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Things to do in Amsterdam

Plan your trip to Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city best explored with a good helping of serendipity, aided by some pre-trip planning. There is so much to do and see, both on and off the beaten path.

Here are the top Amsterdam sights and activities as selected by your fellow travelers:

What’s On in Amsterdam

The Amsterdam Light Festival is not our cup of tea, but plenty of visitors enjoy the boat ride (and many of them appreciate our suggestion for a nice alternative evening canal cruise.)

The world famous museums are a big draw, of course. Currently the Van Gogh Museum has a fantastic extra exhibition on “Golden Boy Gustav Klimt.” We have seen it twice now, and love it! (Yes, the extra show is included in your regular ticker).

You can also still observe the ongoing restoration of Rembrandt’s world famous painting, the Night Watch, at the impressive Rijksmuseum.

By the way, if enjoy visiting museums take a look at the money-savings i Amsterdam City Card, which gets you free, skip-the-line access to nearly all of Amsterdam’s museums. (It also gets you into — and on top of — the A’DAM Lookout at the iconic A’DAM Tower, for unforgettable panoramic views of Amsterdam and beyond.)

The Enchanting Canals of Amsterdam

Speaking of “free” — seeing the picturesque canals of Amsterdam doesn’t cost a thing. A stroll along the Prinsengracht or Brouwersgracht, for instance, will create lifelong memories (not to mention countless Instagram-worthy photos).

A canal cruise, relaxing and exciting at the same time, indeed remains one of the best ways to discover the city. It is not just the most popular tourist attraction in Amsterdam, but in the entire country of the Netherlands.

Amsterdam Nightlife

Then there is the nightlife — anything from pubs and restaurants, to theaters1There are some English-language theaters in Amsterdam, cinemas 2Most movies play in their original language, with Dutch subtitles., and discotheques.

Amsterdam and Serendipity

Ask people who have visited the city what to see and do in Amsterdam. You’ll get more tips and suggestions than you’ll have time for. But realize there’s something new to discover around every corner. A unique shop, a special neighborhood bar, a restaurant favored by the locals, and so on.

Speaking of locals, by all means, step into an Amsterdam café (preferably one well away from any of the well-travelled main streets), and strike up a conversation over a beer (or coffee). Who knows who you will meet. You wouldn’t be the first to be given a free tour, or to be invited to dinner at a local’s home.

Save Money on All Major Amsterdam Highlights

Iamsterdam City Card

The I amsterdam City Card is an excellent way to explore the city.

This convenient card gets you access to over 70 world class museums, top attractions and activities.

Also included: city-wide public transport, a free canal cruise, free 24-hour bicycle rental, a free ferry trip from Amsterdam to Zaanse Schans (open air museum with working windmills and a clog factory), and much more.

Start browsing these articles if you need some inspiration on what to do and see in Amsterdam:

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I amsterdam City Card: Save Money, Time, and Hassle

Screenshot of benefits of the I amsterdam City Card
  • Over 70 world class Amsterdam museums, attractions, and events
  • Skip the line at most places
  • City-wide public transport
  • Free canal cruise
  • Free 24 hour bicycle rental
  • Discounts at restaurants, attractions, concerts
  • Much more…

The I amsterdam City Card is available in 1 – 5 days versions

Last updated CET (Central European Time)

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