5 Things to Do Your First Time in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a beautiful and historic city in the Netherlands. Most people know of Amsterdam because of its Red Light District and legal recreational weed. While these things obviously attract many visitors, there is much more to do!

I stayed in the Amsterdam Teleport Hotel, which is a quick 5-minute train ride to the city center. It is quite easy to navigate the city using public transportation, and I highly recommend that you take advantage of it!

5 Things to Do Your First Time in Amsterdam

1. View the Amsterdam Centraal Station


Amsterdam Centraal Station is located at the heart of the city. 250,000 people go through this station daily. Not only is this building useful if you are looking to travel around the area, but the building itself is also a sight to see. It first opened in 1889 and has a Gothic / Renaissance build. Taking a tour of the area is a great way to experience it!

2. Visit the Anne Frank House

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If you plan on going inside of the house, please be sure to buy your tickets well in advance. This is where Anne Frank, along with a few others, hid during World War II from the Nazis. Her hiding place has been preserved, along with a permanent exhibition about Anne Frank’s life. If you arrive without tickets, it is still worth it to see the outside of the house.

3. Rent a Bike


Amsterdam is very bicycle friendly. In fact, bikes are the most common way for people to get around the city. Many people say that this is the best way to truly see Amsterdam. The streets are mostly flat, so renting a bike will most definitely be a time saver if you are trying to take in every inch of the city!

4. Explore the Canals

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You are going to see many canals during your time in Amsterdam. Walk to the middle of any bridge crossing over the water and you are guaranteed an amazing view of the buildings that line the canals. If you want a different view of the city, try taking one of the many canal cruises that are offered.

5. Visit the Iamsterdam Letters


The perfect photo opp for a group or solo photo. This area is a lot of fun! You can find these iconic letters located at the back of the Rijksmuseum, which houses a vast collection of art. This winter there was ice skating in front of the sign!

While there are of course many, many more things to see and do in Amsterdam, these are a few things that you may want to consider adding to your itinerary during your trip!

Have you been to Amsterdam? What would you add to the list?


41 thoughts on “5 Things to Do Your First Time in Amsterdam

  1. Some of the things I did in Amsterdam not mentioned above

    Had a beer at the Heineken brewery – they gave me a Delft beer stein as it was my birthday
    Visited the Van Gogh Museum – it is huge
    Visited Rembrandt’s house and bought a print of an etching. When I was a student I always tried that line on potential female companions: “Come and see my etchings”
    Went to the Jewish museum and saw the inside of a synagogue for the first time in my life

    Next time I visit I am determined to hear a concert at the Concertgebouw

  2. Amsterdam really is a beautiful city. We’ve been there a few times over the years as I have family from the northern part of the Netherlands. I’ve never been brave enough to rent a bike though. Especially given how narrow the streets are. And then there’s the whole canals thing.

  3. Loved your post as we were there in June and did most of the things you mention. Quite by accident, we stumbled upon a bus trip to Zaanse Schans, a theme park that has working windmills. Worth the trip if you have the time. I posted on this. Want to go back to Amsterdam.

  4. Nice article! Living close to Amsterdam and the city always has something unexpected and fun to offer. You’re never going to get bored that’s for sure 😊😊

  5. I’m here right now! Ive only got a few hours and I tried for tickets to the Anne Frank house weeks ago, without any luck. I’m gutted! I fly back to Australia tomorrow and wont get to see it.

    I do plan to walk along the canals though.

  6. The Anne Frank House was a must for me too and there is no better way take in Amsterdam than by walking (or cycling) the beautiful canals to watch how they have fallen together over time. I would add the Rijksmuseum to this list, if in search for a little culture. The Building itself is tremendous and it features many Dutch artists too.

  7. I did all but the bike. I also loved trying rings on in the diamond factory. A’dam building is good for views over City and I went on the swing at the top. Heineken beer tour including beers on the roof terrace is fun.

  8. Visiting the Anne Frank House and museum as an adult after reading the diary as a teenager was incredible. It was haunting to imagine the lives that took place and be in the real building. I know that nowadays advance booking is required but if you haven’t had a chance to visit and are going to be in Amsterdam, do try and go. It is an enlightening and fulfilling experience.

  9. My daughter, grandson (15 months the at the time) and I visited Amsterdam when we had a few hours between flights on our way from Wales to the US.
    Though we only saw the area near to Central Station it was still worth the effort.
    The trains from the airport were frequent and fast taking only 15 minutes.

  10. I managed 3 out of 5. Haven’t ridden a bike in decades, and I felt that getting back in the saddle in a new city wasn’t the place to try it. And I deliberately avoided the Anne Frank House (I did go past it, but not inside). It was too obvious a thing to do, and I wanted to spend time on the less obvious. Like the little (but fun and informative) Tulip Museum.

  11. Gorgeous place – your ideas are great. We did not rent a bike (good idea for next time), but the visit to the ZAANSE SCHANS was breathtaking.

    Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

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