Amsterdam is a great place to visit in any season. But, there is something magical about spending summer in Amsterdam. Days are longer and sunnier, and there is just so much to do there during the summer months. If you’re planning to visit it at that time of the year, here is your list with 10 fun things to do in Amsterdam this summer.
10 Fun Things to do in Amsterdam this Summer
Amsterdammers love warm days, and you’ll see many locals sunbathing and barbecuing in Amsterdam parks, riding their bicycles and having brunch next to the canals with their friends. If you’re wondering how to spend your summer vacation in Amsterdam, here are our recommendations for some fun things to do in Amsterdam this summer.
1/ Go on a canal cruise
Amsterdam is famous for its beautiful canals. So, one of my first recommendations for fun things to do in Amsterdam this summer is to go on a canal cruise. You’ll have a chance to observe the city from a different perspective. And see some of its canal houses and iconic buildings from the water. To me, Amsterdam looks utterly different from its canals.
There are many canal cruises in Amsterdam to choose from. If you’d like to explore them on a larger boat, my recommendation is a company called LOVERS Canal Cruises. During the one-hour-long canal cruise, you can take in a beautiful city view while listening to an audio tour and learning more about this fantastic city.
2/ Have a barbecue in a park
One of the most local things to do in Amsterdam in summer is to have a barbecue in some of its parks. With the first warm days you’ll see locals rushing to the parks in Amsterdam. They’ll bring small grills, portable refrigerators and enjoy some lovely time with their friends.
Here are some rules set up by the city for barbecuing in Amsterdam, so be sure to read them before having your little picnic in a park.
TIP: You can buy some small portable barbecues for one-time use at some local supermarkets like Albert Heijn.
3/ Visit some summer festivals in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is famous for its fantastic music festivals, and most of them are taking place during the summer months. Besides them, the Rolling Kitchens food festival is also happening in Amsterdam in the summer. It’s followed by the Bacchus Wine festival, a great event for all wine lovers.
One of my personal favourites is the Grachtenfestival, a music festival during which musicians perform on the canals. It combines music and the beautiful setting of Amsterdam canal houses in such a fantastic way.
However, the biggest summer party in Amsterdam takes place each year at the beginning of August. Pride Festival is a massive party during which the freedom of being who you want to be is celebrated in Amsterdam. The main event is a gigantic parade taking place on Amsterdam canals. If you happen to be in Amsterdam in the summer, be sure not to miss it.
TIP: The parade won’t take place in 2021, but you should plan to visit it one of the following years.
4/ Go to the beach
Although not often perceived as a coastal city, Amsterdam is home to some fantastic sandy beaches. Some of them are located within the town itself, like Strand Zuid in the south of the city. Another famous beach located in Amsterdam is Pllek, situated in the more urban northern area of Amsterdam.
However, just a short trip away from the city, you’ll find some stunning sandy beaches on the North Sea. The closest and most beautiful ones are located in Zandvoort and Bloemendaal aan Zee. You can catch a train going there, and after less than thirty minutes you’ll find yourself at one of the best places to be around Amsterdam in summer. There are numerous restaurants, bars and playgrounds on those beaches, too.
On your way, you’ll pass through the lovely town of Haarlem. And a good idea could be to make a stop there, too.
5/ Explore Amsterdam’s street art
Amsterdam is home to some fantastic street art. The street art scene started in Amsterdam in the 1990s, and more and more artworks appeared in the city since then. Numerous street artists left their work on the streets of Amsterdam. However, among them, you’ll also find some famous artists like Keith Haring.
Amsterdam’s must-see street art location is Spuistraat, where you’ll find some vast murals covering whole houses. The most famous among them is the blue ‘Boom’ building. Occasionally, you’ll also stumble on a recognisable work by the artists like Space Invader.
Amsterdam Noord neighbourhood is where some great pieces of street art are located, especially around the NDSM building.
Amsterdam is also home to the graffiti and street art museum, STRAAT. If you’re interested in that art form, be sure to put it on your list of things to do in Amsterdam this summer.
6/ Go to an open-air cinema
Could there be a better thing to do in Amsterdam this summer than going to an open-air cinema?
From the open-air cinemas located at the beach, the ones at the rooftops, to the drive-in cinema, Amsterdam will host them all this summer. Check out the agenda here for all the open-air cinemas to enjoy this summer in Amsterdam.
7/ Enjoy a biking trip
Residents of Amsterdam ride their bicycles in any weather. But, if you’re not used to cycling in the rain or during the strong wind, then the summer months could be the perfect time for riding a bicycle around Amsterdam. You can rent a bike during your stay and explore Amsterdam from the seat of your bicycle.
If you feel more adventurous, you can also go on a little cycling trip outside the city. Dutch dunes are a perfect place to enjoy nature, see the North Sea and explore the Netherlands outside of Amsterdam.
8/ Visit some temporary exhibitions at Amsterdam’s museums
Amsterdam is home to some of the best museums in Europe. Often during the summer months, they host some interesting temporary exhibitions.
Reserve one whole day for a visit to the Amsterdam museum quarter at the Museumplein. Some of the best Amsterdam museums, like the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, are located there. If you’re more into contemporary art, then the Moco Museum could also be an excellent choice for you.
9/ Have brunch at the Amsterdam canals
Amsterdam canals and canal houses are the true symbols of this Dutch city. One of the most local things to do in Amsterdam this summer is to have a brunch in one of the restaurants next to the canals.
Brunch is big in Amsterdam, and you’ll find some great restaurants in Amsterdam offering it. Some of my favourite places in Amsterdam for brunch are Bagels and Beans, Bakers & Roasters, Yoghurt Barn and Ann & Max. Some avocado on toast with smoked salmon and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice could be a great choice for brunch during the summer days in Amsterdam.
10/ Visit Vondelpark open-air theatre
Each year the Vondelpark becomes home to the open-air theatre. During the summer, many dances, theatre, stand up comedy, and other performances occur in that popular park in Amsterdam.
There’s so much to do and see in the Dutch capital during July and August. With the help of this guide, you shouldn’t have any problem finding some fun things to do in Amsterdam this summer.