15 fun activities in Amsterdam you shouldn’t miss

From a 5D flight experience to food tours, the cool activities in Amsterdam you’ll wish you knew about sooner.

As the flourishing capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is a fascinating and unique city with something to see at every turn. From getting a bird's-eye view of the Netherlands at This is Holland to savoring a sweet caramel-oozing stroopwafel at the famous Albert Cuyp Market, there's no shortage of unique things to do in Amsterdam, day or night.

From essential Amsterdam experiences like biking through colorful neighborhoods and exploring the Dutch beer scene to admiring masterpieces at the Van Gogh Museum, this guide to 15 fun things to do in Amsterdam shows off the city’s fun side so you know what not to miss.

Fun things to do in Amsterdam as a couple

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Admire the beauty of Amsterdam from the water on a canal cruise.

1. Cruise through the canals of Amsterdam

There are many fun ways to explore the iconic Canals of Amsterdam, from daytime party boats to private romantic cruises at night. You can take in the city's historical, cultural, and most famous landmarks on a cruise that fits your style.

Best time to go:

Opt for a twilight cruise to enjoy the beautifully lit bridges and buildings.

Address and opening hours:

Canals of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Cruise start times vary.

Experience the Amsterdam Canals

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Find colorful tulips and flower-filled walking paths at Keukenhof.

2. See the famous tulips on a full-day trip to Keukenhof

Known as the Garden of Europe and named one of the most beautiful places in the Netherlands, Keukenhof in Lisse showcases the Netherlands' natural beauty in a vibrant display of colorful tulips and other greenery. Wander through the pathways of tulips with your partner and take romantic photos surrounded by Holland’s symbolic flower.

Best time to go:

Visit in the morning or evening to avoid the midday crowds.

Address and opening hours:

Stationsweg 166A, 2161 AM Lisse, Netherlands. Open March 20-May 11, 8:00 AM-7:30 PM every day.

Experience Keukenhof

Discover the charm of traditional Dutch windmills in Zaanse Schans.

3. Experience the romantic windmills of Zaanse Schans

The picturesque windmills of Zaanse Schans promise a romantic atmosphere and a glimpse back in time. This charming village offers a glimpse into traditional Dutch life with its historic windmills, wooden houses, and artisan workshops. Cruising on the Zaan River is a peaceful way to see the town’s windmills and charming architecture.

Insider tip:

Stop by the Catharina Hoeve Cheese Farm to try Dutch cheese, one of the must-try Dutch foods.

Address and opening hours:

Zaanse Schans, Zaandam, Netherlands. Open 24/7.

Experience Zaanse Schans

Fun things to do in Amsterdam with kids

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Observe rare and exotic animals at the ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo.

4. See the world’s wildlife at the Royal Zoo

The ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo is a fantastic place for families to discover a wide array of rare and exotic animals. This zoo focuses on animal welfare and conservation, providing fun and educational experiences for children and adults alike. Enjoy zookeeper talks, tours, and hands-on activities.

Highlights:

Don't miss the aquarium and planetarium for additional fun.

Address and opening hours:

Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, 1018 CZ Amsterdam, Netherlands. Open Monday-Sunday, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM.

Experience ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo

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This is Holland lets you fly over the Netherlands without leaving the ground.

5. Get a bird's-eye view of the Netherlands

Combining film, special effects, and movement, This is Holland is a 5D flight experience that simulates a breathtaking flight over Dutch landscapes and historical landmarks. It’s a fun, educational, and immersive way to see the Netherlands from a unique perspective that kids and families will enjoy.

Highlight:

Experience the sensation of flying over windmills, tulip fields, and canals without leaving the ground.

Address and opening hours:

Overhoeksplein 51, 1031 KS Amsterdam, Netherlands. Open 10:00 AM-6:00 PM every day.

Experience This is Holland

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Step back in time on the historic trams from Amsterdam's past.

6. Ride a part of history to Amstelveen

Experience Amsterdam's rich history by riding the historic Tram Line 30. This vintage tram offers a nostalgic trip through the city and into the countryside, providing a unique perspective on Amsterdam’s past and present. The tram route ends in Bovenkerk in Amstelveen, a city with plenty of family-friendly activities.

Insider tip:

Check the official tram schedule ahead of time, as the tram only operates on certain days.

Address and opening hours:

Tram start times and stops vary.

Experience Amsterdam's historic trams

Learn about the profound history of Anne Frank at her house in Amsterdam.

7. Get a glimpse into Anne Frank’s life

As the city where Anne Frank grew up, Amsterdam is the perfect place to get a glimpse into the life of Anne Frank and her family during World War II. Remnants of her living circumstances and memory can be found throughout the city. Visit the Anne Frank House, where she wrote her famous diary, to learn about her story and the impact of her legacy.

Highlight:

The Anne Frank House Museum makes the stories of World War II educational and accessible to kids.

Address and opening hours:

Westermarkt 20, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands. Open 9:00 AM-10:00 PM every day.

Experience Anne Frank's life in Amsterdam

Have a family picnic on the sprawling fields of grass at Vondelpark.

8. Explore Vondelpark’s playgrounds and lakeside picnic spots

Vondelpark, Amsterdam’s largest park, is a haven for families looking for outdoor fun. Located near the bustling square of Leidseplein, the park has multiple playgrounds, lakeside picnic spaces, and bike rentals, it offers endless fun for kids of all ages.

Best time to go:

In the summer, the park hosts concerts, open-air theater plays, and other events.

Address and opening hours:

Vondelpark, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Open 24/7.

Fun things to do in Amsterdam on your own

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Soak in Amsterdam's past and present art scene at the Rijksmuseum.

9. Discover Amsterdam’s biggest museum

Any Amsterdam travel guide will tell you the Rijksmuseum is a great place to learn about Dutch history from the Middle Ages to the present day. Rijksmuseum is one of Europe's oldest and most prestigious museums. Its inspiring collection and dedication to art make it one of the best art museums in Amsterdam.

Highlight:

Explore the Gallery of Honor to see works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and other Dutch masters.

Address and opening hours:

Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands. Open 9:00 AM-5:00 PM every day.

Experience the Rijksmuseum

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The Van Gogh Museum houses Vincent van Gogh’s must-see masterpieces.

10. Explore Van Gogh’s creative mind

At the Van Gogh Museum, you can learn about Van Gogh’s life and creative process through an impressive array of exhibits, ranging from early sketches and studies to iconic masterpieces like “Sunflowers” and “Starry Night.” Reflecting on Van Gogh’s work alone is actually a bonus because it means fewer distractions.

Insider tip:

Book an entry ticket near closing time to enjoy a quieter and more intimate visit.

Address and opening hours:

Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands. Open Saturday-Thursday, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM, and Friday, 9:00 AM-9:00 PM.

Experience the Van Gogh Museum

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Bike through Amsterdam's quiet countryside or pedal through the busy city streets.

11. Navigate the city like the locals

Biking through the city offers a local perspective of Amsterdam and is a fun way to see Amsterdam’s top attractions as well as its lesser-known gems. With Amerstdam’s rich cycling history dating back to the early 20th century, biking is deeply ingrained in Amsterdam's culture, so if you’re looking for a truly local experience, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Insider tip:

Join a guided biking tour with a local for a curated route and all the gear you need.

Experience Amsterdam by bike

Fun things to do in Amsterdam for food and drinks

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Celebrate something special with wine and cheese on an Amsterdam Canals cruise.

12. Wine and dine on the canals

The only thing better than cruising on the Amsterdam Canals is cruising while enjoying food and drinks. Hop on board a classic boat and drift along the canals while sipping wine and nibbling on Dutch cheese. This is a great way to experience the city's rich history, stunning architecture, and food culture in one place.

Insider tip:

Cruising on the canals is not only a romantic date idea, but it's one of the best things to do in Amsterdam after dark.

Address and opening hours:

Cruise starting locations and times vary.

Experience the Amsterdam Canals with food and drinks

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Indulge in Amsterdam’s culinary delights like stroopwafels and bitterballen.

13. Sample the local flavors of Amsterdam

Trying Amsterdam’s top local foods is essential for soaking in the city’s culture. Foods like stroopwafels, raw herring, and bitterballen (Dutch meatballs) offer a true taste of the city. Popular areas for food include the Jordaan district and De Pijp, where you can explore diverse culinary delights.

Insider tip:

An Amsterdam food tour combines the allure of Amsterdam’s local favorite foods and niche bites with an informative journey through the heart of the city.

Experience Amsterdam's food

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Visit the Heineken Experience to learn about Dutch beer and taste flavorful brews.

14. Experience the history and flavors of Dutch Beer

Getting a sip of Dutch beer culture is another essential part of a visit to Amsterdam. Sample a variety of local brews at historic pubs and modern breweries, and visit the Heineken Experience to gain insight into the world of Heineken beer and its brewing process. Located in the former Heineken brewery, you can explore the history of this iconic beer brand.

Highlight:

Enjoy a tasting session at the Heineken Experience to appreciate the nuanced flavors and brewing techniques of Dutch beer.

Address and opening hours:

Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands. Open Sunday-Thursday, 10:30 AM-7:30 PM, and Friday-Saturday, 10:30 AM-9:00 PM.

Experience Dutch beer

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Find fresh produce, local products, and more at Amsterdam's Albert Cuyp Market.

15. Taste your way around Amsterdam’s massive food market

At the Albert Cuyp Market, Amsterdam's most popular food market, you can peruse over 260 diverse stalls offering fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and much more. This bustling market attracts locals and tourists seeking an authentic Dutch cultural and culinary experience.

Best time to go:

Visit in the morning for the freshest produce and a lively atmosphere.

Address and opening hours:

Albert Cuypstraat 199, 1073 BE Amsterdam. Open Monday-Saturday, 9:30 AM-5:00 PM.

Experience the Albert Cuyp Market

FAQs

What are some fun things to do in Amsterdam at night?

Some cool things to do in Amsterdam at night include enjoying a canal cruise while sipping cocktails, visiting the city's renowned Red Light District, or taking a bike tour through the illuminated streets.

Are there any fun day trips from Amsterdam that I should consider?

One of the most popular day trips is to the charming countryside town of Giethoorn, where you can experience Dutch village life and scenic boat rides through its canals. Another option is to visit Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands, which has modern architecture, a lively culture, and excellent museums.

What are some popular festivals or events in Amsterdam?

The most popular annual events include the King's Day celebration, held on April 27th to mark the birthday of King Willem-Alexander, and the Amsterdam Dance Event. This five-day electronic dance music festival attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.

What are some fun outdoor activities to do in Amsterdam?

You can pedal boat on the canals or kayak through the city's spectacular waterways. Additionally, there are outdoor markets like Albert Cuypmarkt and Westergasfabriek, where you can buy authentic Dutch souvenirs and locally made products.

What are some unique cultural experiences in Amsterdam?

Amsterdam offers a wealth of unique cultural experiences, such as visiting the vibrant Jordaan district, exploring the city's many art galleries, and attending a classical concert at the Royal Concertgebouw. Dive into the city's history at essential places like the Anne Frank House and the Rijksmuseum.