Updated December 22, 2023
A city that promises not just a visit but an unforgettable journey.
Amsterdam welcomes you with open arms- a city that effortlessly weaves together its historic charm with a modern, vibrant spirit, creating an unforgettable experience for every traveler. Get ready to explore a tapestry of delights as we guide you through the must-visit places in this enchanting destination.
Imagine strolling along the iconic canals, where each bridge unveils a picturesque view. Begin your adventure at Dam Square, the heart of the city, surrounded by stunning historic buildings and entertained by lively street performers. Marvel at the Anne Frank House, a poignant reminder of history, and delve into the artistic wonders of the Van Gogh Museum, where his masterpieces come to life.
To taste local culture, wander through the Jordaan district, where trendy boutiques, cozy cafes, and art galleries beckon. Embrace the Dutch tradition at the vibrant Flower Market, where tulips in every hue imaginable greet you. And, of course, only a visit is complete with a leisurely cruise along the canals, offering a unique perspective of Amsterdam’s enchanting landscape.
Get ready to be charmed by the city’s warmth, hospitality, and the perfect blend of old-world allure and contemporary energy.
Top Best Places to Visit in Amsterdam
Here is the list of the best tourist places to visit in Amsterdam:
1. Anne Frank House
The Anne Frank House stands as a poignant memorial to Anne Frank, a Jewish girl who, along with her family, hid from the Nazis during World War II. The house, now a museum, preserves the annex where Anne penned her famous diary.
History and Architecture: In the 17th century, the building served as Otto Frank’s business office. The hidden annex behind a movable bookcase became the Frank family’s secret refuge from 1942 to 1944. The house retains its wartime authenticity, evoking the historical gravity of the Holocaust.
Famous For: The Anne Frank House is renowned for being the hiding place where Anne Frank documented her experiences in her diary, symbolizing resilience and the human spirit.
Location: Prinsengracht 263-267, 1016 GV Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Best Time to Visit: To avoid crowds, go early in the morning or during the weekdays. The calmer months are autumn and winter, which are considered off-peak.
Things to Do:
- Museum Tour: Explore the rooms where the Frank family lived in hiding.
- Read Anne’s Diary: Gain insights into Anne’s thoughts and experiences.
- Reflect at the Memorial: Contemplate the historical significance of the tranquil memorial garden.
- Educational Programs: Attend lectures and exhibits to deepen your understanding of the Holocaust.
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam is the Netherlands’ leading art and historical museum. Its vast collection spanning centuries showcases the nation’s cultural heritage through paintings, sculptures, and historical artifacts.
History and Architecture: Established in 1800, the Rijksmuseum moved to its current neo-Gothic building in 1885. Designed by Pierre Cuypers, the architecture is a work of art featuring intricate detailing and symbolic elements.
Famous For: The museum houses masterpieces by Dutch painters such as Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” and Vermeer’s “The Milkmaid.”
Location: Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Best Time to Visit: Visit during weekdays, particularly in the morning or late afternoon, to avoid peak tourist hours. Off-peak seasons (fall and winter) offer a more serene experience.
Things to Do:
- Admire Masterpieces: Marvel at iconic works like Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” and Vermeer’s “The Kitchen Maid.”
- Explore Galleries: Wander through themed galleries showcasing Dutch art, history, and culture.
- Visit the Library: Discover a vast collection of books, prints, and drawings in the museum’s library.
- Enjoy the Gardens: Relax in the museum gardens adorned with sculptures and fountains.
3. Van Gogh Museum
The Van Gogh Museum, situated in Amsterdam, pays homage to the life and works of the legendary Dutch artist Vincent Van Gogh. Housing the most extensive collection of his paintings, drawings, and letters, the museum provides a comprehensive journey through his creative evolution.
History and Architecture: Established in 1973, the museum’s modernist architecture complements Van Gogh’s art’s vibrant and expressive nature. The building, designed by Gerrit Rietveld, features a unique layout that chronicles Van Gogh’s artistic development.
Famous For: The museum is renowned for its unparalleled collection of Van Gogh’s masterpieces, including “Sunflowers,” “Starry Night,” and “Irises.”
Location: Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Best Time to Visit: Visit during weekdays and early mornings or late afternoons to avoid peak hours. The museum is less crowded during the off-peak seasons in fall and winter.
Things to Do:
- Admire Masterpieces: Immerse yourself in the brilliance of Van Gogh’s iconic artworks.
- Learn About His Life: Explore the collection to gain insights into Van Gogh’s life and artistic journey.
- Participate in Workshops: Engage in educational programs and workshops for a hands-on experience.
- Visit the Museum Shop: Take home Van Gogh-inspired souvenirs and art-related items.
4. Jordaan District
Jordaan, a charming neighborhood in Amsterdam, exudes a bohemian and artistic atmosphere. With its narrow streets, historic buildings, and trendy boutiques, Jordaan offers a delightful blend of culture and creativity.
History and Architecture: Originally a working-class area, Jordaan transformed into a cultural hub. Its architecture showcases a mix of 17th-century canal houses and industrial buildings, contributing to its unique character.
Famous For: Jordaan is renowned for its artistic community, lively markets, and vibrant festivals. It’s a haven for those seeking a taste of Amsterdam’s creative spirit.
Location: Located west of the central station, Jordaan is easily accessible between the Singel and Prinsengracht canals.
Best Time to Visit: During the warmer months (spring to early fall), enjoy outdoor events and festivals and explore the neighborhood’s cozy cafés and boutiques.
Things to Do:
- Explore the Markets: Wander through the Noordermarkt and Lindengracht markets for unique finds and local treats.
- Visit Art Galleries: Discover the thriving art scene by exploring galleries showcasing local talent.
- Enjoy Canal-side Cafés: Relax at one of the many cafés along the picturesque canals.
- Attend Festivals: Check the calendar for events like the Jordaan Festival and Open Ateliers Jordaan.
5. De Pijp
De Pijp, in Amsterdam’s south, is noted for its eclectic culture, cosmopolitan flare, and artistic dynamism. The atmosphere here is bohemian, with a mix of trendy boutiques, ethnic eateries, and lively street markets.
History and Architecture: Originally a working-class area, De Pijp transformed in the late 19th century. The architecture blends historic buildings and modern influences, creating a unique and lively streetscape.
Famous For: De Pijp is renowned for its lively atmosphere, the Albert Cuyp Market, and its reputation as a melting pot of cultures, offering an array of international cuisine.
Location: Situated south of the city center, De Pijp is bordered by the Singelgracht Canal and is easily accessible by public transportation.
Best Time to Visit: During the daytime, explore the bustling Albert Cuyp Market and experience the neighborhood’s vibrant nightlife in the evening.
Things to Do:
- Albert Cuyp Market: Shop for fresh produce, flowers, and unique goods at this famous street market.
- Diverse Dining: Indulge in various international cuisines at the neighborhood’s diverse restaurants.
- Sarphatipark: Relax in this picturesque park, offering a peaceful escape from the city bustle.
- Street Art Exploration: Discover vibrant street art adorning the walls of De Pijp.
Vondelpark, a sprawling urban oasis in the heart of Amsterdam, is a verdant haven that beckons locals and visitors alike. With its lush greenery, serene ponds, and winding paths, the park offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city.
History and Architecture: Established in 1865, Vondelpark is named after the famous Dutch poet Joost van den Vondel. The park’s landscape design reflects the English garden style, featuring open spaces, water elements, and charming bridges.
Famous For: Vondelpark is renowned for its scenic beauty, recreational opportunities, and cultural events. It stands as Amsterdam’s most iconic and beloved public park.
Location: Situated southwest of the city center, Vondelpark is easily accessible by foot, bike, or tram, making it a central hub for outdoor activities.
Best Time to Visit: Visit during the spring and summer months to witness the park in full bloom. The pleasant weather during these seasons allows for picnics, outdoor performances, and strolls.
Things to Do:
- Picnic and Relax: Enjoy a leisurely picnic on the park’s expansive lawns or find a bench by the water to relax.
- Cultural Performances: Attend open-air concerts, theater performances, and cultural events at various park stages.
- Cycling and Skating: Explore the park’s winding paths on a bike or inline skates, which are available for rent within the park.
- Visit the Rose Garden: Admire the beautiful roses in the Rosarium, a dedicated rose garden within Vondelpark.
7. Red Light District
In Amsterdam’s historic center, the Red Light District is a unique neighborhood renowned for its vibrant nightlife, legalized sex work, and eclectic atmosphere. Characterized by narrow streets, canals, and neon-lit windows, it’s a cultural hotspot that fascinates visitors from around the globe.
History and Architecture: Dating back to the 14th century, the district evolved from a medieval harbor area. Its architecture combines historic and contemporary structures, contributing to its dynamic character.
Famous For: The Red Light District is globally recognized for its legalized prostitution, adult entertainment venues, and a diverse array of bars and cafes. It represents Amsterdam’s liberal approach to these industries.
Location: Centrally located, bordered by Warmoesstraat, Zeedijk, Oudezijds Voorburgwal, and the Damrak, it is easily accessible from various parts of the city.
Best Time to Visit: Evenings and nights offer the district’s whole experience. While it’s active throughout the week, weekends tend to draw more visitors.
Things to Do:
- Explore the Alleys: Wander through narrow streets and scenic canals to soak in the unique ambiance.
- Experience Nightlife: Visit adult entertainment venues, bars, and cafes for a diverse nightlife experience.
- Red Light Secrets Museum: Gain insights into the district’s history and the experiences of sex workers at this museum.
- Enjoy Cafes and Bars: Discover a variety of establishments offering a more relaxed setting away from the main hustle.
8. Verzetsmuseum Amsterdam
The Dutch Resistance Museum, or Verzetsmuseum Amsterdam, showcases stories of bravery and resistance during Nazi occupation in the Netherlands during WWII.
History and Architecture: Established in 1984, the museum is housed in a historic building that complements its mission. The architecture retains elements of the past while providing a modern and immersive space for visitors to delve into the history of the Dutch resistance.
Famous For: The museum is renowned for its comprehensive collection of artifacts, personal stories, and exhibits that depict the courageous acts of those who resisted the Nazi regime during the war.
Location: Plantage Kerklaan 61A, 1018 CX Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Best Time to Visit: Anytime throughout the year is suitable. Weekdays usually offer a quieter experience, allowing visitors to absorb the exhibits at their own pace.
Things to Do:
- Explore Exhibits: Delve into immersive exhibits showcasing the life and struggles of Dutch citizens during the occupation.
- Learn from Personal Stories: Gain insights into the experiences of individuals who actively resisted the Nazis through personal narratives.
- Participate in Educational Programs: Engage in educational programs, lectures, and events organized by the museum.
- Reflect at the Memorial Wall: Pay respects at the museum’s memorial wall, commemorating those who fought against oppression.
9. Amsterdam Dungeon
The Amsterdam Dungeon is an interactive, theatrical attraction that plunges visitors into the darker chapters of Amsterdam’s history. Blending humor, horror, and past offers a unique and immersive experience.
History and Architecture: Established as part of the global Dungeon franchise, the Amsterdam Dungeon takes visitors through various historical periods using a mix of live actors, special effects, and storytelling. The architecture complements the thematic elements, creating an eerie yet captivating atmosphere.
Famous For: The Amsterdam Dungeon is renowned for its theatrical reenactments of historical events, showcasing the city’s darker side, including stories of torture, the plague, and other chilling tales.
Location: Rokin 78, 1012 KW Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Best Time to Visit: Visit during weekdays or non-peak hours to avoid crowds. Evenings offer an enhanced atmospheric experience, especially for those seeking a more immersive encounter.
Things to Do:
- Enjoy Live Shows: Witness performances featuring talented actors, special effects, and storytelling.
- Experience Themed Rides: Participate in themed rides and attractions that bring history to life in a thrilling manner.
- Interact with Actors: Engage with skilled actors who play historical characters, adding an interactive element to the experience.
- Embrace the Darkness: Immerse yourself in the dark and mysterious ambiance as you explore each themed section.
10. Rembrandt House Museum
The Rembrandt House Museum in Amsterdam is the former residence and studio of the renowned Dutch painter Rembrandt van Rijn. It serves as a living tribute to the artist’s life and work, offering visitors an intimate experience of 17th-century Amsterdam.
History and Architecture: Built in 1606, the house became Rembrandt’s residence from 1639 to 1656. The architecture reflects the typical Dutch style of the period. The museum meticulously preserves the interior, providing a genuine sense of Rembrandt’s daily life and artistic endeavors.
Famous For: The museum is renowned for being Rembrandt’s home and workplace, showcasing his studio, living quarters, and a vast collection of his etchings and personal belongings.
Location: Jodenbreestraat 4, 1011 NK Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Best Time to Visit: Visit during weekdays, especially mornings, to avoid crowds. The museum is less busy during the off-peak seasons in fall and winter.
Things to Do:
- Explore Rembrandt’s Studio: Step into the artist’s studio, recreated to reflect the 17th-century setting.
- Admire Artworks: View Rembrandt’s etchings, drawings, and paintings on display throughout the museum.
- Attend Workshops: Participate in educational programs and workshops to learn more about Rembrandt’s techniques.
- Visit the Museum Shop: Explore the museum for art-related souvenirs and Rembrandt-inspired items.
11. NEMO Science Museum
NEMO Science Museum is located on the banks of the IJ River in Amsterdam. It’s an interactive and futuristic institution that aims to inspire curiosity and engage visitors of all ages in science and technology.
History and Architecture: Opened in 1997, NEMO was designed by renowned architect Renzo Piano. The building, shaped like a giant green ship, invites exploration and stands as an architectural landmark in Amsterdam.
Famous For: NEMO is renowned for its hands-on, interactive exhibits that make science and technology accessible and enjoyable. It’s a dynamic space encouraging experimentation and discovery.
Location: Oosterdok 2, 1011 VX Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Best Time to Visit: Weekdays and early mornings are ideal to avoid large crowds. The museum is trendy among families, so consider visiting during school hours for a quieter experience.
Things to Do:
- Interactive Exhibits: Engage with various interactive exhibits covering physics, chemistry, and technology.
- Visit the Roof Terrace: Enjoy panoramic views of Amsterdam from the museum’s rooftop terrace.
- Attend Workshops: Participate in workshops and demonstrations, often offered throughout the day.
- Science Show: Catch one of the museum’s entertaining and educational science shows.
12. Madame Tussauds Amsterdam
Madame Tussauds Amsterdam is a world-renowned wax museum bringing visitors face to face with incredibly lifelike wax figures of celebrities, historical icons, and cultural personalities.
History and Architecture: Opened in 1971, Madame Tussauds Amsterdam is part of the global Madame Tussauds franchise, which originated in London. The Amsterdam location features a modern and inviting interior, showcasing a diverse array of wax figures.
Famous For: The museum is renowned for its meticulously crafted wax figures, capturing the likeness of celebrities, sports stars, historical figures, and fictional characters with astonishing detail.
Location: Dam 20, 1012 NP Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Best Time to Visit: Weekdays and mornings are recommended for a more relaxed visit. Avoid peak tourist hours to enjoy the exhibits fully.
Things to Do:
- Pose with Celebrities: Take photos alongside lifelike wax figures of your favorite celebrities.
- Interactive Exhibits: Engage with interactive exhibits and themed sections, adding an element of fun to the experience.
- Marvel at Artistic Craftsmanship: Appreciate the artistry behind the creation of each wax figure.
- Attend Special Events: Check for special events or temporary exhibits that may enhance your visit.
13. Molen Van Sloten
Molen Van Sloten, also known as Sloten Windmill, stands proudly as a historic windmill in Amsterdam, offering visitors a glimpse into traditional Dutch engineering and culture.
History and Architecture: Built in 1847, Molen Van Sloten is a well-preserved polder windmill. It served a crucial role in draining water from the surrounding polders, contributing to the landscape management of the region. The mill’s architecture showcases classic Dutch design, featuring a thatched roof and wooden sails.
Famous For: Molen Van Sloten is renowned for being one of the last operational windmills in Amsterdam, highlighting the importance of windmills in the city’s historical landscape.
Location: Akergemaal, Akersluis 10, 1066 EZ Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Best Time to Visit: Enjoy pleasant weather and picturesque surroundings during spring or summer. Check the windmill’s opening hours before planning your visit.
Things to Do:
- Climb to the Top: Ascend to the top of the windmill for panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
- Learn About Milling: Explore the interior to understand the milling process and the role of windmills in Dutch history.
- Visit the Museum: Discover the small museum at the base of the windmill, providing insights into its history and functionality.
- Enjoy the Gardens: Relax in the beautifully maintained gardens surrounding the windmill.
14. Centraal Station
Centraal Station, or Amsterdam Centraal, serves as the primary railway station in Amsterdam, embodying a bustling nexus of transportation, architecture, and urban activity.
History and Architecture: Opened in 1889, Centraal Station is a striking example of Dutch Neo-Renaissance architecture. Pierre Cuypers designed the station’s monumental facade, towers, and ornate detailing to reflect a blend of historical and modern influences.
Famous For: Centraal Station is renowned as a central transportation hub, connecting train, metro, bus, and ferry services. Its iconic clock tower and waterfront location make it a landmark in the city.
Location: Stationsplein, 1012 AB Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Best Time to Visit: Anytime during the day offers a dynamic experience, but mornings provide a quieter atmosphere. The station’s surroundings, including Amsterdam’s waterfront, add to the charm.
Things to Do:
- Enjoy the Architecture: Admire the stunning exterior and interior architecture, capturing the essence of Dutch design.
- Take a Canal Cruise: Many canal cruises depart from nearby docks, offering a unique city perspective.
- Explore Nearby Attractions: Visit attractions like the Dam Square, Royal Palace, and Red Light District within walking distance.
- Shop and Dine: Explore the shops and cafes within the station, offering a mix of local and international options.
15. Body Worlds
Body Worlds is a groundbreaking museum that offers a unique and educational experience by displaying natural human bodies preserved through plastination. The exhibits aim to provide insights into the complexity and beauty of the human body.
History and Architecture: Founded by Dr. Gunther von Hagens, Body Worlds debuted in Tokyo in 1995. The exhibits have since traveled globally. The museum’s architecture is designed to enhance the viewing experience, combining modern aesthetics with the institution’s educational mission.
Famous For: Body Worlds is renowned for its innovative and controversial exhibits, showcasing natural human bodies and organs in various dissection states, revealing the intricacies of anatomy and physiology.
Location: Damrak 66, 1012 LM Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Best Time to Visit: Visit during weekdays or early mornings to avoid peak crowds. The museum is indoors, making it suitable for any weather.
Things to Do:
- Explore the Exhibits: Take a self-guided tour through the fascinating displays showcasing the human body in different poses and conditions.
- Attend Workshops: Participate in educational workshops and lectures on anatomy and health.
- Learn from Interactive Displays: Engage with interactive displays that provide additional information on the human body and its functions.
- Visit the Gift Shop: Explore the museum’s gift shop for unique souvenirs related to anatomy and science.
Concertgebouw, translated as Concert Building, is a world-class concert hall in Amsterdam, celebrated for its exceptional acoustics and timeless elegance. It is a cultural icon and a testament to the city’s rich musical heritage.
History and Architecture: Opened in 1888, Concertgebouw was designed by architect Adolf Leonard van Gendt. The architecture blends neoclassical and eclectic styles, creating an aesthetically pleasing and acoustically optimized space.
Famous For: Concertgebouw is renowned for its exceptional acoustics, making it one of the top concert halls globally. It is the home of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, famous for its world-class performances.
Location: Concertgebouwplein 10, 1071 LN Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Best Time to Visit: Visit during the concert season to experience live performances. The hall is also open for guided tours, offering insights into its history and architecture.
Things to Do:
- Attend a Concert: Enjoy a live performance by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra or other world-class ensembles.
- Take a Guided Tour: During a guided tour, explore the hall’s history, architecture, and backstage areas.
- Visit the Museum: Discover the small museum within the Concertgebouw showcasing its rich history.
- Dine at the Café: Relax at the café for a pre-concert meal or post-performance drink.
17. Dam Square
Dam Square is Amsterdam’s vibrant and historic epicenter, surrounded by iconic landmarks and a lively atmosphere. It serves as a central gathering place, pulsating with the energy of both locals and visitors.
History and Architecture: In the 13th century, Dam Square originated as a marketplace. The
architecture surrounding the square showcases a mix of styles, including the neoclassical Royal Palace, the gothic Nieuwe Kerk, and modern structures.
Famous For: Dam Square is renowned for its historical significance, hosting events and festivals, and serving as a focal point for critical civic functions. The square is also known for its diverse architecture and as a starting point for exploring Amsterdam.
Location: Dam, 1012 JL Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Best Time to Visit: Anytime during the day offers a bustling experience. The square is lively during events, festivals, and evenings when the surrounding attractions are illuminated.
Things to Do:
- Visit the Royal Palace: Explore the grand Royal Palace, a symbol of Dutch wealth and power.
- Discover Nieuwe Kerk: Visit the Nieuwe Kerk, a stunning church with a rich history and cultural significance.
- Shop on Damstraat: Explore the shopping street of Damstraat, offering a variety of shops and boutiques.
- People-Watch: Relax on the square’s steps or at a café, enjoying the lively atmosphere and people-watching.
18. Royal Palace Amsterdam
The Royal Palace Amsterdam, locally known as “Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam,” is a majestic symbol of Dutch royalty located on the western side of Dam Square. This grand palace is a testament to the Netherlands’ rich history and architectural splendor.
History and Architecture: Originally built as the municipal hall, the Royal Palace dates back to the Dutch Golden Age of the 17th century. Architect Jacob van Campen designed the classical-style building with influences from ancient Roman architecture. The palace became royal property in the early 19th century and has since been used for official state functions.
Famous For: The Royal Palace is renowned for its opulent interior, hosting state visits, official receptions, and ceremonies. It symbolizes regality and has played a significant role in Dutch history.
Location: 147 Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal, 1012 RJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Best Time to Visit: Visit during weekdays to avoid crowds. The palace is open to the public, but checking for any closures due to official events or ceremonies is wise.
Things to Do:
- Explore the Palace Interior: Wander through the lavish rooms and halls adorned with stunning artwork and historical artifacts.
- Attend Exhibitions: Check for temporary exhibitions that may provide additional insights into the palace’s history.
- Climb the Tower: Ascend the palace tower for panoramic views of Amsterdam (seasonal availability).
- Witness Changing of the Guard: Experience the ceremonial Changing of the Guard, a regal tradition held at the palace.
19. Culinary delights
Culinary delights encompass a symphony of flavors, aromas, and textures that tantalize the taste buds, creating a sensory experience beyond mere sustenance. It’s a celebration of diverse cuisines and the artistry of chefs worldwide.
Diverse Flavors: Explore myriad flavors ranging from savory to sweet, spicy to tangy, and everything in between.
Local Specialties: Indulge in regional dishes that showcase the area’s unique ingredients and culinary traditions.
Global Cuisine: Experience a world of tastes with international cuisines, from Italian pasta to Japanese sushi, reflecting the globalized nature of culinary delights.
Street Food Adventures: Embark on street food adventures, sampling quick bites and local favorites from street vendors, food markets, and food trucks.
Fine Dining Experiences: Treat yourself to the elegance of fine dining in upscale restaurants, where culinary artistry meets exquisite presentation.
Culinary Tourism: Travel becomes a gastronomic journey, with food central to exploring new cultures and destinations.
Culinary Festivals: Attend food festivals to celebrate and savor diverse dishes, often showcasing the best local and international cuisines.
Cooking Classes: Immerse yourself in the culinary culture by taking cooking classes and learning the art of preparing traditional dishes.
Wine and Dine: Pair delectable meals with fine wines, craft beers, or signature cocktails to enhance the dining experience.
Farm-to-Table Movement: Embrace the farm-to-table trend, relishing dishes made with locally sourced, fresh ingredients.
Foodie Experiences: Capture memories through food, creating a connection with a destination’s culture and history through its culinary delights.
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