things to do in the hague

14 Fun Things to Do in The Hague, Netherlands

The Hague is usually known more for government, international organizations, and business than as a tourist destination—but it’s a diverse and interesting city with lots to offer! From wandering through enchanting streets to exploring its best cafés and shops to embracing the city’s vibrant energy, here I’m sharing the captivating side of The Hague that won me over. This is the true essence of The Hague, beyond the usual tourist attractions: step off the beaten path with me and immerse yourself in 14 hidden gem things to do in The Hague.

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When we discussed going to The Hague from Amsterdam it felt like a no brainer. A friend of ours was spending the summer there and offered up her sleeper couch to us if we wanted it, so we decided to check it out for a few weeks!

I have to be honest, my first impression of The Hague was… not great. The energy or the vibe or whatever you want to call it was just so different from Amsterdam—a city I love—that I felt a bit out of sorts. I also think that the high concentration of people living in The Hague for work can make it feel like a temporary or transient place.

That being said, we ended up enjoying ourselves, found a number of areas and places to spend our time that made it worthwhile, and actually grew to enjoy The Hague quite a bit!

If you’re hoping for a “things to do in The Hague” post that gives you the same top ten options you’ll find on TripAdvisor, you’re probably in the wrong place. However, if you want a list of things to do in The Hague that will help you access a version of The Hague that’s more like a local, keep reading!

Delve into the Netherlands

The 14 Best Things to Do in The Hague

1. See the Binnenhof, the Netherlands’ impressive (and extremely old) Parliament building

things to do in the hague: binnenhof

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog you may know that my “things to do” lists usually steer clear from items that I would technically classify as a “thing to see”, because I don’t think that’s the best way to travel (at least not for me). However, when appropriate, I make an exception.

And strolling around the Binnenhof is definitely one of the absolutely easiest and most satisfying things to do in The Hague.

The Binnenhof is the oldest House of Parliament in the world, with parts of the building dating back to the 1300s, and this is where most of the governmental action of the Netherlands occurs. However, its immense importance to the country isn’t why I recommend it:

I like to suggest people visit the Binnehof because it has a stunning pond behind it, which is a beautiful and relaxing place to sit and enjoy the buzz of the city. Not to mention that it’s right between both the Escher and Mauritshuis Museums, so it’s very convenient to build into an itinerary.

P.S. When you book using my links, you help support Rachel IRL at no extra cost to you. It’s a win-win!

2. Visit one of the city’s numerous museums

things to do in the hague: escher in het paleis

While The Hague might be most famous for its Mauritshuis Museum, housing Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, there are almost endless choices of museums dotted across the city. That means whether you’re into history, classical art, or more contemporary exhibitions, there’s sure to be something on for you to enjoy!

The Mauritshuis Museum is probably the most famous museum in The Hague. Housed in a 1641 mansion near the Parliament square, here you can find a famous collection of Dutch art, including masterpieces by Rubens, Rembrandt, and Vermeer—not only “Girl with a Pearl Earring”, but also “Diana and her Nymphs” and “View of Delft”.

Escher in Het Paleis is located on the charming Lange Voorhout square in a former royal residence that’s been transformed into a gallery dedicated to the mesmerizing lithographs and engravings of Escher, the renowned Dutch artist. Though it’s not a massive museum, I found that we spent a good amount of time here because we were so drawn to studying the intricate details of each work. In fact, it was probably one of Daniel’s absolute favorite things to do in The Hague!

Museum Beelden aan Zee is actually in Scheveningen, which is where the beach is. Here you’ll find a thought-provoking collection of sculptures in a modern building nestled in the sand dunes. While the museum’s permanent collection is impressive, it’s the temporary exhibitions that often steal the show. 

The Haags Historisch Museum offers a comprehensive journey through the city’s diverse history. Keep an eye out for temporary exhibitions highlighting The Hague and its inhabitants.

The Kunstmuseum den Haag is a great choice for serious art enthusiasts, featuring a vast collection of art. Designed by architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage, the museum’s impressive building is known for its exceptional temporary exhibitions. 

If you want to read more about all the museums The Hague has to offer, check out my full guide to The Hague museums.

3. Take a tour to get your bearings

things to do in the hague: de passage

The Netherlands is a country where you’re always spoiled for modes of transportation—and exploring! So it’s no wonder that when it comes to learning a bit more about the history of The Hague, you have more than your fair share of options for unique tours of the city!

Taking a tour is an especially good choice if you are only planning a day trip to The Hague from Amsterdam, as it’ll allow you properly experience most of the notable things to do in The Hague efficiently.

Here are some of my favorite (very well-reviewed) tour options:

4. Explore the cutest streets and most lively areas

things to do in the hague: cute streets

The Hague is pretty small, and as I’ve mentioned, there aren’t exactly endless things to do in The Hague. But that’s not really a problem to be honest, because if you know me and my blog, you know that my main desire when traveling is to just…well, vibe. I love to people-watch and explore the neighborhoods the locals are hanging out in. Sit in a cafe for a few hours, lie in a park, vintage shop, basically just chill. And luckily there’s plenty of that to be done in The Hague.

Zeeheldenkwartier was definitely my favorite area we came across in The Hague. There are tons of cute cafes and restaurants, Room, Bij Clarence and Bartine as some notable favorites, as well as some great second hand stores. It was a pretty international area, but didn’t feel touristy.

Less off the beaten path, but still worth exploring and enjoying is the area in the center of the city. Basically the entire area between Nobelstraat on one end, up Prinsestraat on the side, Noordeinde on the opposite side, and back down (I hope this rudimentary geography description was useful, but if not, don’t worry I’m linking you to the general area). I specifically liked Prinsestraat, Molenstraat and Oude Molstraat.

If you’re willing to explore even further out of the center towards the west, Prins Hendrikstraat feels quite local, and is incredibly cute as well. Lots of cafes and shops to look in and definitely gets you a more local feel to the city. 

I also enjoyed Denneweg/Frederikstraat (accessible from the Lange Voorhout), and Zuidwal, though I spent less time here than those listed above.

5. Step into the past at the Antique and Book Market

things to do in the hague: antique and book market

The Antique and Book Market happens every Thursday and Saturday (from May through September) and is definitely one of the best local things to do in The Hague. The market is located on the Lange Voorhout, which is a famous and beautiful street in the Hague, and well located near the Binnenhof, independent shops, and some of The Hague’s best museums.

I would say that the antiques definitely were more interesting than the books, at least for me. The books were mostly older, and a few of them were in English, so I’m sure they’re popular for plenty of people, but I wasn’t the target audience!

Aside from books though, you’ll find loads of antique furniture, homewares and jewelry, as well as art and postcards. The prices were fair, and the vendors were quite nice.

6. Stroll the Voorhout Monumentaal sculpture walk

things to do in the hague: sculpture walk

When you’re done with the Antique and Book Market you can continue along Lange Voorhout to see one of the best hidden gem things to do in The Hague: the Voorhout Monumentaal, a peaceful and interesting sculpture garden that pops up for a few months every summer.

It shouldn’t take you too long, but it’s a nice way to finish your time at the Market, and is perfectly located on your way to head over to some of the more exciting neighborhoods in The Hague mentioned above—including Noordeinde and the Zeeheldenkwartier.

This year there were a mix of traditional sculptures and more contemporary looking pieces, which I believe the curators aim to bring together every year. My favorite was the one with mirrors pictured here.

7. “Café hop” the day away

things to do in the hague: cafe room

For a city with so many expats and temporary residents, it’s no wonder that one of the best things to do in The Hague is café hop! Whether you’re remote working or just people watching, The Hague has cafés with excellent coffee, cakes, terraces, and just all around vibes.

Single Estate is the best choice for anyone truly serious about coffee. Not only are they a roaster, but they also buy directly from coffee farmers. They’re really more of a coffee company, where you can buy the beans and even get a subscription bean delivery service, but their flagship roastery and store happens to be in The Hague, right in the middle of the Zeeheldenkwartier.

JoeJoe is a quiet but very large and quality cafe just south of the Grote Markt. The front garden area is a lovely place to sit, their coffee is very high quality, and their cardamom buns are to die for.

Bartine is, in my opinion, a bakery first, an artisanal shop second, and a coffee shop third. We stocked up on pastries here (highly recommend the cardamom bun and the different focaccia options), but I wish we’d had the time to try their natural wine selection too!

bijClarence is a cute and unassuming little cafe in the Zeeheldenkwartier. They have great food and coffee, and they have tons of seating, both indoor and outdoor. 

The Bookstor Cafe on Noordeinde is equal parts bookstore and cafe,with a bohemian and student feel on the inside, and a secret garden vibe in the back. They don’t have a ton of food, more so just cakes and coffee. And please take note: they only take Dutch debit cards or cash—so come prepared! They were very kind when we had to run to an ATM after unsuccessfully trying to use our credit cards, but that’s never fun.

8. Relax in Paleistuin park

things to do in the hague: paleistuin

One of my favorite things to do in The Hague is also one of my favorite things to do anywhere in Europe: enjoying the wonderful green spaces.

The Hague has several larger parks to choose from all around the edges of the city, but there is one smaller, very central option that I prefer. Technically, it’s not a park at all, but rather the Palace Gardens.

Here you can enjoy the pond, lush, well-maintained gardens, and calmness of the trees right in the middle of the city. You can also see the royal stables, and enjoy the canal that runs alongside one edge of the park.

9. Eat your heart out in Chinatown

things to do in the hague: chinatown

For such a relatively small city, The Hague has a pretty impressive Chinatown; in fact, it’s the biggest one in the Netherlands! Here is where you’ll find most of the best Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai and Indonesian restaurants worth visiting in The Hague. You can also find some really good Asian grocery stores if you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen and want to cook a bit!

If you want to stop in for some dim sum, I highly recommend Woeng Kee and Full Moon City, while St. Anny Tea House is ideal for pastries. There are also tons of bubble tea shops throughout the neighborhood, but I didn’t get a chance to try any that were in Chinatown. I did, however, really enjoy Lily’s, which is pretty removed from Chinatown, but is worth mentioning because I thought they were really delicious.

10. Find some bargains in The Hague’s excellent thrift shops

things to do in the hague: thrift shops

I was shocked that such a relatively small city has so many quality thrift and vintage shops, but more than that, I was very pleased. Thrifting is definitely one of the very best things to do in The Hague!

We found that The Hague had a great blend of affordable, charity shop or Goodwill type stores, curated thrift/vintage shops, and middle-of-the-road massive thrift shops. I’ll give you just a small taste of them here, but if you want my in depth list of all the best thrift shops, head to my post about thrift shops in The Hague.

The center of the city has three main thrift shops, all with a similar vibe. Episode, Kilo Kilo and Vintage Island are all middle-of-the-road price-wise, not expensive but not exactly affordable, not overly curated, but also not full of fast fashion type of shops. You probably won’t find anything designer or insanely valuable, but you’ll find some good quality, on trend and timeless pieces here for fair prices.

A bit further out, in the Zeeheldenkwartier, you’ll find Kringloop Charity Shop (I had the best luck here of anywhere in The Hague actually), as well as Laveko and SWAPS, which are more curated and come with an elevated price tag.

On the other side of the center, a bit south, you’ll find Zusjes Vintage, Marcy’s and the ReShare Store, a combination of curated vintage and charity shops.

I also found some great options even a bit further north, and dotted around the city, but for the full list you’ll have to check out my thrifting guide to The Hague.

11. Rent a boat and see the city from the water

things to do in the hague: rent a boat

Renting a boat was one of the best things we did in the Netherlands. We chose to do it in Delft, but you can also do it in The Hague! It was easy and affordable and such a nice way to spend our day to see the city from a different vantage point.

You can easily rent a boat to sail yourself, or book a guided boat tour piloted by a skipper knowledgeable about boating and the history of the city.

We rented a boat to sail ourselves from Randstad Recreaties. It was super easy to book online the night before our visit and the guys at the dock were extremely nice and helpful. In The Hague, renting with them costs only €120 for two hours, which I think is super reasonable split by 3-6 people (6 being the maximum allowed).

None of us had any prior experience driving a boat, but we got the hang of it pretty much immediately, and we felt super safe out on the canals even though we were alone. They even give you a pamphlet that includes all the notable sights along the route so you can have a self-guided tour—honestly it was my favorite of all the things to do in Delft, and I actually wish we had also decided to do it in The Hague as well.

I recommend bringing snacks and drinks to really elevate the experience for you (make sure to bring some non-alcoholic drinks for whoever is doing the sailing!).

Alternatively, if you’d all rather chill out rather than man a boat, I recommend hiring a private boat tour so you can get the same experience. Either way, just make sure you get out on the canals somehow—it really is one of the coolest things to do in The Hague.

12. Chill out over a beer along the canal

things to do in the hague: beer on the canal

The Hague actually has a pretty shocking lack of canals compared to many other Dutch cities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find nice places to enjoy the canals it does have anyway!

There are two excellent places to enjoy the canals, in my opinion:

First is the street Zuidwal, which has tons of cute restaurants and bars and will allow you to explore a new corner of the city.

If you want something more informal you could enjoy the benches on the small stretch next to the Paleistuin park, Prinsessewal, with a takeaway coffee or bubble tea from the nearby Prinsestraat or Piet Heinplein.

13. Soak up the sun at the beach in Scheveningen

things to do in the hague: scheveningen beach

Going to the beach probably isn’t what you’d immediately think of doing when you visit the Netherlands, which is part of why it’s one of the best things to do in The Hague. Scheveningen, is The Hague beach resort area only 15 minutes from the center of the city by tram, so it’s an unbelievably easy beach day.

Accessing the beach is totally free aside from the cost of the tram (why not take the vintage hop-on-hop-off tram with an audio tour?!). There are some areas where you can rent umbrellas or chairs too.

Scheveningen has a ton of exciting activities you can choose from, including surf lessons, RIB speedboat tours, a huge ferris wheel, and even a LEGOLAND® playground!

There are also loads of restaurants and bars lining the sand, for those of us who aren’t looking for such an adventurous day out.

14. Go to Delft or Rotterdam

things to do in the hague: go to rotterdam

Although this may not technically fit amongst things to do in The Hague proper, if you happen to be in there for longer than a day or two I highly recommend checking out one of the other cities in the area! South Holland really has a lot going on and deserves as much exploration as you can budget.

I’ve gone into much more detail on Delft and Rotterdam in other blog posts, so check out my favorite things to do in Delft and things to do in Rotterdam if you want some inspiration or assistance in planning to explore South Holland beyond The Hague!

things to do in the hague

Common Questions about Things To Do in The Hague

Is Hague Netherlands worth visiting?

Okay, you guys know that I like to be as honest as possible on here, and I’ll never bullshit you in order to make something look better than it is. So I have to say, that yes, The Hague is worth visiting, but a day trip to The Hague from Amsterdam definitely isn’t my top choice, nor would The Hague be the second city I recommend to see in the Netherlands.

We spent two weeks in The Hague, and while we did find areas we liked and things to enjoy, I didn’t find myself wanting to rush back. Basically, my advice is that if you only have one city you can see in the Netherlands, make it Amsterdam, and if you have room for one more, choose Delft or Rotterdam.

If you’re going to have enough time to visit another location (or will visit The Hague for work) then there are plenty of things to do at The Hague you’ll enjoy!

What is The Hague best known for?

The Hague is best known for being home to the Dutch government and royal family.

Not only that, but it’s also well known as a city of international peace and justice, due to the location of important institutions such as the Peace Palace and the International Criminal Court, so you’ll see a lot of people here for work and many things to do in the Hague are perfect for these temporary residents to enjoy.

And last but not least, The Hague is well known for being one of the few parts of the Netherlands where you can easily visit a beach! In fact, some of the most exciting and adventurous things to do in The Hague are beach activities.

Is The Hague or Amsterdam better?

Amsterdam is without a doubt better than The Hague. Amsterdam is larger, has more going on, and has an overall much better vibe than The Hague.

There are more options to eat, drink, shop, etc. in Amsterdam, and the prices aren’t even too different! If you can only see one of these places, I recommend you choose Amsterdam.

That said, The Hague is most definitely worth a visit and there are way more things to do in The Hague than you might expect!

things to do in the hague

Is The Hague a walkable city?

Yes, The Hague is an incredibly walkable city. Depending where you’re staying you won’t find anything to be more than a 20-minute walk away, and most things to do in The Hague are probably even closer. 

Also, the sidewalks are well maintained and decently sized. The only place we went in The Hague that wasn’t accessible on foot was the beach. There are also a few parks that you may want to visit by tram.

Is The Hague an expensive city?

The Hague is a relatively expensive city. It’s on par with other cities in the Netherlands, which are, on average, some of the more expensive European cities.

I would say that it feels expensive, but not inaccessibly so. That said, many of these things to do in The Hague simply involve my favorite travel activity: vibing. Which is usually completely free (other than the cost of a coffee or a beer here and there)!

things to do in the hague

P.S. When you book using my links, you help support Rachel IRL at no extra cost to you. It’s a win-win!

Are you ready to discover all the things to do in The Hague?

I hope this post has been useful to you if you’re planning a trip, or even a day trip to The Hague from Amsterdam! I was so surprised by how many cool (and super non-touristy) things to do in The Hague I was able to uncover while I was here, and it was so fun to share it with you. I know The Hague is one of the lesser chosen cities in the Netherlands to visit, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be an incredible time!

As usual feel free to leave me a comment if you think I missed anything, or if you have thoughts on anything I shared! You can also always reach me on Instagram or by email 🙂

Happy trip planning!

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things to do in the hague
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