We found 20 Best Places to Visit in Amsterdam

Things to do in Amsterdam

Looking for things to do in Amsterdam?

Discover the best places to see in Amsterdam and which are the tourist attractions you can visit if you arrive in the beautiful city.

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A vibrant city full of history, culture and entertainment, Amsterdam is the thriving capital of the Netherlands and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.

With its universities, academies, and research institutes, numerous museums and theaters, entertainment venues and well-preserved heritage buildings, Amsterdam is also the country’s leading cultural center.

The best things to do in Amsterdam cover everything from genre-defining museums to a world-famous nightlife and party scene, with vibrant markets and beautiful cafes to boot.

We invite you to discover our top containing the best places to visit in this dynamic city.

Top 20 Best Things to Do in Amsterdam

Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum

The Rijksmuseum is the national museum of the Netherlands dedicated to Dutch arts and history and is located at the Museum Square in the borough of Amsterdam South.

The Rijksmuseum is a stunning building that has a similar design and style to the Centraal station, a huge collection of crafts, art and history. Book accommodation in the area

Rijksmuseum Amsterdam
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (photo: amsterdamfox.com)

The museum contains over 1 million objects in total. Art is on display that ranges from the Middle Ages to modern times, and there are also special exhibits that pop up throughout the year.

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Van Gogh museum is located in close proximity to the Rijksmuseum and it is the perfect place to learn about Vincent Van Gogh and his works.

Van Gogh museum
Van Gogh museum

This extensive art museum contains a huge amount of paintings from Van Gogh together with select collections from other artists such as Monet and Matisse. Aside from the stunning artworks, there are also a selection of letters and drawings.

Vondelpark, Amsterdam

The Vondelpark is a public urban park of 47 hectares, situated west from the Leidseplein and the Museumplein and it is part of the borough of Amsterdam-Zuid. Book accommodation in the area

Vondelpark, Amsterdam
Vondelpark Amsterdam (photo: amsterdamfox.com)

The park is home to a lovely rose garden featuring more than 70 different types of the flower. It also has a variety of sculptures and statues, playgrounds, and other recreational facilities, including rollerblade rental and the Vondelpark Open Air Theater, which serves as a venue for musical and stage productions from May through September.

Locals come here to run, cycle, play sports or just chill, and there are plenty of activities for all ages.

Nine streets

Known locally as De 9 Straatjes, these aesthetically-pleasing streets, are home to some of the Dutch capital’s smartest boutiques and is dotted with stylish cafes and hotels. Book accommodation in the area

Nine streets Amsterdam
Nine streets Amsterdam (photo: amsterdamfox.com)

The area lies between the Singel and Prinsengracht canals. Several of the street names are those of animals, a legacy of the area formerly being a base for the tanning industry.

As you stroll through the Nine Streets, you’ll find numerous picturesque scenes that truly capture the unique vibe of Amsterdam.

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The area has some other attractions, such as: Museum Het Grachtenhuis, Photography Museum Huis Marseille, The European Center for Art, Culture and Science in the Felix Meritis house or The Dutch Institute for War Documentation.

Heineken Experience

The Heineken Experience is an attraction located at the Heineken’s first built brewery in Amsterdam’s city centre. Book accommodation in the area

Heineken Experience Amsterdam
Heineken Experience Amsterdam

The Heineken Experience is a self guided interactive journey through the world of Heineken, where one can discover the history of the company, the 4 natural ingredients of our beer, the brewing process.

There’s also a tasting room where you’ll get to enjoy your beer.

Anne Frank House Amsterdam

The Anne Frank House biographical museum is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Amsterdam. The building is located on a canal called the Prinsengracht, close to the Westerkerk, in central Amsterdam. Book accommodation in the area

Anne Frank House Amsterdam
Anne Frank House Amsterdam (photo: exploringworld.com)

Dedicated to the all-too-short life of one of the world’s best-known Holocaust victims, Anne Frank House is the actual home in which Anne’s family hid for much of WWII.

Exhibits take visitors through the trajectory of the war and the circumstances of the Franks and those who helped hide them until the annex was ultimately discovered and its residents were deported to Auschwitz.

EYE Film Institute Netherlands

Eye Filmmuseum is a film archive, museum, and cinema in Amsterdam that preserves and presents both Dutch and foreign films screened in the Netherlands. Book accommodation in the area

EYE Film Institute Netherlands
EYE Film Institute Netherlands

It is located in the Overhoeks neighborhood and it holds 4 screening rooms that showcase a wide variety of films, from historical classics to the latest arthouse premieres. There is a 1200m2 exhibition space with 4 changing exhibtions every year.

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The building is conceived as a highly tense and dynamic geometric solid. Spatial development, light incidence, and materiality define the path that leads from the southern glass front and the museum shop into the heart of the building. There is a large terrace with a spectacular view over Amsterdam.

The Jordaan Neighborhood

The most well-known neighborhood in the city, the Jordaan is one of the top places to see in Amsterdam.

It is well-known for its mix of residential areas with garden courtyards, lively markets, and upscale boutiques and eateries. Book accommodation in the area

The Jordaan Neighborhood Amsterdam
The Jordaan Neighborhood Amsterdam

Although best known as the location of Anne Frank House, the area is also home to lesser-known treasures like the Woonboots Museum, a floating museum dedicated to houseboats, and the interesting Amsterdam Cheese Museum.

Though many of the tenants have changed, you can still get a sense of Amsterdam’s history at places like Cafe Papeneiland, a brown cafe that dates from 1642.

A’dam Lookout

A’dam Lookout is an observation deck with an unparalleled panoramic view of Amsterdam. All of the canals, bridges and gilded buildings of Amsterdam are on display from up high.

A’dam Lookout
A’dam Lookout

For those seeking additional thrills, the Over The Edge swing is a unique feature that dangles 328 ft above the city to bring you on a back-and-forth ride suspended from the tower.

Enjoy coffee, breakfast, lunch, dinner and/or cocktails in Madam Restaurant & Sky Bar.

Best Things to Do in Amsterdam

Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo

Founded in 1838, the Artis Royal Zoo is one of the oldest zoos in Europe. It is a haven for some 700 animal species and 200 tree varieties, many on the verge of extinction.

Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo
Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo

Amsterdam Artis is also one of the fewest zoos in Europe to have so many listed buildings within its grounds, namely the Large Museum, the unique Library building and the Aquarium.

Other highlights include the nocturnal animal house, zoological museum, Insectarium, Butterfly Pavilion, and Planetarium.

Body Worlds Amsterdam

Body Worlds, The Happiness Project in the heart of Amsterdam, tells the amazing story of our own body and the impact of happiness on our health.

It takes you on a fascinating journey through the human body, with 200 real plastinated bodies on display.

Body Worlds Amsterdam
Body Worlds Amsterdam

If you are looking for something out of the ordinary and want to understand more about our special race, then the Body Worlds exhibition is the perfect place to visit.

Moco Museum Amsterdam

The Moco Museum is an independent museum with a wide range of inspiring modern, contemporary, and street art – located in Amsterdam.

Moco Amsterdam is housed in Villa Alsberg and was founded with the mission of attracting broader and younger audiences, and of making art accessible to the public. Book accommodation in the area

Moco Museum Amsterdam
Moco Museum Amsterdam (photo: museos.com)

The art showcased in this turn-of-the-century townhouse is modern, focusing on the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and Keith Haring. Their work, which is part of the permanent collection, is on the museum’s top floor. The rest of the space in MOCO is dedicated to temporary exhibits from a changing list of artists.

Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

Amsterdam has one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world called Hortus Botanicus.

This place is a big and attractive botanical garden, with more than 6000 different plants. Some the plants are unique as 2000 years old agave cactus and a 300-year-old Eastern Kape giant cycad. Book accommodation in the area

Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam
Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam (photo: medium.com)

There is also Semicircle systematic garden, were plants are grown in a way to show the systematic relation between them and two suggested visiting routes through the Hortus – The Evolution Route and The Tree Route with 24 monumental trees to see.

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In addition to a gorgeous cafe, outdoor gardens, and a ‘hothouse’ that emulates three different tropical environments, hundreds of majestic butterflies can be found frolicking inside the Botanicus’ Butterfly Greenhouse.

Royal Palace Amsterdam

The Royal Palace of Amsterdam is situated on the west side of Dam Square in the centre of Amsterdam and is in use by the Dutch Royal House.

Visitors are welcome to discover the rich history and interior of this magnificent building. The Royal Palace was built in the seventeenth century as the Town Hall of Amsterdam, after a design by Jacob van Campen. Book accommodation in the area

Royal Palace Amsterdam
Royal Palace Amsterdam

It’s paintings and sculptures were made by some of the most distinguished artists of the time and allude to the city’s influence and prosperity in the Dutch Golden Age.

The impressive collection of Empire furniture, clocks and chandeliers date from that period and is one of the best preserved and most complete collections in the world.

The rooms in the Palace are decorated with artworks from the collection of the House of Orange-Nassau Historic Collections Trust. Many paintings show the various members of the family of Orange-Nassau.

Oude Kerk’s Tower

A big and monumental church De Oude Kerk (The Old Church) dominates over the Red Light District. The Oudekerkstoren gives a good view of the surrounding district.

Oude Kerk’s Tower
Oude Kerk’s Tower

The tower (including wooden spire) is 67m in height – with the viewing platform at just over the halfway mark. As you go up, you will stop off at different levels where your guide will explain various aspects of the tower – such as the inner wooden structure and the 17th century 47-bell carillon.

The Oudekerk is one of 3 church towers in Amsterdam centre that can usually be climbed – the others are Westerkerk tower and the Zuiderkerk tower.

Red Light District

The Red Light District is part of what makes Amsterdam famous and it is located in the centre of Amsterdam around the Damrak canal. Book accommodation in the area

Red Light District Amsterdam
Red Light District Amsterdam

Here one can find sex shops, strip clubs, and adult theaters. But contrary to what a lot of people might think, the Amsterdam Red Light District has a very friendly atmosphere and isn’t as dangerous as it used to be. Besides pickpockets, the area is fairly safe to visit especially during the daytime.

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The oldest erotic theatre in the area is Casa Rosso, which until today, can be visited for some 18+ action. There’s no such thing as an age restriction to walk through the area, however, the adult shops and adult entertainment do not allow minors.

Foodhallen, Amsterdam

Founded in 2014, Foodhallen is home to a wide range of high-quality concepts and a household name for food lovers.

De Foodhallen is part of De Hallen Amsterdam, a complex of buildings which used to be a historic tram depot and that dates back to 1902, when the electric trams started to be used.

Foodhallen, Amsterdam
Foodhallen, Amsterdam (photo: itinari.com)

The Foodhallen is the place to go for lunch or dinner when you like to taste small culinary dishes, served in street and barfood style in a hip and lively atmosphere.

Each stall restaurant offers a limited number of dishes of different specialities, like: fresh seafood and fish soup (Le Big Fish), typical Dutch bitterballen (De Ballenbar), delicious and healthy Vietnamese street food (Viêt View), Japanese sushi and yakitori (Meneer Temaki, high-end Mumbai street food (Shirkhan), and grilled and roasted porc (The Rough Kitchen).

Westergas, Amsterdam

The Westergas is a former gasworks in Amsterdam, now used as a cultural venue. The historical site, built in 1880 as a gas factory, has been transformed into a lively, cultural village in the heart of Amsterdam, where one can find a myriad of cultural expressions.

Westergas, Amsterdam
Westergas, Amsterdam (photo: amsterdamyeah.com)

From music and hospitality to theater and performance, from film and photography to art, dance events and even TV studios, this is the place where creativity, diversity and freedom are celebrated.

The 19th-century red-brick buildings, classified as industrial monuments, are chock-full of trendy restaurants, bars, clubs, galleries, and cultural venues. Coolest of all is Gashouder, an old gas storage tank that now hosts techno concerts for up to 3,500 people inside its vast circular interior.

Zaanse Schans

Zaanse Schans is a neighbourhood of Zaandam, best known for its collection of windmills and wooden houses that were relocated here from the wider region north of Amsterdam for preservation. Book accommodation in the area

Zaanse Schans Amsterdam
Zaanse Schans Amsterdam

The Zaan region was an important industrial area dotted by hundreds of windmills producing linseed oil, paint, snuff, mustard, paper and other products.

Many of the Zaanse Schans’ characteristic village houses are now museums, gift shops or workshops while others are still used as private residences. Some of the Zaanse Schans’ remaining windmills are also open to the public.

The Zaanse Schans attracts nearly a million visitors per year and it’s one of the Netherlands’ best loved attractions.

Emperor’s Canal

The Keizersgracht (“Emperor’s Canal”) is the second of the three main Amsterdam canals that together form the Grachtengordel, or canal belt, and lies between the inner Herengracht and outer Prinsengracht.

There are many monuments and monumental canal houses on the Emperor’s Canal, including: Church of Our Lady, Felix Meritis, The Dylan Hotel, formerly Roman Catholic Poor’s Office and before that the first Theatre of Van Campen, The Van Raey Houses, now Museum Van Loon, The Nieuwe Waalse Kerk, and others. Book accommodation in the area

Emperor’s Canal Amsterdam
Emperor’s Canal Amsterdam (photo: hotels.com)

The beautiful Emperor’s Canal provides a quiet respite from some of the busier parts of town, and is a great place to wander or go on a scenic boat ride.

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Many of the city’s hop-on hop-off boat tours use this canal. You can also experience the canal via a private cruise replete with drinks and snacks.

Interesting fact:
If ice forms in winter, there is a possibility of skating on the Amsterdam canals. The Emperor’s Canal is designated as the main canal for skating.

Best Things to Do in Amsterdam

  1. Top 20 Best Things to Do in Amsterdam
    1. Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum
    2. Vondelpark, Amsterdam
    3. Nine streets
    4. Heineken Experience
    5. Anne Frank House Amsterdam
    6. EYE Film Institute Netherlands
    7. The Jordaan Neighborhood
    8. A’dam Lookout
    9. Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo
    10. Body Worlds Amsterdam
    11. Moco Museum Amsterdam
    12. Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam
    13. Royal Palace Amsterdam
    14. Oude Kerk’s Tower
    15. Red Light District
    16. Foodhallen, Amsterdam
    17. Westergas, Amsterdam
    18. Zaanse Schans
    19. Emperor’s Canal