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35 Free Things to Do in Amsterdam (2024)

July 21, 2023

Looking for free things to do in Amsterdam? There are plenty of great attractions, parks and more that you can enjoy without having to spend any extra money. This is a major city, so you’ll find a great range of things to do, including visiting museums, galleries, parks, and markets. If you’re looking for a cheap way to explore the city, try our list of the best free things to do in vibrant Amsterdam.

The best free museums and art galleries in Amsterdam

Like art and history? Try these great free museums and galleries:

1. The EYE Filmmuseum

If you love cinema, be sure to check out the EYE Filmmuseum. This is the main centre for Dutch film culture, where they preserve and show films from the Netherlands and abroad. The museum consists of a wide range of exhibitions about cinematography equipment, film posters, soundtracks, and more, plus a cinema screen. Most of the exhibitions are free to explore, and you can buy a ticket to watch a film if something catches your eye.

Opening hours: Daily 10am-7pm

Address: IJpromenade 1, 1031 KT Amsterdam

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2. Museumhaven

For a look at the old nautical heritage of Amsterdam, try the Museumhaven. This open-air museum has around 20 historical ships docked there, with information boards in front of them so you can learn all about the different types of boats there. Entry is free, but the ships are all private residences.

Opening hours: Recommended that you visit during daylight hours.

Address: Museumhaven at Oosterdok 12, 1011 VX Amsterdam.

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3. Cannabis College

This information centre can help people learn everything they want to know about cannabis and hemp, including uses, growing methods, and the history of human interaction with these plants. This can make for a fascinating educational experience. They even have a library, shop, and cannabis garden.The Cannabis College is in the heart of the Red Light District.

Opening hours: Daily from 10am-6pm

Address: Oudezijds Achterburgwal 124, 1012 DT Amsterdam

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4. The ARCAM

The Architecture Centre Amsterdam, called ARCAM, is a great place to learn about the last two decades of Amsterdam’s architecture as well as urban planning and landscape design. There are plenty of interesting lectures, debates, and more. The gallery and exhibitions have a small fee, but you can enter the visitor centre free of charge.

Opening hours: Daily from 1pm-5pm

Address: Prins Hendrikkade 600, 1011 VX Amsterdam

5. The OSCAM

OSCAM is one of Amsterdam’s top museums for contemporary art, fashion, design and craftsmanship. Their regularly changing exhibitions mean that you never quite know what you’ll find, but you can be sure it will be breathtaking. With exhibitions, talks and workshops, there’s also plenty to do here. If you want to submerge yourself in art, this is a great place to go.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday 10am-6pm, Saturdays 10am-5pm

Address: Bijlmerplein 110, 1102 DB Amsterdam 

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6. Melkweg Expo

Melkweg Expo is an exhibition area for contemporary photography, especially focusing on photos that explore identity, society and pop culture. There are always fresh new exhibits that look at different parts of life, and they also host educational events, talks, screenings and other gatherings.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 12-7pm

Address: MILK, Marnixstraat 409

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The Civic Guards Gallery is a great art and history experience. This museum is set in a covered street and contains 15 enormous portraits of the 17th Century Civic Guards, including information cards so you can learn about the most important citizens of the Netherlands in that era. This is one of the few places in the world where you can see portraits hanging on a public street. There are also sometimes additional artworks displayed here too.

Opening hours: Daily from 10am-5pm

Address: Kalverstraat 92, 1012 PH Amsterdam

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8. The Max Euwe Centre

Following on the legacy of Dr. Max Euwe, the only Dutch chess world champion so far, the Max Euwe centre includes a library and museum with information about the champion himself, as well as exhibitions about the game in general. Plus, be sure to have a game on the giant chessboard in the courtyard.

Opening hours: Daily from 12-4pm (except Bank Holidays)

Address: Max Euweplein 30, 1017 MB Amsterdam

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9. W139

This artist-run space aims to let artists of any background display their work, without being at the mercy of galleries. This means you’ll find great modern art and thought-provoking exhibitions. The focus is on art of any medium that comments on society, culture, and the changing political field. W139 offers community tickets, paid for by previous patrons, to allow people to visit even if they can’t afford it. The standard entry price is €3, but they run events that are free throughout the year, so check their website for the latest details.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday 12-6pm

Address: W139 is at Warmoesstraat 139, 1012 JB Amsterdam

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10. Rokin Metro Station

Far from being the usual type of museum, Rokin Metro Station is a working underground station that doubles as an exhibition space. From the artwork on the walls to archaeological finds on display in the miniature museum, there is plenty to see. Most of the objects on show were found when the station site was excavated, so there is everything from pottery and weapons from the medieval period to modern-day cassette tapes.

Opening hours: 24 hours

Address: Line 52 at 1012 KN Amsterdam

Read: Amsterdam on a Budget

The best free parks and gardens in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is a beautifully green and verdant city. Try these great parks and gardens:

11. Vondelpark

This beautiful park in southern Amsterdam covers 120 acres. Built in 1865, the park includes an open-air theatre, a bandstand, and a playground, as well as a lake. It is a great spot for biking, walking, jogging, or just enjoying the weather or having a picnic. Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s largest and most famous municipal park, making it definitely worth a visit. Particular attractions are the Picasso statue and Friday Night Skate events.

Address: Borough of Amsterdam-Zuid

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12. Rembrandtpark

Rembrandtpark is a charming park. Used more by locals than tourists, it can be a great place for a quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of the city. If you want to do a spot of birdwatching, keep an eye out; over 30 different bird species have been spotted in the park, including buzzards. You’ll also find plenty of options for recreation, with a garden, walking paths, ponds, a waterplay area, and even a petting zoo.

Address: Orteliuskade 57, 1057 AL Amsterdam

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13. Beatrixpark

Beatrixpark is a beautiful local park in the south of Amsterdam. The numerous waterways and bridges make this a lovely place for a walk. The park is particularly beautiful in autumn. As well as being a pleasant space to relax, you’ll find a few options for food within the park, and it is easily accessible via public transport.

Address: Diepenbrockstraat 21, 1077 VX Amsterdam

14. Amstelpark

Amstelpark is a much-loved family park in Amsterdam-Zuid, but there’s plenty to enjoy as an adult as well. The carefully maintained grounds feature some beautifully manicured plants, as well as a hedge maze and blossoming trees. If you like flowers, be sure to stroll through the rose garden and the rhododendron valley, which has hundreds of varieties of flowers. There’s even a miniature train that runs during the summer, which is very popular.

Address: Arent Janszoon Ernststraat 1, 1083 GA Amsterdam

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15. Oosterpark

Built in 1891, Oosterpark is a beautiful and well-maintained garden park near the centre of Amsterdam. This beautiful outdoor space has trees, colourful flowerbeds, and a large pond. There are even basketball and football courts if you fancy a quick game with your travelling companion. Be sure to see the impressive wooden sculptures and other art that have been installed around the park too.

Address: Oosterpark at 1012 AA Amsterdam

16. Zuidas Botanic Garden

The Zuidas Botanic garden is home to a vast collection of our 6000 species of plants. With greenhouses, a Chinese miniature landscape garden, a Bonsai display, bamboo, 100-year-old trees and shrubs, and more, there is plenty for you to see and explore. There are even endangered plants being cared for in the garden, with the aim of helping keep the country’s biodiversity broad. Zuidas Botanic garden is a great place to enjoy the sights and smells of plants from all over the world, and there are staff and volunteers who can help tell you about specific species.

Address: Van der Boechorststraat 8, 1081 BT Amsterdam

17. The Rijksmuseum Garden

Standing outside the National Museum of the Netherlands, the Rijksmuseum Garden covers several different historical garden styles, including statues, building remains, ponds, and green areas. Enjoy the 19th-century greenhouse and the water features, or get a drink at the gazebo.

Address: Museumpromenade 1, 1071 DJ Amsterdam

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18. The Amsterdam Forest

The Amsterdam Forest sits on the edge of the city, and it is the largest park in the area. It’s even three times larger than Central Park in New York. There is plenty to do in Amsterdam Forest, from walking to cycling to relaxing. You can even hire a boat, visit the goat farm, or visit one of the many markets and events that happen throughout the year. This is one of the best places to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Address: 1182 DB Amstelveen

19. Huize Frankendael Gardens

Part of the Frankendael Estate, the Huize Frankendael Garden is a beautiful place to explore. There are two sections to the park: the Regency-era Style Garden, complete with statues and decorative planting, and the Landscape Garden, which recreates landscape styles from across The Netherlands. They often host art shows and workshops, so keep an eye out for special events.

Address: Huize Frankendael Gardens at Middenweg 72, 1097 BS Amsterdam

The best free markets in Amsterdam

Amsterdam is well-known for its markets. These are all great choices for spending a day exploring and seeing local wares.

20. Bloemenmarkt, the floating flower market

The Bloemenmarkt is the world’s only floating flower market, so it is a very famous destination for people who visit the city. It has been open since 1862 on the Singel canal, right at the heart of the city. When you wander through the barge glasshouses, you can browse fresh flowers, plants and souvenirs every Monday to Saturday.

Address: Singel, 1012 DH Amsterdam

21. The Albert Cuyp Market

The Albert Cuyp Market is one of the largest and most popular outdoor markets in the Netherlands, with over 250 stalls. The market runs every Monday through Saturday, from 9:30am to 5pm, and you can browse everything from hot food to flowers to household items and souvenirs. A lot of the produce is local, so you never quite know what you will find.

Address: Albert Cuypstraat, 1073 BD Amsterdam

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22. The Waterlooplein Market

The Waterlooplein Market is the oldest flea market in Amsterdam, and you’ll find plenty to browse. The stalls sell everything from antiques to clothes to music and art. Whether you want to browse vintage items or hunt for a bargain, this is a great market.

Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 9:30am-5:30pm

Address: Waterlooplein 2, 1011 NZ Amsterdam

23. Sunday Market at Westergas

Amsterdam’s main Sunday Market rotates between three locations, including Westergas. As well as plenty of stalls to browse, there are plenty of creative workshops, live music, and hot foods to try.

Opening hours: First Sunday of the month, 12-6pm (check website for details)

Address: Haarlemmerweg 8E, 1014 BE Amsterdam

24. Pure Markt

Pure Markt is one of the most popular markets in Amsterdam. The main focus of the market is food, and you’ll be able to try tastes from throughout Holland or further. Plus there are plenty of terraced seating areas and live music that you can enjoy while you explore.

The market runs two or three Sundays each month at different locations, including Park Frankendael, Amstelpark, Amsterdam Forest, and Hilversum, so check where it is running during your visit.

Address: Varies (check website)

25. Museum Market

The Museum Market is a large open-air market that focuses on arts and crafts. You can browse fashion, ornaments, jewellery, and artwork while enjoying live music. There are also plenty of food stands for if you get hungry, showcasing local food made with ingredients from nearby farms.

Opening hours: Every 3rd Sunday of the month, 10am-6pm

Address: Hobbemastraat 18, 1071 ZB Amsterdam

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Other best free places to visit in Amsterdam

Still looking for more to do in Amsterdam? Try these great free attractions.

26. The Canal Belt (Grachtengordel)

The Canal Belt is one of the most iconic areas of Amsterdam. Built in the 17th century, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a beautiful place to visit. As well as the tall canal houses, bridges and the canals themselves, you’ll find small shops to explore and street entertainment to watch. The area is also beautiful to visit at night.

Address: The old city centre of Amsterdam

27. The Begijnhof Courtyard

This courtyard is a hidden gem that sits nestled between some of the oldest almshouses in Amsterdam. This is a tranquil spot to enjoy a pleasant walk or a quiet lunch. As well as a carefully maintained green, there are statues and the nearby Begijnhof Church you can see. While the courtyard is open throughout the day, it is advised that tourists do not visit after dark, to avoid disturbing the residents.

Address: Begijnhof 29, 1012 WT Amsterdam

28. The ferry

Amsterdam ferries are free for foot traffic or cyclists, and they can help you explore the city. One of the main routes is from Amsterdam Centraal to Amsterdam Noord, where you can enjoy the more green and quiet areas of the city. Or you can simply enjoy the river crossing to see the city from a new angle and enjoy the fresh air. Our ClinkNOORD hostel is conveniently located nearby making it a perfect spot to rest after a long day exploring.

Address: Amsterdam Centraal, 1012 AB Amsterdam

29. Maloe Melo

Maloe Melo is a famous blues and rock bar that is popular for its live music and packed event calendar. Best of all, there are frequent free concerts or musical acts that you can watch. Some of the concerts have an admission price, so check their calendar for free events. Even when there are no events on, the atmosphere of the bar is popular with locals and tourists alike.

Address:  Lijnbaansgracht 163, 1016 VX Amsterdam

30. The Gassan Diamonds Factory

The Gassan Diamond Factory was built in 1879, and to this day it still has master craftsmen who cut and polish diamonds for fine jewellery. The factory offers a free tour, where you can learn everything you want to know about diamonds and view their jewellery collection.

Opening hours: One hour tours available daily 9am-5pm

Address: Nieuwe Uilenburgerstraat 173-175, 1011 LN Amsterdam

31. The Red Light District

The Red Light District is one of the oldest and most famous parts of the city. Among this traditional Dutch architecture, you will find a lot of interesting things to explore, from the famous brothel windows to sex shops and museums – including the sex work museum.

Address: De Wallen

32. Ijburg Beach

Ijburg Beach is a lovely sandy beach on the Ijburg archipelago, near the city centre. This is a great location for swimming, sunbathing, or even having a beach BBQ. The beach is beautifully clean and a very nice place for relaxing.

Opening hours: All year, toilets and visitor centre are open from 1st May to 30th September.

Address: Pampuslaan 505, 1087 HP Amsterdam 

33. Dam Square

Dam Square is the main town square of Amsterdam. The square dates back to the 13th century, and there are plenty of interesting buildings to see, including the stunning royal palace. You’ll always find something to do in Dam Square. In the spring and summer there are often carnivals and street entertainers, and year-round you’ll find market stalls.

Address: Centrum, Amsterdam, 1012 JS/NP

34. Chinatown

Amsterdam’s Chinatown is a very busy and bustling area with links to a wide range of Asian cultures, including Chinese, Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian. One of the best attractions here is the Zeedijk Buddhist Temple with its distinctive Chinese roof, which is free to visit and open until 5pm. You can also explore a range of Asian shops and restaurants, giving you plenty of variety during your holiday.

Address: Zeedijk 123, 1011 CP Amsterdam

35. The City Archives

The Amsterdam City Archives are where important historical documents are preserved.  If you love history, this can be a great place for learning more about the city’s past. There are pmany free tours of the building and archives, and they often host special events including lectures and feature films. There is plenty on offer to keep you busy for a day.

Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday-Sunday 12-5pm

Address: Vijzelstraat 32, 1017 HL Amsterdam

On a final note

Amsterdam is a great city to explore, even if you don’t have a lot of extra money for attractions. Whether you like museums, gardens, markets or strolling through the city, there is plenty to do. Picking some of these things to do in Amsterdam for free can help keep your holiday exciting while not breaking the bank.

Of course, there is a lot more to see as well, with some beautiful places in Amsterdam to enjoy. If you like modern art, be sure to check out our list of street art in Amsterdam to see beautiful works by renowned street artists.

If you are looking for a cheaper way to enjoy Amsterdam, you can also look at keeping your accommodation well within budget. ClinkNOORD Youth Hostel Amsterdam is a friendly and great choice for groups or individuals to stay in this beautiful city.