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Written by Savi, 41 Comments
Offbeat Things To Do in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is risqué and fun


You know you’re in Amsterdam when there are  risqué coffeeshops, condomeries, and dance bars at every corner. Amsterdam’s provocative reputation is not unwarranted – it is definitely one of the spiciest cities in Europe.


But that’s not all – as every itinerary of Amsterdam will tell you, the city boasts of a number of culturally rich museums and buildings. Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum and Anne Frank’s House are amongst our favourites. It is easy to spend a couple of days exploring Amsterdam’s historical buildings, museums, and open spaces. But what after you’ve ticked them off your list, wandered around the Red Light District to find out what the fuss is all about, munched on a month’s worth of frites (fries to you and me!), and spent hours people watching at Amsterdam’s central square Leidseplein. Luckily for you, there’s no dearth of offbeat things to do in Amsterdam. Here are 12 of our favourites :-


Offbeat Things to do in Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s famed red light area and its beautiful canals


1) Jordaan, Amsterdam’s bohemian neighbourhood is one of our favourite areas in the city. It’s perfect for an aimless gander – make sure you make a pit stop at De Kaaskamer. The legendary cheese shop has some insanely scrumptious locally-sourced cheeses. Nom!


2) Blijburg Beach is an artificially created city beach just outside Amsterdam. The laid back atmosphere is reminiscent of a hippie commune. It is perfect for a warm afternoon of doing nothing


3) If you enjoy flea markets and local markets, make sure you explore the Albert Cyup Market. It’s easy to find everything from chocolates and flowers to clothes and bedding here. Albert Cyup is the perfect place to sample local Dutch specialities such as herring and Dutch liquorice

offbeat things to do in Amsterdam
You can find everything from flowers to cheeses at the Albert Cyup Market


4) Make sure you take the free ferry across the river. These free ferries provide the perfect excuse to head out of the city centre and head ‘Noord’ (North). Cross over to the other side of the river and explore Amsterdam’s lesser-known neighbourhoods.

offbeat things to do in Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s lesser known neighbourhoods have so much to offer


5) Hotels in Amsterdam can be unusually cramped and expensive because of the city’s infamous steep stairs and tiny rooms. Try booking a rental apartment on the ground floor via a service such as House Trip. If you want to read a detailed article about our fondness for renting apartments in Europe, hop over to our article on renting a flat in Paris


6) If you plan on hitting Amsterdam’s infamous coffee shops, avoid the chains like the plague. Staff is usually uninterested, menus overpriced and quality cheap. Some of our favourite coffee shops include Grey Area, Greenhouse , and Grasshopper. If you’re looking for a coffee shop close to the Red Light District, try Baba Coffee Shop.

offbeat things to do in Amsterdam
Avoid overpriced and touristy coffeeshops


7) If you want to try out shrooms, truffles, and other naturally-occurring hallucinogens, head over to Kokopelli’s headshop. This eclectic shop, with friendly staff members, is one of Amsterdam’s best kept secrets.


8) The Nine Streets (De Negen Straatjes) is a network of picturesque streets criss-crossing Amsterdam’s canals. The area is just two minutes away from the Royal Palace in Dam Square. The streets are crammed with quirky boutiques, shops, and art galleries. Our favourite bit? The cafés. Make sure you try coffee at  Espressofabriek and Screaming Beans – the good stuff!!


9) In De Wildeman, located in a former distillery, is essentially a beer tasting bar. It is somewhat of an institution in Amsterdam. The bar boasts of a massive selection of 18 beers on draft and over 250 bottled beers. Make sure you try beers from local Dutch brewers

offbeat things to do in Amsterdam
You need to sample Dutch and Belgian beers in Amsterdam


10) Wynand Fockink, a traditional distillery in the bustling centre of Amsterdam, is known far and wide for its selection of liqueurs and jenevers. It’s hidden in a little alley near Dam Square, so it might take you some time to find it but its well worth it. Take a tour of the distillery or head straight to the tasting room for the good stuff 🙂


11) If you’re on the hunt for a good nightclub in Amsterdam, try Trouw – it’s a night club, restaurant, and cultural space all rolled into one. Trouw never disappoints!!


12) A library might not sound like the recipe for a fun day out but Amsterdam’s central library is different. It’s easy to spend hours perusing the expansive music section here. What’s more, the view from its terrace cafe is amazing, to say the least. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it out.



Planning a trip to Europe? Read about all our favourite places in Europe before you chalk out an itinerary

Do you enjoy offbeat things to do? Make sure to check out our favourite offbeat things to do around the world 🙂


Do you know of any quirky places that one must visit in Amsterdam ? Tell us in the comments below 🙂


41 thoughts on “12 Offbeat Things To Do in Amsterdam

  1. This is one of the few remaining European cities that I’m desperate to see and have never visited yet so this has given me loads of ideas and inspiration for when I make it there! Love the sound of a legendary cheese shop and the quirky library!

    1. Aah- Amsterdam is just around the corner Shikha, you must go soon. It’s an amazing city and there’s so much to do – love the street art as well, might talk about it in a separate post 🙂

  2. So looking forward to getting to know Amsterdam better at some point! I’ve only been there once, and it was with a school trip about 12 years ago. Zab has family nearby, so we’re due for a visit at some point!

  3. I’ll be going to Amsterdam myself in 2 weeks for the weekend! I have the Anne Frank House planned, as well as the Van Gogh Museum, but other than that I was going to wing-it. Your list is super helpful! I’ll definitely have to check out one of the non-touristy coffee shops and head over to the club you suggested. They sound great. Thanks for the advice!

    1. Hi. Your posts are always lovely!Thanks for the info. My wife and I are planning a trip to the netherlands come july. How many days do you think will be the bare minimum needed to explore amsterdam? Considering most places are a very short train ride from the city we were wondering if we should just stay in amsterdam and do day trips and then head over to Giethoorn, spend the remaining couple days there (finish off gronigen as well) and head back home.

      1. That sounds great. You can easily do day trips from Amsterdam. We’d say leave 5 days for Amsterdam if you’re planning to do a couple of day trips 🙂

  4. Heading to Amsterdam from Cape Town South Africa in 2 days time!
    Thanks so much for the “off the beaten track” tips.Hate just doing the usual tourist things ~ like to feel the real pulse of a city.

  5. Hi Savi,

    I am travelling to Amsterdam for 3 nights followed by Berlin for 3 nights but am very keen on seeing a quaint town called Geithroon which is a day trip from Amsterdam.

    Wanted to know which city can be covered in 2 days.Is 2 nights in Amsterdam enough to get a feel of the place?

    How long were you there?

    Would love to hear from you 🙂

    1. Hey Neha – 2 nights is barely enough to get a feel of a new city. I’d suggest spending at least 3-4 days there. We were there for 5 days 🙂

    2. Hi Neha, not sure of you have already been to Netherlands, but Giethoorn is a little-known must do when you come here, really beautiful.

  6. Hi Guys!

    You give me so much energy with your great writing and photographs. I am always waiting for your posts on facebook/instagram. You make planning so easy for people like us. When planning, I look no further. Your website is THE goldmine 🙂

      1. 🙂 I am in fact planning to visit Netherlands in Sept. Wanted to know where to find this Amsterdam version of Mona lisa 😛

    1. Hey Vishal – we’ve never been to Amsterdam for NYE but can imagine Blijburg Beach being quite packed during that time!

  7. Hi,
    Me and my husband are travelling to Amsterdam for the first time. Please can you suggest how we plan a budgeted travel for 4 nights 5 days trip.
    eg, which hotels to stay that could be close to main attraction points/ which is a good month to visit.

    1. Hey Jasmine – unfortunately we visited Amsterdam before we started blogging, so didn’t jot down names of hotels. But we would really recommend going the Air B&B route in Amsterdam ( because hotels tend to be overpriced and tiny in the city 🙂

  8. Heading to Amsterdam next month. Thanks for the help !! 🙂
    Planning to visit Hague, Rotterdam and Lisse too though. Any help there would be great too !!
    Thank you !! 🙂

    1. Hey Kajol – our article on Hague is coming up later this week. Wouldn’t suggest visiting Lisse this time of year as there are no flowers there 🙂

  9. Hey Savi and Vid, I simply love you guys!! I’d love to travel around the world with my husband someday?? but right now it’s one trip at a time 🙂 we are visiting Amsterdam in the first week of April and will be there for 4 days.. I don’t know if we should stay in Amsterdam alone or stay at The Hague as well.. is one day at The Hague good enough??

    1. Hey yes why not – one day at The Hague is good. But if you’re going in April you might want to check the dates for the bloom of tulips too 🙂

  10. Hey Savi, I and my wife and a friend will be travelling to Amsterdam in mid sept, we are looking forward to visiting some good offbeat places in and around Amsterdam. We plan to do around 5 days including one night in Maastricht. Would really appreciate if you can guides and should we cover, we do not want to do the usual stuff. Will look forward to your response.

    1. Hey Savio,

      You should spend a couple of days in/around Den Hague. Other than that just search for “Amsterdam” on our website and all articles will show up which might help you in planning this trip.

  11. After reading your post . I went to Green house, baba coffee shop and kokopelli last October … man those are some awesome joints .. especially Green House, the music they play just hits the spot every time .. thank you for the recommendations (should have thanked you earlier) … have fun, cheers & stay safe

  12. Hi,

    We have 3 days in Amsterdam, just wanted to know if we should visit Giethoorn for a day trip?

    Secondly we are visiting Atelier des lumières in Paris should we still visit Van Gogh museum ?

    lastly if we should Visit Paris or Amsterdam Zoo?

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