Credit

Courtesy of Greg Gibb Photography/Getty Images

Free Things To Do in Amsterdam

If you have extra time, Leidseplein is worthwhile.
  • #1
    Things to do in Amsterdam
    View all Photos
    #1 in Amsterdam
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Located southwest of the city center, the 116-acre Vondelpark is the favorite leafy retreat of just about everyone. Not only is it the largest city park in Amsterdam, it's also one of the most revered in all of the Netherlands. Most recent travelers said they enjoyed people-watching and picnicking at the park, but other reviewers recommend avoiding a late-night visit as the park can be a little frightening once the sun sets. During the day, though, the park is filled with couples, families and friends, and is definitely worth a visit.

    Ponds, fields and playgrounds are connected by winding paths, which also run by an open-air theater, a rollerblade rental, a rose garden, several cafes and a range of statues and sculptures. Open dawn to dusk, you can take trams 1, 2 or 5 to the Leidseplein, and you'll have just a quick two-minute walk to reach the park's entrance. The park is free to visit.

  • #2
    Jordaan
    View all Photos
    #2 in Amsterdam
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you love history, culture and food, then you'll want to save time for a stroll through Amsterdam's Jordaan area. Located a few blocks west of the city's main train station and bordered by the Brouwersgracht, Prinsengracht, Leidsegracht and Lijnbaansgracht canals, this scenic neighborhood is packed with eateries, specialty shops, bars and art galleries. Plus, you'll find the Anne Frank House and the Nine Little Streets just east of the Jordaan's eastern perimeter.

    Travelers highly recommend walking around the Jordaan, adding that its cool vibe, beautiful setting and top-notch cafes and restaurants more than justify a visit. Don't forget to bring your camera, since visitors say the area offers ample photo opportunities. For a more in-depth look at the neighborhood's food scene, consider signing up for Eating Amsterdam Food Tours' Jordaan Food Tour. Or, visit on a Saturday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to enjoy the Jordaan's Biologische Noordermarkt (a market with vendors selling baked goods, local cheeses, crepes and more).

  • #6
    Leidseplein
    View all Photos
    #6 in Amsterdam
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're looking for a tamer alternative to Amsterdam's Red Light District, Leidseplein or Leiden Square, may be for you. The center of Amsterdam's entertainment scene, Leidseplein sits southwest of the city center and is filled with nightclubs, movie theaters, concert venues, casinos and, of course, some coffee shops. For the performing arts, the Melkweg (Milky Way) concert hall and the hotel or hostel here – or maybe head to the nearby Vondelpark instead. Travelers were also pleasantly surprised by the quantity and variety of restaurants huddled in the neighborhood, though they do warn of high prices at the bars.

    Leidseplein is accessible via the 1, 2, 5, 7 and 10 tram routes via the Leidseplein stop.

  • #8
    De Negen Straatjes (Nine Little Streets)
    View all Photos
    #8 in Amsterdam
    Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    De Negen Straatjes, or the Nine Little Streets, are exactly that – nine streets that run between the Prinsengracht and Singel canals and are lined with shops and boutiques. (For your orientation, the Singel is the first main canal that wraps around the city center.) Vintage clothing shops nestle alongside accessories stores and interior design boutiques, and hours vary by store.

    Recent travelers called the area a lovely place to stroll and said it was less touristy than other parts of the city. Though you'll likely rub elbows with plenty of other travelers, you'll also encounter your fair share of locals.

  • #9
    De Pijp
    View all Photos
    #9 in Amsterdam
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    De Pijp, which is also called the Latin Quarter, is known for its 19th-century architecture and its collision of different cultures. Here, you'll find ethnic restaurants, eclectic shops and the tranquil Sarphatipark. The Heineken Experience sits on the northern edge of the neighborhood.  Travelers say that De Pijp feels less touristy and more like authentic Amsterdam. They also call it the heart of the city for young people thanks to its beatnik vibe and trendy eateries.

    You'll also find the famous street market, Albert Cuyp Market, here Mondays through Saturdays. To start wandering, you might want to find Gerard Douplein square on your Amsterdam map, hitting a cafe and starting your meanderings from there. You can also take either the 3, 4, 12, 16 or 24 tram to reach this happenin' neighborhood, or just walk about a mile south of the city center.

  • #12
    I amsterdam Letters
    View all Photos
    #12 in Amsterdam
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    Less than 1 hour
    TIME TO SPEND

    Measuring more than 6 feet tall and 77-plus feet wide, the red-and-white "I amsterdam" sign is a prime place for a photo op. You'll find the main set of letters situated inside Amsterdam Airport Schiphol; however, multiple versions are typically on display throughout the city.

    Although some previous visitors were disappointed that the main sign no longer sits in front of the Rijksmuseum, many enjoyed snapping pics of the smaller version at the airport. An additional set of letters appears at various events throughout the year, so if you plan on attending a large festival while in town, look around to see if the sign is on-site. You can also spot the letters while jogging the track by Sloterplas lake, but some characters in this set lie flat, so it's not ideal for photographing.

  • #22
    Zandvoort
    View all Photos
    #22 in Amsterdam
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Beaches, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    You probably knew about Amsterdam's canals, but what about its beach? Just about 20 miles west of the city center is a place called Zandvoort, a strip of sand that borders the North Sea. Experts say Zandvoort is at its best in the summertime, though recent visitors say a trip here in the offseason is also worthwhile since it lacks the summertime crowds.

    Along with its wide shoreline, Zandvoort also boasts a variety of trendy beach clubs, including the popular Tijn Akersloot and Safari Lounge. When you've had your fill of the beach, explore the town – a recommendation from past visitors.

Explore More of Amsterdam

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

30 Top Florida Weekend Getaways

Spend sun-filled days exploring Florida's beautiful beaches, cities, parks and small towns.

Gwen PratesiDecember 9, 2019

The Best Travel Backpacks for 2020

U.S. News rated the best travel backpacks using recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerNovember 25, 2019

30 Top Wellness Retreats

Rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit at one of these relaxation-focused properties.

Kyle McCarthyNovember 21, 2019

30 Fun All-Inclusive Family Vacations

Book one of these all-inclusive trips that cover food, accommodations and activities galore.

Holly JohnsonNovember 14, 2019

5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Industry considers impact as it looks to the future.

Gwen PratesiNovember 12, 2019

11 Unique and Quirky Cruise Destinations

Venture off the beaten path for an authentic cruising experience.

Christine SmithNovember 12, 2019

The 2020 Best Cruise Lines for Families

Gather up the gang and head out to sea with one of these six kid-friendly cruise lines.

Nicola WoodNovember 12, 2019

The Top Pyramids in Mexico to Visit

Add these ancient marvels to your Mexico vacation itinerary.

Lyn MettlerOctober 28, 2019

30 Top Babymoon Destinations, Trips and Ideas

From romantic beach getaways to big city adventures to glamping in the forest, these locales will inspire your babymoon planning.

Gwen PratesiOctober 15, 2019

15 Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

These tips will help pregnant women travel the world in comfort and style.

Holly JohnsonOctober 10, 2019