My Favorite Things To Do In Amsterdam

When I was in college I studied abroad in London, and I had enough money to take one big trip while I was there. It had to be Amsterdam, a city that has long fascinated me with its beauty and culture. We took a bus that traveled by ferry from Dover to France and then drove through Belgium to Amsterdam. The trip was far too brief, but amazing and eye-opening and has stayed with me ever since – I know that one day I’ll go back. Here are a few of my favorite places and things to do in Amsterdam, and stay tuned as our catalog team and other fp girls who have traveled there share their Amsterdam hot spots throughout the month!

Rent a Bike

free people amsterdam

There’s a reason we chose Amsterdam for this bike-themed catalog.  The city is one of the most bike-friendly in the world and the best way to take in the city’s beauty is by bike.  Most streets have bike lines and there are bike racks everywhere. Ride along the canals and check out the amazing houseboats and architecture of the city in a much more efficient way than walking.



Vondelpark is a large, scenic public park in the western part of the city.  The park has an open air theater, ponds, bike paths, and restaurants including the Blauwe Theehuis (“Blue Tea House”), a café/bar with outdoor seating among the park trees.

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Museum District

van gogh museum

Vondelpark is located in the Museum District, which is also home to several of the city’s amazing museums. If you’re an art history fan, this will be heaven for you.  My favorite is the Van Gogh Museum, where I spent an entire afternoon marveling at the largest collection of the painter’s work in the world. The Stedelijk Museum, a modern art museum, is also worth checking out.

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Anne Frank House

anne frank house

One of the city’s most famed and moving landmarks is the Anne Frank house, where Anne Frank and her family lived in hiding for two years.  The tour takes you through the bookcase blocking the entrance to their “secret annexe” and into their cramped living space, which has been remarkably preserved – photos still hang on the walls of Anne’s room, just where she left them.  Being there is a solemn experience but something that will definitely leave a profound impact on you.

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Flea Markets

flower market

Amsterdam is home to some amazing flea markets that provide a great glimpse at the city’s culture.  The largest is the Albert-Cuyp Market, an open-air market where you will find everything from fruit and vegetables, flowers and plants, to clothes, jewelry, and of course – bike accessories. The market is open year-round, every day except Sunday.  Waterlooplein Flea Market is the city’s largest flea market and a collector’s dream – you’ll find an incredible selection of antiques, vintage clothing, and unique trinkets here.  Give yourself plenty of time to explore! This market is open year-round every day except Sunday. Lastly, Bloemenmarkt is the only floating flower market in the world – where the stalls are on houseboats and have a spectacular array of flowers. Our catalog team spent a lot of time here picking up props!

Image source.

Tulip Fields

tulip fields

Speaking of flowers, if you visit Amsterdam in the spring, some of the most breathtaking sights you can see are the tulip fields outside the city.  They are planted in perfect rows of vibrant color that are so amazing they don’t even look real.  Keukenhof Gardens is one of the most famous places to see them, located less than an hour from downtown Amsterdam.

Image source.

Have you been to Amsterdam? Let us know about your favorite places or things to do!


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11 years ago

I love the field of flowers!! xoxox

MacK @ SoulMakes Blog

11 years ago

Yes! I love Amsterdam. So many great tours, old houses, churches, flowers, bikes, and more. They have an amazing Thai restaurant in Dam square.

11 years ago

I have. I would spend summers there! I love Amsterdam. I miss it every summer that I don’t go. Another great time of year to go is new year’s eve. The city explodes! fireworks from every part of the city and chinese balloon lanterns are let go into the night sky. It’s such a beautiful sight!

11 years ago

Love Amsterdam! Celebrated pride festival there last year with my gay friend… The energy and smily faces!! Happy people everywhere in this beautiful city!

11 years ago

Of course I’ve been here, I live in the Netherlands :P. It’s a really nice place, and this would be the perfect opportunity to bring a Free People store to Amsterdam or at least to the Netherlands. I love the shop and I’ve ordered once, but the costs to ship them were sooooo very high, I never do that again. It’s such a shame there isn’t a shop in the Netherlands, I would come there every week.

11 years ago

I live in Amsterdam, and above all the amazing tourist attractions you already mentioned, I will always love this city because of the energy people have. I’ve never seen another city which feels so alive, day and night! I think it’s because we are all so very much in love with our bicycles, and we hate to ride them slowly (as most of the tourists do – racing through the streets is almost a way for locals to distinguish themselves as ‘authentic Amsterdammers’, because we are all quite proud to be so!), everything and everyone is always moving, which creates a feel of pure freedom :) Amsterdam is also very ‘gezellig’ (social, interactive) with lots of small cafes where groups of friends gather every day, plus many foreigners come here to share our culture. Nobody ever wants to leave, haha

And Lieske is so right!!! Amsterdam would be the perfect place for a free people store! I know lots of people here who use your webshop and blog for inspiration but the shipping costs are extremely high..

Btw thank you freepeople for all the lovely posts! love from Amsterdam :)

11 years ago

I love Amsterdam!! Shopping on ‘the 9 streets’, eating at Wagamama, & the Conservatorium is the coolest hotel I’ve ever stayed at! <3

11 years ago

As a real ‘Amsterdammer’ I had to react to this, obviously. So here: quick reactions to your tips:

1) rent a bike
But please make sure you can actually ride it! There’s nothing more annoying to ‘us’ as tourists falling of bikes, riding extremely slow (we’re always in a hurry) etc. Also, prejudice against tourists in the traffic is normal. If you ride a red or yellow tourist bike it WILL be a lot harder to get the sympathy of people and even if I you don’t everyone can always tell if you’re a tourist.
This wasn’t meant to be mean, but a warning. Amsterdammers in traffic are cranky.

2) Vondelpark! YES! I’m so lucky to go to school one minute away from it

3) Museum district
Well yeah, touristic thing. I’m not sure what the museum on the picture is though, but I don’t come there too often so it could be the new Stedelijk

4) Flea markets
Too be honest I’m not too fond of the thrift shops/ things in Amsterdam cause they’re still expensive. A tip though: de Ijhallen. Every first weekend of the month, google it. Oh, and the Noordermarkt on Monday morning.
(Also, I hate the Flowermarket but okay)

5) Tulip fields
Holland is a tiny country. Most, if not all, states of the USA are bigger. For us, de keukenhof is far from Amsterdam. I’ve never been there, but I understand it’s impressive. Somehow I don’t think it would for me.

Wow, this was quite a moody comment, I’m sorry! I love Amsterdam (on the rare occasions the sun shines and I bike to the North where I live along the canals, through de Jordaan (go there!) and then on the ferry – best feeling in the world) but I’m just not too fond of tourists.

Last tip: the ‘Canal Cruises’ are possibly the most touristic thing you can do but, certainly when it’s sunny it’s quite good to get an impression of the city.

Oh, and for live music: de Melkweg (Milkyway) and Paradiso.

Well, not such a short comment after all. Anyone planning on going to Amsterdam: don’t smoke too much weed (had to mention the cliche), come in the summer but not too much in the high season and not around/ on the 30th of April cause although it’s great then the city is insanely crowded and not as much fun for someone who has no idea what’s going on than for the millions on people cramming into the city, all dressed in orange haha

ellie olister
11 years ago

i love amsterdam! when i was an exchange student in france i went to holland on a number of occasions. it’s one of the only countries i could see myself living in for years… makes me miss the good old days. travel is everything to me!

11 years ago

I see a lot off people who commented are living in the Netherlands, well so am I ;) Amsterdam is our capital-city, and nice indeed for a day flee market shopping and visiting some great cultural museums like Rijksmuseum, van Gogh museum, Amsterdam dungeon and making a boat tour trough the city. But, to be honest, it isn’t the greatest city I know in the Netherlands. My love for Utrecht is bigger, although I’m not really a city girl. I like the country-sides more. And the Islands. There, you find a other kind off peace and culture. Love it!

11 years ago

ho come on, you’re talking about amsterdam without mention the coffee shop ? i lived in amsterdam for 2 years in high school ( i’m french) and i know for sure it’s a big part of the city ! maybe the nicest.

11 years ago

Just visited Amsterdam in December & I was blown away by the open, friendly culture and the sense of community. Everyone is just so nice and willing to go out of their way for you. I met so many cool characters from all over the world with amazing stories, some of which I felt like could write a book and be a best seller. It opened my mind even more than it already was, for which I am forever grateful. The mysterious charm of the city left me allured….I know I will be back someday :) xo

11 years ago

I LOVE the Netherlands…favorite country in the world. I like smaller cities outside of Amsterdam better as well, although I would never miss visiting the big city! I stayed in Zwolle (any FP girls there?) for 6 weeks each year for work, so I didn’t feel like a tourist. I often went out (and on road trips ) with people I worked with…made me feel at home. Another city I love (north in Friesland) is Leeuwarden. <3 I am having a good laugh at the FP gals who live in Amsterdam and hate tourists! I think people should remember that tourism is one of the top revenue streams. Without tourists, cities like Amsterdam would not be thriving economically the way they are. I live in Ottawa, Canada and frankly…nobody likes tourists here either! LOL We also don't appreciate what is in our own backyard so to speak. People come here from all over the world to take photos of things we all ignore. I think we should all treat tourists with the warmth and compassion we would want to be treated with ourselves. The countries/cities I never want to visit again are the ones where I was treated with disrespect. xoxo

11 years ago

cool. im going in may

10 years ago

WOW! This is really an amazing and attractive post. I appreciate your posted wonderful photos. Thanks for sharing such an interesting post.

9 years ago

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7 years ago

Wow! Amsterdam looks on. These European countries are really beautiful. I have been already in UK and Sweden and had some wonderful memories. Your photos are quiet impressive and surely Amsterdam will be top of my travel list now. Thanks for sharing!

6 years ago

Thanks for a nice overview with lots of cool pictures! Amsterdam, imho, is always one of the best destinations to go on trip with friends :)