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bikes on a canal in the rain in amsterdam

Things to do in Amsterdam when it’s raining

July 21, 2023

Yes – it does rain in Amsterdam! But, in our opinion, Amsterdam is one of the best cities to be in when a bit of the wet stuff falls. So here are some of our favourite things to do in Amsterdam when it’s raining.

Tour a Brewery

You are in Holland after all – so is there any better cultural experience than a tour of one of the country’s world famous beer houses?! The most well known of these, of course, is The Heineken Experience. Very slick, very organized and right in the centre of Amsterdam, a trip here is a great way while away a few happy hours with friends. And you’ll almost certainly leave a little merrier than when you arrived – and any remnants of the rainy day won’t bother you in the least!

But if, like us, you prefer a more mellow experience and particularly if you are a lover of speciality beers, then head to one of Amsterdam’s numerous micro breweries.

A great one in the Noord district (not far from ClinkNOORD) is Oedipus Brewing. Check out their Facebook page for all the goings on at the Brewery including their #freshbeerfriday which happens every Friday from 4-8pm in their Taproom.

Taproom in Oedipus Brewing

Image courtesy of timeoutbeijing.com

Also check out Two Chefs Brewing who also have a base in the Noord district where they brew their tasty beers in small batches. They run all sorts of beer related events throughout the city and also hold pop-up dinners. As their name implies, they can cook too!

Another one to watch and taste is Brouwerij Troost who combine that happy mix of beer and food. They have a brewery with fab tasting room, great cafe with tasty food to match the tasty beer all in an atmospheric base in a former convent in the De Pijp. They also have a big set up in Westerpark and one in Oost. No better way to spend a rainy day than chomping on one of their scrumptious burgers (veggie ones too) and trying a few beers!

Cruise the Canals.

Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean that a canal trip isn’t worth doing. In fact, it’s a great way to get around whilst keeping warm and dry and to see Amsterdam in a leisurely way. Depending on your budget you can cruise at virtually any time of the day or night and eat drink and be merry or simply watch the sights and relax. We’re big fans of Stromma’s ‘Pizza Cruise‘ where you’ll cruise along the city’s beautiful canals whilst tucking into a tasty pizza. Sounds like a winning rainy day combo to us!

Pizza and cutter from Stromma's 'Pizza Cruise'

Shop Shop Shop

When the rain sets in the shoppers go shopping! And there’s something for everyone in the Amsterdam shopping experience.

Indoor Markets

If you hit Amsterdam at the right weekend each month then you’ll find Europe’s Biggest Flea Market at IJ-Hallen at NDSM Wharf. It happens every couple of weeks so if you want to be sure it’s on when you come then check the IJ-Hallen website for dates. The cool industrial hangout Amsterdam Roest also has frequent indoor markets so check out their website too for your dates to see what’s on. (On sunny days you can chill out at the Beach bar – in a proper sandy waterside setting).

And if you’re a foodie then the amazing Neighbourhood Market at Westergasfabriek is for you. On the third weekend of each month you’ll find a multitude of mobile food vendors all under one roof. There’s lots of other things going on here too – boutique shops, bars, restaurants, cinema. It’ll keep you happy and warm and dry on any rainy day. It’s about half an hour on public transport from ClinkNOORD.

Europe's Biggest Flea Market at IJ-Hallen

Image courtesy of sustainableamsterdam.com

Quirky boutique shops – De 9 Straatjes (the 9 Streets)

Who was ever put off a day’s shopping by a little bit of drizzle? All the more reason to linger inside the myriad of charming and quirky boutique shops in Amsterdam’s famous 9 Streets right in the centre of the City. Just pop on a little rain gear, grab an umbrella and go wandering. Stop for a coffee and a cake and then wander on. If you love shops with character and without a chain store to be seen, then don’t miss out on this gem of an area just to stay dry. A backpackers budget probably won’t get you far in these shops, but it’s fun to wander around anyway!

Department stores and Malls

If you haven’t already filled your case there are plenty of other indoor shopping venues catering to all tastes. A great department store for a rainy day wander is De Bijenkorf and for an indoor shopping mall head for Magna Plaza behind Dam Square. Dutch style is in abundance in both so you can take home a little bit of Holland when you go.

But don’t stay too long in the shops as there are things to do in Amsterdam that will leave a lasting impression of Dutch life even on the rainiest of days!

Find a Cozy Café/Bar

There is just no place like Amsterdam to relax, relax, relax – so make your way to a cozy Amsterdam Pub (called Café’s in Amsterdam) on any rainy day.

If you’re caught out in the rain and feel like settling down for the day, just Google “cozy café in Amsterdam’ and you’ll for sure find one close by. But here are a few that’ll warm the cockles of your heart on a rainy day. You’ll find it hard to leave and where there’s food around you may not leave at all till you’re winding your way back to Clink! Here are just a few of our favourites.

Café ChrisAn old Dutch ‘brown’ Café

This place feels very Dutch! It’s about a ten minute cycle or a half hour walk from Clink (including ferry crossing!). Just settle in and get chatting to the friendly staff and the locals and fellow travellers. If you like slick and modern, this is not the place for you! Bar snacks available and a pool table if you’re up to challenging the locals. (Bloemstraat 42)

Pool table and bar at Café Chris

Image courtesy of Cafe Chris

Café Smalle – Small and beautiful

This is a delightful little bar – as beautiful inside on a rainy day as it is charming on a sunny day sitting outside by the canal. A good one to go to if you’re looking for a snack – great toasties and a heartening meatball soup are winners. (Egelantiersgracht (near Anne Frank’s House)

Café Hans en Grietje – Cozy with a fire

Another little brown cafe where you can cozy in with a beer and some Dutch food whilst watching the flames on the real fire as the rain drips down. You don’t get more Amsterdam brown café than this one. Chat with the locals for the inside story. (Spiegelgracht 27)

Pllek – Big and bold but cozy too

For somewhere bigger, modern but still cozy with a huge central fireplace that warms the heart of the place on those chilly wet days, head to Pllek – 10 minutes from Clink (in the Noord district) by bike or half hour walk –  a walk or a ride in the rain is good for the soul and you’ll work up an appetite for a beer and a bite in this cool place!! The bar is made from used shipping containers, the food is great with plenty of options for meat eaters and veggies alike.

Bar Oldenhof – all grown up and intimate

This isn’t one for your average night out – but if you feel like dressing up a little and heading out with that special person, then make a beeline for Bar Oldenhof on a damp cold night before or after eating in a nearby cozy restaurant. Even if you just have one beer or one of their amazing cocktails you’ll be warm from the inside out. It’s a bit of a secret speakeasy – you have to ring an unmarked door-bell to get in. It’s small, intimate and stunning and you’ll get in if they have room and if you look like a fit for the stunning wood paneled, low lit bar and the soft velvet seats.

What about the Museums?

Indeed, nearly every blog you see will tell you to head to Amsterdam’s famous museums on rainy days. And that’s exactly why we say ‘don’t’! Head to one of Amsterdam’s famous museums on a rainy day and you’ll be viewing Van Gogh’s Sunflowers through a throng of wet umbrellas and you’ll be wishing you were in a cozy café or pub.

To see famous Dutch and international masterpieces our advice is to ALWAYS book ahead online, get out early on a dry day, and then free the rest of your day for outdoor Amsterdam. If you  just can’t resist a bit of culture on those damp days then go early or get the last slot available when the museums also thin out or head for one of Amsterdam’s lesser known museums. Look for one that suits your own interests like Foam if you’re into photography or see the EYE film museum, which is right next door to ClinkNOORD.

Chat to our friendly reception team for the best rates on museum tickets.

Whilst we don’t suggest that you spend your entire stay within your Amsterdam home from home, there’s so much going on and so many places to relax and chill with new and old friends that you can easily spend a fun filled day. Check out what’s on the event schedule during your stay and you could well end up having one of the best days of your trip without even stepping out into the Amsterdam rain!

Planning a trip to the city?

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