Amsterdam Things to Do
When looking for things to do in Amsterdam, the question isn’t so much “What is there to do?” as “How much time have you got?” The city offers fascinating architecture, multiple museums, historical sites, and a legal red light district.
Tours of the City
Canal tours are considered a must by travelers and locals alike. There are over 200 kinds of canal boats (all the same width so they fit the tunnels), which allows for a variety of experiences. Tours are available for an hour, half-day, or special lunch buffet, romantic evening and more options. Though the tours are extremely popular, several visitors have said they aren’t really a must, because you can see more when traveling on your own. Private boats are also available so you can design your own tour and take your time.
Museums Highlight the Culture
Purchase tickets online for the Anne Frank House well in advance. It is the city’s most well-known museum, and lines are long if you don’t have a scheduled admission time. The tour includes several buildings and involves a lot of climbing, but visitors report that it is worth the effort.
The Van Gogh Museum is very modern and features a chronological presentation of 200 paintings by the artist as well as a gallery of works by other masters. If time is limited, skip the early years, when he wasn’t very good.
Though it recently underwent a four year renovation, Rijksmuseum, the Netherland’s National Museum, has been in its magnificent building since 1885. It houses 8,000 pieces and you can’t see it all in a single day. The Gallery of Honor features works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hals, and Reubens, among others, and is considered to be one of the best exhibits.
The Unusual Red Light District
De Wallen, Amsterdam’s Red Light District, is unique among travel hot spots because in this city prostitution is legal, sex workers have a union and security guards, and the area is clean and safe. Of note to visitors, photographing the girls on display in the shop windows is not allowed, and the police may be called if you try.
Chinatown is an unusual locale in Amsterdam and offers delicious Chinese food and hosts the Fo Guang Shan He Hua Temple. Bonus: There are three spas that offer foot massage—a much-appreciated service after days of traipsing around the city.
A Nearly Endless List
It would be impossible to fit all of Amsterdam’s offerings on one page, so we’ll wrap up with just a couple more destinations our traveler reviews have highlighted. Science Center Nemo was built in 1923 as the Museum of Labor, but is now the science museum with many activities for kids to take part in. Travelers with architectural interests will appreciate the Royal Palace, Koninklijk Paleis, built in 1648. And of course there is the famous Heineken brewery.
More from SmarterTravel:
- Amsterdam: Boats, Bikes and Balls–Oh My!
- Amsterdam & the Best of Europe’s Canal Cities
- Autumn in Amsterdam: Ever so Inviting
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about Amsterdam things to do.
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