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Things to do in Amsterdam: Museums, canals and coffee shops

Do as the locals do in Amsterdam and see the sights in what is bound to be a great holiday.

There’s no shortage of things to do in Amsterdam, from cultural and educational museums to exploring the infamous Red Light District.

Trying the tastes of local coffee shops and cruising past history on the canals are just some of our favourite must-dos.

All in all, Amsterdam is a city filled with activities to keep you busy for your holiday in the Dutch capital.


Top things to do in Amsterdam

1RedLightDistrictAms

Walk the streets of the Red Light District

The Wallen is the oldest part of Amsterdam and is home to the Red Light District where brothels, peep shows, sex shops and prostitutes in windows are seen. It’s a must visit to experience the upbeat nightlife.

It’s also in the Red Light District that you can find the world’s first condom shop and the Museum of Prostitution.

A local guide can show you around the best spots in an evening tour so you don’t miss a thing.


2CanalsAms

Cruise the canals

Don’t miss ticking off another item from the UNESCO World Heritage list. The Amsterdam canal system is a world heritage site so jump on board a river cruise and find yourself gliding past mansions that date back to the Golden Age.

See the iconic Skinny Bridge ("Magere Brug") and learn about the city’s history while you take in the sights.


3CoffeeShopsAms

Step into an iconic Amsterdam coffee shops

Take a peek into the unique culture of coffee shops in Amsterdam.

Get to experience the smells and tastes of cannabis, try local snacks such as cheese and relax in the laid-back atmosphere of Amsterdam’s well-known coffee shops.

A local can help guide you on a tour through the city’s lanes and squares to the best hot spots while you learn about the history behind the cannabis culture.


Visit the city's top museums

Amsterdam is a city that is full of museums and galleries that are packed with history and art.

Some of the most famous are Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and Anne Frank House.

Others include Stedelijk Museum for modern art and design, Amsterdam Museum for exhibitions featuring stories of the city, Amsterdam Sex Museum and many more.


5AmsterdamDungeon

Step into the Amsterdam Dungeon

Prepare for a night of entertainment and history as you explore the Amsterdam Dungeon.

With 11 shows and a live performance you’ll learn about the dark ages of torture and disease plus the origin of the Grim Reaper.

Live actors play out the events of history as you move through time.


6NightlifeAmsterdam

Experience the city's nightlife

Amsterdam is a city bustling with nightlife and not just in the Red Light District.

Whether it be a coffee shop, bar or club, Amsterdam shares the party. Try a pub crawl, enjoy an evening cocktail cruise or tour Amsterdam’s nightlife with a local to see the best spots.

The dance music festival season runs throughout the summer and autumn, June–October.


Catch a game at Amsterdam Arena

Amsterdam Arena is the home of the football club Ajax and is where the Dutch National Team hosts international football games.

The venue also holds concerts and dance festivals like AMF Amsterdam.


Test your luck at Holland Casino

Try your luck at one of the roulette or poker tables and toss a few coins in one of the poker machines.

The Holland Casino offers contemporary design with a casual feel for a night full of fun and hopefully winning!

The venue also hosts live DJ nights.


Amsterdam deals

Eurail Eurail

Up to 20% off select tours with rail passes

Get up to 20% off on walking tours. Just enter the code upon check-out to redeem offer. Destinations include Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague and more. T&Cs apply.

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Stephanie Yip

Stef is the Travel Editor at finder.com.au and has been writing about travel for over a decade. She's visited over 50 countries and has had some incredible experiences, including hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, hitchhiking across Romania and seeing the Northern Lights (twice!). And while she’d never say no to a luxury escape, she's far more likely to stretch her travel dollars as far as they can go by keeping her ear to the ground for unbeatable travel bargains. And she'll tell you all about them, too! Stef has had articles featured on Travel Weekly, Escape and Hostelworld.

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