20 Things to do in Amsterdam in Your Twenties
Amsterdam is one of those cities that you keep going back to over and over again without getting bored. While you’re in your twenties, there are some awesome things to do in the city that won’t want to miss out on. From Dutch boozers, wild festivals to live music events and long cycles through the countryside, the city offers so much to backpackers looking for a fun trip. And since your twenties are the best years of your life, book your flight out ASAP and see how many of these things you can tick off before you turn 30…
Need a hostel in Amsterdam? Check out the Flying Pig
Smoke in Barney’s Coffeeshop
Located inside a 500 year old building, Barney’s is renowned amongst the smokers for being a top spot for a joint. Whether you’re a real beginner or pretty pro, head to Barney’s (just a 5 minute walk from Centraal Station) for a taste of Amsterdam’s good stuff.
Do the Over the Edge Swing in Amsterdam Noord
Jump on the free ferry to cross the IJ river to Amsterdam Noord, where you’ll find the tallest ‘swing’ in Europe at the top of the A’Dam Lookout. Take a seat and swing over the edge to get some epic city views.
Try a special Dam-style brownie
Not into the smoking thing but still want to experience a high in Amsterdam? Brownies and space cakes are very much a thing in coffeeshops across the city so sit back, get comfy and wait a while for an experience you’ll probably never forget!
Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Amsterdam’s Coffeeshops
Drink up at the Heineken Experience
Love beer? Then you’re absolutely spoilt for choice in Amsterdam and one stop you have to make is at the Heineken Experience. Here you can learn the stories behind the one of the world’s most famous beers, have a tour of the brewery and sample a couple yourself. Entry to the Heineken Museum is €18.
Party at the Live Music Venues
Amsterdam excels when it comes to its live music scene and one of our all-time favourite music venues is Melkweg near Leidseplein (which is the centre of Amsterdam’s nightlife). When your in the city, check was gigs are on. Melkweg plays host to india bands, DJ’s, solo artists, renowned singers and songwriters, plus the hottest new talent in Dutch music.
Walk down the Red Light District
You can’t come to Amsterdam and not walk down the city’s most iconic street. The Red Light District is home to several pubs, strip clubs and bars, and of course the ladies in windows that the area is famed for. Don’t take photos of them as it is against the law. We recommend coming to the Red Light District at night to soak up the atmosphere, just make sure you’re in a group for safety purposes.
Cycle to Zandaam and see the windmills
If you’re not scared of a little outdoor activity, then a long cycle to Zandaam will be right up your street. Your twenties are the perfect time to rent a bike and explore further than Amsterdam to see what the little Dutch villages have to offer. A trip to Zandaam on two wheels will take you off the beaten track where you’ll cycle through lush countryside, passing windmills and rivers on the way. To cycle there and back it will probably take just over two hours.
Check out the Best Cycle Routes in and Around Amsterdam
Dress all in orange for King’s Day
King’s Day is the biggest day on Amsterdam’s social calendar. Every year at the end of April, every person in the city will take to the streets and the canals dressed head to toe in the national colour orange. They’ll party for days in celebration of the King of the Netherlands’ birthday with street food, drink and live music. If you get the chance to be in Amsterdam for it, do it! It’s renowned across Europe as being one of the biggest and wildest street parties on the continent!
Check out our King’s Day Survival Guide
Picnic in Vondelpark on a summer’s day
Vondelpark in summer is one of the highlights of being in Amsterdam. When you’ve been exploring all morning and you just want to relax, on a sunny day the park is always packed with young locals, tourists and expats enjoying the greenery, lakes and flowers. Make the most of the gardens and instead of simply cycling through, pack a picnic and set up camp on the grass to enjoy. You’ll also find (or smell) a lot of young people with another version of grass making the most of the fresh air in Vondelpark…
Go on a day trip to the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens
You have to come to Amsterdam in spring to see the beautiful tulips at Keukenhof Gardens. This famous botanical garden in Lisse is just a short day trip out of the city and so worth it just to experience its beauty. 7 million bulbs are planted each year so it’s a real nature lovers paradise. Usually open from March through to May, this is the prime time to visit if you want to see the flora. Totally Instagrammable, too.
Dance at the DGTL Festival or ADE
Love electronic music? Amsterdam’s dance festivals are renowned for being some of the best in Europe, the two most noteworthy being DGTL (which takes place in April) and ADE (which takes place in October). Have the time of your life in the city dancing away to techno, house, EDM and everything electronic, with an atmosphere to match. Buy tickets online!
Ice skate on the canals in winter
Winters in Amsterdam get COLD. Cold enough for the canals to freeze over and locals to don their ice skates and start gliding across them. Do like the locals and find a pair of skates to try your hand on a natural ice rink.
Check out the Sexmuseum
I bet you never even thought about going to the Sexmuseum but what if we told you it’s actually pretty interesting. We don’t want to give too much away except that it’s the worlds first and oldest museum dedicated to sex. Located in Damrak, it’s in a pretty beautiful location for photos too.
Visit the Anne Frank House
Eat as many poffertjes as you can
When else can you stuff yourself sick with Dutch treats than in your twenties? You simply have to try poffertjes if you haven’t already. These mini Dutch pancakes will just melt in your mouth and the best place to try some is at De Vier Pilaren.
Another Dutch speciality that you’ll end up eating loads of is bitterballen, a savoury mouthful of meaty goodness. De Ballen Bar at Foodhallen is a great place to try them.
Watch a sunset at Pllek
Explore some of the young local hangouts when you visit Amsterdam. Pllek is probably our favourite for the summer months. This urban beach and bar is always buzzing with locals and can be found across the river IJ in Amsterdam Noord. Get the ferry over from Centraal station and head to NSDM Wharf for some serious beach chilling at Pllek. Sand, beers and tasty food. What more could you want?
Explore NDSM Wharf
The city’s former shipyard, NDSM Wharf is now an industrial hipster hang out in Amsterdam. This vibrant cultural hotspot is home to creatives and artists so keep an eye out for the awesome street art that plasters the area. With cool bars, restaurants, festivals and entertainment venues, a night out across the river will never you let you down for a fun night.
Join the Jager Train at The Flying Pig Downtown
There’s one backpacker bar that you can rely on to get the party started and that’s the Flying Pig Downtown hostel bar. Open for hostel guests only, if you’re staying with us at the Flying Pig then you’ll make some incredible memories and friends at our bar. The epic Jager train is one thing to experience where the bar staff line up as many jager bomb glasses and balance shots in between each glass and let them fall like dominos.
Feel festive magic at the Christmas Markets
There are a number of great Christmas markets that pop up in Amsterdam in time for the festive season, but our top choice is Ice Village. Every year the area in front of the Rijksmuseum transforms into a magical Christmas wonderland complete with a giant ice rink, live music and stalls. Indulge in traditional Dutch festive food as well as plenty of mulled wine and hot chocolate.
Taste local and international cuisines at Albert Cuypmarket
Albert Cuypmarket is the biggest and (considered by many to be) the best market in Amsterdam. Selling everything from antiques to clothes, but the street food is definitely up there at the top. You’ll find all the Dutch classics like stroopwafels and bitterballen, but the line-up of international street dishes is also massive!
Need a hostel in Amsterdam? Check out the Flying Pigs!