Category: What to See and Do

Things to Do and See in Amsterdam

  • Visit some of Amsterdam’s 144+ museums
  • The number one tourist attraction: a canal cruise — during the day, by candlelight, with or without food (anything from beer & pizza, to fine dining, or classic wine and cheese)
  • Also very popular: a walk along the canals of Amsterdam
  • Enjoy the free ferries across the river IJ
  • See millions of tulips and other flowers at Keukenhof (End of March through the first week of May)
  • Visit ARTIS, one of the world’s oldest zoos
  • The Red Light District remains, for now, a major tourist attraction
  • Just outside Amsterdam you can visit working windmills, centuries-old fishing villages, a UNESCO-listed landscape, and more
  • In the summer there are lots of places where you can swim
  • King’s Day (formerly Queen’s Day) is the world’s biggest street party

Unable to visit Amsterdam right now? No problem:

Do and see more in Amsterdam for less with the I amsterdam city card:

Amsterdam City Card

Explore Amsterdam with the I amsterdam City Card

This card give you access to all major Amsterdam highlights:

More than 70 museums
City-wide public transport
Free bicycle rental
Free canal cruise
Discounts at restaurants, attractions, concerts

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.

The museums are a big draw, of course. So are the canals. A walk along the Prinsengracht or Brouwersgracht, for instance, will create lifelong memories (not to mention countless Instagram-worthy photos). And a canal cruise indeed remains one of the best ways to discover the city. It remains not just the most popular tourist attraction in Amsterdam, but in the entire country of the Netherlands.

Then there is the nightlife — anything from pubs and restaurants, to theaters and discotheques.

Ask people who have been there 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.

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

Van Gogh Museum — Plan Your Visit

Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum contains the largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh in the world.

It is the second most-visited museum not just in Amsterdam — but in the entire country of the Netherlands.

Our extensive Van Gogh Museum guide includes details about the collection, along with information about the current temporary exhibition: Golden Boy Gustav Klimt.

NOTE: No ticket sales at the door. You can only visit the museum after buying timed-entry tickets online. We show you how and where.

Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo

Founded in 1838, ARTIS is the oldest zoo in the Netherlands, and one of the oldest zoos of mainland Europe.

Guidebooks rightly refer to it one of the most pleasant city zoos around. The whole place breathes a 19th-century garden atmosphere with winding paths, majestic trees, fascinating sculptures and monumental historical buildings.

As much as possible the over 500 species of animals live in landscaping that resembles their natural habitat.

Amsterdam’s most popular tourist attraction: Canal cruise

Each year 5.5 million Amsterdam visitors take a canal cruise, making a boat tour of the canals the city’s most popular tourist attraction.

No visit to Amsterdam — also known as ‘Venice of the North’ — is complete without taking to the water, hands down the best way to see the city.

In fact, many people take more than one cruise: a daytime tour is a good introduction. A romantic candlelight cruise at night creates another lasting impression.

And then there are the many specialty tours: dinner cruises, cheese and wine tastings, combination boat tour and museum entrance… whatever floats your boat.


On August 10, 1943, Anne Frank — hiding in the Achterhuis — wrote, “We’ve all been a little confused this past week, because our dearly beloved Westertoren bells have been carted off to be melted down for the war, so we have no idea of the exact time, either night or day…”

So, whatever happened to the bells of the Westertoren?