24 Hours in Amsterdam

Planning to spend a day in Amsterdam? Whether you are in Amsterdam for a day or two before a European River Cruise, or making it a stop on a European summer vacation, there are so many fun things to do. So, if you plan for a day or a week below are my favorite things for a first time visitor to Amsterdam!

Great decision! But, how can one make it a perfect day? Here are some tips to help you make the most of your short time in this amazing city.

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Top Things to do if You Only Have 24 Hours in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, widely known for its canals and tulips, also boasts some pretty amazing museums. Packing all that this city has to see in a short period is doable and enjoyable with a bit of planning ahead. Of course, knowing the best time to go to Amsterdam is also a must. And if you are doing a whirlwind tour of Europe, here is how to pack for two weeks in Europe with one small suitcase!

Here are my favorite things to do in Amsterdam.

Canal Boat Tour

Canal Boat Tour in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Ready to get started? First up, a canal boat tour! A dense network of canals spread throughout Amsterdam allows you to enjoy the different sights of the city by boat. Which honestly is the best way to see this city. Most all of the boat tours last about an hour and take you along the same routes. Whichever one you choose, you’ll begin with a great overview of the city.

Once you’ve had your fill of Amsterdam from the canal side, head on over to Amsterdam’s Museum Square. “Museumplein” is a central hub of museums, which has a few of the most famous museums in Amsterdam located right next to each other.  By buying tickets ahead of time online, you can skip the lines and spend your early morning and afternoon enjoying these world famous museums.

amsterdam canal
  • Rijksmuseum – Founded in 1800 and moved to Amsterdam in 1808, this museum is dedicated to Dutch arts and history.
  • Van Gogh Museum – As the name suggests, this art museum is dedicated to the works of Van Gogh. Being one of the most famous museums in the Netherlands, it’s best to get there early to avoid the lines!
  • Stedelijk Museum – This museum offers a collection of modern and contemporary art and design works, giving homage to the works of very famous artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Lucio Fontana and more.

Once you are done with the museum tours, it’s time to eat. A great place to explore, shop and eat is at the world famous “Albert Cuyp Markt.”

Albert Cuyp Street Market

A roadside market is always the best choice for food. (Good old street meat!) Here you’ll find a large number of vendors lined up to serve you numerous incredibly delicious food items. Poffertjes, stroopwaffles, and herring are top on the food bucket list for almost everyone visiting Amsterdam wanting to try authentic Dutch food. Poffertjes are mini pancakes. Stroopwaffles have caramel syrup spread between two slices of dough and it just melts on its own in your mouth. Herring is fish. You must try it with pickles and onions if you want to eat it the authentic Amsterdam style. Just be sure to get to the market before 17:00. At that time everything closes for the day.

Red Light District

red light district, amsterdam, netherlands

A perfect 24 Hours in Amsterdam more often than not ends at the infamous Red Light District. This place is famous for getting to its full charm as the sun starts to set. The Red Light District Is studded with coffee shops, museums, and other adult-themed entertainment.

In fact, the name of the place ‘Red Light’ actually comes from all the Red Lit sex shops along the narrow streets. Considering the place is immensely overcrowded, you may as well want to gear up to counter a lot of hustle-bustle!  But it’s well worth it to take a peak at something you won’t see in just any city.

24 Hours in Amsterdam

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  1. You’ve listed some of my favorite places to visit while in Amsterdam. I would add the Anne Frank Museum to this list as well. You really come away learning so much more after walking through the house.

  2. Betty,

    I agree. The Anne Frank House is another really good one to not miss in Amsterdam. There is so much to see and do here in Amsterdam. It’s a compact city with a lot to offer.

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