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The 20 Best Things To Do in Amsterdam for First-Timers


If you are planning to make a trip to Amsterdam and this is your first time visiting the city then we have some information that might be helpful. This is a city that has some of the most amazing places to eat along with its many attractions. There are a lot of things to experience and places to see but if you're never been there before, you might not know about some of them. We've put together a guide that will point out the 20 best things to do in Amsterdam for first-timers.

20. Visit Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum is a must-see for all first-time visitors to Amsterdam. It is one of the most visited attractions in the city. You will not only marvel at the contents of the museum but the architecture is also a spectacular sight to behold. It is a classic museum that displays works from 16th through 18th-century famous Dutch artists in addition to its impressive collection of Asian art and pieces from other cultures as well. The admission for adults is 15 Euros, but you might be able to get a discount. It is free with Museumskaart.

19. The Library at Rijksmuseum

While you're at Rijksmuseum you won't want to miss your chance to go to the library that is located behind the museum. It's another one of those hidden treasures that many tourists overlook. It is easy to miss, so keep your eye out for it. And there is another tourist attraction that is located behind the museum called the iamsterdam sign. It's a place where tourists from across the globe stop to take their photos so they will have a memento from their visit there.

18. See the city by bike

One of the best ways to see the sights of the city is to rent a bike and pedal around. The locals are fond of bicycling in town and you'll fit in with the rest of them. In the open air, you won't miss anything. We do offer a word of caution though. Watch out for the buses because the city streets can get extremely busy at peak traffic hours.

17. Tour a canal

One of the most popular tourist activities in Amsterdam is a canal tour. When the weather is nice outside, touring Amsterdam vial canal boat gives you an enjoyable view of the city from a different angle. There are a variety of tour boat operators who will be happy to take you around the canals. You can also rent your own paddleboat. These tours and boat rentals are available all year round.

16. Go shopping in the 9 Straatjes

The 9 Straatjes is the ideal place to go shopping when you've had enough of the regular high street shops that most tourists frequent. There are a total of 9 streets that are filled with souvenir shops, lovely little cafes, and shops that feature the wares of Dutch designers. You'll find some interesting offbeat shops on these 9 streets and it is highly recommended to give you a taste of the local culture.

15. Visit Love Lock Bridge/Staalmeesterbrug

This popular tourist attraction isn't far from Rembrandtplein which is in the region of the flower market. There is a small bridge with tons of love locks on it and it's one of the most popular places to take pictures. You can position yourself to include the clock tower that sits opposite of the bridge, and if you're there around sunset, you can get some amazing shots with the sun shining on the canal. This is one of the most romantic places in the city of Amsterdam.

14. Go to Sloterdijkmuseum

Sloterdijkmuseum is located on Museumplein and it features one of the best collections of modern art in the city. It is a must-see for first-time visitors to Amsterdam. Here you'll find a collection of 19th and 20th-century modern art and you can trace the development of the genre through the centuries. You'll find sculptures, paintings, and other art forms in this museum. There is an entrance fee of 15 Euros for adults.

13. Tour the Van Gogh Museum

One of the most famous of all Dutch Painters was Vincent van Gogh. The Van Gogh Museum features one of teh most complete collections of his well-known paintings including the sunflowers, and others. You can also learn all about his life, his unique painting style that made him one of the founding fathers of modern art and you will also learn about his life from its beginnings through his tragic death. The museum is comprised of three levels so there is a lot to see while you're there. The cost of admission to the museum is 15 Euros for adults.

12. Visit the Anne Frank House

The Anne Frank House is one of the most visited tourist attractions in all of Amsterdam. It is a historical site that holds deep significance for people from all countries in the world. It is always recommended that you read the book about her life story prior to visiting this moving site. You can find the book online to prepare for your visit.

11. Tour the Westerkerk bell tour

While you're visiting the Anne Frank House, there is another place that is a must-see. It's found at the same location. You may also climb to the top of the Westerkerk bell tower. There are some amazing views of Amsterdam from this location so be certain that you bring your phone or camera along. It is a once in a lifetime experience.

10. Visit the Amsterdam coffee shops

Whether you indulge in teh soft drugs that are legal in Amsterdam or not, visiting the local coffee shops is another memorable experience. Some of the best coffee in the world an be found in these trendy little houses. You must take care when you're there to make sure that you know what you're ordering though. They also have edibles that are made from marijuana products, but you can also find treats that do not contain any soft drugs.

9. Tour the public parks

When you're in Amsterdam you will notice that there are a lot of green spaces throughout the city. The locals are very fond of their public parks. Vondelpark is one of the most popular of its public parks and it is close to teh Leidseplein. There are others that you might also want to visit including Westerpark, Oosterpark, Rembradtspark, and Sarphatipark in De Pijp. You are welcome to pack a basket of bread, cheese, and wine and have an enjoyable picnic. If you'd like to hear some free entertainment, there are concerts held at Vondelpark throughout the summer.

8. Tour the Market culture

Amsterdam is a wonderland of open-air markets. Some of the most popular ones for tourists are the Albert Cuyp, as well as the flea market that is held on the Waterlooplein, and teh flower market on the Singel. These are great places to find interesting oddities as well as souvenirs to take back home for friends and loved ones.

7. Tour the Red Light District

The Red Light District is a historic area that has been in existence since the 15th century. It is teh place where ships moored nearby and sailors would come ashore on their leave. Although there is more than one Red Light District in Amsterdam, this is the most famous. You can find a Red Light District within five minutes walk from Centraal Station. The best times to tour the Red Light Districts are during the weekdays prior to evening because they tend to become very busy and crowded in evenings and on weekends, and particularly during the nighttime hours of weekends. There are guided tours of the Red Light district available for all who take an interest in learning more about the history of these areas.

6. Go to Amsterdam's Chinatown

Just adjacent to the Red Light District near a street that is called Zeedjik, you'll find Amsterdam's Chinatown. This is one of the most amazing places to find authentic Cantonese meals. You will find some of the oldest brown bars in this district within the city of Amsterdam. It's like taking a stroll through the pages of time and it's a highly recommended attraction. While this district is not as large as the ones found in New York City or San Francisco, it is a lovely and quaint community and you will also find some amazing souvenirs of your trip to take back home with you.

5. Visit Dam Square

Dam Square is another popular tourist attraction. It is open 24 hours a day so you can go whenever you have the time in your day. If you're there at the right time of year you might be able to catch one of the festivals or carnivals that are held in the square on a regular basis. While you're there, you may also want to tour the Royal Palace. There is a National Monument that is located in the Square as a memorial to World War II victims.

4. Go to the Aalsmeer Flower Auction

Just outside of Amsterdam and a bit to the South you will find the Aalsmeer Flower Auction. Amsterdam is known for growing some of the most beautiful flowers in the world. Here you can find cut flowers that are being auctioned for up to seventy-five percent off of the usual selling price. They offer thousands of flowers in the auction rooms, but we must warn you that the auctions start at approximately the crack of dawn. They run through the day and end at about 9:00.

3. Eat out at the best restaurants in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is filled with some of the best restaurants in the world. Although Dutch food is not highly rated throughout the world, Amsterdam is loaded with fine restaurants that are Michelin star rated or at least highly recommended and you can find any type of food that your heart desires. De Pijp and the Jordaan feature the highest number of eateries. Make sure that you follow the link provided above to find the most highly reviewed restaurants in the city though.

2. Sample the beer

There are tons of bars in Amsterdam. If you're a beer drinker then you won't want to miss out on the experience of sampling their fine brews. You will have your choice of Brown Bars, which have a historical significance, or you can check out the more modern and trendy bars including Little Buddha, Bo Cinq, or the NJOY bar at the American Hotel. If you prefer cocktails, this might be a better option, or even Brouweij 't IJ or DePrael.

1. Check out the music venues

There are quite a few concerts held at the new Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam and you can hear some of the most popular modern musicians playing there. The Paradiso is a small and intimate hall that can hold up to 200 spectators, or if you prefer jazz, you might want to try the Cafe Alto. There are tons of venues offering evening concerts if you're a music lover. You'll find international acts from around the world at the various concert halls, parks, and other venues.

Lily Wordsmith

Written by Lily Wordsmith

Lily Wordsmith is a freelance writer who has had a love affair with the written word for decades. You can find her writing blog posts and articles while sitting under a tree at the local park watching her kids play, or typing away on her tablet in line at the DMV. In addition to her freelance career, she is pursuing ebook writing with an ever-growing repertoire of witty ebooks to her name. Her diversity is boundless, and she has written about everything from astrobotany to zookeepers. Her real passions are her family, baking desserts and all things luxe.

Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith

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