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Things to Do

Your essential guide to the very best things to do around Amsterdam

The 23 best things to do in Amsterdam
Things to do

The 23 best things to do in Amsterdam

Here’s a challenge – name a European city that’s more fun, diverse or simply eclectic than the Dutch capital. Difficult, right? However long you’re here for, a packed, personalised cultural schedule can be cobbled together in no time. Museums? Clubs? Outdoor sports? There’s no place better. And even if it’s increasingly pandering to soaring numbers of tourists, Amsterdam’s ever-changing landscape means residents, too, always have something new and exciting to explore. As ever, the notorious nightlife scene still draws stag and hen-dos by the coachload, but away from the sex ‘n’ drugs hotbed that is the Red Light District, there’s plenty else to see, eat, drink and do in this elegant, compact city. Neighbourhood wise, there’s regal, fashionable Jordaan, shabby-chic De Pijp and up-and-coming Oost, where old-school Turkish greengrocers sit side-by-side with stylish restaurants, brunch spots and independent boutiques. All are worth a visit – so dig into our pick of the absolute best things to do in Amsterdam and get planning that itinerary. Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere. Find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.

The 13 best clubs in Amsterdam
Things to do

The 13 best clubs in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is rightly known as something of a hedonist’s playground. But forget the clichés – this city has so much more to offer than just pub crawls, world-famous coffeeshop culture, and the debauchery of the Red Light District. Its club scene is one of the best in Europe, thanks in no small part to the decision in 2014 to appoint a nachtburgemeester – a night mayor. With a remit to protect and grow the night-time economy, the emphasis shifted to quality, not quantity, and alongside the introduction of several long-overdue policy changes, such as the introduction of 24-hour licences, the city’s clubbers have never had it so good. Serious heads now come from all over to experience big-name DJs in brutalist bunkers and former squats. So if you want to dance the night away in style, steer clear of the tacky, overpriced mega-clubs around Rembrantplein and Leidseplein and head instead to one of these hip hangouts. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Amsterdam

Amsterdam Red Light District: 12 things to do
Things to do

Amsterdam Red Light District: 12 things to do

In spite of its less-than-savoury reputation both at home and abroad, there’s a lot more to the Amsterdam Red Light District than just sex, coffeeshops and legions of worse-for-wear tourists. After all, De Wallen is the oldest part of the Dutch capital, and that means it’s littered with marvellous sights like the Oude Kerk and the Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder, among the country’s most treasured places of worship.  And even if history and churches aren’t your thing, the area’s also home to an array of trendy contemporary attractions – many much less crowded than you’d expect in such a central location. These include several world-class museums, attractions, forward-thinking art galleries and even an old-school game arcade with a bar. Ready to explore? Our pick of the best things to do in the Red Light District should keep you busy. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Amsterdam

The 12 best markets in Amsterdam
Things to do

The 12 best markets in Amsterdam

Once a major seafaring and trading powerhouse, the Netherlands has a rich history when it comes to steadfast bargaining. So it’s no surprise that even today Amsterdam boasts no fewer than 32 markets, some of which have been going for nearly 100 years, each with their own distinct character (and plenty of eccentrics behind the stalls). Whether it’s vintage clothes, flowers, bric-à-brac or antique furniture you’re after, there’s an outdoor shopping destination for you. So if you’ve ticked off most of the major attractions and things to do, ignore the bland high street chains and tourist tat, and head instead to one of these unmissable Amsterdam markets. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Amsterdam

The 12 best attractions in Amsterdam
Things to do

The 12 best attractions in Amsterdam

For such a compact city, Amsterdam packs a huge cultural punch. World-class museums, thriving nightlife, glorious parks and the picture-postcard Canal Ring mean you’ll never be short of things to do while visiting this modern, eclectic, cosmopolitan capital. Its size makes it very easy to explore, too, particularly on foot or by bike, with many of the top Amsterdam attractions located in and around the centre. Gorgeous, expansive Vondelpark is an absolute must, as are Amsterdam’s ‘Big Three’ museums – the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk and the van Gogh – just five minutes to the east. You can get a good dose of history here too, whether you fancy taking in the ancient splendour of Oude Kerk, which dates back to 1213, or the Anne Frank Museum, one of the most important historical buildings anywhere in the world and a sobering reminder of the 20th century’s darkest hour. But Amsterdam is also a city with its eyes firmly on the future. Noord, the neighbourhood just across the IJ from Centraal, has been revitalised by both the arrival of the EYE Film Institute and the recently refurbished A’dam Toren next door. Considering many other parts of the city centre have been given a similar lease of life, it’s no surprise tourist numbers continue to soar. Amsterdam is a rewarding destination that perfectly blends old and new and continues to enchant anyone who visits. These top attractions are what makes it so special.  RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Amsterdam