There are only a handful of seats, but if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to snag a table on the balcony.

You’ll get to enjoy people watching and see all the canal cruises floating by as you enjoy your sweet treats.

We shared their Carrot Cake and Cheesecake, both of which were super delicious.

LOCATION: Langebrugsteeg 4, 1012 GB Amsterdam, Netherlands

Feast from different vendors at Foodhallen

We visited several food halls while in Europe, and Foodhallen in Amsterdam was definitely one of our favourites.

There are so many different vendors offering foods from around the world, from banh mi, to tacos, to pizza!

Adam and I decided to share dishes at a bunch of different spots so we could try as much as possible.

We shared a cone filled with meat, olives, and crackers from Jabugo Bar Iberico, Bitterballen from De BallenBar, and a Babaghanoush Burger from The Butcher.

For desserts, we enjoyed a Miso Caramel Sundae from The Noodle Shop and a Minimini cake from Petit Gâteau.

Everything we had was really good, and we wished we could’ve tried even more food!

While you’re at Foodhallen, you’ll definitely also want to stop into The Maker Store in the same building, where you’ll find tons of cool items from local makers and small businesses.

Another really cool thing about Foodhallen is that they have an underground parking garage for bikes. Yes, bikes!

You can also visit Foodhallen’s other food halls in Rotterdam and The Hague.

LOCATION: Bellamyplein 51, 1053 AT Amsterdam, Netherlands

Vondelpark Amsterdam

Explore Vondelpark

Vondelpark is a really nice 47-hectare park in Amsterdam, and it’s the perfect spot for biking or walking around.

The park originally opened back in 1865, and it’s the largest green space in Amsterdam!

We pretty much just biked right through it while enjoying all the greenery.

Some of the leaves were just starting to change colour for fall, and I’m sure it’s absolutely stunning here when all the leaves are different colours!

Lomanstraat Amsterdam
Lomanstraat is a picturesque street near Vondelpark.
Zevenlandenhuizen Amsterdam
Zevenlandenhuizen is a row of 7 different houses built in the styles of 7 different countries.

Afterwards, snap some photos at the picturesque Lomanstraat, then see the Zevenlandenhuizen, which are a row of 7 different houses built in styles of different countries.

We enjoying biking in the neighbourhood around Vondelpark as well – there were so many beautiful homes!

Another really nice park to explore in Amsterdam is Sarphatipark, which is in the De Pijp neighbourhood.

Spoonbills at Artisplein Amsterdam

See birds at Artisplein

Artisplein is a super cool (and free!) spot where you can see flamingoes and spoonbills.

This open square is located right beside the Royal Artis Zoo, which is where these beautiful birds are housed.

The zoo is actually one of the oldest in the world – it was founded almost two centuries ago!

Flamingos at Artisplein Amsterdam

Though we did discover this “hidden” spot on TikTok, we loved that it did feel like a hidden gem.

We visited in the late afternoon, and there were only a handful of people enjoying the flamingo views.

There are also plenty of tables and chairs in the square, so you can bring a picnic or takeout to enjoy here!

You can also dine at De Plantage, a really nice restaurant serving up creative Mediterranean dishes.

Artisplein Amsterdam

Bikes aren’t allowed in the square, but you can park your bikes right outside along the sidewalk!

LOCATION: 1018 CZ Amsterdam, Netherlands

Bloemgracht Canal in Amsterdam, Netherlands
The picturesque Bloemgracht canal.

Bike around the canals

Biking is the most efficient way to get around Amsterdam, and you’ll definitely want to bike around all the scenic canals in Amsterdam.

There are a total of 165 canals in Amsterdam, and combined, they’re over 100 kilometres long!

Some of the canals even have beautiful bike displays, which make for perfect photo opps.

I did a bunch of research beforehand of all the prettiest and most Instagrammable canals, but they mostly all looked the same to us lol.

In case you do want to see the list I put together, here they are:

  • Reguliersgracht
  • Kloveniersburgwal
  • Oudezijds Voorburgwal
  • Bloemgracht
  • Egelantiersgracht
  • Brouwersgracht
  • Corsgenburg
  • Singel
  • Herengracht

One of the last few listed are meant to have a pumpkin display during the fall months, but we sadly weren’t able to find it!

Bloemgracht Canal in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Bloemgracht canal.

We did bike along all of those canals, and probably the nicest ones were Oudezijds Voorburgwal and Bloemgracht (as you can see from my photos above).

The historic canal ring in the heart of Amsterdam is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is really cool!

There are many bike rental shops in Amsterdam, and you can actually get a free 24 hour bike rental at select rental shops with the I amsterdam City Card.

Canal cruise in Amsterdam

Go on a canal cruise

Canal cruises are probably the number one tourist attraction in Amsterdam, and for good reason.

You can get a different perspective of Amsterdam and enjoy the beauty of the city from the water!

There are tons of different companies that offer canal cruises, and you can even get a free canal cruise with the I amsterdam City Card.

We didn’t do a canal cruise during our visit to Amsterdam, but we saw tons of people enjoying them all around the city!

Red Light District Amsterdam

See the Red Light District

We only briefly walked through the area during the day, but it’s super fascinating walking through the iconic Red Light District.

You’ll find rows of beautiful women standing behind glass windows, illuminated by red lights when it gets dark.

Remember not to take photos of any of the women in the windows – it’s illegal, and most of all, it’s rude!

There’s some good shopping in the area as well, including small shops like Nishi and Rezareez, and more well-known stores like Stüssy.

While we were in the area, we dined at Ramen-Ya, a ramen restaurant that makes everything in-house.

There are actually 3 different red-light districts in Amsterdam, but the one everyone refers to as the Red Light District is De Wallen.

It’s the oldest and most popular red-light district in Amsterdam, and it was built back in 1385.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Red Light District, you can check out the Red Light Secrets Museum!

Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam (Royal Palace Amsterdam)

Visit historic sites in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is filled with the most stunning historic buildings and sites – I was literally in constant awe as we biked all around the city.

Some of my favourite historic buildings in Amsterdam include:

  • Royal Palace Amsterdam: the official state palace of the Dutch royal family
  • Amsterdam Centraal Station: the largest railway station in Amsterdam
  • Rijksmuseum: the national museum of the Netherlands
  • Oude Kerk Amsterdam: a church and the oldest building in Amsterdam

Even the churches, townhouses, and shops around Amsterdam were beautiful!

Since we mostly explored the city on our bikes, we didn’t get a chance to take as many photos as I’d wanted to, but we still had a really fun time.

I would definitely recommend making lots of photo stops – the city is so picturesque!

Heineken beer at Bulls and Dogs Amsterdam

Do the Heineken Experience

If you’re a beer lover, you’ll definitely want to check out the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam.

The immersive experience tells the story of how a small Dutch brewery became one of the world’s most well-known beer brands, and you’ll even get to enjoy a taste while you’re there.

The Heineken Experience was something I was really looking forward to, but sadly Adam can’t have alcohol for health reasons, and my brother-in-law didn’t want to go.

I did have a glass of Heineken on tap at a local restaurant, so at least I still got to have Heineken in Amsterdam!

If you have the I amsterdam City Card, you can also get 25% off your ticket at the Heineken Experience.

Amsterdam coffeeshops

See the coffeeshops

Coffeeshops have an 💨entirely different meaning💨 in Amsterdam, so don’t get it confused if you’re in search for a cup of java.

Adam and I didn’t partake, but my brother-in-law enjoyed checking out some coffeeshops during our adventures around Amsterdam!

Head shop in Amsterdam

You’ll also find a lot of head shops all around Amsterdam, and even if you don’t partake, it’s still fun to look around.

P.S. If you’re looking for actual coffee in Amsterdam, search up “coffee” or “bakery” on Google, rather than “coffee shop” or “café”.

Where to stay in Amsterdam

Looking for the best hotels in Amsterdam to stay at during your trip?

We wanted to avoid staying in the busy city centre, so we stayed at Volkshotel near the De Pijp neighbourhood.

It’s a fun and quirky hotel with a café, restaurant, and badplaats (their mini rooftop spa).

Their lobby area features their café, where they also have books and board games, as well as a co-working space that’s filled with remote workers from morning ’til late.

We were also able to rent bikes directly from our hotel (€14 for the first day and €10 everyday afterwards), which was super convenient.

It was also super easy to take public transit from the airport to Wibautstraat Station, which is just a few minutes’ walk away from the hotel.

If we do come back to Amsterdam someday, we’ll definitely stay at the Volkshotel again!

LOCATION: Wibautstraat 150, 1091 GR Amsterdam, Netherlands

More tips for visiting Amsterdam

I amsterdam City Card

If you plan on doing several attractions and visiting multiple museums, I’d highly recommend getting the I amsterdam City Card.

The card includes access or discounts to a variety of attractions across Amsterdam, free public transit on the GVB, and more!

In terms of attractions, you can get free access to a number of museums, canal cruises, and bicycle rentals.

Take note that some attractions will require you to book a timeslot in advance, so be sure to plan ahead.

Prices for the I amsterdam City Card depend on how long you want it for:

  • 24 hours: €60
  • 48 hours: €85
  • 72 hours: €100
  • 96 hours: €115
  • 120 hours: €125

The easiest way to get your I amsterdam City Card is to order it online, download the I amsterdam City Card app on your phone, then scan your card on the app to get access to attractions and public transit.

Biking in Amsterdam

Biking is the easiest and most convenient way to get around Amsterdam, as there’s really good infrastructure and plenty of dedicated bike lanes in the city.

Because biking is such a large part of the city culture, there will be tons of people biking around you at all times, especially in busier areas or during rush hour.

If you’re not a very confident cyclist, I’d highly recommend getting some practice ahead of time before your trip to Amsterdam.

If you’re short like I am (5’2), I’d also see if it’s possible to rent a children’s or teen’s bike if an adult bike is too tall for you.

I struggled quite a bit with my adult bike as my legs couldn’t reach the ground, and I even fell off it at one point while trying to stop!

Asking for water at restaurants

If a server at a restaurant asks whether you want still or sparkling, you’re likely going to be paying a few euros for that tiny glass bottle of water.

We came to realize that water isn’t a standard in all European restaurants, and we ended up paying for water several times.

Be sure to ask for “tap water” instead!

We did come across one instance in Germany where the server said they didn’t have tap water, but it could have also been a language barrier.

Nieuwe Amstelbrug in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Best things to do in Amsterdam:

  1. Go museum hopping
  2. Explore trendy neighbourhoods like Jordaan and De Pijp
  3. Shop vintage at the Waterlooplein Market
  4. Shop and dine at the Albert Cuyp Market
  5. Try traditional Dutch foods
  6. Enjoy pastries on De Laatste Kruimel’s balcony
  7. Feast from different vendors at Foodhallen
  8. Explore Vondelpark
  9. See birds at Artisplein
  10. Bike around the canals
  11. Go on a canal cruise
  12. See the Red Light District
  13. Visit historic sites in Amsterdam
  14. Do the Heineken Experience
  15. See the coffeeshops

These were some of the best and most fun things to do in Amsterdam, no matter what types of activities you’re into!

Have you been to Amsterdam before? What are the most fun things to do in Amsterdam in your opinion? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram!

More things to do in Amsterdam

If you’re planning your trip to Amsterdam, you might enjoy these posts:

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Jessica Lam | Toronto lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and travel blogger | Diary of a Toronto Girl, a Canadian lifestyle blog

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