Top 10 Best Things to do in Amsterdam

The capital city of Netherlands, Amsterdam has been never stopped flourishing since 12 centuries. It is one of the most important and populous city of Europe with a moderate weather. More than 4.63 million international tourists visit here annually. Most of them are European and American.  This huge figure of tourists prominently show you the popularity of the city. Amsterdam offers its tourists something special that no other cities can. John Green in his novel “The Fault in Our Stars” said,

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“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin.”

This remarkable remark expresses the true color of this city. So the term “the best things to do in Amsterdam” might rise some confusion. If you want to know what visitors really do in Amsterdam, then you might be surprised to know that a great portion of them visit Cannabis coffee shop and Red-light district. So sometimes it is better to put the term,” the crazy thing to in Amsterdam” than “the best thing to do in Amsterdam”. But those does not define Amsterdam entirely. It has some world famous museums, two UNESCO enlisted World Heritage sites and numerous other splendid sites that make the city of other citizen jealous.

10 Best Things to do in Amsterdam:

It is not an easy one to make a list of top things to do in Amsterdam out of all these incredible beautiful sites. However, at least we are not going to be the ethical judge about the best thing to do in Amsterdam as John Green says, “It is a city of freedom”.

10. Visiting famous flower market

Top 10 Best Things to do in Amsterdam, Bloemenmarkt
Bloemenmarkt | image credit – Flickr/Pavlo Boyko

Who does not love flower? And what else could be the top things to in Amsterdam than visiting flower market when the whole country is famous for flower? It is probably one of the most popular free things to in Amsterdam. The flower market will just dazzle your mind. After visiting the flower market, if you want to remember Amsterdam, the first thing will glimpse in your mind the picture of all the wonderful flowers of the market. Those markets are officially called Bloemenmarkt.

There are 15 stalls and each of them seems so identical that it will be hard for you to distinguish unless you are a flower connoisseur. But expert or not, it is one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam for you. These markets are a silent contributor of Amsterdam tourism. Netherlands is always famous for its tulips. But be careful about buying tulip bulbs. Because those could be rotten.

The prices are reasonable. However, buying or not, it is an awesome place for taking picture. We can’t guarantee you after leaving this place where else you could find so many flowers in your background to take a picture or nowadays what we call selfie! This flower paradise is one of the best things to see in Amsterdam and best places to visit in Amsterdam for couples.

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9. De Pijp

De Pijp, things to see in Amsterdam
De Pijp | image credit – Flickr/Guilhem Vellut

A visit to Amsterdam would not be completed without visiting De Pijp. It is located directly south of Amsterdam’s city Center. De Pijp is full of fantastic cafés, restaurants, coffee shops and bars. And it would be unwise not to visit the Albert Cuyp market, which is flanked by over 100 shops. It is the most famous and busiest street market of the Netherlands. To make your day really happy, explore the alleys around the Albert Cuyp Market, where new specialist food shops and eateries appear to be opening all the time. It is without a question the best things to do in Amsterdam. The place attracts millions of visitors and also should attract you. De Pijp is also famous for its bars.

There are some bars and restaurants you might want to keep on your check list.  Bar Restaurant Simpel which is a few block away from Heineken Brewery. Bar-ca (bar-restaurant) which named after Spanish city Barcelona. This name suggests its attempts to grasp a Spanish atmosphere. Eufraat, this restaurant will provide you a hearty meal with Middle Eastern twist. Other notable restaurants are De Ondeugd, Mas Tapas, Mamouche and Albina. For bar you may check Chocolate Bar, Wildschut, and The Heineken Experience. If you are a man of taste, you may not like to forget the last name. This is one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam.

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8. De Jordaan

De Jordaan, places to visit in Amsterdam
De Jordaan | image credit – Wikimedia/kevinmcgill

Visiting De Jordaan is one of the top things to do in Amsterdam. Once a place for the working class, It has become one of the most expensive neighborhood. Jordan is mostly known for Art and Culture. For an art aficionado, it is one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam. The entire place was a ghetto. Here buried the great Dutch painter Rembrandt. For its low rents, it was a place for novice artists in the 70th. Beautiful country yards, picturesque canals were also helpful. The legacy is not completely washed away.

In this place, you’ll find about 40 specialist galleries occupying former homes or shops. Here, Edouard Planting Art Photographs is the oldest photography festival in the Netherlands. So De Jordan should be on the list of best things to see in Amsterdam.

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7. The Condomerie

If red-light district is the sin of the city, the Condomerie should be its guardian. You might be feel weird, if I tell you this is one of the best things to see in Amsterdam or best things to do in Amsterdam. Amsterdam tourism and tourists both should be grateful to the Condomerie.  It is the world’s first special condom shop, a treasure store of latex artistry. It displays an eye popping collection of rubber. The shop as one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam, is not limited with creating standard condoms.

It also takes the liberty to create some art out of rubber. That’s why visiting this place is one of the top things to do in Amsterdam. It’s not get quite an applause when this Amsterdam attractions started its journey in 1987 and you will be surprised if I tell you it was the idea of three friends discussion in a restaurant. The shop also bears the slogan of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases – particularly HIV. You will not find this kind of maverick shop in every cities. So, I like to say again this is one of the best things to see in Amsterdam or best things to do in Amsterdam.

6. Red-light district

Red-light district, Amsterdam tourism
Red-light district | image credit – Wikimedia/Rungbachduong

This time I like to use the term “the crazy thing to in Amsterdam” instead “the best thing to do in Amsterdam”. Amsterdam is quite infamous for its Red-light district. It appears that Amsterdam’s Red Light District to be your Genie to fulfill your all imaginations. At daylight, the area becomes ordinary like other cities. So the place is not then the best things to see in Amsterdam. It is night that gives the area its true color. Amsterdam has a 500 years old tradition and regarded as one of the paradise cities for prostitution. Window prostitution is very popular in Netherlands. Behind the windows, the prostitutes wear sexually provocative dresses, lit a red neon light, lean on the windows and try to seduce the passersby.

It’s worth to watch for new comer and free things to do in Amsterdam. Besides prostitution, there are plenty of sex shops, bars, drugs in every corner of the red light cities. To spend a crazy night, this is the best places to visit in Amsterdam. But this place is not safe for inexperienced new comers. They often could get into trouble. It is a wise decision to come in a group. De Wallen is the largest and best known red-light district in Amsterdam. There is a number of sex shops, sex theaters, peep shows, and a sex museum in De Wallen. Visiting De Wallen is one of the top things to do in Amsterdam.

5. Cannabis coffee shop

Cannabis coffee shop, Amsterdam attractions
Cannabis coffee shop | image credit – Flickr/Cannabis Culture

Amsterdam is famous for its cannabis. As it is tolerated by local authorities, visiting cannabis coffee shop is one of the top things to do in Amsterdam for the stoners. It is a surprising fact, that many people know Amsterdam only for cannabis and come to visit the city. There are almost 200 coffee shops in Amsterdam. To get weed, you will need some ID and become 18 years old. The recreational drug could be fun.

By having it, you might discover this is the only best things to do in Amsterdam and canals are the only things to see in Amsterdam. The drug tolerance of the city may be controversial but acceptance of all forms of entertainment is praiseworthy. To get a new experience, this is one of the top things to do in Amsterdam and these are one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam.

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4. Anne Frank House

Anne Frank House, things to see in Amsterdam
Anne Frank House | image credit – Flickr/choking sun

Visiting Anne Frank House can put your heart into melancholy but I can’t help it but put in the list. It is definitely one of the best things to do in Amsterdam. Anne Frank House is a biographical museum dedicated to wartime diarist Anne Frank. The museum will remind you the horror and brutality of 2nd World War. Anna Frank did not survive but her dairy did. And it kept raising a big question where the humanity lies? It’s a shame that the world is even now not prepared to answer that question.

Anne Frank hid from Nazi persecution with her family and four other people in hidden rooms at the rear of the canal house, known as the Secret Annex, a dark and airless space before being mysteriously betrayed and sent to their deaths. Developers wanted to demolish the houses but Anne Frank Foundation, established in 1957, protected the property. A recent time studies suggests that about 1.2 million people come to visit this museum. This museum will help you to perceive the untold sufferings of Jewish people during Second World War. The museum preserves the hiding place, has a permanent exhibition on the life and times of Anne Frank.

After the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, this small museum attracts the most visitors in Netherlands. You may not get fun out of this museum that is always expected in a typical tour. But you will take something from this tour so moving that it will need time to shake it. It is undoubtedly the best thing to do in Amsterdam. And to war time victim and their kin, it is one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam.

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3. Vondelpark

Vondelpark, places to visit in Amsterdam
Vondelpark | image credit – Wikimedia/Anna Frodesiak

How about a picnic in Vondelpark? For nature lovers, visiting Vondelpark must be one of the top things to do in Amsterdam. The beauty of Vondelpark can’t be fathomed without seeing it with naked eyes. It is the most famous park in the Netherlands, which attracts 10 million people annually. It is named after poet Joost van den Vondel. Opened in 1865, this Amsterdam attractions spreads over around 120 acres area. There is an open-air theater, a playground and several horeca facilities in the park.

People use to come here for dog-walking, jogging, roller-skating, and enjoying a sunny day, listening to music. It is one of the places to visit in Amsterdam if you have a plan in your mind to arrange a picnic with your family. The park is also a cultural hub. Free concerts take place in open-air theater. Music, dance and kids’ activities take place at the Vondelpark. Abundance of ponds, awns, gardens and winding footpaths make this park one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam.

There are many rare old trees like horse chestnut, plane trees, Dutch red chestnut, plane trees, and catalpas trees in the park. Vondelpark is also a welcoming ground to many birds – blue herons, wild ducks, and many smaller birds. If you want to explore the park more, then riding on a bicycle should be more appropriate. Floating on a bicycle in the fresh air of the park. Oh God! What could be more refreshing and relaxing? The parks beauty expresses in the song and written in the hand of novelist. Amsterdam tourism is truly indebted to Vondelpark.

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2. Canal Boat Tours

Canal Boat Tours, Amsterdam tourism
Canal Boat Tours | image credit – Flickr/Moyan Brenn

Amsterdam has earned the fame as the “Venice of the North” for its large number of canals. The beauty and magnificence of the canals are understandable as they are on the list of UNESCO World Heritage List. Take a relaxed day and make a boat tour. Mark my word, this is one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam. About 165 canals with 1,500 bridges, encircles the whole city and keep the sea at bay. Most of the canals of Amsterdam were dug in during the Dutch Golden Age and a successful outcome of the city planning.

The canals are one of the best Amsterdam attractions. Notable canals are Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, Prinsengracht, Zwanenburgwal and so on. It’s a worthy decision to take one of the free ferries across the IJ bay and explore Amsterdam-Noord. There are not a lot of things that you can do in Amsterdam for free. The waterways provide you an excellent views of the city. The most scenic of all canals is Prinsengracht.  You can see shady trees that will give you a comfort from the busy life of the city. There are different kinds of boat trips you can take.

There are 2500 houseboats in Amsterdam that you can buy or rent. You can also go on an organized boat trip. Some agencies could offer you river cruise with comparatively cheap cost. It has 4 course meal with drinks included. You can feel yourself lucky, if you step on Amsterdam in a rainy day. The boat trip in the canals of Amsterdam in a rainy day is really thrilling and refreshing. So the canals are the best places to visit in Amsterdam for nature lovers and quite a relaxation for them who are exhausted by a long travel.

Also Read: Top 10 most famous canal trips across the world

1. Galleries

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam attractions
Rijksmuseum | image credit – Wikimedia/Mark Ahsmann

There is a series of world renowned galleries and museums you may like to put first in top things to in Amsterdam. The museums are so rich in their artistic collections that it would be a total disappoint if you are not able to visit them. The best museums of Amsterdam are Amsterdam Museum, Van Gogh Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Let’s have a brief overview of these amazing museums.

Rijksmuseum, the national museum of Netherlands is the most visited museum in the Netherlands. There is about one million objects of collection in this museum. It possesses some of the masterpieces of Dutch Golden Age. Most remarkable paintings are Rembrandt’s The Night Watch, Frans Hals’s Portrait of a Young Couple, Frans Hals and Pieter Codde’s The Meagre Company.

Although a very crowded and expensive destination of Amsterdam, you might not want to miss the Van Gogh Museum. It is the largest collection Van Gogh’s paintings and drawings. Most notable paintings of this great impressionist artist in this museum are The Potato Eaters, Sunflowers, Self-portrait, and the Yellow House and so on. It’s a matter of great regret that these priceless masterpiece were not evaluated in artist’s lifetime. It is the 2nd most visited museums in Netherlands.

Close to the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is a museum for modern art, contemporary art, and design. This museum has a collection of some of the greatest 20th and 21st century artists. The museum has been collected 90,000 objects since 1874. Built by the tsar Peter the Great, Hermitage Amsterdam is a branch museum of the Hermitage Museum of Saint Petersburg. It is one of the richest museums in the world and famous for its unique collection.

Amsterdam Museum represents the history of Amsterdam. It has a rare collections of 70,000 objects. The objects are related to the history of Amsterdam, from the middle Ages to the present time. Well, that’s not all. As an art connoisseur, the museums are definitely one of the best places to visit in Amsterdam.

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