Whether you’re in Amsterdam for just a few days or a little longer, you’ll quickly realize there is always something fun going on in this beautiful city. It’s basically impossible to get bored here, which is also my favorite thing about living in Amsterdam (and why I’ll probably never leave).
I’ve been a resident of Amsterdam for almost 20 years and there are still places that are completely unknown to me. Luckily, exploring my own backyard is one of my favorite things to do and I love sharing all my amazing finds with you.
Amsterdam Travel Trends for 2020
Although Amsterdam has always been a very popular travel destination, it seems that increasingly more people realize this city has far more to offer than the famous Red Light District and Coffeeshops (not for coffee!).
Picture-perfect canals, gorgeous architecture, countless cozy bars and restaurants, and over 50(!) museums. What’s not to love? It often feels like I need my entire life just to explore all the cultural hotspots in my own gorgeous city but hey, I’m not complaining!
So, for this blog post, I’ll try to curb my enthusiasm a bit and tell you all about my 10 favorite and unique things to do when you’re visiting my beautiful hometown Amsterdam.
> ALSO READ The Ultimate Amsterdam Travel Guide
#1 Rent a Bike
If you’re looking for the perfect transportation to quickly explore the city, I definitely recommend renting a bike. You can often do so via the hotel you’re staying at or book one in advance. Otherwise, there are plenty of spots in the city where you can get one. Make sure to ask for some nice routes!
There are more bicycles than residents in the city of Amsterdam so you want to pay close attention to traffic when you’re out and about exploring all the wonderful highlights of Amsterdam.
#2 A’DAM LOOKOUT
A’DAM LOOKOUT is one of Amsterdam’s newest top attractions and a definite favorite amongst tourists AND locals.
The 100-meter high tower offers the best 360° panoramic view of Amsterdam and is obviously an amazing spot to enjoy a gorgeous sunset.
Over the Edge Swing
If you need a little bit more action, this attraction offers the perfect once-in-a-lifetime experience. Strap yourself into the tallest swing of Europe and literally swing over the edge of the city.
#3 Moco Museum Amsterdam
Moco is Amsterdam’s newest and coolest boutique museum and the go-to place for fans of modern and contemporary art like Banksy, Arsham, Kusama and Andy Warhol.
> ALSO READ The Ultimate Amsterdam Museum Guide
Moco offers many inspiring exhibitions and art installations you often won’t find anywhere else which really makes this a unique place to visit. It’s located in the Museum Quarter so you can easily visit the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum while you’re at it.
#4 Hortus Botanicus
Hortus Botanicus is one of the oldest botanical gardens in The Netherlands and is located in the heart of the city of Amsterdam.
The Hortus was founded in the 17th century to provide medicinal herbs, which were vital to the city’s health care and used for the education of doctors and pharmacists.
My favorite place inside the Hortus has to be the impressive Palm Greenhouse (which is also the perfect spot for some pretty Instagram shots!). Make sure to visit the Hortus Store & Cafe for some drinks amongst the plants!
#5 The Pijp
The Pijp is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Amsterdam and a great buzzing hotspot during the day and at night. I love wandering around all the picturesque streets (I also get lost a lot) and do some casual shopping.
Definitely get yourself some delicious Stroopwafels (famous Dutch syrup waffles) at the Albert Cuyp Market. They’re so good you might want to leave some room in your suitcase to bring a pack home with you!
At night The Pijp offers tons of great cozy bars and restaurants for you to unwind from your busy day traveling through Amsterdam. It’s a great spot to mingle with the locals and enjoy Amsterdam’s nightlife.
#6 NDSM Wharf
If you’re looking for a real urban experience in Amsterdam I suggest you hop on the free ferry at Amsterdam Central Station and cross the river towards NDSM Werf.
The journey by ferry alone is reason enough to visit this gorgeous area of Amsterdam. It’s well known for its great artsy vibes and home to many festivals and cultural events.
You will love hanging out at the waterside bar at Pllek. Plop down in a comfy bean bag, soak up the sun and enjoy a healthy organic meal before you head back to the busy city center.
#7 THIS IS HOLLAND
I recently visited THIS IS HOLLAND with my co-workers and I LOVED it. Flying above the Netherlands with the wind blowing through your hair turns out to be a pretty epic experience. And you’ll learn a thing or two about this amazing country in the process, which is a great bonus.
ALSO READ Top Things to do in Amsterdam
THIS IS HOLLAND offers a multi-sensory 5D Flight Experience over all the famous Dutch World Heritage sites such as the Amsterdam canals, the Wadden Sea and loads of windmills. You’ll travel through mist, wind, and get to experience many different smells so you’re up for plenty of action and then some.
#8 Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House is a must-see when you’re visiting Amsterdam for the first time. It’s the best place to learn more her fascinating but tragic story and you’ll get to discover more about her life in the secret annex through various quotes, photos, videos, and original items.
If you want to learn more about Anne Frank’s life I recommend taking the Anne Frank Walking Tour. Your guide will know just where to take you to see Amsterdam through Anne’s eyes and teach you more about WW2 and how she became such an icon.
Westerpark is known for its energetic and creative vibes and offers great spots to unwind and soak up the sun.
> ALSO READ Summer in Amsterdam City Guide
The park is adjacent to the Westergas cultural complex where you can enjoy various shows, festivals, and delicious foods all throughout the year.
If you love the Japanese cuisine and arcade games, you definitely want to check out the TonTon Club. For great seafood and yummy Gin Tonics, I recommend super cozy hotspot Mossels & Gin. Don’t forget to order Gin-Mayo with your fries, it’s delish!
# 10 Canal Cruise
There is no better way to explore Amsterdam than from the water. You can book a canal tour with your own private captain or enjoy exploring the city during one of many different canal cruises.
If you really want to get a good look at the Amsterdam Canal System I recommend booking a small open boat tour. If you’re looking for a more active way of exploring the canals, you can hop on a pedal boat and cycle through the water by yourself with the ultimate freedom to go wherever you want.
If you’re visiting Amsterdam between November and January you get to enjoy the annual Amsterdam Light Festival. During this time there are many different canal cruises available that will take you along all the colorful and sparkling sculptures and installations that lighten up the city. A must-see!
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I wish you a wonderful time in Amsterdam and can’t wait to hear all your travel stories. Let me know your favorite things to do in the comments!
> ALSO READ The Ultimate Amsterdam Travel Guide