Finding things to do in Amsterdam, especially when you have already visited the city some times before, can be difficult. If you’ve been to the Rijksmuseum, wandered around Dam Square a thousand times and had your beers at the Heineken brewery, there’s not much left but biking around until you realize how small the city really is. What you need, is some new, original things to do in Amsterdam.
So here you have it. A list of things to do in Amsterdam for every day of the week, including where to eat, neighbourhoods to see, villages to bike to, areas to shop, bars to listen to music to, clubs to dance and places to have dinner, lunch and your favourite Dutch apple pie!
1. Things to do in Amsterdam on Monday
If you are looking for things to do on Monday, be aware that shops open later than on other days, at arond 13.00 (1 pm) as well as museums. Many smaller museums in Amsterdam are closed on Monday. This means that the large Amsterdam museum that do open on Monday, are busier. It’s best to stay away from the museum if you can.
Things to do: Noordermarket
The market stands run all the way up the Westerstraat. This part of the market is traditionally called the textile market, for obvious reasons and many of the Amsterdam ladies who moved outside of the city come back to their own neighbourhood to look at fabrics and chat to their old neighbours.
Vintage at Noordermarkt
At the end of the Westerstraat, around the church Noorderkerk, the market stands offer vintage clothing and vintage shoes, as well as new clothes. There’s also a lot of antiques and curiosities.
The Amsterdam Noordermarket is only there in the morning, from 9.00 to 13.00. Come early, because on nice weather days, it can get quite busy. After the market, you will have home made apple pie in one of the many surrounding cafés, which are all good and nice. The Jordaan is a lovely district to wander around, take picture of the nice houses.
What to do on Monday night in Amsterdam
If alternative and hippy is your style and you are ready for see some undiscovered talent, head over to Zaal 100. First, enjoy a vegetarian 3-course diner and then go to the room next door for some live music.
Cheeky Monday Drum ‘n Bass
If you want to go out and hit the night life on Monday night in Amsterdam and you like drum ‘n bass, then the classical Cheeky Monday club night at Winston Hotel is the place to be.
For disco, boogie, funk and house, you go to Disco Dolly, where the dj actually still has vinyl on the decks and the entertaining (young students, but everyone fits in) crowd is good for party almost every night of the week. Voetboogsteeg (near Spui).
2. Things to do in Amsterdam on Tuesday
Out of curiosity, touring the red light district is probably one of the first things you did when you arrived in Amsterdam. It’s always safe and busy and at night the red lights certainly have their charm. Remember to look upwards in the Amsterdam Red light district, though I understand it’s hard to resist the tempting ladies trying to haul you in.
A visit to the Amsterdam Red light district
Because the Red light district is actually the oldest neighbourhood of Amsterdam and many of the characteristic façades have been kept in good condition. The gobbled stones, the small bridges, the Old Church, it’s all on your list of things to see when you visit Amsterdam.
Try the Museum Our Lord in the Attic if you want to see a wonderful old 17th century Amsterdam house with the interior intact. There is a spectacular hidden church in the attic!
Tour guided by a homeless person
If you want to understand the background of this strange combination of religion and prostitution and the fame and glory of Amsterdam during the Golden Century, when the Dutch ruled the waves, I advise you to take a good (paid) tour. ( I do tours!)
Or try something different and let a homeless person be your guide to see the city from a whole different perspective.
The Zeedijk is also Amsterdam’s Chinatown, so getting good and cheap food is easy to get by in this street. For breakfast, lunch and dinner, you’re sorted any day of the week here.
Gay @ Zeedijk
The Zeedijk has turned very gay-friendly and new gay bars keep opening here, if that’s what you’re looking for. The Warmoesstraat used to be a bit dodgy, but has now some really wonderful shops with biological breads and such.
Live music all night long
At night, if you like live music, try the The Last Waterhole or blues café Maloe Melo or any of the live jazz bars in Amsterdam and finish the night off at Bourbon Street. All of these are located near Leidseplein, have live music every night, are free of entrance, and are open every night, till late. Can’t go wrong there on any day of the week really.
3. Things to do on Wednesday in Amsterdam
Amsterdam Jewish Quarter
From Nieuwmarkt or Waterlooplein, just walk to the Jewish Quarter and explore this area. A ticket sold at the Amsterdam Jewish Museum gets you also into the Children’s Museum, the Portuguese Synagogue and the Dutch Theatre. That’ll keep you busy for the morning.
Botanical gardens & Amsterdam Zoo
Optionally you can visit the Hortus Botanicus, the Amsterdam botanical gardens, which are nice in spring and summer and have an impressive green house with tropical plants. And in the area, a nice 19th century area its, with broad avenue and a lot of green, is the Amsterdam Zoo Artis, especially nice for kids. There are some nice restaurants in the main street Plantage Middenlaan.
Exploring the East of Amsterdam
You can even go deeper into Amsterdam East. Either walk all the way up the Plantage Middenlaan, at the end of which you cross the water twice (pass the old gate) and there, the enormous building of the Tropical Museum appears.
The entrance of the Tropenmuseum is around to your left of the building. In the back you will find an entrance to the Oosterpark, a really wonderful park and good for a pick nick in nice weather.
Along this road, the Linnaeusstraat, there are some interesting neighbourhood cafés and restaurants. Prices are lower here than in the centre. For lunch you can find good sandwiches and in the evening look for the word ‘daghap’. Certainly better than the overpriced places in the touristy city centre. Beer lovers will be pleased in the Biertuin, ‘beer garden’ in Dutch, it’s become rather a hotspot among the local young beer lovers.
Even further into deep East, across the tracks, there lies the Indische Buurt (Indian neighbourhood), a lively and multicultural neighbourhood which earns most of its fame from its market, the Dappermarkt. This daily market (not on Sunday) has a huge variety of products, with strange veggies and exotic fruits. The Dappermarkt is very, very cheap and it’s been named the best market of Amsterdam.
Movie & dinner
For dinner, why not try a movie and dinner at one of Amsterdam’s art film houses? I’m sure there must be something playing you like and with a film and dinner at one spot, you are set for the night.
Irish music @ Mulligans
If you prefer to stay in the centre and just hang ot with the tourist, while listening to some live Irish music while you sip on a beer, go to Mulligans on the Amstel for the Open Irish Sessions. (Wednesday from 19.00, Thursday 21.30, Friday and Saturday 22.00).
4. Things to do on Thursday in Amsterdam
If you forgot to go to the Noordermarkt on Monday, or you have only just arrived in Amsterdam and you are looking for things to do on Thursday, you might wanna try one of the other daily markets of Amsterdam.
Amsterdam Albert Cuyp market
There is the Albert Cuyp market in de Pijp district. This is a nice district to chill out for a morning or afternoon. Have some herring with onions or warm stroop waffles, take a walk in the little Sarphati Park, enjoy a juice, coffee and cake or lunch in a hipster cafés.
Living room restaurant
For dinner, may I suggest you try one of the huiskamerrestaurants, or, in English, living room restaurants. You might have to make a reservation in advance. Read the blog about Living room restaurants for more info and addresses.
Things to do in Amsterdam: student’s night
Thursday is not only ‘shopping night’ (‘koopjesavond’, when the shops are open until 21.00) a good night to party in Amsterdam, but of course it is, like anywhere else, student’s night. A classic students party that has been going for years and years (when I was a student….) is Paradiso.
Paradiso is the temple of pop. A must been there. Paradiso stages concerts every night of the week. The big artists will be sold out before you knew they were playing during your holiday to Amsterdam, but in smaller room upstairs, play the not-(yet?)-very-well -known- artists. And Paradiso knows about bookings, so chances are it’s pretty intimate and cosy and good. C
Anyway, as I was saying, Paradiso still does a popular student’s night every Thursday. Music played are the hit records of today.
English speaking comedy
If music is not your style, maybe some English speaking comedy in Amsterdam will be favorabel to you?
5. Things to do on Friday in Amsterdam
If the weather is nice, you might enjoy a bike ride or walk along the canals of Amsterdam. Don’t get lost, but follow these directions to see the charming Western Islands, it’ll make you feel like you are in the Dutch country side.
Take your bike on the ferry across the Northern IJ-waters, to the NDSM or to the North-East, to the small village of Durgerdam, it’s not far and at Durgerdam there is a charming little brown café waiting for you that serves home made apple pie. Follow these directions for a great bike ride along the IJ-water.
Things to do in Amsterdam: Bike ride to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel
Or bike down south, even easier. Just follow the river Amsterdam all the way down to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel and have lunch (or dinner) this charming village. Along the water in Ouderkerk there are some really fancy restaurants.
Cross the bridge and dive down to the right. There’s 2 bars in this street. Have a beer with the locals and bike back. Or just take a nice walk in the centre of Amsterdam along the new East architecture. Organise a side trip to Marken or Volendam, take the train to the beach or, in april, to the tulip fields in bloom.
Dinner with guitar music from Argentina
For dinner, might I suggest restaurant Luna in the Jordaan. Argentinian food accompanied by Latin-American guitar music, played live.
Last Minute Ticket Shop
Friday night is a good night to go out. You might want to pass by the Amsterdam Uitburo early in the day. It’s located at Leidseplein (side entrance on the right of the theatre). At the Last Minute Ticket shop you can get tickets here for ballet, opera, classical music, cabaret, theatre and dance performances with a 50% discount! You can check the options online as wel.
Friday nights at the Van Gogh Museum
Friday night is a good time to go see the Van Gogh Museum. You can not only see the works of this Dutch master, but the museum has a special night planned every Friday. There is a lecture or a workshop, a live band, or a tour, vj’s and a dj.
6. Things to do in Amsterdam on Saturday
Shopping in the city centre of Amsterdam is not recommended in Amsterdam on Saturday. The city is swamped with shoppers, not just locals and tourists, but also many ‘dagjesmensen’, which we call the people from the provinces who visit Amsterdam just for one day and love shopping and museums.
Amsterdam 9 Streets
Instead, shop in the side streets of the Amsterdam canal belt in between Dam Square and the Jordaan. It’s full of quirky and cosy boutiques, selling stuff and fashion, from vintage to design. All set in the narrow streets with a abundant chaos of outdoor terraces, lunchrooms, bars & bikes and trend setting shoppers. The area is named 9 streets.
The Amsterdam Food Halls
Or hop over to the Kinkerstraat and have lunch like all the hipsters in the latest craze, the Amsterdam Food Hall (De Hallen). Nice food and nice beer and nice wine and a cinema, all in the same old building!
For the Amsterdam night life, choose the Amsterdam club of your fancy. Like urban style, people & music? The Melkweg hosts Encore, Holland’s home of hip hop & R’nB.
7. Things to do in Amsterdam on Sunday
In summer, the Vondelpark is a must to see and be seen. Of course, in summer, there are so many nice terraces and summertime hangouts and city beaches in Amsterdam, just follow the links to find the places the locals go to.
Live jazz on Sunday
At beer brewery de Prael (red light district, afternoon), North Sea Jazz club (Westergasfabriek, daytime), Badcuyp (de Pijp, late afternoon), De Engelbewaarder (near Nieuwmarkt) late afternoon-evening), Kapitein Zeppos (late afternoon), De Punt (de Pijp, from 18.00), Café van Leeuwen (20.00 – 22.00). For a lazy afternoon, take the ferry to NDSM to enjoy live music at Pllek and live jazz at IJ-Kantine.