Looking for something unique to do in Amsterdam?

Here’s how to get off the beaten path.

Amsterdam, like most European cities, is full of history and surprises.

The seemingly ordinary spots in the city can hold quite a few hidden sights to be found.

It’s a fact that makes exploring and discovering the unknown and off the beaten track things to do in Amsterdam very exciting.

Furthermore, Amsterdam is a very busy tourist city. That means the main attractions and sights can get pretty hectic.

Amsterdam’s popular tourist attractions are still beautiful and worthy of visiting. But, with millions of tourists coming to Amsterdam each year, they are more often than not full of people.

Therefore, going to the lesser known places in the city is a great way to see a different side of Amsterdam – and escape the crowds while you’re at it!

Here are eight non touristy things to do in Amsterdam when you want to get off the beaten path. 

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1 – The Pancake Boat

Amsterdam is a city full of breakfast and lunch restaurants, but none are as special and unique as the pancake boat.

The pancake boat is pretty self-explanatory; it is a boat that serves fresh pancakes.

This boat cruises from the Northern Docklands to the city’s main harbour and, for 75 minutes, serves unlimited Dutch pancakes plus toppings like fresh fruit, syrup, and powdered sugar.

This breakfast adventure is an excellent opportunity for a unique breakfast in Amsterdam that offers exceptional food and great views.


RELATED READ: This free self-guided Amsterdam food tour is a must for foodies.


2 – Experience a live flower auction

Most visitors coming to Amsterdam arrive excited to see the Dutch national flower, the tulip!

However, if you are not visiting the city during the spring months, finding tulips in Amsterdam can be a challenge. That’s why going to a live flower auction is a must.

By doing so, you can see an abundance of tulips at any time of the year.

Going to the live flower auction in Aalsmeer’s is a very unique thing to do while visiting in Amsterdam and shouldn’t be missed.

Every day from 7 AM – 11 AM, you can take a short train ride from Amsterdam to the auction and be amazed by the number of tulips and how fast the sale goes.


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Aalsmeer Flower Auction near Amsterdam


3 – Theatre Tuschinski

There are a lot of things to do in Amsterdam at night, and one of the most unique is seeing a movie at Theatre Tuschinski.

Theatre Tuschinski is an old movie theatre location near Rembrandtplein. It dates back to 1921 and, in the best way possible, the interior looks like it has not changed at all.

The seats are plush and red, and the theatre seems ornate and as though it was built for an opera.

If you are looking for something a little different to do one night in Amsterdam, this is a perfect option.


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4 – Begijnhof 

The Begijnhof is one of Amsterdam’s best keep “hidden in plain sight” secrets.

It is an old and historic area of the city that is hidden conveniently behind one of the busiest streets.

This attraction is a hofje – a small courtyard surrounded by houses. Although there are many of these in the city, this one holds more significance because it is home to the oldest house in Amsterdam!

Plus, it has an interesting history, having been built for women who had vowed their life to the church.


Begijnhof courtyard in Amsterdam, Netherlands

5 – Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder

Ons’ Lieve Heer op Solder is also known as Our Lord in the Attic. It is a secret museum in Amsterdam that very few know about – perfect if you’re looking for off the beaten path things to do in Amsterdam!

This museum is most famous for the church hidden inside it. It is so hidden, in fact, that it can’t even be spotted from the street. 

The church was built in the 19th century when Catholicism was outlawed in the Netherlands.

Since Catholicism was banned, Catholics who wanted to continue their faith had to do it in secret and the church was created.

Since 1888, this church has been preserved as a historic site for visitors to explore! 


TRAVEL TIP: Book your tickets online to skip the queue and save time!


6 – Poezenboot

If you are a cat lover, then this might be the ideal off the beaten track Amsterdam attraction for you.

Poezenboot isn’t meant to be an attraction; however, the idea of it seems to attract quite a bit of people.

It is the world’s only floating cat shelter, located right in the heart of Amsterdam.

The cats live on a houseboat that sits along the Amsterdam canals, and visitors are welcome to visit during certain times of the day.

This is an excellent opportunity to check two things off your Amsterdam to-do list because you can visit the Poezenboot and enter an authentic Amsterdam houseboat.


Amsterdam streets


7 – Cuypers Library

Cuypers Library is the massive library located inside the Rijksmuseum. It is not as secret as it once was, but it is still a unique sight to see while visiting the city.

The Rijksmuseum is one of the best museums in Amsterdam and holds over a million different artefacts.

Inside, you’ll discover artefacts from artists such as Rembrandt and Van Gogh. Amongst these artworks is the vast Renaissance and Gothic library that is almost hidden on the top floor.

If you are a lover of literature and art, this is the perfect way to combine both of those loves and enjoy a truly spectacular sight. 


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8 – The Tiny Hidden Houses

The tiny hidden houses are a unique thing to find in Amsterdam.

Among all the different little streets and canals, it is pretty rare to spot them by accident.

The tiny houses are a column of small homes tucked away in-between two normal-sized houses.

The houses were put there by a marketing agency as a quirky and fun way to bridge the numbers gap between the two homes, as the house numbers jump from 54-70 without notice.


As you can see, Amsterdam is full of little surprises and unique attractions!

I urge you to visit some of these off the beaten track things in Amsterdam while you visit. You will not be disappointed!

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Jodie Marie Dewberry

Jodie has been travelling the world full time since 2017, sharing the most unique places in the world along with tips for living as a digital nomad. She is a passionate wildlife photographer and has worked with a number of prominent travel brands, including airlines, tourism boards, hotels and tour operators.

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