You are not like other tourists! You want to experience authentic Amsterdam. Dam square? You don?t need to see that. Rijksmuseum? So cliché. No, you are here to walk off the beaten track. Beyond the well-trodden paths of tourists lie hidden gems, secret spots, and unique experiences waiting to be discovered by you! Let us assist in finding the true hidden gems of Amsterdam.
Visit these places soon, before the TikTok-ers find their way there too! In this blog, we’ll delve into the lesser-known side of Amsterdam, unveiling the city’s best-kept secrets and highlighting some crazy and unique activities that will make your Amsterdam adventure truly unforgettable and so much more underground and interesting.
Biking to unexplored gems in and outside Amsterdam
Of course you have to ride a bike when you are in the city of a million bicycle spokes. Navigating through the center is an experience alone, but you are there with the other tourists. For bike rides to tranquil areas make your way outside of the center, into adventure.
Ouderkerk aan de Amstel:
This cute village is loved for the churches and monuments. Enjoy scenic views along the Amstel river while you make your way to this village. A countryside experience, just a 30 minute bike ride from the center!
Officially part of Amsterdam since 2022. You will hardly find any tourists in this neighborhood. Explore this historic city with amazing waterways, monuments and windmills. Truly worth your visit if you are looking for a relaxed, more country-side feel.
Secret Book market in the Red Light District
The small cobblestones streets in the Red Light District provide plenty of adventure. A sight to see at least once, with the famous windows, coffeeshops and the erotic theatre Casa Rosso ? so much to do. And therefore, it accumulates a lot of tourists to the area.
There is one spot, an oasis of inside this hectic center, that mass-tourism didn?t discover yet. Enter the Oudemanhuisport. A courtyard that belong to the buildings of the University of Amsterdam. Walk around to browse the stalls where you can buy second hand books.
Do you love reading? Explore the five story large bookshop Scheltema at Rokin. There?s also a book market on Spui every Friday.
Hidden art gallery: What Is Happening Here?
There has never been a location more properly named than this one. On one of the party streets, this huge gallery takes you from the hustle into another dimension. It is completely free to enter, as they run on donations. Dare to enter this secret experience and explore art that engages all your senses.
Not just the art, but also the building is impressive. The location used to be a old bank, where the queen had her own vault. Walk around, get lost in the vaults and witness art as never before. If you are lucky, you can even join a hidden party in the basement.
Location: Regulierdwarsstraat 73
Festival without the crowds: Our House
Are you the new headliner for Tomorrowland? Or just interested in learning more about this genre of music and its history? Step inside Our House Museum of Electronic Music. As educational as it is fun. With amazing light shows and unmatched acoustics. Enjoy a museum that feels like a festival, but without the crowds!
Location: Amstelstraat 24-26
Art house movie theatres
Maybe catching a movie was not on your list of things to do when you?re in a different city, but seeing amazing architecture is, right? These movie theaters fit right in. You do not even have to sit down for a screening, just having a drink or bite is a whole experience in these monumental or interesting buildings!
- Lab111: one of the most unique venues you will find, as it is inside a former laboratory. Explore the different rooms, eat a fresh pizza and drink amazing cocktails. Even the toilets are fun!
Location: Arie Biemondstraat 111
- The Movies: At one of the coolest streets in the city enter this theater where they play movies. I wish they made that clear in the name, but that?s just me. It is Amsterdam?s oldest movie theatre and dates all the way back to 1912. Enjoy the Art Deco interior and have look at the monumental venue.
Location: Haarlemmerdijk 159 – 163
- Rialto: For arthouse movies with a special aim towards non-western cinema, Rialto on the Ceintuurbaan in the Pijp is a pearl of a location. Founded in 1920 by a film enthusiast, the classic charm has never left the building.
Location: Ceintuurbaan 338
- Kriterion: established in 1945 by a group of students as a self-supporting student organization. The original purpose was to provide employment for students who had lost their jobs during World War II. Over the years, Kriterion has evolved into a cultural and social hub, hosting not only film screenings but also various events, debates, and activities.
Location: Roetersstraat 170
Unique attractions in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is rich in not just hidden gems but also one of a kind attractions. Some of them already found the limelight of tourism, but still worth your time if you are looking for a unique experience.
Truly Amsterdam and one of a kind. This small museum tells you all about the history of the famous Red Light District and what it is like to work there now. You can even sit behind a red lit window yourself! Walk through the rooms and listen to the story of Angela, a former prostitute. Or as she calls it: a sex therapist.
Location: Oudezijds Achterburgwal 60h
Have you ever been? Brighten up your trip by entering the Electric Ladyland. A place full of color as it is dedicated to the world of fluorescent art. Psychedelic vibes and immersive creations draw you in from the moment you step into the building.
Location: Tweede Leliedwarsstraat 5
Ripley?s is certainly one of those unusual places in Amsterdam that you will not soon forget. With real shrunken heads, the world?s longest fingernails and art made on rice kernels, it is safe to say that this place is unlike anything else. Not so much a secret of Amsterdam but not a cliché.
Location: Dam 21
Calling all cat lovers: this is your new favourite museum! Admire artworks and artifacts of cats, felines and only that inside a historic canal house. Explore the relationships between cats and humans throughout the years, as reflected in the artworks in the museum.
Location: Herengracht 497
Sup the Amstel River and the city canals
Experience the quintessential canals! Try stand up paddle boarding on the Amstel river and – if you feel comfortable – make your way to the city centre. See the city from your paddel board. Encouter party boats, canal cruises and people chilling all along the canals.
You can book this fun way to explore Amsterdam via Canal Sup or other paddle board rental places.
Discover these hidden gems and unique attractions in Amsterdam and make the most out of your trip!