Amsterdam is one of those places where what you see is what you get. There is so much to this city and we’re here to break down what to do in Amsterdam. There are a ton of things to do in Amsterdam. From canal cruises to the red light district to eating waffles. Whatever you do you are sure to have fun. Our Top Things To Do In Amsterdam list has a little bit of everything.
Top Things to do in Amsterdam
Anne Frank’s house
Visiting Frank’s house gives you a glimpse of what it would have been like for this family during the holocaust. Being there is a humbling experience and a sorrowful one. While sad it is an important visit because as Anne said best “What is done cannot be undone, but one can prevent it happening again.” The line can get long so either go early in the morning or later in the evenings, buying tickets ahead is suggested.
Cruise the Canals
To really say you’ve seen Amsterdam you’ve got to see it from the water. The canal belt, a protected UNESCO site, gets you the quintessential view of Amsterdam. By day or night this is sure to be any highlight to your trip. During my last trip to Amsterdam my best friends arranged a cruise on my birthday and it was the highlight of my trip to Amsterdam!
People Watch at Dam Square
There is so much to do in Dam Square you could easily spend hours here and not be bored. The Royal Place, New Church and National monument are all within walking distance of this area. There are a ton of shops and cafes which makes this a perfect place to people watch or grab a bite.
Live Like a Local
The easiest way to live like a local in Amsterdam is by biking. Bikes overtake the streets and whizpast you at speeds that would qualify them for the Tour de France. As terrifying as it may sounds it’s one of the few times when it’s cool to be part of a heard.
Visit a Coffee Shop
Alright I’m going to be honest if there was ever a time to get high it’s in Amsterdam. You literally walk into a coffee shop, order, pay and smoke. It’s the least stressful drug transaction you’ll ever make.
If I could pick a smell for the city of Amsterdam, it would be waffles. Walking around you will smell the sweet aroma of waffles and instantly crave one. Waffles are popular in Amsterdam and there are a few variations of the stroopwafel so be sure to try one.
Red Light District
Walking the red light district is like nothing I have ever seen before. Neon lights frame the doors where men come and go while women put on acts to lure them in. It is not as seedy as I thought, probably due to the fact that I was eating a triple decker ice cream cone smothered in sprinkles. Hey I like to live on the wild side.
Standing at 279 feet tall, it is the tallest church tower in the city. While the outside is beautiful the inside is rather simple with its expansive white walls. At the top you get great views of the city, which makes it worth every step. Book tickets in advance they only allow a few people up at a time.
Picnic in Vondelpark
Vondelpark is beloved by locals and tourist. There are cafes and ice cream stands in the park so you can stroll and munch. Which let’s be honest is my favorite kind of stroll. Picnic by one of the lakes and watch the swans swim peacefully.
Van Gogh Museum
I’ve said this before but if I am only going to be in a city for a few days museums are hardly ever on my list. I usually prefer to mingle with the locals, explore on foot or take in the nature. The Van Gogh museum however is a must. Seeing his work in person was so inspiring it actually made the city seem more alive to me.
Amsterdam has a ton of great things to offer. Whether you visit for a long weekend or weeks you will not run out of things to do. If you are looking for where to stay in Amsterdam you will find no shortage of amazing hotels, airbnbs and hostels to pick from. This along with all its amazing neighborhoods makes it one of my favorite European cities to visit.