1. Take the Free fery over the IJ to the NDSM Wharf
As with any big city, there are parts that nobody knows of unless a local tells you about it. Amsterdam is no different. The IJ is a river located behind the Central Station and there is a ferry which offers a free ride across.
On the other side is Amsterdam Noord (North Amsterdam) and it is a new culture that bloomed in a very old district. It is a desolated area that hosts an astonishing underground culture. The old NDSM Ship Wharf offers artists and craftspeople affordable studios and workspaces.
The area even hosts their own parties, festivals and exhibitions. Take a look at www.NDSM.nl for further info.
2. The gardens of the Rijksmuseum
If you do not have the money to go to the Rijksmuseum, don’t despair. The gardens around the museum were also revamped when the museum was renovated.
The garden now boasts a 14.500 m2 outdoor gallery in Renaissance and Baroque style. There are free guides available that can give you information on the statues, fountains, ponds and the salvaged Dutch architectural pieces. There are even some Gotchi pillars and 17th-century city gates and it also offers an open-air chess game. There are always loads of willing participants to challenge.
Just keep in mind that the Baroque Garden is only open on weekdays. The I amsterdam letters have been removed in December 2018.
3. The Free lunchtime concert at the Concertgebouw
For Lunchtime Concerts in the Recital Hall you will require a ticket, which is free of charge. These tickets are available from the Entrance Hall, from 11:30 a.m. onward. As these concerts are very popular, please make sure you arrive in time to obtain your ticket. Doors to the concert hall open about 30 minutes before the Lunchtime Concert begins. For Lunchtime Concerts in the Main Hall, a ticket is not required. More info
4. The summer Vondelpark Festival
During the summer months, you must visit Vondelpark and their Vondelpark Festival. It is hosted every weekend and offers great entertainment for kids and adults alike. There are free music shows, dance, performances, and even some stand-up comedy. It is a great place to hang out, so don’t let the language barrier prevent you from going, dance is in itself a universal language.
5. The Art gallery of the Amsterdam Museum
Amsterdam has much history to offer, with lots of secret and hidden gems around for you to find. One of these gems is a small alley that exhibits 15 huge paintings from the 17th century. The alley is situated right in the center of Amsterdam and the paintings portray the city guard from that time period. A free mini-museum about Amsterdam, accessible for everyone!
The Schuttersgalerij is between Kalverstraat and Begijnhof, you can find the entrance at Kalverstraat 92.
Depending on the guide, this free museum part is included in the Classic Tour.
6. See the bulbs at the Amsterdam Flower market
A visit to Amsterdam is never complete without a visit to the Amsterdam Flower market. The Flower market is located on the boats and dates back to a time when flowers and bulbs were delivered by boat.
They don’t deliver flowers by boat anymore, but the market remained and has a big amount of souvenirs. Just remember that you will hardly find any flowers here, it now sells more of the tourist souvenirs.
You can find the market between Muntplein and Leidsestraat.
7. Hang out at the street markets
When you visit Amsterdam, make sure that you visit the Albert Cuypstraat Markt. It is Amsterdam’s largest city market and offers a variety of items for sale. It dates back to 1904 and is located in the “De Pijp” area of the city.
At this market, you will find household items, clothes, and even some souvenirs.
Opening hours: Albert Cuypstraat Markt Mon – Sat: 9.30am – 5pm
8. Cannabis College in the Red Light District
Only in Amsterdam, you will find a college that educates people about Amsterdam’s favourite herb. The centre is a non-profit organization that teaches visitors about weed and coffee shop etiquette. Also, there are various bong displays and hemp-made products. You can even try out a vaporiser.
9. EYE Film Institute
While the art-house movies and main-floor exhibitions cost money, the interactive Dutch film displays in the basement are free. To reach the gleaming facility, take the free Buiksloterweg’ ferry from behind the Centraal Station.
Traditionally, Dutch cuisine is simple and straightforward, with many vegetables and little meat: breakfast and lunch are typically bread with toppings like cheese, while dinner is meat and potatoes, supplemented with seasonal vegetables. The diet contains many dairy products and was relatively high in carbohydrates and fat, reflecting the dietary needs of the laborers whose culture molded the country. Without many refinements, it is best described as rustic. Though many holidays are celebrated with special foods.
During the twentieth century, Dutch cuisine and diet changed. Influenced by the eating culture of its colonies (particularly Indonesia), it became more cosmopolitan and most international cuisines are represented in the major cities.
In Amsterdam, you can find food from all over the world, but it is rare to find a Dutch restaurant here. Because of this we have some restaurants that we would like to recommend!
Dutch Restaurant who severe the Dutch kitchen:
- Moeders €€€
- Bij Ons €€
- Loetje €€
- Silveren Spiegel €€€€
- Febo € (snack bar)
If you are a real food lover we strongly recommend to join us on our Food tour.
Restaurants we like and locals go! (International kitchen)
- Hannekes boom €€
- Foodhallen €€
- OBA €€ for cheap lunch with a great view
- Roest €€
About Pllek: Restaurant and good place for a beer. This post-industrial spot with a beach-like atmosphere offers one of the best panoramic views of the IJ River. Using only the highest quality, organic products, Pllek serves homemade sandwiches and fresh juices. The venue welcomes a diverse and alternative crowd to relax on the manmade beach refuge or hangout inside by the fireplace. Pllek also is home to Amsterdam’s largest disco ball at night. Just remember the last ferry back to the mainland leaves at midnight during the week and 1:00 on the weekends. More info check: http://www.pllek.nl/
Metropolitan is a chocolate walhalla, ice cream parlor, espresso bar, dessert shop. A place for lovers of pure chocolate and the best ice cream in a vibrant entourage in the heart of Amsterdam’s old town. A must do for Coffee and dessert https://www.metropolitan.nl/
Reijpenear, cheese tasting and buying https://www.reypenaercheese.com/en/
At the Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Room in the center of old Amsterdam, you can personally test and evaluate the flavor, the aroma and the qualities of the Reypenaer cheeses, all under the guidance of an expert cheese taster.
If you are a real food lover and would like to know more about the Dutch and the Food, we strongly recommend doing the Free Food tour! We will tell you all about the local food and let you taste it!
Beer places we love in Amsterdam
For a taste of authentic Amsterdam flavour and Dutch culture, don’t miss a visit to a traditional Dutch pub known as a ‘brown café’ (bruin café). These local watering-holes are a quintessential part of Amsterdam’s culture – and are the favoured haunts of some colourful local personalities.
Being sandwiched between Belgium and Germany, it would be sort of weird (not to mention: a total waste) if the Dutch didn’t get passionate about every decent monk’s favorite beverage. But with this much to choose, where to begin your own beer quest?
Beer places we recommend:
Brouwerij het IJ
The best brewery in town! This Windmill bar is a small brewery in Amsterdam. It is located in a former bathhouse named Funen, next to the De Gooyer windmill. The brewery was opened by Kaspar Peterson, a former musician, in October 1985 and was one of several small breweries that opened in cities around the Netherlands in response to consumers’ dissatisfaction with beer brewed by the larger companies. It brews eight standard beers and three seasonal beers, besides limited edition beers. Try the ‘Zatte’, you will definitely like this one! The brewery allows tours and tastings, and has a pub with an outdoor terrace. http://www.brouwerijhetij.nl/?lang=en
In ’t Aepjen
This characterful brown café is housed in one of the oldest buildings in the city, one of the only two remaining wooden buildings in the whole of Amsterdam. It dates all the way back to 1475, and there’s been a tavern on the site since the 17th century. The ground floor has only been a café since 1990 but the atmosphere of the place is unquestionable. The name translates to “in the monkey” in English, and the place was once a haunt of the sailors of the Dutch East India company who, legend has it, once brought a monkey back from the Far East in lieu of payment. No website, go have a look yourself at the Zeedijk number 1
Bown café with a good atmosphere. Heavy beers go peacefully and smoothly here. The famous Westfloat and other Trappist beers are served here. There are 14 beers on tap, of which 7 change regularly. There are more locations in Amsterdam look for one near your hotel https://cafegollem.nl/
People and beer – that’s what it’s all about at de Prael. You just can’t separate one from the other, because after all, what would beer be without good company or a good conversation? Brouwerij de Prael is not just a beer cafe, it’s the balance between social, cultural and having a good time. Very popular with locals and it’s in the middle of the Red-light district. http://deprael.nl/proeflokaal/
This place is a brewery and restaurant in one. They brew their own beer and serve Burgundian dishes. Apetrots is their signature dish: the charcoal of the charcoal BBQ. Here you can tap your beer yourself (they offer a beer tap at your table), eat the chicken with your hands and throw the peel of the free peanuts on the ground. http://www.bierfabriek.com/en/
Also, stroll around in the Jordaan area for much more brown cafes…