There is no place in the world quite like Amsterdam. The cities charm and allure are unmatched and will make you want to visit this enchanting city time and time again. Although Amsterdam is a relatively small city it is full of things to do and see. This is why I have created the ultimate Amsterdam bucket list to guide you to the best of the best things to do, see, eat, and experience in the city.
This Amsterdam bucket list includes cultural, experiential, and food-based activities and all of which are must-dos while in the city. Try to check them all off while visiting Amsterdam to become the ultimate dutchie.
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The Ultimate Amsterdam Bucket List
In This Post
Take Photos with the Amsterdam Gingerbread Houses
The Gingerbread Houses are an iconic sight to see in Amsterdam. Located right between the central station and Dam square are a group of houses that look like cute little gingerbread houses. This is a super popular place to take a photo in Amsterdam that always turns out amazing!
Eat a Freakshake
Who doesn’t love milkshakes that are big enough to replace a meal? In Amsterdam, there are actually quite a few places to get milkshakes in unique flavors and with cool additions. My favorite – and the ones in this photo – is Bulls and Dogs, but some others are Corner Bakery and Ree7.
Rent a Bike
Renting a bike is a must while visiting Amsterdam. The city itself has more bikes than people and the best way to immerse yourself in the local traditions is by renting a bike and exploring the city this way. However, biking in the city can get pretty hectic which is why I suggest a calm bike ride through the beautiful Vondelpark.
Vondelpark is the biggest and most popular park in Amsterdam and has the perfect wide paved paths for people to bike on. This is a great way to see the whole park in an enjoyable way.
Relax in Vondelpark
After biking around the park, take some time to sit on the grass and enjoy some downtime. During warm days you will find hundreds of people sitting on the grass having picnics with friends. So, if you’re up for it, grab some snacks from the nearest grocery store and have a little picnic.
Eat a Stroopwafel
Stroopwafels are the ultimate sweet treat to try in Amsterdam. They were actually invented in Amsterdam and consisted of two thin wafers with caramel in the middle. They are amazing and you can find them in stores like Van Wonderen and Mels Stroopwafels.
Poffertjes are a classic dutch food. They are simply mini pancakes that are fluffy and almost sphere-shaped. You can find these from various street stands around the city, and most definitely in one of the many street markets. Eat them with a little bit of icing sugar and you are set!
Go to the Anne Frank House
Amsterdam is beautiful and thriving today, but it has a dark and profound past that no one should forget or ignore. Amsterdam was impacted by World War Two and was invaded by the Nazis. Over one hundred thousand Jewish people were exported to concentration camps from Amsterdam and one way we remember this tragic time is with the Anne Frank House.
Anne Frank was a young girl during WW2 and kept a diary to journal her experiences. She was hiding behind a bookcase inside a home in Amsterdam and was unfortunately found and sent to Auschwitz. She died there but left behind her diary which has become the best selling book. Visiting the house she was hiding in is moving and a must while in Amsterdam to a remember a past that should not soon be forgotten.
*IMPORTANT: The Anne Frank House has now limited its amount of guests to 1 million a year. As a result, tickets ONLY go on sale ONLINE on the first Tuesday of the Month*
In addition to this, there are many other holocaust sites in Amsterdam to visit.
Eat Dutch Cheese
The Netherlands is famous for its cheese. There is a cheese shop around every corner and on every street. Head into one and you will find a bunch of free testers! The cheese flavours range from beer to colored pesto and more.
Go on a Canal Cruise
The best way to see Amsterdam is by boat. The whole city center is comprised of a ton of canals and navigating around them is the easiest way to see the city in its entirety. There are a ton of canal cruise companies in Amsterdam the offer one hour tours and will show you the highlights of the city.
If you are feeling brave and visiting with a large group you can even rent your own boat from a company such as Mokum boat and tour the canals by yourself.
Go to a Street Market
Amsterdam is a city that loves street markets! There is one in almost every area of the city all full of flower stands, fresh food, little trinkets, and souvenirs!
The best ones are Albert Cupy Market, Lindengracht Street Market, and Pekmarkt. Just be sure to check the hours on google before you plan to go! Some are only open once a week and hours vary.
Go Shopping on the 9 Streets
The 9 streets are a famous area made up of 9 streets that hold some of the best shops and restaurants in the city. The streets are located in the stunning Jordaan area of Amsterdam and are a must to see. Be ready to see some of the most unique and trendy shops in the city, and even pick up a few things along the way. Discover more of the best boutiques in Amsterdam here!
Have a meal in De Pijp
De Pijp is a cute area of Amsterdam that is packed with restaurants of all flavors and styles. Here you will find the perfect restaurant to fit your taste buds and you will not be disappointed.
Visit the Bloemenmarket
This is the worlds only floating flower market and a main attraction of the city. The market is full of tulip everything and will give you the much-needed flower fix you need.
It is also the perfect place to find some tulip bulb souvenirs!
Go to The Rijksmuseum
The Rijksmuseum is the biggest museum in Amsterdam and is full of amazing pieces of art. The museum is three stories and is packed with different exhibits and pieces such as Rembrandts Nacht Watch and some Van Gogh pieces.
Find the Secret Library
Inside the Rijksmuseum is a not so secret library that is breathtaking! Be sure to go find it on your Amsterdam adventures and snap a few photos along the way.
Walk the Red Light District
The Red Light District is one of the more polarizing attractions of Amsterdam, however, visiting it while in Amsterdam is something you should do. It is quite interesting to see such a taboo subject celebrated so publicity and it really is like nothing you have seen before.
See Dam Square
Dam Square is home to the royal palace, Madame Tussauds, and the main monument. Honestly, I don’t love this area of the city, but it’s one of those bucket list things you have to see for yourself and make your own judgments.
Indulge at Tony Chocolonleys
Right in the center of Amsterdam, you can find a Tony Chocolonelys store that has a ton of free samples for you to try! The store is amazing and serves chocolate made with unique and diverse ingredients.
See a Dutch Windmill
Many people come to Amsterdam and want to see an authentic Dutch windmill and luckily this can be done with ease. You can either head to Borwujk tÍJ and see it there or can go on a short bus ride and see a whole field of them at Zaanse Schans.
While visiting Brouwerij ‘t ij you need to taste some of the local craft beers they brew. Along with being located under a giant windmill, they make their own craft beer and even offer tours!
Kiss on Magere Brug
Magere Brug is an old and beautiful bridge that crosses the Amstel canal. Legend says that if you kiss your lover on it your love will last forever.
Scooters are a pretty popular way to get around in Holland. If you want to travel outside the city renting a scooter can be a great idea! Just note that when I took this photo it wasn’t required by law to wear a helmet, but now it is!
Visit a Rooftop Bar
There are not very many rooftop bars in Amsterdam, but when you find one you will see some of the most magical views of all of Amsterdam. The best ones are SKylounge and the A’DAM Tower. The ADAM tower is higher and located in Amsterdam Noord, however, Skylounge is classy and a great place for a good drink, with a great atmosphere and an even better view.
Eat the best Apple Pie
In the Jordaan area of Amsterdam, you can find the best apple pie in the city. At Winkle43 there is a constant line out the door of people drolling over this delicacy! Be sure to get there early to snag a seat and try this delicious treat.
Have you done everything on this Amsterdam bucket list? If no, then what are you waiting for!
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Linda (ld holland) says
We have only visited Amsterdam for one day on a cruise. And that certainly was not enough. Although it was a good tease. I now know why we need to go back for a longer stay. The Gingerbread Houses are so cute. They do look like they are iced with sugar. A Freakshake would definitely be a full meal. But might mean I have no room to try a Stroopwafel! But there is always room for cheese. Hubby would not miss Tony Chocolonelys store. Good thing there are lots of way to work off the good food on a bike ride or stroll along the canals. We definitely need to go back!
Punita Malhotra says
I have to pass on this post to my cousin who says that Amsterdam is just another pretty city with pretty houses and nothing much to do. I’m sure will reconsider her first impression after reading this. I have just been once, but now I know what I will be busy with the next time. 🙂 So many choices…
Travel with Mei and Kerstin says
We visited Amsterdam two years ago and loved this city. We did almost everything you mentioned in this post, except for the Secret Library and the windmills. We hope that on our next visit we’ll find this Secret Library!
Samantha Karen says
Ah yes those are two essentials and I guess you have to plan a trip back to do them 🙂
Okay, I’ve only done 10 of the things on this list, which means I definitely need to get back to Amsterdam, like right now. I would love to find the library, see the Rijksmuseum, and rent a bike! Both times I have been to Amsterdam I was VERY pregnant (7 months one trip, and 8 for the other), so renting a bike was definitely not happening. But it’s truly the perfect way to get around the city, like a local!
Samantha Karen says
Looks like it’s time to book a trip back, and bring your children along for the adventures!
Amsterdam’s Gingerbread Houses are seriously so iconic. Stroopwafels look and sound to die for too and same with poffertjes. I would definitely be up to doing a boat tour as well and seeing the beautiful Rijksmuseum library. Reading this seriously makes me wanna visit Netherlands right this second!
Love this! Hopefully I can fit in Amsterdam this year 🤞