This is your super handy guide for everything you need to know for having fun in Amsterdam.
And there is way more than just cycling around, visiting the red-light district and chartering a boat on the canals.
After introducing you to the hilarious fun part of Barcelona, and the 31 fun things to do in London, we had a look at Amsterdam. “C’mon“, we thought, “this city must have endless awesome and unique things to have fun.”
And oh boy, we were so right.
So, join us! Have a look at all the fun things to do we found for Amsterdam – including Darth Vader!
(Updated for October 2020)
Accommodation in Amsterdam
At the end of this guide, we cover our recommended accommodation with hotels, Airbnb and hostels.
Here is a detailed guide on where to stay in Amsterdam.
We also found the coolest hostels in town and reviewed them for you:
- Cocomama – great for female solo travelers and couples (max 4 person groups!)
- Ecomama – a top pick for solo travelers and groups
- ClinkNOORD – wide mix
Read our full guide to the best hostels in Amsterdam.
Let’s get the Amsterdam party started.
But make sure you check again the smartest travel packing list with 23 items you CANNOT miss.
1. Hunting Street Art
Amsterdam is a creative city! Go for some street art hunting at the street Spuistraat and area. I am not just talking about graffiti.
There is much more to it.
Have a look at the bikes decoration, tiny public libraries, and other small items. Just keep your eyes open.
You can also join an alternative tour.
The tour lasts 2 hours and costs 14€ per person only.
The tour is about subcultures, the hidden life in Amsterdam like prostitution and drugs, street art and so much more.
Literally, an alternative tour!
2. Boat Tour (even Pizza Boat Cruise!)
This one is quite obvious. We really liked it, we really recommend it!
There are many different boat tours and cruises. Just have a look at Get Your Guide to find different cruises in Amsterdam.
Here is a list of all the cruises in Amsterdam:
- Food: Burger Cruise with Unlimited Drinks
- Sightseeing: 1.5-hour evening canal cruise
- Luxury Version: 4-Course dinner on a cruise
- Romantic: Candlelight Cruise (with unlimited drinks 😉 )
Buuuuut…here is the way more fun experience.
Pizza and Booze Cruise
Check out this pizza-and-booze-cruise.
You get hot pizza, unlimited drinks (wine, beer and soft drinks), Audio guide, and even free WiFi. Seriously, this is the cooler option to have a fun night out. I mean, how often do you have the chance to party a bit on a boat in a “gracht” in Amsterdam?!
For sure one of the unique things to do in Amsterdam.
3. Escape Room (with awesome story-telling)
Ever heard of an Escape Room?
An escape room is a room filled with riddles and puzzles.
Here’s how we had a blast in an Escape Room in Prague.
You and your buddies have to solve the puzzle, find the solution and ultimately the key to escape the room. It is perfect activity for a rainy day and outside the box.
The coolest escape room in Amsterdam is Locked in Amsterdam.
The behind the room is simple: 20 years ago the Russian submarine K-129 has mysteriously disappeared in the North Pacific Ocean. A journalists studying the incident disappears suddenly and the situation gets serious.
Find out what happened to the journalist, the submarine and make sure you stay a step ahead the Russian secret service…
Have a look at the video below:
How to join?
- get up to 5 more buddies
- Schedule your escape room slot at the official website www.lockedamsterdam.nl
- have fun
4. Mini Golf in the Dark (from 8€!)
I’ve to admit, I really enjoy the Mini Golf. It is simple, fun, and cheap. And basically everybody can play it.
Play a 45 minutes game at Glow-In-The-Dark Mini Golf.
What does that mean?
It is actually not pitch dark, it is magical black light providing an exciting effect.
This is a perfect activity for families with children, birthdays and even maybe a date.
It only costs 8€ and takes 45 minutes. Perfect for things to do in Amsterdam when it rains, for instance.
Compare prices at: Get Your Guide
5. SWING on Europe’s highest swing
You know what? This fun thing to do in Amsterdam doesn’t require a big explanation.
It actually only needs a cool WOW!
You can seriously hop on Europe’s highest swing; over the edge. You will be strapped on a swing on the edge in almost 100 meters height. Have a look at the video below.
On top of that, you have the best view overall Amsterdam. Since the city is quite flat, meaning there’s not a lot of tall houses, you can identify so many sights.
There’s more. The swing is located on top of the A’DAM Tower.
Here you enjoy a 360° sky deck; regardless if you hop on the swing or not, it’s worth it.
The LOOKOUT is also your entrance to the interactive Amsterdam exhibition and the Madam panorama bar-restaurant-club.
Check the video below, it shows everything.
Ticket: You’ve to have a valid ticket to enter!!! You cannot enter without.
Opening hours: Daily from 10:00 – 22:00 hour, last entry at 21:00 hour.
Update: You can now only book the tickets for Amsterdam Swing on the official page.
6. Coffee Shop and Ganja Tour (here is a full list!)
Alright alright…so many people asked and yes, it is a cliché thing to do, but here you go. We’ve found this list of all coffee shops in Amsterdam.
There are also super interesting tours covering the background of the coffee shops.
Good to know: Coffee shop in the Netherlands means a bar/ café to smoke legal drugs.
These tours are for everyone above 18 years, including retired people. Very interesting as this is part of the culture!
7. Get drunk at a Pub Crawl
It is no secret Amsterdam has a vibrant nightlife. There is endless clubs and bars to go wild.
If you plan to explore the real nightlife, we found a way to enjoy the coolest clubs in town plus saving money!
I highly recommend joining a Pub Crawl. That means party and nightlife as well.
You can join many different Pub Crawls and even red-light district tours – we come to this later.
So, Mr. and Mrs. Party Animal, make sure you check it out.
One thing: I am not your mommy, but please drink responsibly. You are old enough, though, right?!
In Amsterdam you have many many museums. For me, the highlights are:
At Rijksmuseum, you admire over 400 masterpieces by great artists such as Jan Steen, Frans Hals, Vermeer and of course Rembrandt.
See the beautiful doll’s houses, a wealth of silverware, and much more.
Admire one of the most famous Dutch Golden Age paintings: The night Watch and get impressed not only by its size ( It is 363 cm x 437 cm = 11.91 ft x 14.34 ft).
The dramatic static paint will come alive with the use of light and shadow.
Make sure you get your Skip-The-Line Ticket on the phone BEFORE queuing here.
Good to know: download the Museum app for a free audio guide (8 different languages available).
9. Red Light District Tour (Seriously, recommended!!!)
Sure, everybody is curious about the red light district in Amsterdam, right?!
You can take a Red Light district tour directly here. Tours start from 15€ /$16 and it takes 2 hours.
We joined a tour by Ecomama and had a great time. The tour guide had interesting insider stories to tell, and it gives you access to a hidden world.
Seriously, this tour is not about prostitutes and drugs. This tour actually gives you deep insight and lets you understand the modern Amsterdam.
If you’re not staying at Ecomama, the 5 Star Hostel, then you’ve two choices:
- Change your reservation and go to Ecomama
- or get your tour for red light district online
Compare prices: Get Your Guide
10. Free music, Comedy, and shows at Vondelpark
Talking about Vondelpark, there is way more you can do besides a lovely picnic.
In summer there is an open-air theater called “Openlichttheater” (Open light theater).
- and other special events.
The schedule varies. Make sure you check out their website for the agenda of Openlichttheater.
Who doesn’t love free stuff? Tanja, a local guide gives you an introduction on 18 Free things to do in Amsterdam.
Photo by Vondelpark_openluchttheater
11. Van Gogh Museum
The world-famous Van Gogh Museum.
This should be your Amsterdam Culture block.
Admire more than 200 paintings, 500 drawings, and 750 letters from the Dutch master. Discover the parallels between Van Gogh and Munch in an exclusive new exhibition.
12. Explore Albert Cuypmarkt
The largest market in Amsterdam takes place every day from Monday to Saturday from 9:00 – 17:00.
In fact, it is Europe’s biggest daily street market.
You can find here basically everything from food, 2nd hand, souvenirs, smoothies, art, fashion, and so on.
A beautiful market for spending some time.
Find more information about Albert Cuypmarkt Amsterdam.
Photo by @halloamalina
First of all: we love the pun!
And 2nd, we are big fans of local markets! Once a month there is the Neighbor-food fest.
A small hidden gem for the food-lover.
Check out the official website of Neighbor-food here.
They also keep their facebook updated!
14. Ice Ice Baby: The Icebar
The coolest venue in town, the ICE BAR.
Walk-in and get a jacket so you can stand the -45°…well okay, it’s “only” -10°c, still cold!
Come here for a cocktail.
The ambiance is so different from the usual bars, it is definitely worth it.
You need an entry ticket to get inside. With this Icebar ticket, you even get 3 free drinks (1 cocktail, 2 beer for 19.50€)
Important: There is no need to bring your own warm jacket. The ICE Bar will provide everything. Just bring a good mood!
15. Windmill Tour (Volendam, Marken & Windmills)
We all love them: The windmills!
Join a day trip to the Windmills just outside the city.
Option A: Bike Tour
There is a 3-hour bike-tour to the windmills, along the canals. It includes as well a cheese-tasting. YUMMY and perfect for a sunny day. It helps to be a bit fit, although you won’t cycle for too long.
Option B: Bus Tour with Canal Cruise
The other, less sporty option is this day trip to the Windmills.
It takes you to Volendam, Marken & Windmills with Free 1-Hour Canal Cruise.
Explore the Dutch countryside and leave Amsterdam behind for a half-day tour with free canal cruise included. See the famous Zaanse Shans windmills, explore the quaint fishing villages of Volendam and Marken and stop at a traditional Dutch cheese farm.
Find more information and prices for the tour here.
We took this photo in Rotterdam, NOT in Amsterdam. The windmills north of Amsterdam are equally beautiful, but we did not take any good photo there 🙁
16. Festivals (and there are a lot)
Amsterdam is known for its party-party-party festivals!
It wouldn’t make sense for us to list here now every single festival, as there are more than 300 per year, so check out the official tourism website.
They have all the schedules for every single festival in Amsterdam.
17. Get a drink at Hanneke’s Boom
When the weather allows, this place is just awesome.
It is a small house right on the canal.
Order a drink, take a seat and mingle with the locals. Don’t forget the sun cream in summer!
Photo credit HannekesBoom
18. Heineken Experience
After the epic Pub Crawl and the XTRA cold Ice bar, we LOVE the Heineken Experience.
If you are into beer and especially Heineken, go for iiiiiiit!
Come and discover what lies behind the doors of the former Heineken® brewery and learn everything there is to know about the world’s favorite beer.
I mean, we won’t pay your beer, but cheer for us…CHEERS!!
19. Madame Tussauds Amsterdam
Berlin has one, London has one and so does Amsterdam.
We consider the Madame Tussauds something you should have visited somewhere in the world.
Dance with Lady Gaga, touch Justin Bieber, take your photo with Robbie Williams and be dazzled by George Clooney!
See your favorite stars cast in wax at Madame Tussauds Amsterdam and enjoy interactive photo sets of the stars of the screen, TV, politics, music and more.
What I am I writing…you already know what’s madame Tussaud about, right?!
Get your Fast-Line ticket here to skip the queue.
Compare prices at: Get Your Guide
20. Spend a day in Haarlem
You can cycle to Haarlem, a picturesque village, west of Amsterdam.
It is halfway to the Atlantic coast and beach, near Keukenhof. We love it here, and so will you!
The photo below shows a beautiful beach bar next to Haarlem.
Now that we think about it…
Actually, you can spend a day in Haarlem as well.
It is the local small version of Amsterdam. It gives you an idea of the authentic Netherlands. Because, trust us, when we say: Amsterdam is not the typical Netherlands.
In Haarlem you can cycle to a beautiful beach and get lost in the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park.
In the Zuid-Kennemerland National Park, you can see many animals:
- roe deer
- fallow deer
- west European hedgehog
- European rabbit
- the red fox, and…
Good to know: visit the information point and ask where the wisents are, they can tell you exactly where they are.
21. Rent a bike and cruise around!
Here you have more bike rentals:
Fun Fact: Did you know many Amsterdameses have several bikes?
One for daily life, and one at night for going out. In case it gets stolen…well, that’s at least, what we’ve been told!
22. Join a Fun Bike Tour
Instead of touring on your own, you can join a historical bike tour.
Amsterdam is perfect for cycling, although you have to pay attention to it. There is a lot of bike traffic! It is also the perfect city for an actual bike tour.
You can join a 3-hour bike tour with a local guide. The tour takes you around the
- city center,
- the canals,
- New Market,
- Old Church,
- the famous Red Light District,
- Royal Palaca, Jordaan District
- and many more.
It is easy cycling with several breaks and lots of curious information about Anne Frank, 1000 years of history, the red light district and today’s situation.
23. Become a local (5 Secrets)
Personally, we are bored by tourist guides. This is why we share our best-kept secrets for different destinations all around the world with you.
In our secret guide to Amsterdam we introduce you to 5 local spots:
- Lovely hidden Café right at the canals
- a Restaurant for delicious breakfast, lunch & dinner
- local Park to hang out with locals
- Fashion, Design, Art: This concept store will be your Lil heaven!
- Escape the heat and party with locals & ex-pats – a must-do!
You can directly download it here:
Not sure? Have a detailed look at what’s inside this email guide.
24. Peep Show
During the red light district tour, the tour joins as well a peep show.
What is a peep show? It is a piecewise presentation of live sex show which is viewed through a viewing slot. The slot shuts after the time paid for has expired.
Well, those are well-invested, curious 1€-2€!
25. A live-sex show
How about watching people having live-sex? Okay okay…this is getting weird, we know.
Let this idea sink in a little bit, after all, you’re in Amsterdam!
The Casa Rosso is the most popular venue for this kind of event.
Don’t feel forced to join just because you’re here. But we actually heard many interesting opinions about Casa Rosso and their venue.
26. Eco-systems of Amsterdam
Okay, okay…this one may sound quite odd (again), but it’s actually really cool and you can learn a lot…well, we just made it sound boring again, right?!
The nature guide in Amsterdam is unique and interesting for everyone looking for a different kind of experience.
You can find all the details about the tour directly with The Nature Walk Amsterdam.
Also, pretty handy, this detailed article about this alternative nature tour by AwesomeAmsterdam.com
27. The Sky is the limit – Roof Top Bar
The Sky Lounge is the Amsterdam answer of sky bars in Bangkok and other metropolitan cities around the world.
However, I still think the Amsterdam Swing is cooler (more on #3). Just my opinion, really.
28. Keukenhof Garden – Tulips Paradise
Alright you made ALL the way to Amsterdam and the Netherlands. I am sure you would love to see the world-famous dutch tulips. Right?
It is time to leave the city for a short day trip and hop over to Keukenhof Gardens. It is roughly 1 hour from Amsterdam.
This is one of the most beautiful day trips from Amsterdam for families and couples. As a solo-travelers, I would not really recommend it unless you are very interested in tulips.
Keukenhof is known as one of the world’s largest spring garden. And it is seriously beautiful. Have a look on the video below.
You can take an organized direct bus from Amsterdam city center to Keukenhof Gardens. It also gives you the skip-the-line ticket to see the stunning flowers and floral displays at your own pace.
Good to know: Especially in summer, the queue can be too long! Skip The Line Ticket is here as well a good idea!
How to get here: You can either take an organized tour or the public bus. The public bus takes around 30 minutes long, yet it is cheaper.
Check maps.google.com for bus schedule.
29. Live Jazz at Studio K
Studio K is a cinema, restaurants, and venue for so many events, run by students.
Definitely an alternative thing to do in Amsterdam, and perfect for a fun night out.
Check out the Studio K to see what’s going on when you’re there. The schedule always changes!
Photo by Studio k
30. Amsterdam Light Festival
Witness the canals of Amsterdam light up the city made by the best light artists from Holland and other countries.
The Amsterdam Light Festival is a yearly tradition you can catch from December to early January. The city center glows up with dozens of innovative and high-quality light art installations from (inter)national artists from 17:00 to 23:00.
Aside from seeing the wonderful lights, you can also take part in voting the best light display which will be awarded at the end of the festival. You can find all types of tours and activities here.
You can enjoy the festival by all means – by foot, by boat, on a bicycle. Whichever you prefer. Here are tours and itineraries you can join.
- Lovers Light Festival Cruise
- Tickets for Amsterdam Light Festival from Central Station
- Light Festival Bike Tour
- Amsterdam Winter Walking Tour
31. Join quirky events in Amsterdam
Enjoy the city as the locals do.
Roest is the place to be!
You can join
- pool parties here
- DJ sessions
- live concerts
- or simply hang out in the unofficial living room of Amsterdam.
Find the full agenda of Amsterdam Roest here.
Photo by cristianonuncacasa
Ever heard of GeoCaching?
It is a game, and a perfect tool to explore different spots around an area.
There are endless GeoCaches, hidden all over Amsterdam. Just get the free app or the paid app for the advance nerd – and start. You will be surprised!
There is even a list of GeoCaches around Amsterdam you should check out.
Photo by Superhappyhippo
33. Walk around as Darth Vader
Well, okay, we have no idea what this guy in the Darth Vader costume is doing here in Amsterdam…
BUT: It looks like fun.
Maybe it’s Darth Vader spending some free days in Amsterdam, not sure. Either way, fun!
34. Food trucks, buddy!
Quite new, and trendy right now all over Europe. There are now as well as food truck festivals in Amsterdam.
You can find the dates of the “rollende keukens” (rolling kitchens) here.
35. Anne Frank Walking Tour
This may not be an entertaining activity, but certainly, one we highly recommend.
The NEW Anne Frank walking tour. If you are not visiting the usually crowded Anne Frank House, then this is the tour to go.
Good to know: For actually visiting the famous Anne Frank House, you have to book on the official website. Tickets are made available only exactly 2 months before.
You can ONLY book tickets to the actual Anne Frank House on the official website!
36. Dining in the dark
This is quite self-explanatory, isn’t it?
Dining in the dark has become quite trendy. And you can try it here in Amsterdam as well. The CTASTE is such a place and the most popular one in Amsterdam.
This photo made by us shows how we imagine a dinner in the dark looks like.
Important: You have to book your table. It is always busy.
37. Neighborhood Markets
Now, this one we especially enjoyed!
There are so many different neighborhoods around Amsterdam, and each one is unique.
You can find all the Amsterdam Markets with the official tourism board.
38. Have an easy laugh
How about improvised comedy?
The comedy shows are in English, so don’t you worry about your dutch.
The shows are held every Friday (unless it’s summer break) at CREA Café.
The schedule for the shows? Here you go!
Photo by easylaughsamsterdam
39. Visit the “I Amsterdam sign” – in the early hour
Update 2019: The iAmsterdam sign was removed by the city council. For more info, read here.
Everybody wants this cool photo, right?!
However, it is always crowded, and taking a cool photo with only you, well, it is almost impossible!
The I Amsterdam sign is right next to the Rijkmuseum.
Remember it is important to get your ticket beforehand to Rijkmuseum to skip the loooong queue!
Oh, and by the way, this is how the sign looks like……..when you’re too late:
40. Go to the local beach
You can take a ferry from the main train station crossing the big canal. Pllek is an amazing place with a cool interior design, and a nice beach front.
Even when it’s cold, it’s pretty awesome here. Bring some hunger and thirst, there is plenty of choices to eat and drink. This could be also a cool place for dates in Amsterdam or with friends to hang.
Pllek offers a wide variety of good food and drinks.
Good to know: Just check before how to get there, so you do not get list. Happened to us. Anyway, we had the offline map from Maps.me. One of our favorite travel apps.
Read: 47 best travel apps we always use.
80 Things to do in Amsterdam – a handy list
Obviously, there are so many things to do in Amsterdam.
We had a look around and collected some of the coolest collections. Overall you can find more than 80 things to in Amsterdam.
Just browse to get some ideas.
Top 20 Things to do in Amsterdam – A cool guide to show you 20 things to experience in Amsterdam. There are quite the basics included, but a great introduction to get an idea.
20 Instagrammable places in Amsterdam – according to a blogger
City Guides to Amsterdam
The Amsterdam guide of Little Black Book is a fantastic resource you cannot miss. Many different restaurants, bars, cafés – and most of them have a design background.
For every curious traveler, we also found 14 incredible secrets you did not know about Amsterdam.
Confession time: There are some secret spots we also did not know about – yet, a good reason for us to always come back!
Where to stay in Amsterdam?
The city is covered with different options to stay. Here is a detailed guide on where to stay in Amsterdam as first-time visitor.
We found the coolest hostels in town:
- Cocomama – great for female solo travelers and couples (max 4 person groups!)
- Ecomama – a top pick for solo travelers and groups
- ClinkNOORD – wide mix
Read our full guide to the best hostels in Amsterdam.
(We have visited all hostels in Amsterdam in person to actually review them!)
How to book hostels? We wrote a guide on how to book hostels with Hostelworld. Your Swiss-knife to booking is Hostelz.com. They list all hostels in Amsterdam and they compare the prices for you on the major booking sites.
Traveling in a group or with your partner and want to stay on your own?
Airbnb is a popular option. I can totally recommend these two sweet Airbnb near the Damn Square:
Here’s our guide on how to use Airbnb + 35€ discount.
If you prefer an apartment, my personal recommendation for an apartment is Keizersgracht Suite 471.
It has the perfect location, next to a canal with lovely views, and a top design I enjoy.
You can find thousands of hotels in Amsterdam. So many, that it can be difficult to choose one.
For Luxury and High-End Hotels, check out these amazing boutique hotels in Amsterdam.
I would go for one of the smaller ones like Mr. Joordan Hotel.
Conveniently located, Mr. Joordan is a modern and clean hotel.
They have a quaint common area where you can grab a free coffee and meet other travelers.
How to get around Amsterdam?
Amsterdam is a really walkable city. Yet, you have almost every single option for transport you can imagine.
- even ferries
My best recommendation for getting around Amsterdam easily and fast is the Public Transport Ticket.
Experience Amsterdam stress-free with an unlimited travel card for all public transport networks. Purchase a ticket that best suits your plans – valid for a day or a multi-day ticket.
Using your ticket is easy and convenient.
Simply check-in on boarding a tram, bus or metro, and then check out when you exit or disembark the vehicle. The ticket will be validated on first use and can be used for unlimited travel until the end of its validity.
Summary: Fun Things To Do in Amsterdam
Seriously?! You are still here?
We just gave you the most amazing hostel in Amsterdam and a huge list for having fun in Amsterdam.
- +28 fun things to do in Paris including boat parties, pizza picnic, and crepes
- our secret guide to Amsterdam – free to download
- 29 fun things to do in Lisbon, Portugal
- fun things tod in Rottterdam
We hope this big summary of activities around the most popular Dutch city is helpful.
Would you like to add anything?
Do you have another cool idea for spending time in Amsterdam? Then leave a comment below.
We are always keen to improve this article and add more and more!
And now, have fun!
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Smart and Simple Packing List
It is time to see what you should pack in your backpack or suitcase. Make sure you always pick a quality accommodation, it totally reduces the things you need to pack. Here is our ultimate packing list. It features 23 items you should really throw in your backpack.The most important things to pack are:
- eye mask
- key chain flashlight
- the right backpack, the Nomatic (our review of Nomatic here) or Lowe Alpine Lightflite 45 Pack
- packing cubes
- generic padlock (fitting all locker types)
- quick-dry travel towel
- universal power adapter
- travel-sized toiletries