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Discover Amsterdam
Meetings and Conventions
Live, Work and Study
A couple walks trough the garden of Huis Marseille.
Image from Jan de Ridder

Free things to do in Amsterdam

Even when you’re down to your last cent, you’ll still find plenty to do in Amsterdam! Take a peek at our tips for long days filled with fun and entertainment that won’t cost a thing.

Museums and galleries

Some museums in Amsterdam (have sections that) you can visit for free! We've written a round-up of free museums to explore, and don't miss the city's smaller contemporary art spaces, which are generally free to enter.

Top picks:

  • Delve into the city’s rich history at the Amsterdam City Archives: the Amsterdam Treasures collection (fittingly located in the basement Treasury of the building) is free to visit and features various intriguing items drawn from the archives.
  • Every last Thursday of the month, the NDSM-based exhibition space for contemporary art, Nieuw Dakota, is free to all visitors.
  • The gardens of the Rijksmuseum (and its sculpture garden) are freely accessible daily from 9:00 to 17:00. It is the ideal place to get a coffee and soak up some sun, read a newspaper or stroll around this imposing museum building.

Street art and graffiti

Amsterdam is a real up-and-coming destination for outdoor and urban art. Best of all, it’s all available for anyone to view on the streets. You can take paid street art tours on foot or by bike to view the best works, but you can, of course, also go out on your own for free. Incredible murals can be spotted in various places in Amsterdam, but NDSM Wharf, the Heesterveld Creative Community in Zuidoost, De Jordaan and Spuistraat/Wijdesteeg in the centre are real hotspots. The truly adventurous can enter the secret garden of Nicolas Groente & Fruit for the curated exhibition with street artworks by Laser 3.14 and the London Police, among others.

Walking and cycling tours

Take a self-guided tour of the city with the power of your own two feet! Check out our free walking tours - all written by expert guides to start exploring Amsterdam’s diverse neighbourhoods. And there's no better way to explore the city and the wider Amsterdam Area than by heading out on two wheels on one of our dedicated cycleseeing routes. Find yourself peddling past green rolling pastures dotted with windmills, tulip fields, lush riverside estates, medieval castles, and windswept dunes - all within an easy ride of Amsterdam.

Local markets

People shopping at the Haarlemmerplein Boerenmarket farmer's market cheese stall
Image from Koen Smilde

Even if you’re not planning to shop, Amsterdam’s open-air markets are a feast for the senses and offer countless souvenir shopping opportunities. From organic vegetables and flowers to antiques and second-hand treasures, markets are a great way to get a local perspective.

Top picks:

  • Every Saturday, a market is held in the courtyard garden of H'ART Museum, with local products from Dutch soil. 
  • The Haarlemmerplein Wednesday market is the perfect occasion to chat up the local farmers for a free cheese tasting.
  • Pure Markt brings artisanal produce and creativity to various locations around Amsterdam throughout the year.

Ferry ride

A ferry on its way to Buiksloterweg and EYE Promenade with the Eye Filmmuseum in Noord.
Image from Hoch3media

Behind Central Station, you’ll find several ferries crossing the IJ River, and they’re all completely free! Jump on a boat for the ideal introduction to Amsterdam Noord. The Buiksloterweg stop is best for exploring the EYE Filmmuseum and Tolhuistuin, as well as the charming streets and parks of Noord, which maintains its village appeal. Or, for a longer ride, go to NDSM Wharf – a former shipyard filled with artists’ studios, creative workshops and hipper-than-hip foodie hotspots.

Gardens and parks

Amsterdam’s gardens and parks are open (and free) all year round, with kilometres of well-kept walking paths and plenty of space for a picnic. In the summer months, Vondelpark puts on performances in their free open-air theatre, and you’ll often find free festivals in parks like Rembrandtpark, Westerpark and Oosterpark as well. Many cultural institutions have free-to-visit open-air spaces, which are just as impressive as the galleries themselves. Read more about museums with the most beautiful secret gardens. Whilst animal lovers get their flamingo fix at the free-access Artisplein, in front of the Groote Museum

Classical concerts and live music

If you know where to look, you can find a free concert nearly every day of the week. The Royal Concertgebouw holds its free lunch concerts on Wednesdays, while The Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ serves up free lunch concerts one Tuesday each month, and Bimhuis offers at least one free evening concert, workshop or jam session every week. Find Amsterdam's upcoming free classical concerts here and check out the programming at Concerto, Zoku and Pllek for regular free live music and jazz nights.

Amsterdam Public Library (OBA)

people sitting outside OBA public library
people walking in and out of OBA
Image from Bas Uterwijk

Besides curling up and paging through the massive selection of English-language books and magazines, the Amsterdam Public Library near Central Station has many other free attractions. There’s a floor filled with kid-sized fun, rotating art exhibitions, weekly readings and occasional concerts. Even if you’re not a book lover, it’s worth a visit for the impressive architecture and views from the top floor.


Every year, Amsterdam puts on a huge variety of free festivals and events. The season usually kicks off in mid-April and continues through to January – meaning there’s at least one free festival nearly every month of the year! A few of the best free festivals include King’s Day, Queer & Pride, Open Monument Day Amsterdam, National Windmill Day, Gractenfestival, and Amsterdam Light Festival.

Top picks:

  • The official kick-off for the tulip season in Amsterdam is every January during National Tulip Day. Dutch tulip growers construct a huge garden on Dam Square with around 200,000 tulips where you can pick your own flowers for free in the specially built picking garden.

Churches and monuments

Many of Amsterdam’s churches have been repurposed as concert venues, museums and more. But there are still several functioning churches where you can attend a service or admire the interiors during the week for free. View a complete listing of churches and places of worship.

Top picks:

  • Check out Westerkerk, Noorderkerk, St. Nicolaaskerk, De Papegaai (H.H. Petrus en Pauluskerk) and Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk.
  • The Begijnhof is a tranquil courtyard that dates back to the 14th century, once inhabited by religious women who took a vow of chastity. It's still home to a small chapel and an English Reformed church. The door to the garden is only open during the day. The Beguinage is still used as a residence, so visitors are kindly requested to be considerate of the residents.


Speaker storytelling on stage at Mezrab
Image from Mezrab

The storytelling nights at Mezrab always offer a wonderful evening out. Enjoy unexpected and spontaneous conversations with lots of audience involvement as you tuck into a delicious bowl of lentil soup. Wednesday nights are open-stage nights and free to visit, meaning anyone is welcome to tell a story. Check out the website for more details. 

Diamond factory tour

People working in diamond laboratory
Image from Gassan Diamonds

Amsterdam has been known as the 'City of Diamonds' for 400 years. Gassan Diamonds is located in a diamond polishing factory that once ran on steam, and you can take a free tour of the building. Look over the shoulder of the diamond cutters as you receive an explanation from the guide about how diamonds are processed. At the end of the tour, you’ll even have the opportunity to buy a world-famous Amsterdam diamond, if your wallet allows it.

NEMO Roof Terrace

NEMO; Roof
Image from DigiDaan

NEMO Science Museum has the most extensive roof terrace in Amsterdam and boasts beautiful views of the historic city centre. The roof is accessible free of charge via the one hundred and twenty steps or the elevator in NEMO’s entrance hall. In the summer, there is an interactive watercourse for the children. And (not completely free but still handy) there is a cafe with plenty of space to enjoy a snack and a drink as you take in the beautiful view.