Non-Touristy Things to do in Amsterdam: Top Hidden Gems

Non-Touristy Things to do in Amsterdam: Top Hidden Gems

Amsterdam has a lot to offer beyond the typical tourist attractions due to its extensive cultural heritage. Here are some of our favorite activities to do in Amsterdam that aren't on the typical tourist itinerary and will offer you a genuine taste of the city. In our opinion, this is a top-tier city. We enjoy all that the cultural center of Holland has to offer, including its many peculiarities. In addition to its many museums and parks, Amsterdam also offers a wide variety of tours, from culinary adventures to boat rides along the city's famous canals. If you don't want to use a guidebook, you may still pack a lot into a trip to Amsterdam. One way to experience Amsterdam from all angles is to get a Vox City pass that includes a guided walking tour, a hop-on hop-off bus tour, and a canal cruise. Join us for a beautiful hour-long cruise through Amsterdam's 100 km canal belt.

However, there are many artists, beatniks, creatives, and rebels living in Amsterdam. It’s a city that likes to be a little distinct and adventurous. As a result, there are many specialized and oddball things to do in Amsterdam that provide a greater understanding of the varied, artistic, and diversified essence of the city. These are some of Amsterdam's best-kept secrets that you shouldn't miss. According to us, Amsterdam is one of those cities that every person should visit at least once in their lifetime. As long as you have a good itinerary, you can see and do everything in just a few days. Here are some lesser-known places to see and excursions to take in Amsterdam that will provide a richer, more in-depth experience of the city's culture than the typical tourist fare.

Best Off-the-Beaten-Path & Hidden Gems in Amsterdam

We've compiled a list of some of our favorite local secrets in Amsterdam that you might want to check out.

Go “Antiek-ing” in Amsterdam

Many people consider Dutch antiques to be among the finest in the world. Anyone interested in bringing back priceless jewelry, paintings, Dutch tiles, and more from the 1600s will find Holland to be a veritable treasure trove. The economic boom experienced by the Dutch as a result of their global trading activities provided the impetus for the acquisition of these works of art and antiquities. Furthermore, collections of Dutch tiles in the Delft style are highly coveted. 

Antiekcentrum in Amsterdam - Antique Center | Amsterdam.info

The interior design, love of art, and flair of the locals of Amsterdam never cease to astound you. Dutch tiling in the Delft style dating back to the 1700s is available for purchase. It's hard to find anything like that for sale in the United States. Visit the Antiek neighborhood on Nieuw Spigelstraat to the north of the Rijksmuseum. One of life's hidden treasures is the simple pleasure of possessing a piece of tiling from before the 17th century.

The Tulip Museum

This small museum, housed in a room within a tulip shop, provides an overview of the flower's significance in Dutch culture. Many historians consider the tulip fever of the Dutch Golden Age to be the first economic bubble in human history. According to legend, the tulip's meteoric rise to fame in the Dutch landscape began in the 17th century, when the flower was brought to the Netherlands from the Ottoman Empire (but especially with the upper class). Tulip prices reached all-time highs, with some bulbs fetching more than their weight in gold.

Close up on yellow tulips.

Although tulip fever didn't persist forever, tulips continue to have significant cultural significance in the Netherlands. Over sixty percent of the world's tulips are grown in the country, and in the springtime, tourists flock to the countryside to see the vast tulip fields. This welcoming museum offers information on the history of the flower even if you aren't traveling during the tulip season. And the greatest part is, you'll never have to fight your way through a throng of people to get here! Vox City provides a self-guided audio tour that may be listened to whenever it's convenient, illuminating the museums' histories at your own pace. The fact that there are so many excellent museums in Amsterdam means that it is next to impossible to visit them all. If you need help deciding which museums to visit, you can use our Footsteps guided tour, also available from Vox City.

Explore Oost

Located to the east of the city, or "Oost" as the locals call it, is a multicultural community that boasts a fantastic park, zoo, and numerous delectable Middle Eastern cafes. You'd be lucky to run into more than a handful of tourists while exploring this area, and most of them are probably lost.

An apartment building on a quiet residential street in Oost, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Dapper mark is an over 100-year-old street market that you shouldn't miss. It's a great area to people-watch or do some window shopping because it has everything you could possibly need. If you're in the area, you should also check out Oosterpark, the primary park in the area, which is perfect for a stroll, a bike ride, or a picnic. In addition, the park holds a wide variety of cultural celebrations every month of the year.

Visit Rembrandt Park

This park, located west of the city, is another great area to take a stroll besides the more central Rembrandtplein. It's the second-largest park in the city and was named after the famous painter from the 17th century. The park is popular for its various sculptures and routes for walking and cycling.

Rembrandt Park, Amsterdam | Eyeflare.com

The park area, which dates back to the 1940s, is somewhat working class and a little more modern, providing a nice contrast to the historic core. A sure clue that you've arrived at your destination is the disappearance of English from every single signs.

Go Market Hopping Around the City

You can't possibly appreciate the breadth of Amsterdam's market selection until you've experienced this for yourself. It will astound you to no end. You can also discover delicious fruit and cheese, in addition to antiques and amazing new and old works of art. This is an excellent strategy for avoiding being taken in by merchants setting up shop specifically to take advantage of tourists. One of our favorite undiscovered pleasures of Amsterdam is browsing the local markets. It's a fun opportunity to interact with the locals and find something truly special to take home with you.

Among Amsterdam's many fantastic markets, here are a few of our favorites:

  • Albert Cuyp Market
  • Nieuwmarkt
  • Waterlooplein Market
  • Westerstraat Market

Dine at Historic, Charming Dutch Restaurants

The cuisine of the Netherlands is an undiscovered gem. Who doesn't enjoy cheese, french fries, and other classic comfort foods? However, if you want to take your dining experience to the next level, there are plenty of places to savor Dutch cuisine in a historic setting. Here are a few of the most recommended places to have delicious, authentic Dutch cuisine in attractive, historic settings:

  • The d'Vijff Vlieghen Restaurant: The English name for the d'Vijff Vlieghen restaurant is "The Five Flies." This canal-side eatery is decorated with a number of paintings by Rembrandt. You can't possibly appreciate this place to the fullest extent without taking a tour of the entire house.
  • A Mirror Made of Silver: de Silveren Spiegel
  • Restaurant Haesje Claes
  • The homestyle Dutch cuisine of Restaurant Moeders (also known as Restaurant "Mothers" in English) is among the best in the city.

6,030 Amsterdam Food Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

As one of the most romantic things to do in Amsterdam, a meal at any of these restaurants is perfect for a couple's night out. In addition, Vox City's self-guided tours make it simple to visit any of these venues at your own pace, and offer a wealth of walking itineraries to choose from.

You may stop whenever it's convenient for you, and along the way you can listen to your audio commentary to find out more information about the many points of interest along the way. Plan your next Vox City-style stroll in Amsterdam by finding must-see attractions and deciding where to take the best pictures.

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