25 Best Things to Do in Amsterdam: Exploring the Venice of the North

Things to Do in Amsterdam

From its enchanting canals and historic houses to its world-class museums and vibrant nightlife, Amsterdam offers a myriad of experiences that cater to every kind of traveler. The Dutch capital, known for its artistic heritage and liberal ethos, presents a fascinating blend of history, culture, and modern urban life.

If you’re considering things to do in Amsterdam, exploring the Rijksmuseum, the Royal Palace Amsterdam, the Eye Film Museum, or the Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam should be at the top of your list.

1. Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum
Photo: Google Maps/Conrad Tortajada Cebrian

As the largest and most visited museum in the Netherlands, the Rijksmuseum is a must-see for any visitor in Amsterdam. Home to an extensive collection of Dutch art and history, the museum houses works from the Middle Ages to the 20th century, with a particular emphasis on the Dutch Golden Age.

Visitors can admire masterpieces by renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Frans Hals. Highlights include Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” and Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid.” The museum’s stunning Gothic and Renaissance-style building, designed by Pierre Cuypers, is a work of art in itself.

Entry Fee: EUR 22,50; Location: Check Map
Address: Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands.

2. Van Gogh Museum

Van Gogh Museum
Photo: Google Maps/Savoir Aimer

Another highlight among the things to see in Amsterdam is visiting the Van Gogh Museum, dedicated to the life and works of the Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh. The museum houses the world’s largest collection of Van Gogh’s paintings, drawings, and letters, offering profound insight into his artistic journey and personal life.

From iconic paintings like “The Potato Eaters” and “Sunflowers” to lesser-known works and personal letters, the museum provides an intimate look at Van Gogh’s artistic evolution and his struggles with mental illness. The modern, light-filled building also hosts temporary exhibitions featuring works by Van Gogh’s contemporaries and other artists inspired by his work.

Entry Fee: EUR 20; Location: Check Map
Address: Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands.

3. Anne Frank House

Anne Frank House
Photo: Google Maps/Ryan Lalani

The Anne Frank House, where Jewish diarist Anne Frank hid with her family during World War II, is a poignant and important historical site in Amsterdam. Today, it serves as a biographical museum dedicated to Anne’s life, the Frank family, and the horrors of the Holocaust.

Visitors can tour the secret annex where Anne wrote her famous diary, view original pages from the diary, and learn about the broader context of the Holocaust and anti-Semitism during WWII. The Anne Frank House is a sobering reminder of the city’s history and a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

Entry Fee: EUR 16; Location: Check Map
Address: Westermarkt 20, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands.

4. Vondelpark

Vondelpark
Photo: Google Maps/Patty Getzrow

For those seeking a touch of nature in the city, Vondelpark provides a perfect respite. As Amsterdam’s largest city park, Vondelpark is an oasis of tranquility amid the bustling city life. Filled with lush green lawns, beautiful ponds, and winding paths, it’s an ideal place for a leisurely stroll, bike ride, or picnic.

The park is also home to several cafes and restaurants, an open-air theatre that hosts concerts and performances in the summer, and numerous statues and sculptures, including the famous Fish sculpture by Pablo Picasso. Whether you’re looking to relax, exercise, or simply enjoy the beauty of nature, visiting Vondelpark is one of the most delightful things to do in Amsterdam.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: Amsterdam, Netherlands.

5. ARTIS (Natura Artis Magistra)

ARTIS (Natura Artis Magistra)
Photo: Google Maps/Stefan Takes

Known as ARTIS, the Natura Artis Magistra is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands and another top attraction in Amsterdam. Situated in the city center, ARTIS combines a zoo, an aquarium, a planetarium, and a botanical garden, offering a multitude of experiences for visitors of all ages.

The zoo houses a diverse array of animals from around the globe, while the aquarium gives visitors a glimpse into the underwater world. The botanical garden showcases a wide variety of plants, and the planetarium provides an exciting journey through the universe. With its focus on conservation and education, a visit to ARTIS is both fun and enlightening.

Entry Fee: EUR 17,50; Location: Check Map
Address: Plantage Kerklaan 38-40, 1018 CZ Amsterdam, Netherlands.

6. Royal Palace Amsterdam

Royal Palace Amsterdam
Photo: Twitter/Save A Train

The Royal Palace Amsterdam, situated on Dam Square in the heart of the city, is one of three palaces in the Netherlands used by the Dutch monarch. Originally built as a city hall during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century, it’s now used by the royal family for state visits, award ceremonies, and other official functions.

When not in use by the royal family, the palace is open to the public. Visitors can explore the grand interiors, adorned with marble sculptures, ornate chandeliers, intricate ceiling paintings, and impressive furniture. The palace stands as a testament to Amsterdam’s rich history and its role in the Dutch Republic’s global power during the Golden Age.

Entry Fee: EUR 12,50; Location: Check Map
Address: Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 147, 1012 RJ Amsterdam, Netherlands.

7. Heineken Experience

Heineken Experience
Photo: Google Maps/Heineken Experience

Beer lovers shouldn’t miss the Heineken Experience, an interactive tour through the history of the Heineken brewery. The tour provides a fascinating insight into Heineken’s heritage, brewing process, innovations, and sponsorship partnerships.

Visitors can explore the historic brewery, engage in interactive exhibits, enjoy a tasting session, and even learn to draft the perfect beer. The tour combines history, information, and fun, making the Heineken Experience one of the most entertaining things to do in Amsterdam.

Entry Fee: EUR 19.50; Location: Check Map
Address: Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE Amsterdam, Netherlands.

8. Amsterdam Centraal

Amsterdam Centraal
Photo: Google Maps/Jan K66M

As the city’s main transportation hub, Amsterdam Centraal might be your first glimpse of the city if you arrive by train. But beyond its practical function, Amsterdam Centraal is an architectural marvel worth exploring. Designed by Dutch architect Pierre Cuypers, who also designed the Rijksmuseum, the station’s striking Gothic-Renaissance Revival facade is a sight to behold.

Inside, you’ll find a bustling hub filled with shops, restaurants, and, of course, thousands of cyclists coming and going. Don’t miss the ‘IJ-hall’ at the back of the station for a stunning view over the River IJ.

Entry Fee: EUR 26; Location: Check Map
Address: Stationsplein, 1012 AB Amsterdam, Netherlands.

9. Amsterdam Museum

Amsterdam Museum
Photo: Google Maps/Vincent Terrasson

The Amsterdam Museum provides a comprehensive look into the city’s evolution from a small medieval settlement to the vibrant, multicultural city it is today. Interactive exhibits, artifacts, and stories guide visitors through centuries of Amsterdam’s history, covering topics like the Golden Age, the Second World War, and the counterculture movement of the 60s and 70s.

Notable exhibits include a large-scale model of the city in the Golden Age and a collection of artwork depicting Amsterdam’s historical figures and cityscapes. Whether you’re a history buff or just keen to learn more about Amsterdam, a visit to the Amsterdam Museum is a must.

Entry Fee: EUR 18,00; Location: Check Map
Address: Amstel 51, 1018 EJ Amsterdam, Netherlands.

10. NEMO Science Museum

NEMO Science Museum
Photo: Google Maps/Christian Daube

For families visiting Amsterdam, the NEMO Science Museum is a top attraction. This interactive museum encourages kids to touch, explore, and play while learning about science and technology. Exhibits cover a wide range of topics, from physics and chemistry to biology and behavioral science.

The museum’s distinctive green building, shaped like a ship’s hull, is a city landmark. On the rooftop, you’ll find the largest terrace in Amsterdam, complete with an outdoor exhibition about wind energy and an excellent view over the city.

Entry Fee: EUR 17.50; Location: Check Map
Address: Oosterdok 2, 1011 VX Amsterdam, Netherlands.

11. Our Lord in the Attic Museum

Our Lord in the Attic Museum
Photo: Google Maps/Richard Moller

For something a bit different, visit Our Lord in the Attic Museum, one of the oldest and most remarkable museums in Amsterdam. Hidden in the upper levels of a 17th-century canal house, you’ll find a beautifully preserved Catholic church. During a time when Catholic worship was prohibited in Amsterdam, this clandestine church allowed the practice to continue.

Today, the museum offers a glimpse into life in the 17th century, with the church, the house, and its original furniture all impeccably preserved. It’s a surprising and enlightening experience among the many things to see in Amsterdam.

Entry Fee: EUR 12,50; Location: Check Map
Address: Oudezijds Voorburgwal 38-40, 1012 GD Amsterdam, Netherlands.

12. Eye Film Museum

Eye Film Museum
Photo: Google Maps/Jaromír Knižka

For film enthusiasts, the Eye Film Museum is a must-visit. Located on the northern bank of the IJ harbor, the museum is dedicated to cinematography and film culture. Its striking, futuristic building houses a vast collection of films from all genres, countries, and eras.

Visitors can explore various exhibits on film history and technique, watch movies in the four modern cinemas, and even try their hand at film-related activities in the interactive basement. The museum also hosts temporary exhibitions, film screenings, and events. Aside from its collections, the museum offers a stunning panoramic view of Amsterdam.

Entry Fee: EUR 12.50; Location: Check Map
Address: IJpromenade 1, 1031 KT Amsterdam, Netherlands.

13. Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Photo: Google Maps/Atelier Argos Rene

The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is the place for modern and contemporary art and design in Amsterdam. Its extraordinary collection includes works from major movements of the 20th and 21st centuries, such as Bauhaus, Pop Art, De Stijl, and Expressionism.

You’ll find works by renowned artists like Piet Mondrian, Karel Appel, Vincent van Gogh, and Marc Chagall, along with a vast collection of design objects, such as furniture, ceramics, posters, and textiles. The museum’s striking building, a blend of old and new architectural styles, is a sight to behold and definitely worth a visit.

Entry Fee: EUR 22,50; Location: Check Map
Address: Museumplein 10, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands.

14. BODY WORLDS Amsterdam

BODY WORLDS Amsterdam
Photo: Twitter/Caz

BODY WORLDS Amsterdam provides a unique exploration of the human body. This fascinating exhibit displays real plastinated bodies, giving visitors an in-depth look at our anatomy and how it functions. The Amsterdam exhibit focuses on the theme of happiness and its effect on our health.

This world-renowned exhibition, created by Dr. Gunther von Hagens, has sparked curiosity and awe around the world. It’s a thought-provoking and educational experience that’s sure to leave a lasting impression.

Entry Fee: EUR 24,95; Location: Check Map
Address: Damrak 66, 1012 LM Amsterdam, Netherlands.

15. The National Maritime Museum

The National Maritime Museum
Photo: Google Maps/J. Dubs

Amsterdam’s maritime history is brought to life at The National Maritime Museum, known as Het Scheepvaartmuseum in Dutch. Located in a grand 17th-century naval storehouse, the museum houses an extensive collection of maritime artifacts and exhibits.

One of the museum’s highlights is a full-sized replica of the Amsterdam, an 18th-century ship which sailed between the Netherlands and the East Indies. Visitors can also explore interactive exhibits on Dutch naval history, navigation instruments, maritime art, and more. Whether you’re a history buff or a sea lover, the National Maritime Museum offers an insightful look into the Netherlands’ seafaring legacy.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: Kattenburgerplein 1, 1018 KK Amsterdam, Netherlands.

16. Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam
Photo: Google Maps/Abigail Clarkson

One of the oldest botanical gardens in the world, Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam, offers a peaceful escape in the heart of the city. Established in 1638, the garden was originally used as a medicinal herb garden. Today, it houses more than 6,000 indigenous and exotic plants and trees.

Among the garden’s highlights are the Palm House, which contains rare tropical and subtropical plants, the Butterfly Greenhouse, and the Three-Climate Greenhouse, where plants are arranged according to the different climates. Whether you’re a plant lover or just looking for a peaceful spot, Hortus Botanicus is one of the delightful things to do in Amsterdam.

Entry Fee: EUR 12,50; Location: Check Map
Address: Plantage Middenlaan 2a, 1018 DD Amsterdam, Netherlands.

17. The Amsterdam Dungeon

The Amsterdam Dungeon
Photo: Twitter/Auto Ride Count

The Amsterdam Dungeon offers a unique blend of theater, special effects, and thrilling rides for a genuinely interactive and immersive experience. Through live shows performed by talented actors, visitors journey through 500 years of Amsterdam’s dark history, covering events like the plague, the Spanish Inquisition, and the city’s notorious criminal underworld.

This tourist attraction is not for the faint-hearted but guarantees a mixture of scares, laughs, and unforgettable memories.

Entry Fee: EUR 23; Location: Check Map
Address: The Amsterdam Dungeon, Rokin 78, 1012 KW Amsterdam, Netherlands.

18. Madame Tussauds Amsterdam

Madame Tussauds Amsterdam
Photo: Google Maps/Rita Camarinha

Step into the world of fame at Madame Tussauds Amsterdam, where you can rub shoulders with life-like wax figures of celebrities, royals, artists, and more. Pose for a photo with Dutch royalty, strut your stuff on the catwalk with top models, or show your skills on the football field with famous athletes.

Located in the city center, Madame Tussauds Amsterdam is a fun, interactive experience for visitors of all ages and a great place for some unique photo opportunities.

Entry Fee: EUR 23; Location: Check Map
Address: Dam 20, 1012 NP Amsterdam, Netherlands.

19. Moco Museum

Moco Museum
Photo: Google Maps/Edda Mar

For those interested in contemporary and street art, the Moco Museum is a must-visit. Located in a beautiful townhouse overlooking Museum Square, the museum showcases works by ‘rock stars’ of the art world, such as Banksy, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein.

One of the highlights is the extensive collection of works by the elusive street artist Banksy. This museum’s unique and playful collection makes it a standout among Amsterdam’s many art museums.

Entry Fee: EUR 21.95; Location: Check Map
Address: Honthorststraat 20, 1071 DE Amsterdam, Netherlands.

20. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Amsterdam

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Amsterdam
Photo: Google Maps/Butze Bachmann

For a truly unique experience, visit Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Amsterdam. This attraction, part of the international Ripley’s franchise, showcases a collection of peculiar artifacts and oddities from around the world.

Experience bizarre exhibits, such as a shrunken head, a 7-meter tall robot made from car parts, or a piece of the Berlin Wall. The attraction is as educational as it is fun, providing unusual insights into global cultures and histories.

Entry Fee: EUR 22.50; Location: Check Map
Address: Dam 21, 1012 JS Amsterdam, Netherlands.

21. Begijnhof

Begijnhof
Photo: Google Maps/Audrey Deberdt

The Begijnhof is one of Amsterdam’s hidden treasures. This historic courtyard, dating back to the 14th century, was once home to a group of religious women known as the Beguines. Now, it’s a peaceful enclave in the middle of the city.

The courtyard is lined with historic houses, including the oldest wooden house in Amsterdam. Its serene atmosphere and charming architecture make it a must-visit spot when exploring things to do in Amsterdam.

Entry Fee: Free; Location: Check Map
Address: Begijnhof 1, 1012 WS Amsterdam, Netherlands.

22. De 9 Straatjes

De 9 Straatjes
Photo: Google Maps/Mad Dog

De 9 Straatjes, or The Nine Streets, is a vibrant and trendy area in Amsterdam’s canal district. This charming neighborhood is known for its many boutiques, art galleries, vintage shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Stroll down the cobbled streets, browse through a wide variety of unique shops, or relax at a canal-side café. This area’s lively atmosphere and picturesque canal views make it a must-visit for shopping enthusiasts and foodies.

Entry Fee: -; Location: Check Map
Address: Wolvenstraat 9, 1016 EM Amsterdam, Netherlands.

23. Rembrandthuis

Rembrandthuis
Photo: Twitter/Dr Dan O’Brien

The Rembrandt House Museum, or Rembrandthuis, offers a fascinating look into the life and work of Dutch master painter Rembrandt van Rijn. This is where Rembrandt lived and worked at the height of his fame.

Today, the house is a museum showcasing a nearly complete collection of Rembrandt’s etchings and exhibitions about his life, his pupils, and his place in the world of art. A visit to the Rembrandt House provides insight into the artist’s life and work, making it a top attraction for art lovers.

Entry Fee: EUR 17.50; Location: Check Map
Address: Jodenbreestraat 4, 1011 NK Amsterdam, Netherlands.

24. Oude Kerk Amsterdam

Oude Kerk Amsterdam
Photo: Google Maps/Cathy Sheppard

The Oude Kerk (Old Church) is Amsterdam’s oldest building and oldest parish church, consecrated in 1306. Nestled in the heart of the bustling Red Light District, the Oude Kerk stands as a calm and peaceful sanctuary.

The church’s architecture is a blend of Gothic and Renaissance styles, featuring a stunning wooden roof, magnificent stained glass windows, and a floor made entirely of gravestones. The church also hosts various exhibitions and concerts throughout the year.

Entry Fee: EUR 13.50; Location: Check Map
Address: Oudekerksplein 23, 1012 GX Amsterdam, Netherlands.

25. Hermitage Amsterdam

Hermitage Amsterdam
Photo: Google Maps/Šimon Kvapil

The Hermitage Amsterdam is a branch museum of the famous Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Located in a classical building on the Amstel River, it hosts rotating exhibitions from the vast collections of its Russian counterpart.

Exhibits range from Russian history and culture to European art and historical artifacts. With its exceptional exhibits and beautiful location, the Hermitage Amsterdam provides a unique cultural experience among the things to do in Amsterdam.

Entry Fee: EUR 27.50; Location: Check Map
Address: Amstel 51, 1018 DR Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Conclusion

Amsterdam is a city steeply layered in history, art, and culture. Exploring the Rijksmuseum, the NEMO Science Museum, the Moco Museum, and the Oude Kerk Amsterdam are just some of the enriching things to do. Each of these attractions offers profound insight into different facets of Amsterdam’s history and identity – from its contribution to the world of art to its role in the tragic narrative of the Holocaust. As you navigate through the city’s canals and cobblestoned streets, you’ll discover that Amsterdam is a city that holds its past close, fostering an understanding of history and humanity that leaves a lasting impression on its visitors.

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Hannah J

Hannah specializes in travel and lifestyle content. She has an innate ability to capture the essence of a place, from bustling city streets to serene mountain landscapes.

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