Things to do in Amsterdam

Dine on seafood from the icy waters of the North Sea at De IJ-Kantine. (Photo: Alamy)


Channel Your Inner Creative in Amsterdam’s Trendy Noord District

As you look for things to do in Amsterdam, take a journey into Amsterdam’s up-and-coming Noord District.(Photo: Alamy)

Once a gritty backwater across the IJ river from Amsterdam’s downtown, Noord has been revitalized and transformed into one of the city’s most happening neighborhoods. As rents skyrocket in fashionable districts such as Jordaan and De Negen Straatjes contained within the city’s picturesque concentric canal rings, young creatives have migrated to the other side of the river. Former dilapidated warehouses and shipyards now host cutting-edge eateries, bars, live music venues and more.

The area is now so in vogue that locals are flocking from all over town to investigate. Luckily, it’s easy for travelers looking for things to do in Amsterdam to follow their lead. A free, five-minute ferry ride from Amsterdam Central Station is all it takes to start discovering this vibrant part of the capital.

See Cutting-Edge Technology in Action

The 3D Print Canal House is exactly what it sounds like: a full-scale construction experiment and a glimpse of the future. Scientists designed KamerMaker, a giant 3-D printer prototype custom made for the project, to generate a modernized version of a traditional Dutch house using sustainable materials. As the project advanced, it also evolved, with the team developing faster and more efficient software and hardware. Take a 45-minute tour and learn how technology might someday provide sturdy homes for those in need across the developing world.

Eat Locavore Cuisine

Housed in a striking industrial space with massive windows overlooking the water, De IJ-Kantine specializes in just the kind of casual, produce-driven fare you want to munch on after a long day schlepping around Noord. Pristine seafood from the icy waters of the North Sea and vegetables, cheeses, and meats produced by Dutch farmers make the menu stand out.

Hit the Beach

The Netherlands may not have a reputation for blue skies, but when the sun does emerge, few people celebrate its arrival like the Dutch. When summer rolls around, Amsterdammers don their swimsuits and head for Scheveningen and other beaches along the coastline. For sunbathers unwilling to leave the city, Restaurant Pllek‘s sandy, man-made shore makes for a fine approximation. A former shipyard, the area still sports rusted shipping containers and visual reminders of the neighborhood’s history. The eatery also serves exceptional dishes such as duck confit with celeriac, chestnuts and parsnip chips.

Watch a Free Movie

You can’t miss the striking white, modernist facade of the EYE Film Museum right on the banks of the IJ. Though special exhibitions and screenings come at a small cost, basic entrance to the museum is free and allows you to watch classic Hollywood films or star in your very own silent movie. The gift shop is a goldmine for cinema geeks. Stock up on old-school movie memorabilia and then swing by the café to watch the sun go down over the river through immense floor-to-ceiling windows.

Snap a Selfie

There are plenty of reasons to visit the multipurpose A’DAM Toren tower, but one of the best might be the photo op on the top-floor observation deck. Hop on the elevator, which climbs 20 stories in a dizzying 22 seconds, up to A’DAM LOOKOUT, where you’ll find interactive exhibits on the history of the city as well as a panoramic platform with a heart-stopping view. Brave souls should take a seat on the highest swing in Europe for a vertigo-inducing ride over the city.

Listen to Local Bands

It doesn’t get much cooler than Tolhuistuin, a structure that once housed the Shell oil company offices and now features a trendy restaurant, gallery and popular concert space. Once only open during the summer months, a recent head-to-toe touch-up has turned this into one of the hottest spots in town year-round. You can easily spend a full evening here. Dine on contemporary small plates, see an art exhibition and then catch the latest local indie bands, all without leaving the premises.