Guest Post – About the Author:
Samantha Karen is the founder of the travel blog Sam Sees World. She is a millennial traveler on a mission to seek the new and unknown so she can document her experiences and inspire others to explore this wondrous world.
Her objective is to provide valuable information on the best things to do, see, eat, and experience while traveling and getting some good Instagram photos along the way.
Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, is an absolutely beautiful city to visit and explore. Recently, tourism has exploded, and with so many people visiting the city, all of Amsterdam’s main attractions have become over-saturated and quite crowded.
But there is more to Amsterdam than Dam Square, Rijksmuseum and Rembrandt Square. The city is full of history and hidden secrets that date back hundreds of years. And although the main sights are stunning and beautiful to see, sometimes the hidden ones are even better!
So I have compiled a list of the best off-the-beaten-track things to do in Amsterdam so that visitors will be able to explore more of the city and see it from a new perspective. Read on to learn about the hidden gems of Amsterdam, as recommended by a local.
Don’t forget to check out our web story: Amsterdam Off the Beaten Track
Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).
Secret Amsterdam: 6 Off-The-Beaten-Path Things to Do
1. Have a Drink at the Sky Lounge
Amsterdam is a city that comes alive at night. There is a ton of stuff to do and see during the night in Amsterdam that will amaze you, and one of these things is the Sky Lounge. It’s an upscale rooftop bar located beside Centraal Station that hosts live DJs and always has a buzzing atmosphere.
The best part of the Sky Lounge is the enormous outdoor terrace walled in with glass so that you can see the sparkling city of Amsterdam stretching out below you. More so, the Sky Lounge is located on the 11th floor and reaches higher than most buildings in the city. Therefore, at night, you can look out over the city of Amsterdam and see it all lit up beautifully.
This attraction offers the best way to see the city at night and enjoy delicious drinks in a great atmosphere. Plus its proximity to Centraal station makes it a quick trip to Schiphol Airport if you’re just on a long layover in Amsterdam.
2. Spot the Tiny Houses
The streets of Amsterdam are full of surprises around every corner and along every canal. The tiny houses in Amsterdam are among these surprises. They consist of seven small houses stacked on top of each other in between two regular size houses. Every day people walk by this attraction and don’t even see it. This is because the mini houses are easily missed if you are not looking close enough.
The secret mini houses are a fun site to find and also have a great story attached to them. If you look at the two houses beside the mini ones you will notice the house numbers jump from 70 to 54 with no other numbers in between. As a result, an advertising agency in Amsterdam decided to capitalize on this and fix the glaring mistake. The seven mini houses were added with the missing addresses to bridge the gap between the house numbers.
This secret spot is located near Noordermarket, but to find it you have to be ready to search.
3. Explore the Amsterdam Oost
Amsterdam is divided into several different neighborhoods, all with their distinct and unique charm and contrasting offerings. However, some neighborhoods get more recognition than others; such as The Jordaan, City Center, and De Pijp. Tourists and locals highly frequent these areas due to their beauty, restaurants, shops, and more. But perhaps on your next Amsterdam city trip, you’ll feel the need to explore someplace different.
If you are craving a new neighborhood that is undiscovered by tourism, then Amsterdam Oost is the place for you! This neighborhood is located in Eastern Amsterdam and is full of trendy restaurants, cute streets, and even a park. The restaurants are delicious with beautiful interiors and are not crammed with people. The streets are clear of people and make exploring so much more enjoyable. Finally, the park here is called Ooster park and is just as lovely as Vondelpark but with one-third of the people.
If you are looking to see Amsterdam the way locals do, this is the best area to adventure around. You will find so much beauty and charm, that is uninterrupted by tourists.
4. See a Film at the Theatre Tuschinski
Theatre Tuschinski is a stunning cinema located in the heart of Amsterdam. But despite its prime location, it is not a very well know attraction for visitors. This is mainly because few people consider going to a movie while traveling, which is a shame here in Amsterdam.
This theatre is very different from others in the world. Built in 1921, Theatre Tuschinski has a stunning, ornate interior complete with lush, velvet chairs. Seeing a film here is a movie-watching experience that goes beyond the film and transports you in time to an era when theatres were used for more than just movies.
Theatre Tuschinski is an excellent activity for when the weather is lousy (which is quite often) or during the winter in Amsterdam. Heading here offers a welcome escape from the bad weather and provides you with a unique viewing experience you will not find elsewhere.
5. Visit the Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder
Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder is a secret museum in Amsterdam that is full of historical significance and surprises. The name translates to “Our Lord in the Attic”, which is very fitting because there is an actual church hidden in the attic of this building. This museum is one of Amsterdam’s best-kept secrets. It is such a great secret because you cannot even tell it is a museum from the streets.
This attraction has a fantastic story behind it that makes visiting and exploring all the better. The story of the church dates back to the 16th century when the Dutch Government outlawed Catholicism. Although practicing the religion was strictly prohibited, many Catholic followers continued their faith in secret and built a hidden church to do so.
The museum was created to preserve the historic two-story church in the attic and also, to protect and showcase the furniture and decorations which date back to the Golden Age.
This museum is never crowded and provides the perfect combination of history, architecture, and religion all in one museum.
6. Hop on the Poezenboot
The Poezenboot is an off-the-beaten-track attraction that is most popular with animal lovers. It is a floating sanctuary that is home to all the homeless cats in the city. What’s most interesting about this is that the cats are living in an authentic Amsterdam houseboat.
The boat is open for a few hours each day and welcomes people on board to play with and pet the cats. If you love animals and you want to step aboard a houseboat, this is the perfect afternoon adventure!
Do you have a favorite thing to do in Amsterdam that’s off the tourist track? Let us know in the comments below.
Planning a trip to Amsterdam? Check out our favorite guides and resources: