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Discover Amsterdam
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Mooie Boules bar
Image from Friso Boven

Unexpected date ideas in Amsterdam

With its idyllic canals, cobbled streets and blooming tulips everywhere you look, Amsterdam is undoubtedly a capital of romance. Whether you’re contemplating a first date, or have been coupled up for years, try something more adventurous than a table for two with these unexpected date night ideas.

Pay for laughter

Boom Chicago comedy club
Image from Jeroen Roest

Laughter can be the best ice breaker, and sometimes it’s best to leave it to the professionals. You can catch English-language comedy and spoken word performances at various stages across Amsterdam. Just remember that sitting too close to the front can make you and your date the stars of the show.

Be (charmingly) competitive

Mooie Boules people playing jeu de boules
Image from Mooie Boules

Assess how severe your date’s competitive streak is by taking them to Amsterdam’s arcade-bar hybrid: Ton Ton Club. Its three locations across the city combine delicious burgers and drinks with pinball, Mario Kart and all the gaming classics. And for couples that are generally game for a laugh, here’s a round-up of arcade halls and games bars to try, including Mooi Boules - the go-to hot spot for a quick round of jeu de boules.

Try to stay on your stool

La Cervecería restaurant champagne
Image from La Cervecería

Impress your other half with your sophisticated palate at one of Amsterdam's dedicated wine bars. Wester Wijnfabriek, GlouGlou and the Barcelona-inspired Five Brothers Fat Champañaria set the right tone with a romantic atmosphere. Or bouge it out by checking out this round-up of places to slurp oysters and bubbles. Alternatively, craft beer connoisseurs should visit one of Amsterdam’s boutique breweries or tasting rooms to sample the local bevvies – just don’t burn your tongue on the bitterballen!

Break the ice

Waiter serving wine at Smelt cheese fondue restaurant
Image from Ingrid Hofstra

First dates can sometimes be toe-curlingly cringe or call-your-bud-from-the-bathroom-level awkward. Luckily, Amsterdam has several restaurants and bars with a more unusual dining concept or a fun interactive element - perfect for breaking the tension on a first meet-up. From hands-on hot-pot to spinning the cocktail wheel, here’s a round-up of fun first-date restaurants to break the ice in Amsterdam.

Make it a weekend-long date

De Dijk at night in Volendam seen from the harbour.
Image from Koen Smilde

In the wise words of Bridget Jones, “a mini-break means true love”. In Amsterdam, you never have to travel far to be a world away from the city. Escape to sleepy fishing villages like Volendam and Zaandam, soak up the sea breeze at Amsterdam Beach or take a scenic walk through the rainbow-hued fields of the Flower Strip. Our dedicated pages for exploring the Amsterdam Area are packed with overnight-trip ideas.

Quote poetry to one other

Second-hand book market at Het Spui.
Image from Koen Smilde

Bookworms should head to the home of all the greatest love stories by spending an early evening browsing the shelves of the American Book Center. This part of the city, known as the Spui, also hosts a Friday book market, perfect for finding rare editions of your favourite tomes. Here's a round-up of exploring Amsterdam for book-lovers. And a hint for the newly entwined: you can tell a lot about a person by what they read.

Pack a lunch and make a day of it

A boat in the water and two cyclist passing through the Goois Nature reserve.
Image from Koen Smilde

As if taking the ferry over to Noord wasn’t exciting enough, there are a variety of cycle routes to enjoy in and around Het Twiske Waterland. Cruise along the polders admiring the meadows of grazing cattle and windmills. If you forgot a picnic, grab some snacks from one of the kiosks to fuel your cycle back. For more jolly adventures on two-wheels, check out this selection of cycleseeing routes.

Let the hollandaise do the talking

Dignita Hoftuin brunch restaurant
Image from Koen Smilde

Technically not a night, but a really nice date. Dazzle your date with the very best coffee and eggs in Amsterdam at one of the city’s many brunch hotspots such as Dignita Hoftuin which offers exceptional views of a historic courtyard garden. Best of all, brunch gives you the choice to spend the rest of the day together, or suddenly 'remember' your lunch plans.

Take them on safari

Scottish OX springtime Amsterdamse Bos
Image from Edwin van Eis

Promise your date an unforgettable safari adventure as you march them along the many hiking paths of the Amsterdamse Bos in search of the ‘Bos Big 5’. The lush forests and open water of this nature area make a cosy home for marsh harriers, kingfishers, squirrels, grass snakes and even some highland cattle. Here's our guide to going on safari in Amsterdam.

Cosy up in a bird-watching hut

A couple of spoonbills standing in the water.
Image from koen smilde

Just east of Amsterdam, Nationaal Park Nieuw Land is an area of reclaimed land made into a wetlands reserve with bird-watching opportunities abound. There’s nothing more thrilling than cuddling up close in an observation hut as you try to spot a rare sea eagle. Maybe your hands will brush theirs as you hand over the binoculars? And if you really get into wildlife spotting together, here’s a rundown of the best places to spot wildlife in the Amsterdam Area.

Catch an old-school flick

Image from Martin Kuijper

The date of all dates is elevated to a whole new level at one of Amsterdam’s boutique cinemas. Pathé Tuschinski provides Art Deco ambience to Hollywood blockbusters, whilst FC Hyena, in quintessential Noord style, is a trendy spot to enjoy a delicious meal before or after your film.

Indulge in some blissful relaxation

Sauna Van Egmond
Image from Marieke Boelen

Couples that spa together stay together. Pampering is always a good idea, and often overlooked as a date night activity. Escape a chilly evening by soaking in a spa or book an indulgent couple’s massage for the most relaxing date night yet. Here’s our round-up of wellness and relaxation spots to get your zen on in Amsterdam. And if you want to go all-in, read this guide to luxury hotels in Amsterdam for the true 5-star experience.