20 Fun & Best Things to Do in Amsterdam – From a Local!

20 Fun & Best Things to Do in Amsterdam - From a Local!

Welcome to Amsterdam, the enchanting city of canals, art, and vibrant culture! As a proud local resident, I am thrilled to be your guide on this exhilarating journey through the 20 best and most enjoyable activities that this dynamic city has to offer.

Beyond the postcard-perfect canals and picturesque architecture, Amsterdam’s allure lies in its rich history, diverse neighborhoods, and thriving arts scene.

From world-class museums housing masterpieces by Dutch Masters to the bustling food markets tantalizing your taste buds with delightful Dutch delicacies, there’s something for everyone to revel in.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast delving into the stories of Amsterdam’s past, an art aficionado seeking inspiration in its cutting-edge museums, or a curious traveler ready to embrace new adventures, Amsterdam promises an experience like no other.

20. Visit NEMO Science Museum

20. Visit NEMO Science Museum (1)

For those traveling with children or anyone with a curious mind, NEMO Science Museum is a fantastic place to visit. This interactive museum offers hands-on exhibits and experiments that make learning about science and technology fun and engaging for all ages.

19. Relax at the Hortus Botanicus

The Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world and a peaceful oasis in the center of Amsterdam. Wander through its greenhouses and outdoor gardens, which are home to an extensive collection of exotic plants and flowers. It’s an excellent place to unwind and reconnect with nature.

18. Shop at De 9 Straatjes

For a unique shopping experience, head to De 9 Straatjes, or “The 9 Streets.” This charming area is located in the heart of the canal district and is lined with boutiques, vintage stores, and independent shops. Here, you’ll find one-of-a-kind souvenirs, fashion pieces, and quirky items that will make your trip memorable.

17. Take a Trip to Amsterdam Noord

Take a Trip to Amsterdam Noord

Cross the IJ River to Amsterdam Noord and discover a different side of the city. This up-and-coming neighborhood is filled with modern architecture, trendy bars, and cultural hotspots. Don’t miss the EYE Film Museum, a futuristic building that showcases the history of cinema and hosts various film-related events.

16. Enjoy a Concert at Concertgebouw

Enjoy a Concert at Concertgebouw

If you appreciate classical music, attending a concert at Concertgebouw should be on your Amsterdam itinerary. This iconic concert hall is famous for its exceptional acoustics, hosting world-class performances from renowned orchestras and musicians. Check their schedule and witness an unforgettable musical experience.

15. Experience Amsterdam’s Festivals

Experience Amsterdam's Festivals (1)

Throughout the year, Amsterdam hosts a wide range of festivals and events that cater to diverse interests. From music and art festivals to food and cultural celebrations, there’s always something happening in the city. Keep an eye on local event calendars to catch any exciting festivals during your visit.

14. Take a Day Trip to Zaanse Schans

Escape the city’s hustle and bustle with a day trip to Zaanse Schans, a picturesque village just a short journey from Amsterdam. Here, you’ll step back in time and witness traditional Dutch windmills, wooden houses, and artisanal workshops. It’s an excellent opportunity to experience authentic Dutch countryside life.

13. Experience Amsterdam’s Nightlife

As a local, I can tell you that Amsterdam’s nightlife is second to none. The city comes alive after dark, offering an array of bars, clubs, and live music venues for you to enjoy. Head to the Leidseplein area for a lively and bustling atmosphere, or explore the trendy bars in the De Pijp neighborhood to experience a more laid-back vibe.

12. Go on a Street Art Tour

Amsterdam is a vibrant canvas for street art, and you can find incredible murals and graffiti scattered across the city. Take a street art tour to learn about the stories behind the artworks and the artists who created them. The NDSM Wharf in Amsterdam Noord is a hotbed for street art and graffiti, offering a fascinating insight into the city’s urban culture.

11. Cycle like a Local

Cycle like a Local Amsterdam

Bicycling is practically a way of life in Amsterdam, and as a local, I encourage you to hop on a bike to explore the city like a true Dutch person. Rent a bike and ride along the bike lanes, crisscrossing the city, and discovering hidden corners that might otherwise be missed. It’s not only an efficient way to get around, but it’s also incredibly enjoyable.

10. Immerse in Dutch History at Nieuwmarkt

Immerse in Dutch History at Nieuwmarkt

Nieuwmarkt, situated in the heart of the city, is a historical square surrounded by 17th-century buildings. It was once the site of Amsterdam’s old city walls and a bustling marketplace. Nowadays, the square is home to a variety of restaurants, bars, and cafes, making it an excellent spot to unwind and absorb the rich history of Amsterdam.

9. Discover Amsterdam’s Beer Scene

Discover Amsterdam's Beer Scene

Amsterdam is home to a thriving craft beer scene, and as a local, I can’t get enough of it. Visit some of the city’s excellent microbreweries and beer bars to taste a wide selection of locally brewed beers. De Prael, Brouwerij ‘t IJ, and Oedipus Brewing are just a few spots worth checking out for an authentic beer-tasting experience.

8. Taste Dutch Delicacies at Food Markets

Taste Dutch Delicacies at Food Markets Amsterdam

As a local foodie, I assure you that Amsterdam’s food markets are a delight for the senses. Head to Albert Cuyp Market, the largest street market in the city, to sample traditional Dutch treats such as stroopwafels, poffertjes, and herring.

If you’re a cheese lover, don’t miss the Cheese Museum in the Jordaan district, where you can try a variety of flavors and learn about the cheese-making process.

7. Hop-On Hop-Off Canal Cruise

Get a unique perspective of Amsterdam’s beauty by taking a hop-on-hop-off canal cruise. It’s not only an enjoyable way to see the city from the water but also allows you to explore different attractions at your own pace.

Choose the Red Light District route to get insights into the city’s most infamous neighborhood or the Museum District route to explore the cultural highlights.

6. Experience the Flower Power at Keukenhof

If you’re visiting Amsterdam in spring, a trip to Keukenhof is a must. This vibrant and vast flower garden is located just outside the city and is renowned for its stunning displays of tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils. Immerse yourself in a sea of colorful blooms and capture some Instagram-worthy shots to remember your Dutch adventure.

5. Enjoy Vondelpark

Enjoy Vondelpark Amsterdam

Amsterdam is home to numerous beautiful parks, but Vondelpark stands out as the most famous and beloved green space in the city. As a local, I love spending sunny afternoons here, picnicking, cycling, or simply lounging on the grass. There are also open-air performances and events during the summer, making it an ideal spot for a relaxing day outdoors.

4. Visit the Jordaan District

As a local, I can confidently say that Jordaan is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Amsterdam. This former working-class area is now a trendy and artistic hub filled with indie boutiques, art galleries, and cozy cafes. It’s the perfect place to unwind, savor delicious Dutch treats, and perhaps discover some hidden gems in its charming narrow streets.

3. Explore the World-Famous Museums

Amsterdam boasts some of the most renowned museums in the world, and as a local, I highly recommend starting your journey by immersing yourself in its rich cultural history. The Rijksmuseum, with its impressive collection of Dutch Golden Age masterpieces, including Rembrandt’s “Night Watch,” is an absolute must-visit.

Don’t forget the Van Gogh Museum, housing the largest collection of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings and drawings, providing a profound insight into the artist’s life and work. Additionally, the Anne Frank House offers a poignant and emotional experience, taking you through the hidden annex where Anne Frank and her family hid during World War II.

2. Stroll Along the Canals

Stroll Along the Canals (1)

One of the most charming and iconic aspects of Amsterdam is its picturesque canal system. Take a leisurely stroll or rent a bike to explore the city’s UNESCO-listed canals, which are lined with elegant houses and adorned with beautiful bridges.

The canal belt, known as Grachtengordel, is an ideal area for a relaxing walk, offering an opportunity to admire the city’s unique architectural heritage.

1. Embrace Art at the Stedelijk Museum

For contemporary art lovers, the Stedelijk Museum is a paradise. This cutting-edge institution features an impressive collection of modern art, design, and photography. You’ll encounter works from renowned artists like Mondrian, Malevich, and Warhol, making it an essential destination for anyone with an artistic inclination.


Are there any off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods in Amsterdam worth exploring?

Absolutely! While the city’s popular neighborhoods like Jordaan and De Pijp are well-known, consider venturing off the tourist path to explore places like De 9 Straatjes, known for its unique boutiques and vintage stores, or Amsterdam Noord, an up-and-coming area with modern architecture and cultural hotspots.

Is Amsterdam suitable for family travelers with children?

Yes, Amsterdam is a family-friendly destination with plenty to offer for children. Besides the interactive NEMO Science Museum, families can enjoy Vondelpark’s playgrounds, visit the Artis Royal Zoo, and take a boat tour specifically designed for kids, offering a delightful canal experience.

Can I experience the nightlife without going to crowded clubs and bars?

Certainly! While Amsterdam is known for its bustling nightlife, you can enjoy a different kind of nocturnal experience. Opt for a peaceful evening stroll along the beautifully illuminated canals, enjoy a classical concert at Concertgebouw, or visit one of the city’s cozy brown cafes for a laid-back evening with locals.

Is it possible to explore Amsterdam on a budget?

Absolutely! There are numerous free and affordable activities in Amsterdam. You can explore the city on foot or rent a bike to keep transportation costs low, visit the free Cheese Museum in the Jordaan district, and enjoy picnics in parks like Vondelpark without spending a fortune.

What are some lesser-known museums worth visiting?

While the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum are must-visit attractions, consider exploring lesser-known gems like the Tropenmuseum, offering insights into cultures from around the world, or the Museum Het Grachtenhuis, providing a unique perspective on Amsterdam’s canal history.

Can I experience Dutch culture without leaving the city center?

Absolutely! Amsterdam’s city center is brimming with Dutch charm and culture. You can taste authentic Dutch delicacies at food markets, immerse yourself in the historical ambiance at Nieuwmarkt, and even try on traditional Dutch costumes at some museums to capture the essence of Dutch heritage without venturing too far.


As we come to the end of our Amsterdam escapade, I hope you’ve experienced the same awe and wonder that this city continually evokes in me as a local. Amsterdam’s allure lies not only in its world-renowned museums and iconic canals but also in its vibrant neighborhoods, culinary delights, and warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Whether you’ve marveled at masterpieces in the Rijksmuseum, cycled along the canal belt, or tasted the delectable Dutch treats at food markets, I trust you’ve created memories that will linger long after your departure. Amsterdam’s blend of cultural richness, historical significance, and modern vibrancy leaves an indelible mark on every visitor.

Explore the captivating charm of 20 Of The Best & Most Beautiful Cities in Europe to Visit while planning your itinerary for “20 Fun & Best Things to Do in Amsterdam – From a Local!”

Until we meet again, remember that Amsterdam’s heart beats with an irresistible rhythm, inviting you to return and uncover even more of its enchanting charms. Safe travels and cherish the memories of your time spent in this extraordinary city. Tot ziens! (Goodbye in Dutch.)

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