Weekend in Amsterdam | The Best Amsterdam Guide

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Discover the ultimate guide for a weekend in Amsterdam that will show you all the best the city has to offer in just a few days.

During the weekend, everything in Amsterdam is in full swing and the city is bursting with energy. All the streets are full of people, the shops are open and the restaurants are ready to serve!

As an Amsterdam resident, I know what to do and what to skip when in Amsterdam. It is SUCH a polarizing city and what you choose to do and see will make or break your opinion on it.

During the weekend the city of Amsterdam is significantly busier than during the week, and all the main tourist attractions become packed with people. With just a few days, there is not enough time to wait in line for hours or get stuck in huge crowds.

Therefore, this weekend guide will include some ‘touristy’ things that don’t get packed with people, as well as some less-known things that are local favorites.

Feel free to pick and choose what looks most appealing to you from this list, and most importantly enjoy! No matter what you do Amsterdam will blow you away.

(Disclaimer: Some links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning if you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you and you may even receive a small discount. See disclosure for more information.)

Weekend in Amsterdam Overview

➡️ Friday: Dinner & drinks in the city
➡️ Saturday: Brunch, rent a bike, Jordaan, street market, rent a boat, night out.
➡️ Sunday: Coffee, museum, botanical gardens, De Pijp, Red Light District.

The best hotels in Amsterdam:
➡️ The Conservatorium Amsterdam
➡️ Park Plaza Vondelpark Amsterdam
➡️ Huygens Place Amsterdam

🚗 Best way to get around Amsterdam: IAmsterdam city card
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Weekend in Amsterdam: Friday

The first day is for arriving, getting settled, and having your first taste of the city. Assuming you will arrive in the evening, you may only have time for dinner and drinks, but if you arrive earlier feel free to add some other things to your to-do list.

Dinner in the City

Dutch people love to socialize over food, and Amsterdam has a ton of restaurants to host these socialization events.

What most tourists fall trap to is the easy and convenient restaurants in the city center. They are close, and in abundance, so people just pick one at random and eat mediocre food.

However, if you venture a little bit out of the city center you will find some amazing restaurants!

Some of my favorite restaurants in Amsterdam are:
➡️ Impero Romano
➡️ Miri Mary
➡️ De Kas
➡️ Restaurant Nomads
➡️ Venus & Adonis
➡️ De Belhamel
➡️ Madre
➡️ Fiaschetteria “Pistoia”
➡️ Loulou Pizzabar

Read More: Where to find Tulips in Amsterdam YEAR ROUND!

Drinks in the City

After dinner soak in the lively night that Amsterdam is known for by going for drinks in the city. The nightlife in Amsterdam is amazing and has everything from bars to clubs and beyond.

Some of my favorite places to go for drinks in Amsterdam are:
➡️ De Ysbreeker Shiraz
➡️ Cafe Brandon (oldest bar in Amsterdam!)
➡️ Waterkant

Weekend in Amsterdam: Saturday

Go for Brunch

Amsterdam has an absolutely amazing brunch scene. There are a ton of different options to choose from and I have MANY favourites.

Some of my favorite brunch places in Amsterdam are:
➡️ Coffee & Coconuts
➡️ Toki 
➡️ Locals All Day Brunch DS
➡️ Little Collins
➡️ Box Sociaal
➡️ Pancakehouse Upstairs
➡️ Uncommon Amsterdam

Read More: Where to Find the Best Beaches in Amsterdam

Rent a Bike

When visiting Amsterdam, renting a bike is a must. Although it may seem scary and intimidating, there is nothing better than cruising around the city and feeling like a Dutchie for a weekend.

Biking is also the fastest, easiest, and cheapest way to get around the city. Without one, you will end up wasting a lot of time waiting for public transport and you will see so much less of the city.

There are a ton of bike rental places around the city that will charge around 15 euros for renting a bike for two days. You can ask the workers there for some rules of the road as well.

If you are scared or nervous about biking, I suggest taking a bike tour! These ones below are amazing options to get a taste of the biking culture in a more controlled way.

Go for a morning bike ride through Vondelpark

Now that you have rented your bike it is time to take it for a spin in the easiest and most spacious place to bike: a park! And not just any park, the world-famous Vondelpark. Vondelpark is the central park in Amsterdam.

It has wide bike paths going through the whole park, a ton of green space, and even three restaurants.

Biking through the park is a very peaceful and euphoric experience. There is no fear of cars, there is tons of room and the surrounding scenery is stunning!

This is the perfect way to wake yourself up, practice your biking skills, and see the whole park in all its beauty.

Shop the 9 Streets

Amsterdams 9 streets are a collection of nine of the most picture-perfect shopping streets in Amsterdam.

The nine streets that make up this idyllic shopping section are Singel, Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Prinsengracht. Although they are located in the Jordaan, they are just a few minutes from Dam Square.

This area is packed with cute cafes, charming restaurants, quirky shops, and a buzzing atmosphere. This is the best place to go shopping in the city if you are on the hunt for unique clothing, accessories, home decor, or any other items!

Some of the top stores within the nine streets are:
➡️ All the luck in the world
➡️ Pluk
➡️ Catwalk Junkie

Although the streets are most known for their shopping, they also have some of the best eateries in the city. So consider taking a pit stop for a coffee or tea to take a moment and sit back and enjoy the stunning area.

Photograph the Jordaan

Since the 9 streets are in the Jordaan it only makes sense to stay in the area after shopping and explore it fully! And since it is the most postcard-perfect neighborhood in Amsterdam, it is the perfect place to capture some stunning photos.

Take your time walking up and down the beautiful streets of the Jordaan and get lost in its beauty. This area will most likely be your favorite in the city due to its charm and because there are significantly fewer people here than in the city center!

It is also really nice to find some space along the canal and just sit for some time.

Check out Weesterstraat Street Market

There are quite a few street markets in Amsterdam, and all of them have lovely offerings. However, the Weesterstraat Street market outshines the others.

This street market is located at the very top of the Jordaan and, therefore, is in a less touristy part of the city. The fact that there are fewer tourists makes this street market more enjoyable and authentic.

More so, you can pick up some really interesting things here from local Dutch cheese to vintage clothing to fresh fish. This is the perfect place to see all of the food specialties The Netherlands has to offer.

Eat Apple Pie at Winkle 43

Pie from Winkle 43

Also in the Jordaan area is Amsterdam’s best and most famous apple pie! Year-round Winkle 43 is packed with both locals and tourists waiting eagerly to enjoy a delicious slice of apple pie.

The pies from here are one of the best you will ever try and visiting Winkle is a must while exploring the Jordaan.

Rent a Boat

The best way to see the whole city of Amsterdam is by boat. However, most tourists flock to the huge canal cruises but these are not nearly as enjoyable as renting a boat yourself.

One of the best companies to rent a boat from is Mokum Boot which offers 2 hours of boating around the canals for 95 euros. If you are with a few friends, you can split the cost and it can end up being more cost-effective than the canal cruises.

Not only are you able to go wherever you want, and guide the tour yourself, you can also bring snacks and drinks on the boat and enjoy the canals as the locals do!

Dinner at Foodhallen

Getting dinner at Foodhallen is a must during your Amsterdam weekend trip. Foodhallen is not your typical eatery, and offers a unique twist to mealtime!

The concept is simple, a collection of small food trucks all under one roof. The collection of food trucks offer options such as Dim Sum, pizza, burgers, cakes, tacos, and more!

This is the perfect place to get a meal that everyone will enjoy! No one can complain that they don’t like the food because there are more than enough options to please even the pickiest of eaters.

Nightout in Amsterdam

A night out in Amsterdam does not have to involve partying. It can, and there is a great nightlife scene in Amsterdam, but there is also a ton of things to do in Amsterdam at night that don’t involve drinking and partying.

Since everyone has different ideas of a ‘fun’ night out I will give two options for things to do at night!

For non-partiers

  • Watch a film at Filmhallen or Theater Tuschinski
  • Bike around the city at night

For partiers

  • Go to a club in Leidseplein
  • See if there are any events at Melkweg

For more options for things to do at night, check out this post!

Amsterdam Weekend Guide: Sunday

Start the day with a Morning Coffee

Adding to the list of great things about Amsterdam is the amount of cafes scattered throughout the city. And by this I mean Amsterdam is packed with cafes that offer delicious coffee options, and they are all super aesthetically pleasing.

There are a ton of cafe options to choose from that will give you the kick you need to start your day, as you may be feeling a little sleepy after the previous night’s adventures! Thankfully, I have created a list of all the best cafes in Amsterdam to make your search easier.

Go to a Museum

One of the main things Amsterdam is known for is its museums. The city is packed with museums of all kinds just waiting to be explored!

However, experiencing the cultural side of Amsterdam is very popular amongst tourists, therefore, many of the main museums can become crowded and lines can get long.

Since you only have one weekend in Amsterdam it is best to choose one or two museums you want to go to so you don’t spend all your time inside (unless you are a museum lover, then do whatever you please).

There are more museums in Amsterdam than you may think. Some are secret ones, some are hidden and some seem too random to even exist. Here are the top touristy museum options and the top non-touristy options.

Touristy options:

Less touristy options:

If you choose to go to any of these museums – especially the touristy ones – be sure to get your tickets well in advance and go right after your morning coffee to avoid the crowds.

Explore Oudemanhuispoort


Oudemanhuispoort is a secret spot in Amsterdam that is hidden in plain sight. It is an old secret passageway that is located right in the heart of the city. This passageway dates back to the 17th- century and used to be frequented by Van Gogh.

However, now the passageway is full of second-hand books and paintings. It is also a part of the University of Amsterdam Campus and the passage will bring you to the beautiful campus courtyard.

If you are a fan of history or literature a stroll down here is a must!

Admire the Botanical Gardens

Just a short distance from Oudemanhuispoort is Hortus Botanicus, the botanical gardens of Amsterdam. These gardens are lovely to look at and come with a very interesting history.

They are actually one of the oldest botanical gardens in the world and date back to the 1600s where it was created for medicine! If you are a horticulturist, or just want to see a secret, yet beautiful Amsterdam site then you will fall in love with these gardens.

Explore the De Pijp Area

De Pijp is an area of Amsterdam that is very underrated. However, it is full of colorful buildings, delicious restaurants, and various shops!

This area and the Jordaan are the most beautiful and enjoyable areas of Amsterdam to explore. Although the city center has the most ‘famous’ sites to see, the areas outside the center are the best.

In De Pijp there is quite a bit to see and do. You can spend some time walking around Albert Cuyp Street Market, going to Sarphatipark or shopping at one of the many boutiques.

However, one of the highlights of De Pijp is the food! There are a ton of very unique restaurants that will amaze you. More so, there are quite a bit of vegan/vegetarian-based eateries here.

Dinner in De Pijp

Along with being a beautiful area, De Pijp is full of delicious eateries. There are a ton of different cuisine options to choose from so you are sure to find your ideal options.

More so, in the warm months, many restaurants in this area have outdoor seating areas so you can enjoy the views of the city while you eat.

Some of the best restaurants in this area are:

Walk around the Red Light District

Most people who visit Amsterdam are at least a little bit curious about the famous Red Light District and this curiosity warrants a visit.

Although this area has quite a negative and sketchy perception surrounding it, there is more to the Red Light District than meets the eye. This area is one of the oldest in the city and is full of a rich and complex history.

In addition to its history, it is quite a unique concept and is very interesting to see and witness first hand. The area is treated as more of a tourist attraction than anything else. It is always full of people walking around and the streets are lit up with neon lights.

If this is not your cup of tea, you don’t have to go. You aren’t missing that much anyway! However, if you do go be sure to be respectful of the workers, aka do not take any photos of them!

Additional Information

When to visit Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a great city to visit year-round. In the spring time, the tulips are in bloom, the city starts heating up, and the city starts to come out of winter mode. While, during the summer months, the city is in full swing and the atmosphere is buzzing.

Moreover, in the fall, the leaves turn golden, the city cools down, and Amsterdam becomes cozy and comfy. In winter, the city has significantly fewer tourists and the prices for accommodation are lower, plus Amsterdam is quite romantic in winter.

Just note: in the summer months the city is packed with tourists, therefore, if you would like to avoid them come in the other months. The best months for the fewest tourists are November – February.

Where to stay in Amsterdam

Here are some accommodation options for your weekend in Amsterdam.

The best hotels in Amsterdam:
➡️ The Conservatorium Amsterdam
➡️ Park Plaza Vondelpark Amsterdam
➡️ Huygens Place Amsterdam

This weekend in Amsterdam will lead you on the adventure of a lifetime! Each day is packed with exciting things to do, see, and eat that are both touristy and non-touristy.

After your one weekend adventure, you will already be planning your visit back!

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