10 Amazing Things to Do in Amsterdam on a Budget

So you want to go to Amsterdam, but you don’t know what to do other than visiting coffee shops in the Red Light District. You can go to these amazing places for more enjoyment.

Rent a Bike

The Netherlands is the most bicycle-friendly place on the planet, and the best way to get around Amsterdam is on two wheels. The city is connected by these little bike highways, and you can literally get anywhere in the city on a bicycle.

The Red Light District

The Red Light District is the historic core of the city. It dates back to the 17th century when the Netherlands, and Amsterdam, in particular, was the hub of global trade.

There’re tons of canal houses, tons of history if you can wash away that smoke cloud and get out and explore the city. You’re not supposed to smoke in public. There’re tons of rules around it. You’re supposed to do it in private or in the coffee shops. If you do smoke weed, read the laws and be respectful.

The Van Gogh Museum

Vincent Van Gogh was one of the most famous Dutch painters. He’s an impressionist, and he’s also my favorite artist. Regardless, the Vincent Van Gogh Museum is an essential stop for any visitor to Amsterdam. It’s a three or four-story cube building that is full of Vincent’s artwork, his personal letters to his brother. It really does give you a very in-depth look into Vincent Van Gogh’s life and the things that influenced his artwork and ultimately his tragic end.


More sober minds might actually like looking at museums, and in the Museumplein, which means Museum Square, you’re going to have a couple of great options. You’ve got the Rijksmuseum, which has tons of Rembrandt and the Dutch masters who were famous for landscapes and still life.

Around the corner, you also have the Stedelijk Museum, which is the modern art museum, and there’s a really cool grassy area that’s kind of at a slant that’s perfect for watching the sky or having a picnic. There’s also the “I amsterdam” sign, which is the essential selfie stop for any visitors.


If you want some real artistic inspiration, or if you’re just looking for a place to chill out, head over to Vondelpark. It’s basically this beautiful expanse of ponds, willow trees, and it’s just a nice little area of green right in the city center. This beautiful ten-acre park is right next to the Van Gogh Museum.

Oud West

This is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Amsterdam. It’s a really cool place with tons of great food, cafes, it’s just a funky part of town. And if you want to live life like a local, I think this is one of the most accessible neighborhoods to get into. There’s also a really cool spot called the Foodhallen, which is a food hall. It opened a few years back, and it’s got a bunch of great pop-up restaurants.

Amsterdam Noord

It used to be the heart of the Dutch shipbuilding industry. It’s recently been taken over by artists and entrepreneurs who formed an artist colony at NDSM, which used to be the largest shipbuilding factory in the world. Open for visitors, so go check it out. Overall a great neighborhood.

Brouwerij’t IJ

It’s a brewery, and it’s in an old windmill. Obviously, everybody knows the Dutch beers, like Heineken and Amstel, but this brewery is a craft brewery, and it’s in a very old Dutch windmill. Definitely worth a visit, if only for a pint outside, overlooking the canal.

King’s Day

If you’re able to visit Amsterdam in the spring, plan around April 27th, this is King’s Day. It’s a giant street parade that celebrates the king’s birthday. It used to be known as Queen’s Day. If you’ve heard about that, it’s the same holiday, but now they have a king instead of a queen. If you can’t visit in the springtime, visit in the summertime. The biggest festival of the summer is the “Pride Festival” which celebrates Amsterdam’s long history, as one of the most tolerant places on earth. It happens in the first week of every August.

Escape the city

The Netherlands is actually the most densely populated country in Europe.  It means that exploring different cities is really easy. Just outside of Amsterdam you have towns, small towns like Edam, famous for its cheese, Zaandam, famous for its windmills, or Rotterdam, famous for totally flattening and rebuilt with amazing architecture.