When you think of Amsterdam, you often think of sights like the Palace on Dam Square, shopping in the Kalverstraat or P.C. Hooftstraat, or a tour of the canals. Although these are certainly on the list, I’ve collected much more fun, exciting or impressive things to do in Amsterdam. From creeping in underground dungeons to the highest swing in Europe.
The 10 best, exciting, or most fun things to do in Amsterdam!
Are you planning to visit Amsterdam and looking for some nice things to do? You could, of course, wander through the city, but you can also visit particular places. When I’m in town, I usually combine the two; I choose a nice outing (or several), plus I go into town afterward for a walk, shop, and eat something delicious!
Looking for inspiration for what to do during your day out in Amsterdam? Then check out our top 10!
The Rijksmuseum is perhaps the most famous museum in the country. You’ll find this impressive building about a half-hour walk from Central Station. This sounds long, but there is plenty to see along the way.
There is also a good connection to public transport, with the metro you are there in about 15 minutes. But then you miss the beautiful views.
The Rijksmuseum is home to many different works of art by famous and less famous masters. The most famous painting is the Night Watch, which is why most people come to the museum.
Also fun and interesting are the changing exhibitions in the museum. On the website of the Rijksmuseum, you’ll discover exactly which ones are on at the moment and for how long they run.
2. Van Gogh Museum
We will stay near the Rijksmuseum for our next activity because on the other side of Museumplein is the Van Gogh museum. Perhaps our country’s most famous painter.
The Van Gogh Museum houses works of art by this Dutch painter, from self-portraits to landscapes to objects. I was amazed at how incredibly much he painted—piece by piece beautiful works of art.
So if you are a lover of art, the Van Gogh Museum is definitely worth a visit!
3. Anne Frank House
We all know the diary of Anne Frank. Some have read it, either required for school, but everyone knows how tragic the last period of her life was.
The Anne Frank house is where she and her family were in hiding. You can visit the Secret Annex yourself via the steep stairs. It is unimaginable how they had to live and what a fear they must have had.
This is truly a place that brings you back down to earth and makes history come alive. Maybe not ideal for a fun day out in Amsterdam, but you should definitely have been there at least once.
4. Cruise on the canals
When you think of Amsterdam, you think of canals. A large part of this city consists of water. This results in narrow streets with sometimes charming bridges. And, of course, you can stroll through them.
But even more fun is to see the city from the water, with a guide who tells you exactly what you see. This way you can see several sights in one hour, and you can look around without having to look out for cars or cyclists.
Most canal tours leave right in front of Central Station. “Lovers,” for example, is a well-known provider of tours but there are many more. A tour costs about €12.50 and lasts an hour. There is no fixed route, but they do their best to catch some sights along the way. As you can imagine, it is busy on the water, and they want you to see as much as possible. For this reason, they may sometimes move to another canal.
5. Swinging on the roof of the A’DAM Lookout
Along the IJ River, opposite Central Station, you will find the A’DAM Lookout. This is a tall tower with all kinds of “experiences.” One of these is the swing located on the roof.
Over the Edge, as it is called, is the highest swing in Europe. You swing right over the edge of the roof at the height of 100 meters. And that is quite an experience. Not suitable for people with a fear of heights, but very nice for thrill-seekers.
Admission to the tower costs €12.50 for adults and €6.50 for children aged 4 to 12. If you want to swing, you pay €5 extra per person. To avoid disappointment, it is good to know that the minimum height allowed to swing is 1.20m.
On the A’DAM Lookout website, you can buy tickets at a discount. They also offer combination tickets for families and tickets including food and or drinks.
In the tower, there is also the restaurant Moon. This one rotates very slowly, giving you a beautiful view of the city while you sit down to eat.
6. This is Holland
This is Holland is another attraction in Amsterdam, located near the swings above. This allows you to combine them well, as both are not enough for a day-filling program.
At This is Holland you take a bird’s eye view of famous landmarks of our country. The attraction’s design really gives you the feeling that you are flying, which makes it extra challenging.
The flight itself takes about 5 minutes, the whole experience about an hour. In that time you’ll learn more about the Dutch sights you may only know from TV.
A ticket for this attraction costs €17 per person. From 3 persons you pay €13.50 per person. And when you buy the tickets online via their website, you immediately receive a 2.50 discount.
7. Body Worlds
We’ll stay with the attractions for a while because right in the center across from the Damrak, you’ll find Body Worlds. This is an educational and slightly creepy exhibition about the human body.
Slightly creepy because the models you are looking at are real people who have died. Well, I must say I only had a problem with that when they showed a real face. Then you suddenly realize very well that this must have been someone at one time. It immediately gave me shivers.
But it really is an incredibly educational experience and one of the few opportunities to see the human body from the inside. Literally!
Tickets cost €20.50 for adults and €12.50 for children, but you can often find them for much cheaper if you search a little online. For example, here you can order the tickets at a 48% discount!
8. Amsterdam Dungeon
We’ll stay in the creepy corner for a while longer with the Amsterdam Dungeon. Sounds scary, right? This is one outing in Amsterdam that requires some nerves of steel. Is it terrifying? No, but it can be quite creepy at times.
In fact, you descend into the dungeons and go back in time in the process—a time that was not so hygienic and where people were not so healthy. Here you will learn more about what life was like then, interactively and excitingly.
An entrance ticket costs €24 for a tour of about 30 to 45 minutes. Tickets are best bought in advance through the website of the Amsterdam Dungeon; then, you immediately get a few euros discount. Of course, there are also ways to get a discount, for example, via Tripper, where you get 31% off a ticket.
9. P.C. Hooftstraat
There will be few people who do not know the P.C. Hooftstraat. You will probably have heard of the name. This is the street in Amsterdam with the expensive brand stores. Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chanel, you can find them all here.
Even if your budget doesn’t allow it, I would still visit this street, even if it is only to look at the expensive cars and the rich people. You will also notice that some people act overly rich, while they probably are not, which I find hilarious.
Be sure to browse here, even if you don’t want to buy anything. You’ll find the P.C. Hooftstraat near the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum, about a half-hour walk from Amsterdam Central Station, or a quarter of an hour by metro.
10. 9 Straatjes
Finally, another shopping area might better suit the average wallet: the 9 Streets (9 Straatjes in Dutch). Super cute little streets in the middle of the canal district. Stores with their own unique assortment that you won’t find in every other shopping center.
The 9 Streets are Gastmolensteeg, Oude Spiegelstraat, Wijde Heisteeg, Hartenstraat, Wolvenstraat, Huidenstraat, Reestraat, Berenstraat and Runstraat.
The nice thing is that these are located directly on the fancy canals, including the Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht.
The 9 Streets is pretty diverse in terms of offerings, from hair and beauty products to clothing and art. There are vintage stores and plenty of places to get something to eat or drink. If you have limited time to shop in Amsterdam, I would ignore the Kalverstraat and go to these 9 Straatjes, the Zara, and H&M you have in other cities as well, right?
These were the 10 best, exciting, or most fun things to do in Amsterdam. There is of course much more to do, from shopping to eating to other museums. You certainly won’t be bored here.