How to spend 24 hours in Amsterdam

When you think of Amsterdam, you might think of the nightlife, the red-light district, and just generally the “anything goes” attitude it’s known for. But there’s a lot more to the capital of the Netherlands than these few famous details, and to get the most out of it, you don’t even have to visit for long. If you only have time to swing by Amsterdam with your friends for one full day, here’s an idea of what to do!

How to spend 24 hours in Amsterdam

Pick your lodging

One of the most important details to consider is where you’ll stay during your 24 hours in Amsterdam. Sure, you won’t be there long – especially if you plan to spend your time checking out the city. But you’ll want a comfortable, safe place to rest your head at night. And since your stay will be short, you’ll want to pick a place that is unique to this city, not a hotel you could find anywhere else. Finally, think about staying somewhere that’s close to all the action, such as one within walking distance of bars, stores, museums, etc. Some inexpensive, conveniently located options include the Hotel de Looier, Amsterdam Wiechmann Hotel, and the Nine Streets Inn. When you stay at these or other nearby hotels, you’ll be just minutes from all the famed attractions in Amsterdam.

Learn about history and art

So, what exactly are the most famous attractions within walking distance of these hotels? One of them is the Anne Frank House, where you can take a sobering but educational tour of the home where Anne Frank and her family hid during World War II. Another worthwhile landmark is the Amsterdam Museum, where you can learn about the history of the city. If you’re into art, stop by the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum, or Moco Museum—which is known for modern art. And if you prefer fashion, don’t forget to go by the Museum of Bags and Purses, where you can see the evolution of purses over the centuries!

Enjoy the food

You’ll have to eat at least a few times while you’re in Amsterdam for 24 hours, so you might as well make it enjoyable! Fortunately, there are lots of highly rated restaurants, cute cafes, and unique bakeries serving local favorites. For example, go to Jansz for some lobster risotto or hanger steak. For a delicious Dutch snack, check out the Cheese Museum or Reypenaer Tasting Room for some great tasting Gouda, Massdammer, Geitnekaas, or Beemster cheese. And head to Oedipus Brewing or Proeflokaal Arendsnest to enjoy some local craft beers with your friends!

Explore nature

Maybe you don’t immediately think of nature when you think of Amsterdam, but if not, you’re missing out. After all, this city is filled with canals, with plenty of lakes, ponds, and of course – a huge coast nearby. So if you love playing in or just gazing at the water, you’ll love it here. Go swimming at Zandvoort Beach, or take a canal cruise through the city. You can also head to the area’s wilderness, called Lange Bretten. Here, you might see some wildlife, such as falcons, buzzards, and small animals, as well as frogs and fish in the water. And of course, you’ll see plenty of parks with flowers in bloom – especially if you come in the spring.

How to spend 24 hours in Amsterdam

Check out the nightlife

What’s there to do in Amsterdam with friends late at night? Well, start with clubs! You’ll find most of the nightlife here in the Leidseplein and the Rembrandtplein, where there are lots of casual clubs, dance clubs, and bars with live music. Note that if you’re a night owl, you definitely don’t have to go home at 2 am like you might be used to in the U.S. Many dance clubs in Amsterdam stay open until 4 am on the weekend. Nachtcafes, or night cafes, stay open until 5 am. Take advantage of this if you want to get the most out of your time in Amsterdam. You can always sleep on the plane ride home!

As you can see, there is a lot to do in Amsterdam in 24 hours. Before you go, get together with your friends and decide what you must do and see while you’re here. Then get excited about your upcoming Dutch vacation!