Hallo! This autumn, the Amsterdam Tourism Board invited me to explore the city using the I Amsterdam City Card! It was actually my first time exploring the city, even if it has been on my list for a while. I really LOVED my time there and I’m really looking forward to going back soon so I can explore a bit more! For one looking for a smaller-size-city getaway, with stunning buildings, treasure-packed museums, amazing second-hand shops, and highly creative dining, drinking & design scenes, the “Venice of the North” is the place to go!
We did everything while using the City Card which gives you free access to city-wide public transports, a canal cruise & bicycle rent and all major public highlights, including more than 70 museums! You also get exclusive discounts at restaurants, attractions and concerts. With prices starting at 65€ for one day to 125€ for 5 days, it is a great way to save money if you’re planning on doing a lot! I’m sharing with you the best things to do on a weekend in Amsterdam, in hopes that it sparks your imagination and helps you to plan your next trip!
The best things to do on a weekend in Amsterdam
Despite being the capital and most populous city of the Netherlands, Amsterdam still feels like a big village. The famous canals lined up with historical buildings take you straight back in time to Holland’s Golden Age. Amsterdam is a city full of life where streets are packed with unexpected discoveries. You never know what you will find at the next corner of those narrow lanes. It is a walkable size, but most of all, biking is the way of life here!
Our House Museum
Our House is the world’s first museum dedicated to the past, present and future of electronic dance music. It takes you through a 75-minute tour through house music’s origins and it is definitely the best interactive museum I’ve ever been to! The only place I know where you can have a drink at the bar, learn how to DJ and dance your soul out on a Monday at 4pm!
Fabrique des Lumières
Inspired by l’Atelier des Lumières in Paris, Fabrique des Lumières literally brings art to life! It is the largest immersive digital art centre in the Netherlands and makes for the most breathtaking exhibition where 2D photos & paintings are brought to life with lights show and music! We had the chance to see the temporary exhibition “Jimmy Nelson: The Last Sentinals, Heroes from near and far”, an overwhelming tribute to humanity and nature.
This is Holland
It is probably the most epic 5D flight you’ll ever take! This is Holland takes you over all of the Netherlands and makes for one of the coolest adventure while visiting Amsterdam!
House of Bols Cocktail & Genever Experience
The world’s first cocktail brand House of Bols welcomes you to a multi-sensory introduction to the world of cocktails! We had so much fun learning how to make cocktails with Jordi and exploring the little interactive museum!
Discovering Amsterdam from its 100km of canals is definitely a must! The city card includes a free canal cruise and I highly recommend you book one! It gives you an entire new perspective on the beautiful “Venice of the North”!
Where to eat
Food might not be the first thing that comes into mind when thinking about Amsterdam but there’s some really good places that are worth a try! I would especially recommend going to one of their iconic bruin café, literally “brown cafe”, named for their wood panelling and walls, where they gave gezelligheid “cosiness” on tap, along with good beers! After all, Amsterdam is also gezellig, a Dutch quality that roughly translates as “convivial” or “cosy”. Gezellig is more easily experienced than described. You will find this feeling of time-stopping and intimacy in one of those cafes or after dinner in snug restaurants while the candles burn low.
- In De Waag: my personal favorite place of this trip! The restaurant is located in the most lively area of Amsterdam, Nieuwmarkt, and is basically inside a castle! This iconic building was built in 1488 and now houses the restaurant & cafe In De Waag. I loved the wooden panels & walls and all the candles. Besides, the vegetarian food was absolutely delicious!
- Cafe Droog: situated in a beautiful historical building, Droog is a mix of unique spaces, between galleries, shops, rooms you can rent for your own event, and of course a restaurant! The food was excellent and the location makes it the perfect place to stop by while exploring the city!
- Midtown Grill Restaurant: I personally don’t eat meat but they perfectly catered for my vegetarian needs and the roaster cauliflower was a pure delight!
- Oche Amsterdam: the perfect place to grab a drink and a bite and enjoy darts with your friends!
Where to stay
We stayed at the Marriott Hotel, right next to the Rijksmuseum! The Deluxe Room was really spacious and comfortable and the breakfast buffet was very nice! It makes a good base to explore everything Amsterdam has to offer.
Here it is for the can’t miss spots in Amsterdam! There is so many other things to do there and I can’t wait to explore more! I still hope this guide will be useful for you and if you need, feel free to reach out with any questions! And don’t forget to tag me in your stories and posts on Instagram if this article inspires you!
P.S.: Find more weekend getaway inspirations here!
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Amazing guide, I will surely do that soon!
Thank you 🙂
Being Dutch I loved reading this guide! Fun fact is that I don’t know Amsterdam all that well! I’ve saved it for future reference when I’m back in the capital!
Aww thank you so much! Haha funny how we often don’t know our own city that well compared to other places we travelled to / lived in ^^
The 5D This is Holland experience looks pretty amazing. Someday I want to get back to the Netherlands to see the tulip fields. I’ll have to remember this too!
Best experience ever! Honestly so good!
I love using city cards like this! I love how much access they give you to awesome sites. Over 70 museums and food discounts seems like it would pay for itself quickly!
Yes same they are usually so worth it!!! This one especially is amazing, I have to say!
That’s funny that they have an EDM museum. I would totally go to that because I love EDM music. I’ll definitely check it out when I go back to Amsterdam.
And it’s such a good one!!! Highly recommend it!
I might be going to Amsterdam next spring so this is so helpful! Can’t wait!!!
Yay you’ll love it!
This is. a great guide covering everything one needs to do on a weekend in Amsterdam! It took me back to my trip to Amsterdam a few years ago. Definitely need to go there again. 🙂
Thank you so much Lina! I’d love to visit again as well!
This is such an useful guide. I’m planning a trip to Amsterdam in 2023 and I’m sharing this guide for sure.
Thank you so much! I hope you’ll like this city as much as I do!
I have been to Amsterdam, but my husband has been longing to visit the city. This weekend itinerary sounds good to me.
You should plan a trip back there then! It’s such a wonderful city with so much to do!