Amsterdam in one day: things to see and do

Planning a short visit to Amsterdam and what to see the most of it in one day? Check out our top 11 list of must-see places and must-do things in Amsterdam.

Want to see the best of Amsterdam? Explore the city with a local >>

1. Take a canal cruise

Get on a boat and experience Amsterdam from water. If you are visiting Amsterdam for the first time, this is exactly where you should start! Most of the touristic boats provide a multi-language audio-guide. Good chance to learn a bit more about the Dutch capital and pick where you go next!

Canal cruises Amsterdam, best views, book tickets online

Canal cruises and hop on hop off boats in Amsterdam, Things to do, insider tips

Check my top picks of things to do in Amsterdam on >>

2. Visit the A’DAM Lookout for a bird’s eye view

The A’DAM LOOKOUT (Overhoeksplein 5) is an observation deck with a 360° panoramic view of Amsterdam. From the rooftop you’ll see the historical center, Amsterdam port, the unique Dutch polder landscape and much more!

The thrillseekers can also visit ‘Over the Edge’, Europe’s highest swing at a height of 100 meters at the edge of the A’DAM Tower.

A'DAM Lookout Amsterdam, What to do in Amsterdam

3. Visit the world famous museums

A visit to Amsterdam won’t be complete without a visit to the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. To avoid wasting time in queues, make sure to book your tickets in advance.

Tip! If there are no tickets available for the date of your choice, try booking a semi-private guided tour to the Van Gogh museum.

Van Gogh museum Amsterdam

4. Explore the Red Light District

The Red Light District is the oldest part of Amsterdam, close to the train station. It’s worldwide known for its vibrant atmosphere and the red windows that display sex workers offering their services. Everybody is welcome to experience this unique part of Amsterdam!

The Bulldog coffeeshop, Amsterdam

Red Light District in Amsterdam

Boat tours, canal cruises Amsterdam
5. Browse the markets

The floating Flower Market (Bloemenmarkt), the Waterlooplein Market, Amsterdam’s most famous flea market, and the famous Albert Cuypmarkt food market are three great options.

Flowermarket (Bloemenmarkt) Amsterdam, Things to do in Amsterdam, photo: Kristina KutenaFlower market in Amsterdam. Photo: Kristina Kutena,

Waterlooplein flea market, Amsterdam things to doWaterlooplein flea market in Amsterdam

Albert Cuypmarkt in Amsterdam

6. Try the famous Dutch herring

Here is a list of places where you can find it in the center of Amsterdam. Enjoy!

Herring in Amsterdam, Stubbe Haring, Best things to do in Amsterdam

Where to eat Dutch herring in Amsterdam?

7. Enjoy a cup of a coffee with a panoramic view of Amsterdam

Exploring Amsterdam, you wouldn’t want to miss a moment. Feel like having a short break? Choose a place with the best panoramic view of Amsterdam! We have selected five cafés and restaurants where you can drink coffee, have lunch and enjoy a great view of Amsterdam.

Blue Amsterdam view
Photo: Kristina Kutena,

8. Take a selfie with the I amsterdam sign

Prior to 3 December 2018, there was a set of letters at Museumplein, in front of the Rijksmuseum. It was very popular among visitors. However these letters were removed at the request of the City of Amsterdam.

Right now there are two locations to find I amsterdam:

  • A permanent set is at Schiphol Airport (Outside Arrivals 1).
  • Another set is touring the city.

I amsterdam City Card. Is it worth it?

9. Walk around the Jordaan area

Here you can witness a non-touristic relaxed life of Amsterdam residents.

Things to do in Amsterdam, visit Jordaan

Jordaan, best of Amsterdam

10. Visit an authentic Dutch proeflokaal

Behind the monument on Dam Square, at Pijlsteeg 31, you’ll find the Wynand Focking tasting room. In around 1679 it started as a liqueur distillery. Soon a tasting tavern was added. To this day all liqueurs and genevers here are still being made using the same 17th century traditional craft methods. Experience it yourself!

Wynand Fockink Proeflokaal Amsterdam

11. Visit the Pathé Tuschinski cinema

Even if you don’t have time to see a movie, check out the cinema hall which has preserved its antique interiors. It feels like travelling back in time. Stunning and impressive! You don’t need to have a ticket to enter the Pathé Tuschinski hall (Reguliersbreestraat 26-34).

Have a nice day in Amsterdam, get inspired and… plan a new trip to the Netherlands!

Plan your trip to Amsterdam with!

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