canal buildings in amsterdam's city center

12 Cool Things To Do in Amsterdam (& Insider Tips for How to Do Them Like a Local)

Discover 12 cool things to do in Amsterdam with this comprehensive guide including exclusive insider tips and local knowledge. From wandering the picturesque canals and neighborhoods like Jordaan and 9 Streets to enjoying boat tours, bike rides, museum visits, European cafe culture, and indulging in Dutch cuisine, this post will help you plan your perfect trip beyond the typical tourist experience and immerse yourself in the local atmosphere of this vibrant city.
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Amsterdam is, without a doubt, one of my favorite cities in Europe.

It’s one of those places that has such a reputation and creates such high expectations—and then somehow manages to meet them every time. Actually, in my experience Amsterdam has exceeded expectations more often than meeting them!

There are so many cool things to do in Amsterdam that it’s almost daunting to try to compile them all into one list.

I first visited Amsterdam in 2018, and I instantly fell in love. Since then I’ve returned over and over, and I swear I just never get tired of this city. Daniel has also been to Amsterdam more times than we can count and spent a month there on a fellowship, where some of our Dutch friends showed him the ropes of how to truly experience Amsterdam like a local.

Getting to spend so much time here this summer has been amazing, and I’m so excited to share my roundup of 12 very cool things to do in Amsterdam.

But we’re not stopping there. I’m also going to dive into how to do these things so you feel like you’ve gotten to step into the shoes of an Amsterdammer on your trip, instead of falling victim to tourist traps or contributing to overtourism (which is a huge problem in Amsterdam).

As usual, feel free to utilize the table of contents if you know where you want to skip to—otherwise, sit back, relax, and start scrolling!

cool things to do in amsterdam

FAQs about Cool Things To Do in Amsterdam

What is one thing not to miss in Amsterdam?

The number one thing I would advise people not to miss in Amsterdam is exploring the canal belt area—around the Jordaan and 9 Streets neighborhoods.

9 Streets (9 Straatjes in Dutch!) and the Jordaan border one another in center part of the city, with 9 Streets comprising some of the quaintest and center-most streets of the canal belt, and the Jordaan spreading west and outwards a bit, including the famous Anne Frank House and Museum.

Spending some time in these neighborhoods will give you the most quintessentially “Amsterdam” experience. You’ll get to see some of the cutest canals and buildings, some of the most important sites, tons of great shopping, and loads of perfect restaurants and cafes.

If you can only manage to fit one of the cool things to do in Amsterdam into your itinerary, make sure to explore the canal belt around the Jordaan and 9 Streets!



Is Amsterdam an expensive city?

There’s no delicate way to answer this, so I’ll opt for bluntness: yes, Amsterdam is a pretty expensive city.

Like much of northern Europe, the cost of accommodation, food, museums, and shopping is higher than you might expect. Honestly, I’ve found this to be pretty true about the whole of the Netherlands—it’s not a cheap country!

For reference, museums usually cost around €20 for a standard adult ticket, main dishes at restaurants typically sit around €18 on average and can increase steeply from there, and thrift shop bargains are relatively rare.

That said, keep reading and look out for my top money-saving tips for experiencing cool things to do in Amsterdam on a budget—located in boxes throughout this post!



Can you avoid the Red Light District in Amsterdam?

Yes, you can definitely avoid the Red Light District in Amsterdam if you want to. In fact, in all the times I’ve gone to Amsterdam, I’ve never found myself in the Red Light District.

The Red Light District a relatively small area in the very center of the city, so it’s fairly easy to go around it if you’re trying to get from one side to another. I wouldn’t worry too much about it at all—just know where it is and make sure to keep track of where you’re going so you don’t accidentally find yourself there. It won’t make your life any harder!

That being said, I do think that it can be worth seeing the Red Light District, cause it is one of the cool things to do in Amsterdam, if only to get some context and insight into this exceptionally unique part of the culture of this city. If you’re still unsure or on the fence, I recommend visiting as part of a walking tour, so you’ll be with a local and will have someone available to offer history and context. I recommend this one!

cool things to do in Amsterdam

Can Amsterdam be done in a day?

In theory, any city can be done in a day! The question is how much do you want to see and do there? Personally, I don’t think Amsterdam should be done in a day, even if it technically can be.

Not only are there tons of things to do in Amsterdam, and loads of sights to see, but personally I think Amsterdam is best experienced slowly.

Even if you manage to have a jam-packed day of ticking off all the important boxes for cool things to do in Amsterdam, you won’t have really experienced the best that the city has to offer. If possible I would recommend giving yourself more time to make sure you can accomplish all the things to do in Amsterdam.



Can I go to Amsterdam for 3 days?

Yes, you can go to Amsterdam for 3 days and have time to explore a decent number of cool things to do in Amsterdam. Personally, I think that 3 days is still cutting it a bit short, but it’s probably the shortest length of time I would recommend for going to Amsterdam.

If you only have three days you can still manage to do most of the things to do in Amsterdam—you’ll just have to be strategic.

For a three-day trip to Amsterdam I recommend narrowing down your to-do list to three different areas of the city and identifying the museums you want to visit there, a few cute shops, cafes or restaurants you’re interested in trying out, and then building in ample time to wander and get lost in each neighborhood as well!



Is 7 days too long in Amsterdam?

No, 7 days is not too long in Amsterdam. I think that 7 days is actually great to give you the perfect mix of busy days that let you see all the sights and do all the cool things to do in Amsterdam, while having some days to relax and experience the local pace of life in Amsterdam. A week would even allow for a day or two to take a day trip. If you like the sound of a day trip, check out my day trips from Amsterdam guide!

That being said, if you’re not someone who likes to practice slow travel, then you may feel like 7 days is too much time. However, I really strongly advocate for slow travel as the best way to experience any new place, and I think you’ll enjoy Amsterdam best if you spend time going through the cool things to do in Amsterdam one neighborhood at a time!

cool things to do in Amsterdam

12 Cool Things To Do in Amsterdam
(and the exclusive info you need to do each one like a local)

1. See the city from the water

cool things to do in Amsterdam: see the city from the water with a boat tour

Getting out on the canals is both one of the most quintessential cool things to do in Amsterdam and a favorite local activity!

On any beautiful summer evening in Amsterdam you are bound to see scores of small canal boats packed with locals cruising along the canals as their occupants sip aperitifs and eat picnic dinners, bask in the golden hour light, and moor here and there to pick up more friends along the way. If this sounds as lovely to you as it does to me, I highly recommend renting a boat that you take out and sail yourself.

Although boat rentals may be more slightly more expensive than other options (generally running around €50-60 per hour), I can personally vouch that we enjoyed having the space to ourselves and the drinks and snacks we brought along really elevated the experience.

If you’re looking to save on cost, or if the most fearless member of your party would prefer to partake in the festivities without being “designated skipper”, a boat tour might be a better option for you. There are literally hundreds of different tours out there—to point that researching your options can end up being quite the daunting task.

Whatever you do, don’t settle for a one of the dime-a-dozen giant glass-covered canal boats you’ll see advertised all around Amsterdam. Not only will your ability to take pictures and videos be hindered by the windows, but you’ll feel like you’re in a can of sardines and will completely miss out on that chilled out local experience I mentioned earlier.

Here are my top picks for a few different types of boat tour that I think more than adequately capture the vibes which make canal sailing come in right at the top of the list of cool things to do in Amsterdam:

  1. If you’re in Amsterdam with your partner, you may be interested in doing this romantic boat tour experience that includes prosecco.
  2. This canal boat cruise with drinks and snacks is perfect for you if you’re traveling with friends or a group, or if you do genuinely enjoy getting to know fellow travelers.
  3. This private canal tour is ideal for those who would rather not socialize with other tourists, and prefer to have the boat to themselves.

Seeing Amsterdam from the water is the best way to get a good look at all the quaint buildings and experience how unique a city built on canals really is. Also, it’s such a quintessentially Dutch experience, and such a cool thing to do in Amsterdam that I’m sure you won’t forget.

2. Get lost amongst the canals (on land!)

cool things to do in Amsterdam: explore the canal belt on foot or bike

Whether you have the chance to get out on the water in a canal boat or not, taking in the quaint beauty of Amsterdam’s canal belt on foot or by bike is one of the most beautiful and cool things to do in Amsterdam.

The neighborhoods and buildings that line the canal belt are so quaint and picturesque, and there’s nothing better than just wandering around and getting lost in it all.

I would especially recommend exploring the Jordaan and 9 Streets neighborhoods, which are by far the quaintest part of the center, and have the best shops and some really great cafes! You can expect a mix of luxury boutiques and thrift/vintage stores, but be prepared that most will be highly curated and expensive.

💸 Don’t Break the Bank: If spending a fortune at curated shops isn’t your vibe, but you still want to balance aesthetics and budget, start your day in 9 Streets for a coffee, a pastry, and some window shopping through the area, before heading east along the Singel canal to Waterlooplein, where you’ll find much cheaper vintage and thrift shopping. You really can get the best of both worlds!

If you want to get a local’s perspective of the Jordaan, check out this food and walking tour. I think it’s one of the best ways to both get acquainted with the area and delve deeper than the usual tourist perspective, since it’s run by a local, neighborhood-focused, and will bring you to several locally-owned restaurants as well.

3. Hop on a bike

cool things to do in berlin: bike rental or guided bike tour

Speaking of quintessentially Dutch experiences and cool things to do in Amsterdam, if you know how to ride a bike (and are comfortable using one) I highly recommend renting a bike!

While you’re in the Netherlands you’ll quickly learn that bikes are the main mode of transportation for people all over the country—and they certainly rule the streets in Amsterdam. So if you want to see the city like a true Amsterdammer, you should absolutely hop on a bike yourself.

Not only does this give you the ability to see a ton of the main sights and attractions in Amsterdam in one go, it also lets you see the city like a local, and have an experience you wouldn’t normally get if you just did a walking tour, for example.

Full-day bike rental is extremely affordable in Amsterdam, coming in under €20.

Because you will be one among many, many cyclists on the street, you’ll need to feel comfortable keeping up with the pace of traffic if you’re going to explore Amsterdam by bike on your own. If this sounds at all stressful, then booking a bike tour of Amsterdam will give you the opportunity to have a guide make sure you keep up (and don’t upset too many locals in the process)!

I’m personally really bad on a bike, so I’ve never done this myself (I tried once in Berlin and nearly got hit by a car… it was my fault), but Daniel’s done them a bunch of times without me, and despite not being a frequent cyclist either, he loves doing it.

I recommend this guided bike tour of Amsterdam, which covers a ton of ground, and goes through the Jordaan, Vondelpark, and De Pijp, among many other areas!

4. Explore the city’s neighborhoods like a local

cool things to do in Amsterdam: de pijp explore neighborhoods off the beaten path

Amsterdam is not a particularly large city, but it’s still quite varied in terms of having many distinct neighborhoods, each with their own feel. If you’re going to be in the city for a while, I like to recommend that people choose a different neighborhood to explore each day, and center your itinerary around what that area has to offer as much as possible.

My favorite neighborhoods are De Pijp, Jordaan, and Oud West. I think these offer the best balance of quaint and cute, with “real life” and local vibes.

I didn’t get a chance to take this tour, because I have friends in Amsterdam who gave me the local experience, but if you want to see Amsterdam from a local perspective (and also have a personalized experience) I highly recommend this walking tour, where a local guide will personalize the itinerary to your interests and bring you off the beaten track!

If you want a deep dive into my favorite Amsterdam neighborhoods, and why I recommend them, check out my Amsterdam neighborhood guide!

No matter which neighborhoods end up making your list, the next three cool things to do in Amsterdam make up my personal holy grail trifecta of activities to feel like I’ve truly explored any Amsterdam neighborhood.

5. Tour some of the world’s greatest museums

cool things to do in Amsterdam

One cool thing to do in Amsterdam is honestly, just visit a museum! Amsterdam is literally full of museums. If I tried to make each one its own point on this list, the list might never actually end!

So to avoid that issue, I’ve decided to just pull together the museums that I think are most worth your time, the ones I’ve personally enjoyed the most.

The Anne Frank House and Museum is probably one of the most important historical museums and reference points in Amsterdam. The museum is located inside the house where Anne Frank went into hiding during the Nazi regime, right in the middle of the Jordaan, and tells visitors about her life and her story. It’s a pretty heavy experience, so keep that in mind.

Tickets can only be booked directly with the museum itself, which is a complete change from how that system worked before the pandemic. They’re released every Tuesday at 10am Amsterdam time for 6 weeks in the future, and they sell out FAST.

💡Insider Tip: If you’re struggling to find tickets for your desired dates, you can try searching on the site for tickets with a 30-minute “introductory program” in English which costs €7 extra, but is usually available closer than 6 weeks in the future. If that doesn’t work, or if you just want to dig even deeper into WWII-era Amsterdam and the life of Anne Frank, I highly recommend this Anne Frank Walking Tour.

The Stedelijk Museum is a massive and impressive contemporary and modern art museum at Museumplein. I quite enjoyed visiting this museum, and I recommend it most for days where the weather isn’t cooperating. Be sure to check what exhibits are on, and try to book ahead before you go.

The Moco Museum has a wide range of modern, contemporary, and street art. Their exhibits include Jean-Michel Basquiat, Banksy, Keith Haring, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Yayoi Kusama, Andy Warhol, and so many more. I’ve included this because a ton of my favorite artists happen to be exhibited here, so I always think its worth it. I recommend booking ahead here.

Last but not least is the Van Gogh Museum, which I assume needs no formal introduction. The Van Gogh Museum is a bit of a zoo because it’s perpetually crowded, but if you’re a fan of the artist then I do think it’s worthwhile. You have to book ahead online to choose a time slot to help with crowd control. Also worth noting—Starry Night is not on display at the Van Gogh Museum, so if that’s your main motivation you may want to rethink this one!

If you want a full guide to the best museums in Amsterdam, click here!

💸 Don’t Break the Bank: Because Dutch museums are extremely expensive (honestly, the most frustrating thing about the Netherlands for me!), it is almost always a good idea to purchase a Museumkaart. At €65, this Museum Pass is still expensive but it will get you in for free (or for a nominal fee around €1) to over 450 museums around the Netherlands. If you plan to visit (or could be convinced to visit) at least 4 eligible Dutch museums during the 1-year validity, the pass pays for itself!

You can purchase a Museum Pass online, but I believe this requires a Dutch address and takes 5 days to arrive. However, most museums on your list likely sell Museum Passes at the ticket desk! To verify before you visit, you can consult this list of museums that sell Museum Passes in the Netherlands.

6. Chill out in the park—every neighborhood has a great one!

cool things to do in Amsterdam

If I’m traveling in a city that has a lot of green space, you can bet I’ll be lounging in it! One of my favorite things to do in Amsterdam is to take full advantage of its numerous parks.

If you’re visiting in the summer I recommend bringing a blanket and some snacks and having a little picnic to break up your busy day of exploration. If you’re visiting in the winter, buy a hot beverage to keep you warm, and take a little stroll through your park of choice.

This is definitely a very cool thing to do in Amsterdam—you’ll see locals absolutely take over the parks whenever the weather is pleasant out!

Vondelpark: Vondelpark, located just north of Museumplein, is the most popular park in Amsterdam, and the largest as well—it’s a bit like the “Central Park” of the city. Despite how heavily trafficked the park is, its size means you can still find a nice corner to yourself, and you can even take advantage if the many bars and cafes within the park. The last time I was here I had a great time getting incredible Indonesian takeout from Kartika, and bringing it back to the park for an evening picnic.

Westerpark: Westerpark is part of the trendy Westergasfabriek complex, which contains some incredibly cool bars and restaurants, as well as a theatre. We were particularly taken with Troost Brewery, which has a fully vegetarian menu, but was still 100% satisfying to us non-vegetarians. It’s also nearby to the very cool Westerpark neighborhood, and one of the best cafes I tried in Amsterdam, Friedhats.

Sarphatipark: Admittedly one of the smaller options on this list, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in neighborhood. Sarphatipark is located in one of the trendiest neighborhoods of Amsterdam, De Pijp, and is perfect for a break if you’re exploring that area. An ideal day would be to enjoy the Albert Cuyp Market (any day but Sunday), and then wander along until you get to the park, and enjoy a much needed rest.

Oosterpark: For more of a local experience I suggest you head east (or should I say oost), to Oosterpark. Here you’ll find a shocking amount of wild birds for a city park, as well as some pretty impressive sculptures. I recommend coupling this with a visit to the very impressive Tropenmuseum.

Museumplein: Although this park is on the smaller side, it absolutely has to be mentioned. Museumplein is a hub of weekend activity for museum visitors, market shoppers, and just about anyone and everyone else. Stretching out under the rows of trees on its eastern edge after a long day visiting the Stedelijk Museum is Daniel’s absolute favorite thing to do in Amsterdam.

7. Enjoy European cafe culture

cool things to do in Amsterdam

There are practically endless cute cafes to choose from in Amsterdam, and I have to say that sitting at a cafe, ideally canalside, drinking a coffee, and letting the day pass by is one of my favorite things to do in Amsterdam. Personally, I value the vibe of the cafe just as highly as the quality of the coffee, which is sometimes hard to achieve in one place!

If you resonate with the above, then I have some recommendations for you:

LOT61 Coffee Roasters: Potentially one of the best known coffee options in Amsterdam, LOT61 is located on a busy corner in Oud West. There’s often a line out the door but it doesn’t take too long to get served. What they lack in seating space they make up for in quality coffee and treats. I highly recommend the carrot cake.

De Koffieschenkerij: Located in a former church compound, this quaint little cafe is the perfect place to escape from the hustle of the center. They serve coffee and matcha, as well as tons of yummy cakes (including the famous Dutch apple pie).

Cafecito: There are three locations of this super high quality cafe, but I’ve linked you to the one near Museumplein. Cafecito is a favorite of mine for its minimalist aestethic, focus on quality, and the fact that they’re open until six, which is two hours later than many other cafes.

Drupa Coffee Roasters: Located in the Jordaan, this cafe has amazing coffee, tons of seating both inside and out, and really good food options as well. Perfect to stop into if you need a pick me up while exploring the area.

If you want my full list of the best cafes in Amsterdam, click here.

8. Eat your weight in Dutch food

things to do in delft from amsterdam day trip

In my opinion, no trip is fully successful if it doesn’t include amazing food, and Amsterdam is certainly no exception to that list. Amsterdam is full of incredible restaurants and cuisines, and taking full advantage of everything on offer while you’re there is one of the top things to do Amsterdam. Here are my top picks for restaurants and cuisines to eat in Amsterdam:

Fries: You can find these at almost any bar or restaurant, and somehow you’ll almost never find fries that are lacking in quality. They’re traditionally served with mayonnaise, and I think that’s the best way to enjoy them.

Dutch pancakes: Sitting somewhere in between a crepe and a traditional American pancake, Dutch pancakes are deceptively delicious. You can eat them sweet or savoury, and somehow it’s equally amazing both ways. Go to De Carrousel in De Pijp—they’re the best pancakes I’ve tried in Amsterdam. Or, if you’re looking for delicious pancakes and an experience in one, this river cruise with all-you-can-eat pancakes might be hard to pass up!

Poffertjes: How can something so simple be so upsettingly delicious? Poffertjes are mini pancakes, traditionally served with powdered sugar and butter, and you can get them at pancake restaurants as well as stands throughout the center. I like to get mine with whipped cream if possible, and personally swear by the ones at De Carrousel.

Beer: Technically a beverage, but a critical part of the Amsterdam experience! I cover this more in depth below, so keep scrolling to see my fave drinking spots.

Indonesian food: Due to the upsetting history of Dutch colonization in Indonesia, there is a wealth of exceptionally good Indonesian food throughout the Netherlands, but especially in Amsterdam. Kartika is one of my favorite spots, and I recommend the gado-gado (salad with peanut sauce), nasi goreng (fried rice), and anything with tempeh (which is Indonesian itself!).

One cool thing to do in Amsterdam, and a great way to sample all the best foods when traveling is doing a food tour. This one will take you through the famous Albert Cuyp market, and lets you sample all the best Dutch foods and drinks.

Be sure to check out my full Amsterdam food guide if you want to see all my top picks for what to eat in Amsterdam and where to find it all.

9. Drink like the Dutch do

things to do in delft from amsterdam day trip

You’ll notice pretty quickly in the Netherlands that there’s always time for a beer. And honestly, I think they’re onto something. There’s nothing I love more than sitting outside in the sun and having a beer and some fries with mayo. Like, nothing is more perfectly summer in Amsterdam to me, so obviously it’s made the list of cool things to do in Amsterdam.

💡Insider Tip: In my experience it’s pretty hard to mess this one up, so I usually just select a place based on decent reviews and good vibes, and I urge you to do the same! However, I’ll leave you with a few of my favorite choices in case you’d rather take a recommendation.

Pllek is in Amsterdam Noord, so it’s not necessarily an option you’d come upon naturally, but it is a place you should definitely hit up if you happen to be in Noord anyway. Pllek is a restaurant/bar/event space that has DJs and live music and is housed in a stunning building. It’s a great time.

Hoppe is the ideal option if you’re in the center. There’s a nicely sized terrace, and it dates back to the 1600s!

Hannekes Boom is another central option located slightly more to the east, with tons of outdoor space and a stunning view of the canals.

Brouwerij ‘t IJ is a brewery in a windmill along the canal, need I say more?

de Kade café is the latest find on this list, which we actually stumbled upon by accident, but it has a ton of outdoor seating along the canal and a cute inside as well. Beers were great and fries were delicious!

Troost Brewery has a few locations throughout Amsterdam, but I’m partial to the one in Westerpark. Their menu is entirely vegetarian and has quite a few vegan options as well, but if you’re a meat eater don’t let that deter you—I could hardly tell that the cheeseburger was made with alternative meat.

Alternatively, if you want to really get into the behind the scenes world of Dutch beer, you can do the Heineken Experience, and tour the Heineken factory!

10. Second-hand shop till you drop

cool things to do in Amsterdam

If you’re a frequent visitor to my blog then you’ll know that thrifting and vintage shopping is something I like to do wherever I’m traveling, and lucky for you that means I can gather all the best picks and share them with you!

Amsterdam has some seriously good thrifting available, but I should warn you that you’ll find city prices (aka expensive). That being said, I’ve tried to include only places that, if expensive, I think are well-curated and stock good-quality things that make the pricetag feel more worthwhile. Either way, thrifting and vintage shopping is definitely one of the best things to do in Amsterdam.

Marbles Vintage & Design has a few locations, but I’ve linked to the one in De Pijp. They have a great curated selection of vintage, especially shoes and jeans, but be warned that you won’t be finding any bargains here!

Zipper seems quite small from the outside, but it’s actually one of the largest second-hand stores in Amsterdam. It’s a great shop to visit if you’re looking for something on trend, because they’re very good at staying on the pulse of what’s in fashion.

Episode has four locations in Amsterdam (I’ve linked to the one I most recently visited) and is probably the most well-known thrift store chain in Amsterdam. They’ve expanded quite a bit and you can find locations all over the Netherlands (and even around Europe) now. I’ve had quite good luck at Episode.

Rumors Vintage & Design is near the Central Station and is a treat to look through. It’s nicely organized by color, and is refreshingly frequently. You’ll pay a premium here but the quality is high and the selection is great.

There are so many more, so keep your eyes open as you’re exploring the city, you’ll come across them more often than you may think! Also take note of the markets listed below, because some of them specialize in thrift and vintage as well!

If you’re interested in a more extensive list of thrift and vintage in Amsterdam, check out my post about it!

11. Explore the city’s fabulous markets

cool things to do in Amsterdam

There are tons of markets to be explored in Amsterdam, including the largest market in all of Europe. I love visiting markets while traveling because its a fun and free thing to do that can last as long or short as you want it to, is a great way to explore a new neighborhood, and gives you a slice of local life. Without a doubt visiting a market is one of the best things to do in Amsterdam like a local.

Here are my favorite markets that I think are worth your time in Amsterdam:

Albert Cuyp Market in De Pijp is a mashup of everything you could possibly need, from meat and groceries, to jewelry and clothes, to cosmetics and fabric. There’s also a section for food stalls! The last time I was here I bought the cutest crystal necklace. It’s on every day but Sunday. There’s a really great food tour that will take you through Albert Cuyp Market as well.

Lapjesmarkt in the Jordaan is a favorite of mine for obvious reasons: it specializes in vintage clothing. It’s on every Monday morning at the same site as the Noodermarkt, which specializes in produce.

Museum Market, located around the Waterpool in Museumplein every Sunday, is a excellent destination for those wanting to shop high quality items from small businesses. I’ve been to this market more times than I can count—in every season—and it consistently has some of the BEST items I’ve ever seen at a maker market. On trend, relatively affordable, and generally a wider selection of cool things than I’ve ever seen at a similar type of market elsewhere!

IJ Hallen Flea Market in Amsterdam Noord is held in a converted warehouse once a month, and is the largest flea market in Europe. Every single thing you’ll find here is secondhand, and varies in quality from stunning vintage to casual garage sale.

💡Insider Tip: Make a day of it! IJ Hallen is a great way to explore Amsterdam Noord—just take the free ferry from behind the Centraal station and stop into Pllek for a drink and a bite to eat after you shop!

Waterlooplein in the Centre focuses on vintage clothes and secondhand goods. It’s a great place to find a bargain, and is particularly popular with locals. It’s on from Monday to Saturday.

12. Get out of the city

cool things to do in Amsterdam

Ironically, if you have the time, one of the best things to do in Amsterdam is actually to leave Amsterdam for a day! Taking a day trip out of the city is one of the best things you can add to a trip itinerary, because it allows you to have a better idea of the surrounding culture, and makes it feel like you’ve actually visited a country, rather than just having visited the biggest city within that country.

My top picks for a day trip from Amsterdam are: Delft, Utrecht, Rotterdam, and The Hague.

If you want to join a guided day trip experience to avoid the headache of navigating trains and transportation schedules, as well as figuring out your own itinerary, here are my top picks for guided day trips from Amsterdam:

  • If you really wanna maximize your day and see as much of the Netherlands as possible, this option will take you to Delft, The Hague and Rotterdam in one perfectly packaged day trip.
  • If you want to stay closer to the city, but still get a look at what life is life for the rest of the country, this full day tour will take you to some smaller towns outside the city. You’ll get to see windmills in a traditional Dutch city, visit a local cheese maker and take a one hour countryside canal cruise.
  • If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, you can take advantage of how closely situated Amsterdam is to some other northern European countries. This tour will take you to Bruge, Belgium for the day, so you can get a taste of an entirely different culture.

If you want my more detailed take on day trip locations, check out my full guide to day trips from Amsterdam.

Are you ready to explore all the things to do in Amsterdam?

I hope this list helped inspire you with all the best things to do in Amsterdam, and that you’re ready to take on the city like a pro.

I feel confident that, armed with my list, you’ll have an amazing time on your trip (let’s be real, you’d probably have an amazing time even if you showed up without a single plan, it is Amsterdam after all).

As per usual, be sure to bookmark this post or pin it for later so you can come back to it for reference, and if you have any questions or need any help you can always feel free to email me, leave me a comment, or find me on Instagram.

And if you want to keep planning your trip, check out my other posts about Amsterdam here.

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Before my trip to the Netherlands, Rotterdam was just a blip on my radar due to its quirky cube houses. Little did I know, it's a hidden gem brimming with surprises. From the famous cube houses and market hall to the historic charm of Delfshaven, Rotterdam offers a modern twist to Dutch life. Don't miss the thriving vintage shops, the picturesque Witte de Withstraat, and the foodie paradise of Fenix Food Factory. This guide covers all the top spots in Rotterdam, a must-visit destination for any traveler seeking a unique portrait of the Netherlands.

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