Heading to the beautiful and bustling city of Amsterdam for the weekend and unsure what to put on your bucket list? Here are my top best things to do in Amsterdam! There is so much to do in Amsterdam and that’s one of the reasons why I love it so much.
First of all, how to get to Amsterdam
Amsterdam is right in the heart of Europe. Most airlines in Europe will fly direct to Amsterdam such as Aer Lingus and Ryanair. There is one international airport in Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport. Once you arrive at the airport take the train straight to the city. We used the city mapper app to find out the way around Amsterdam and couldn’t recommend it more. It tells you the best option to get to where you’re looking to go and also tells you exact details such as the number of the bus/train etc. Are you one of those people who never seem to get cheap flight deals, I have a full post on how you might change your luck with that here.
Top best things to do in Amsterdam: What NOT to miss!
The Anne Frank House
Let’s start with possibly the main tourist attraction; Anne Frank’s House.
Where is Anne Frank’s House?
This museum is in Amsterdam’s city center, at Prinsengracht 263-267. The actual entrance to the museum is just around the corner, at Westermarkt 20. If you’re coming from Amsterdam Central Station, it’s about a 20-minute walk. If not, you could take tram 13 or 17 and get off at the Westermarkt stop. It is a 10-minute walk from Dam Square.
Where do I get my tickets from?
This attraction gets BUSY, especially at peak times. I would recommend pre-booking these tickets before, here.
What’s inside the museum?
This museum is extremely well laid out, it provides detailed information about Anne Frank, the other people in hiding in the Secret Annex, and the helpers, as well as background information on the Second World War and the persecution of the Jews. Make sure you don’t forget to pick up your audio guide, they’re key on this tour!
How long do I need?
Once you enter, you can take your time making your way around the museum. On average, it typically takes an hour.
When does it open?
The museum opens daily from 9 am to 10 pm.
Fabrique Des Lumieres
This is a new attraction to Amsterdam and it’s one that I enjoyed. It’s an art center where you see art come to life. It’s the largest digital art center in the Netherlands. Here’s a little snippet of what it looks like because it’s hard to explain!
How to get here by public transport
If you are at the Central Railway Station, take bus 21, and alight at Van Hallstraat/Westergasfabriek.
If you’re coming from the city center, take tram 3, and alight at either Van Limburg Stirumplein or Van Hallstraat/Westergasfabriek.
Do I need to book tickets before?
We didn’t prebook tickets and we went in January when it was very busy, perhaps during the summer it might be needed. If you’d rather book your tickets online and be prepared, here is a link to book them.
How much was it?
The tickets cost €15 pp per adult. If you’re a student and have a student EYC, and CJP card, you’re in luck and only have to pay €12.
What time does it open?
The exhibition opens daily from 9 am-5 pm.
Why did I love it so much?
I loved it because the exhibition we saw was ‘THE LAST SENTINELS‘ by an English photographer Jimmy Nelson. This was all about indigenous tribes across the world, I love learning about different cultures and loved seeing incredible photography.
The Heineken Experience
This experience is similar to Ireland’s version of the Guinness Storehouse. I haven’t done this in years but I do remember it being interactive and fun. I don’t drink beer and even at that, I enjoyed it.
What’s inside the museum?
This experience tells the story of how a small, Dutch brewery became the world’s most premium brand of beer. Heineken has been around for over 150 years, so the tour will deep dive into where it started to where the brand is today. And of course, you’ll get your pint included in the ticket!
Where can I book my tickets?
You can be extra organized and book your tickets here!
This is another must while in Amsterdam, after all, it’s particularly famous for a city based on canals. If it’s wintertime, bring a warm jacket and stay warm! If it’s summer, don’t forget your sunglasses!
This is a random one, but if you’re looking for a souvenir to bring home from your trip that’s not another fridge magnet, here is where to go. This is a little vintage photobooth randomly placed inside the Hoxton Hotel in the city.
How do I find this photo booth?
It’s located inside the Hoxton Hotel, the address is Herengracht 255 Amsterdam, NED 1016 BJ.
How much is it?
The strips cost €4 for 4 photos.
Do I have to queue?
This is something I’ve been asked a lot, and we didn’t have to queue. There were two people just finishing up in front of us.
Hire a bike
If you’re heading to Amsterdam and want to see the city in a way that’s not using the bus tours, I highly recommend hiring a bike. This city is famous for locals using cycling as their main method of transport. I would say to prepare yourself for the speed and confidence locals have so you have to learn quickly!
Places not to miss while cycling around Amsterdam;
- The Jordaan neighbourhood
- The De Pip neighbourhood
- De 9 Straatjes
- De Gooyer Windmill (This is the tallest wooden windmill in the Netherlands with a brewery beside it.)
What is the Moco Museum?
It’s a modern exhibition with contemporary and street art. Similar to Fabrique des Lumières, I don’t think this is for everyone. I will say I enjoyed it but I do think it was overpriced for what it was.
How do I prebook my tickets?
Here’s a link to book your tickets to avoid waiting in line!
Top best things to do in Amsterdam: Things to consider
This is the famous wax museum, you may have already been to one in another country. They are cool and have wax figures of celebrities. A different experience if you’ve never been to one. In all honestly, if you’ve been to one, you’ve been to them all!
This is a live show that happens in near-complete darkness. The actors in the show are there to provide thrill and therefore are barely visible. They are painting a scene of the Mediaeval torture that happened in the Netherlands in the 17th century.
When does it open?
It opens daily from 11 am until 5 pm.
Where do I buy tickets?
If you’re interested in doing the Dungeons and Madame Tussauds, they often do a bundle deal so look at that, it often works out cheaper!
Body Worlds Museum
If you’re into science and biology, this is for you! Body World has 200 real plastinated bodies on display to teach visitors all that there is to know about your human anatomy and how your health affects your happiness and vice versa.
How do I book my tickets?
You can pre-book your tickets here. Tickets usually cost €24.95.
Top Best Things to Do in Amsterdam: On my next bucket list
This gives me similar vibes to the Moco Museum. The NXT museum is known as ‘the home of new media art’. Here is where to check out more information and where to buy your tickets.
The Amsterdam Lookout Tower & Lookout swing
A’dam lookout is an observation deck with an unrivaled panoramic view of Amsterdam. The swing is Europe’s highest swing. Buy your tickets here!
Van Gogh Museum
This museum is a Dutch art museum dedicated to the works of Vincent van Gogh and his contemporaries. It’s located in Amsterdam South.
Roller Dream is Amsterdam’s newest pop-up experience! This experience is where ‘music, dance and roller skating come together in a fantasy-filled disco paradise’. Check out more information here.
Top Best Things to Do in Amsterdam: Overrated Experiences
The Ice Bar
I can’t be the only one who thinks paying up to €28.50 to stand in an artificial freezing bar and get one watered-down drink is the biggest rip-off? If you ask me, I’d rather stand outside in Ireland for that! Previously, I’ve done it once; if you’ve never done it before, it’s a new experience. I’d rather keep my €28.50 for some nice food.
This place has gone viral on Tik Tok so many times so you may already know about it. It’s basically a place where they take a detailed picture of your eye and print it off. I thought this looked cool and wanted to see it but the queues for this place were insane! We went three times to be turned away every time because they were too busy. It also felt so expensive for what it was! Would I try to go back next time? Possibly. Was I extremely disappointed that I didn’t get to experience it? Not really.
Top Best Things to do in Amsterdam: Eat, eat & eat!
Lastly one of the best things to do in Amsterdam? Eat all the food!
Amsterdam has incredible food and it’s something that made our trip even more enjoyable. Here’s a little snippet of the ‘World’s Nicest Cookies’ found in a tiny family-owned bakery.