Free Things To Do In Amsterdam This Weekend
The capital city of The Netherlands is one of rich culture and a moving history whilst the modern lifestyle is one of freedom and exploration. Amsterdam is famous for a wide variety of things and is a truly eclectic city. The city is more than just its infamous dark side of red lights and 'coffee shops' on every corner, Amsterdam is also home to beautiful architecture, world-class museums and incredible art galleries. A perfect city for backpackers to explore, Amsterdam is the city that has it all and some of the best bits won't even cost you a penny.
Watch the street entertainers in Dam Square
Dam Square in the heart of the city is one of the busiest areas of Amsterdam. The historic square is home to Royal Palace, New Church and Madame Tussaud's making the area popular with tourists. Due to the area's popularity, street performers can always be found showing off their skills and talents to entertain passersby. Many of the street performers are international and will treat you to a great show.
Hours: Vary by performer
Enjoy a lunchtime concert
During Amsterdam's art season, The Dutch National Opera and Ballet offer free lunchtime concerts. The season roughly lasts between September to June with free concerts performed most Tuesday's. A variety of different groups and companies perform at the venue with the likes of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus of Dutch National Opera featuring regularly on the programme.
Hours: Most Tuesday's during art season (September to June)
Learn at Cannabis College
Amsterdam is well-known across the world for the legalisation of cannabis and many visitors flock to coffee shops to experience this novelty. Cannabis College is a non-profit organisation and the first educational facility which aims to teach information and provide advice in relation to cannabis. The basement holds a public cannabis garden which visitors can explore and discover cannabis and hemp plants. Cannabis College offers the public a different way to experience the drug culture in the city.
Hours: Daily 11am-7pm
Visit the windmills
The Netherlands has a beautiful countryside scattered with windmills. The windmills of The Netherlands come in all shapes, sizes and designs making up an iconic part of the Dutch landscape. Windmills are such a part of the Dutch history and culture that a collection of windmills make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Whilst the countryside is amazing to explore, there are also windmills close to the city centre, many of which offer free admission and views over the city.
Hours: Windmill spotting is 24/7 but admission hours may vary
Explore the Red Light District
The Red Light District is one of the most famous areas of Amsterdam. This urban area of the city is predominantly sex-oriented with shops, strip clubs and adult theatres making up the majority of the local premises. It is a popular location for people to visit, some wanting to enjoy a bachelor party, others just wandering through out of intrigue. This section of the city is well-known for having dancing girls in the window inviting passers-by in for some entertainment. The Red Light District is free to explore but entry into establishments will be an additional charge.
*Hours: 24/7 (individual establishment opening hours may vary) *
Cycle the city
The most popular way to get around the city is to cycle with thousands of locals and tourists riding through on a daily basis. With narrow streets and canals, cycling makes it an easy way to get around and Amsterdam has a strong bike culture. Riding a bike is an essential Amsterdam experience and a great way to explore the city whilst hiring one is easy with many hotels providing free bike rental.
Hours: 24/7 (individual hiring hours may vary)
Relax in Vondelpark
Vondelpark is a stunning, public green space in the heart of Amsterdam. The park comes alive in the Summer with cyclists riding through, children playing and couples taking a stroll. The Summer months are also blessed with free concerts every weekend at the parks open-air theatre. Outside of Summer, the magnificent park is also worth a visit to explore the beautiful grounds and enjoy the art sculptures such as Picasso's The Bird.
See the world-famous tulip fields
Along with clogs, tulips are one of the well-known symbols of The Netherlands but as cliched as they are, the fields are stunning. Sadly, tulip season is only in the Spring so you would need to time your trip right to see them but if you do, you won't regret visiting. Miles of coloured stripes bloom just 20 miles away from Amsterdam city centre with most fields free to visit and there are great opportunities to explore, smell and purchase the magnificent flowers. The fields also make a gorgeous backdrop and are great for a spot of photography.
Hours: Daily in the Spring only
Wander along the canals
Amsterdam is one of the world's most picturesque cities with its quaint houses, narrow streets and abundance of canals. The canals of Amsterdam are one of the most photographed places in the city with more than 160 waterways decorating the landscape which in 2010 were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Amsterdam is a very compact city and easy to navigate on foot. One of the best ways to see the sights is just to take a stroll and see where you end up. You can also find some companies offering free walking tours which depart from Dam Square daily.
Get lost in Jordaan
Jordaan is the most charming neighbourhood in all of Amsterdam with quaint streets and beautiful buildings making it one of the city's most desirable quarters. The neighbourhood is a labyrinth of narrow lanes scattered with independent art galleries, quirky bars, antique shops and stunning gardens. Jordaan is a beautiful place to explore and a great place to explore local life through the small business community in this small corner of the city.
Hours: 24/7 to explore but individual establishment opening times may vary
Amsterdam is an incredibly interesting city to explore with a unique mix of history, culture and a few seedy corners. World-class museums and fantastic eateries make up the core of the city's centre whilst the landscape is beautifully scattered with windmills, canals, bridges and tulips. The European city has an endless list of things to do and places to explore making it a perfect destination for a wide variety of travellers.
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