top things to do in amsterdam

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Amsterdam’s endless canals, boutiques, coffee shops, world-famous art museums, stunning Dutch 19th-century architecture, iconic windmills and tulips are just a few reasons that visitors flock to this capital city of the Netherlands located in Europe. 

Not sure what you should plan to see first? No worries. We’ve put together a list of the top 10 things to do in Amsterdam, from where to sit back and enjoy an Amstel to the best canal cruises.

You can book your tickets for these activities through our partner, GetYourGuide. You’ll get a great price and easy booking. Enjoy Amsterdam.

The front side of Anne Frank House
The front side of the Anne Frank House

1. Anne Frank House

Located on the Prinsengracht canal, the Anne Frank House was named for the author of one of the most famous diaries, Jewish Holocaust victim Anne Frank.

During World War II Frank hid in this house from 1942 to1944 until she was discovered by the Nazis. Her diary perfectly chronicles her life in hiding while coming-of-age during the Holocaust.

The picture perfect view of Keukenhof's Garden of Europe
The picture-perfect view of Keukenhof’s Garden of Europe

2. Keukenhof’s Garden of Europe

Touted as the most beautiful spring garden in the world, Keukenhof, or the Garden of Europe, is located in the town of Lisse southwest of Amsterdam. Keukenhof boasts around 7 million flower bulbs on its verdant grounds. 

If you can’t get enough flowers, be sure to visit the Bloemenmarkt on the Singel canal in Amsterdam. It’s the only floating flower market in the world.

The famous art museum, Van Gogh Museum
The famous art museum, Van Gogh Museum

3. Van Gogh Museum

One of the most famous art museums in the world, the Van Gogh Museum features the most impressive collection of works by Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh. 

Located a stone’s throw from the Stedelijk Museum and Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum features the artist’s permanent collection, including 500 drawings, 750 letters and more than 200 of his paintings. 

If art is the music of your heart, the Rembrandt House Museum should also be included as a must-see on your trip to Amsterdam. Guided tours are encouraged at these museums to get the full experience.

Dutch national museum Rijksmuseum
Dutch national museum Rijksmuseum

4. Rijksmuseum

Another must-see Amsterdam museum is the Dutch national museum Rijksmuseum, which pays homage to Amsterdam’s arts and history. It is located near the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in the Amsterdam South borough.

Amazing view of Amsterdam Canals
Amazing view of Amsterdam Canals

5. Exploring Amsterdam Canals

The Netherlands capital, Amsterdam, boasts over 100 kilometers (62 miles) of grachten (the Dutch word for canals) with three main canals and 1,500 bridges all constructed during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century.

The best way to see most of these canals is via a boat tour or canal cruises, but crossing these canals by bike is also encouraged.

The night view of Red Light District, Amsterdam
The night view of Red Light District, Amsterdam

6. Amsterdam Red Light District

Dating to the 14th century, the Amsterdam Red Light District is a tip of the hat to Dutch architecture and is located in the oldest part of Amsterdam.

Keep in mind that the “red-light district” is also known as the pleasure grounds of the city, which means prostitution, a seedy nightlife and businesses centered around sex, such as strip clubs, adult theaters and shops.

The calm environment of Vondelpark, Amsterdam
The calm environment of Vondelpark

7. Vondelpark

Spanning 120 acres, Vondelpark is named for 17th-century playwright and poet Joost van den Vondel. This urban park is in the borough of Amsterdam-Zuid just west of the Museumplein.

Originally opened in 1865, Vondelpark is the most visited park in the Netherlands, with an average of 10 million visitors per year. Take a bike tour of Amsterdam to see it and more.

Windmills are the iconic symbol of the Netherlands
Windmills are the iconic symbol of the Netherlands

8. Windmills

Perhaps the most iconic symbol of the Netherlands outside of tulips are windmills. Today, 19 of the original historic windmills built in the18th century are protected under the UNESCO World Heritage status.

They are still standing, although some have had to be rebuilt due to weather. The best way to see these windmills is to hop a bus that will take you between Rotterdam and Kinderdijk. 

Beautiful Jordaan district
Beautiful streets of the Jordaan district

9. Jordaan

In the city center of Amsterdam is the Jordaan district. Its inviting architecture and charming canal houses that weave through these tiny streets are the perfect backdrop of boutiques, celebrated restaurants and an unmatched ambiance.

For a more relaxed experience, the neighborhood of De Pijp or the Latin Quarter of Amsterdam offers the Heineken Experience in the one-time original brewery of the famous beer. 

🍺 Tip

If you want to immerse yourself into the Amsterdam craft beer scene, then consider taking this Craft Beer & Brewery Bus Tour, where you will visit three of the city’s best craft breweries, have guided tastings and get a real local insider’s perspective into the brewery scene in Amsterdam!

The amazing Royal Palace of Amsterdam
The Royal Palace of Amsterdam

10. Royal Palace of Amsterdam

There are three palaces in the Netherlands, but the Royal Palace of Amsterdam is one of the most opulent from the inside. From the outside, it’s a more stoic view, but stately and awe-inspiring as well.

Located in the center of Amsterdam, next to Nieuwe Kerk and on the west side of Dam Square, the Royal Palace of Amsterdam is another must-see. 

Book This Trip

Ready to explore the countless wonders of Amsterdam? Start planning your trip with insider tips on the best shopping, hotel and VRBO accommodations, local restaurant reviews and more through TripAdvisor and Travelocity.

Be sure to book exciting activities in Amsterdam, expert-led tours, skip-the-line tickets and foodie adventures through GetYourGuide. Find more information and book your dates here.

For the best flight deals, train tickets and car rental options in Amsterdam, check out OMIO Travel Partner.

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