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Discover Amsterdam
Meetings and Conventions
Live, Work and Study
People on the  / ADAM Lookout / swings
Image from Pauline Arkesteijn

Top tips to beat the crowds in Amsterdam

Many of Amsterdam’s most famous attractions can get pretty busy at peak times but that doesn't mean you can't squeeze them into your travel itinerary. Follow the top 5 tips below to skip the ticket booth queues, avoid the biggest crowds and experience some of the city's highlights!

Always plan and pre-book

People walking outside Rijksmuseum at Museumplein
Image from Koen Smilde

It’s great to wander around Amsterdam and enjoy whatever awaits you. But if you have the luxury of pre-booking tickets for museums and attractions, the most significant benefit is showing up when it suits you and avoiding the lines at the ticket booths (just be careful to follow the signs to the correct door). The I amsterdam City Card offers free entrance to many major museums.

Venture into the greater Amsterdam Area

Experience Amsterdam and its surroundings like a local when you follow our favourite day trips during all seasons. You’ll walk or cycle along cobblestone streets, nibble savoury snacks and soak up the art and culture that’s made Amsterdam's area famous. Explore the entire region with the convenient Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket that offers unlimited transport by bus, tram, train, and metro beyond the city limits of Amsterdam.

Time is on your side

Remember that many museums in Amsterdam don't just stick to the nine-to-five routine! Here's our guide to art after dark: late opening museums in Amsterdam.

  • The Van Gogh Museum is open every Friday evening until 21:00. Why not book your timeslot around 17:00 on a Friday? The museum is quieter as crowds disperse for dinner, allowing more personal and precious moments to enjoy the artworks.
  • The Rijksmuseum (free with the I amsterdam City Card) notes that April, May and August are the busiest months and that Friday, Saturday and Sunday are the most popular days. As such, waiting times can be around 30 minutes. But if you’d really like a bit more space to enjoy the museum, their advice is to either arrive in time for opening (9:00) or at the end of the afternoon (after 15:00).
  • There’s always great demand to experience the famous canal-side Anne Frank House. Throughout the year it’s common to see queues stretching around the block, often with waiting times of 45 minutes (up to 2 hours at peak times). The advice from the Anne Frank House is to purchase your ticket in advance, but it’s also well worth stopping by for an evening visit – from April until August, the museum is open until 22:00.
  • The Stedelijk Museum is open till 21:00 on Fridays, and the photography museum Foam is open till 21:00 on Thursdays and Fridays. Always check the websites of your favourite museums for extra opening hours and special events.

See the city by bike

Amstelveen cycling along Amstel dijk
Image from Robin Utrecht

Taking to two wheels and having the city pass you by feels especially ‘Amsterdam’. But if you’re not a frequent cyclist and don’t know your way, the crowded streets and the hustle and bustle around hotspots like Dam Square and Leidseplein can feel intimidating. Here's a guide to cycling in Amsterdam for some tips on getting around. And if the mere thought of cycling amidst cars and trams sets your pulse racing, check out the variety of cycleseeing routes into the countryside. Within 20 minutes of the city centre, you can be in the spacious fields and off to windmills, traditional farms and clog makers.

Get off the beaten path

There are many alternatives to Amsterdam's top attractions, from quirky art galleries to cosy neighbourhood coffee joints. For the most local experience, head out of the Canal Ring into the city's vibrant neighbourhoods, from leafy Oud-West and De Baarsjes to vibrant Noord and NDSM (just a short ferry ride across the IJ. We've written in-depth guides for each neighbourhood, so you're sure you will find something completely new. And be sure to check out our cultural and culinary hidden gems. These insider tips and guides will get you feeling like a real Amsterdammer.